Respectfully labeled as one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson is an undisputed star as demonstrated in the fact that his films have grossed the most money in box office sales than any other actor in the history of filmmaking.
Jackson made an indelible mark on American cinema with his portrayal of Jules, the philosophizing hitman, in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. In addition to unanimous critical acclaim for his performance, he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations as Best Supporting Actor as well as a Best Supporting Actor award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
In 2008, Jackson’s films included the Neil LaBute thriller, Lakeview Terrace, which premiered at the Deauville Film Festival, followed by the Dimension Studios comedy Soul Men, alongside the late Bernie Mac. He most recently starred in the Frank Miller action drama The Spirit, in which he portrayed the nemesis, “Octopus.”
Jackson recently completed filming the drama Unthinkable, directed by Gregor Jordan, co-starring Michael Sheen, which has been slated for Fall of this year. He also filmed a supporting role in the drama Mother and Child, directed by Rodrigo Garcia.
Jackson made a surprise cameo appearance in the 2008 blockbuster hit, Iron Man and has signed on to reprise the Marvel character “Nick Fury” (the head of “S.H.I.E.L.D”) in their next nine films. He also starred in the Doug Liman directed sci-fi, action film, Jumper.
In 2007, Jackson had a starring role in the acclaimed drama Resurrecting the Champ, and a co-starring role in the very successful horror film for the Weinstein Co., 1408, based on the Stephen King novel. Earlier that year, Jackson starred in the Craig Brewer film Black Snake Moan, and Irwin Winkler’s MGM war drama Home of the Brave.
In 2006, Jackson starred in New Line’s Snakes on a Plane, directed by David Ellis, a horror/drama film. Jackson also starred opposite Julianne Moore in Revolution Studio’s Freedomland, directed by Joe Roth, based on the best selling novel of the same name. He also appeared as ‘Agent Derrick Vann’ in New Line’s The Man, opposite Eugene Levy.
In early 2005, Jackson topped the opening weekend box office charts with the success of the Paramount Pictures film, Coach Carter. Jackson portrayed real-life high school basketball coach, ‘Ken Carter’, a dedicated role model and advocate for students succeeding in the classroom as well as on the basketball court. Coach Carter was screened as the opening night film of the prestigious Palm Springs Film Festival. Jackson received the Career Achievement Award for Acting from the Festival.
Jackson also starred in the independent film for Sony Classics, In My Country, based on the best-selling novel, Country of My Skull, by South African writer, Antije Krog. Jackson portrayed an American reporter who must cope with the aftermath of apartheid as his newspaper assigns him to cover the Truth and Reconciliation Trials, established by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, that exposed the worst cases of torture, abuse and violence. In My Country was directed by John Boorman and produced by Bob Chartoff and Mike Medavoy. Juliette Binoche co-stars.
In 2005, Jackson reprised his role as ‘Agent Augustus Gibbons’ in XXX: State of the Union and as ‘Mace Windu’ in Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith. To no one’s surprise, Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith made an incredible impact at the box office breaking numerous opening day records.
In 2004, Jackson “appeared” as the character ‘Frozone’ in the Disney animated action-adventure film, The Incredibles which was released to record box office results. The film was directed and written by Brad Bird and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture as well as two Academy Award nominations.
In 2003, Jackson starred in S.W.A.T for Columbia TriStar. Directed by Clark Johnson, S.W.A.T. is about an arrested drug kingpin who is transported by a Los Angeles Police Department S.W.A.T. team and led out of the city and into Federal custody. Plans go awry when the kingpin offers $100 million to anyone who can free him. Colin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez are also in the film.
In 2002, Jackson starred with Ben Affleck in the box office and critical success, Paramount’s Changing Lanes. Jackson delivered an intense yet sympathetic performance of a father who was down on his luck, but intent on getting even with the man that wronged him. Also in 2002, Jackson starred and executive produced the Sony/ Screen Gems film Formula 51, with Robert Carlyle; co-starred in the sci-fi thriller, XXX; and reprised his role as ‘Mace Windu’ in the second installment of George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
In 2001, Jackson starred in Jersey Franchise/Universal’s Caveman’s Valentine. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, the film followed the story of a homeless man in New York City who discovered a murder. Jackson also served as an executive producer on the project, which was the most successful independent film of the year. This was Jackson’s second project with Kasi Lemmons with the first being the applauded, Eve’s Bayou, which he also produced in 1997.
In 2000, Jackson co-starred opposite Bruce Willis in writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s suspense drama, Unbreakable for Disney. Jackson’s character, ‘Elijah Price,’ a highly suspicious and wheelchair bound man with a far-fetched theory, holds the key to the film’s underlying question of, “Are You Unbreakable?”
Also in 2000, Jackson starred in John Singleton’s Shaft in the title role opposite Christian Bale and Vanessa Williams. Jackson also starred in Paramount’s courtroom drama Rules of Engagement where he played Col. Terry Childers, a military officer on trial for ordering his soldiers to open fire on civilians. Directed by William Friedkin, the film co-starred Tommy Lee Jones. Both Shaft and Rules of Engagement were screened at the 2000 Deauville Film Festival, where Jackson was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1999, Jackson starred in Warner Bros. Deep Blue Sea for director Renny Harlin. Jackson also made a cameo appearance in George Lucas’ highly successful and popular Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace. In 1998, Jackson also starred in The Negotiator and in Francois Girard’s The Red Violin.
In 1997, Jackson starred in Jackie Brown, his second film with director Quentin Tarantino. For the latter he received a Golden Globe nomination and the Silver Bear Award for Best Actor in a Comedy at the Berlin Film Festival. Later that year he starred in 187.
Jackson starred opposite Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey and Kevin Spacey in Joel Schumacher’s 1996 film of the John Grisham novel, A Time to Kill. For his performance Jackson received a Golden Globe nomination and an NAACP Image Award. He also starred opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance, the top-grossing movie internationally in 1995.
In 1991, Jackson made movie history with his portrayal of a crack addict in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever when he was awarded the first and only Best Supporting Performance Award ever given by the judges at the Cannes Film Festival. He also won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor for that performance.
His other film credits include Twisted, Sphere, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Hard Eight, Kiss of Death, Losing Isaiah, and Amos and Andrew. Additional film credits include: Ragtime, Sea of Love, Coming to America, Ray, Do the Right Thing, School Daze, Mo’ Better Blues, Goodfellas, Strictly Business, White Sands, Patriot Games, Jumpin’ at the Boneyard, Father and Sons, Juice, Fresh, and True Romance.
On the small screen, Jackson serves as Executive Producer for the animated series for Spike TV, Afro Samurai which premiered in 2007 and returned for a third season in January 2009. The first edition of the Afro Samurai video game launched in February 2009. In 2008, Jackson secured a first look television deal with CBS and their properties to produce and develop upcoming projects.
On television, Jackson starred in John Frankenheimer’s Emmy Award-winning Against the Wall for HBO. His performance earned him a Cable Ace nomination as Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries, as well as a Golden Globe nomination.
Jackson’s career began upon his graduation from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a degree in dramatic arts. He went on to perform in numerous stage plays, including Home, A Soldier’s Play, Sally/Prince, and The District Line. He also originated roles in two of August Wilson’s plays at Yale Repertory Theatre. For the New York Shakespeare Festival, Jackson appeared in Mother Courage and Her Children, Spell #7, and The Mighty Gents.
While still a student at Morehouse, Jackson made his film debut in Together for Days.
For the past 15 years, Jackson has been a leading and active supporter of Artists for a New South Africa. His wife LaTanya Richardson Jackson serves on ANSA’s board.