Samuel L Jackson tried to stop Tarantino from using the n-word in 'Pulp Fiction'

Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta in ‘Pulp Fiction’ (credit: Miramax)
Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta in ‘Pulp Fiction’ (credit: Miramax)

Samuel L Jackson is probably one of Quentin Tarantino’s biggest defenders, especially when it comes to his right to use whatever language he wants, which includes the use of the n-word (which appears 110 times in Django Unchained).

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“I don’t understand the whole craziness about it, or people spending their time sitting in a movie counting the number of times a word is said,” Jackson said in 2016.

So, it may come as a bit of a surprise to hear that, when Jackson first worked with Tarantino, he tried to stop the writer/director from using the word in a scene.

“When we did Pulp, I warned Quentin about the whole “n***er storage.” I was like, “Don’t say ‘n***er storage.’ ” He’s like, “No, I’m going to say it like that.” And we tried to soften it by making his wife black, because that wasn’t originally written, ” Jackson told Esquire.

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“But you can’t just tell a writer he can’t talk, write the words, put the words in the mouths of the people from their ethnicities, the way that they use their words. You cannot do that, because then it becomes an untruth; it’s not honest. It’s just not honest. And half the time, too, there are other ways.”

Samuel L Jackson in Jackie Brown (credit: Miramax)
Samuel L Jackson in Jackie Brown (credit: Miramax)

Jackson also revealed that some of the n-bombs come directly from him.

“And I generally add like at least five n***as to what Quentin has already written, just because I’m talking. I mean, that one sentence to Chris Tucker [in Jackie Brown]: “I hate to be the kind of n****a that do a n***a a favor and then bam hit the n****a up for a favor in return, but I gots to be that kind of n***a.” It’s just one sentence. It’s like boom. But wouldn’t Ordell say that?”

It’s so far unconfirmed if Jackson has a role in Tarantino’s next film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, (but it would be surprising if he wasn’t, he’s been in pretty much every Tarantino project since Pulp Fiction, cameoing in voice-over form in Inglourious Basterds), so we’ll have to wait and see what kind of language is used in that film, but it’s fascinating to get this new insight on their collaboration.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is released in UK cinemas on August 9. Captain Marvel is in UK cinemas now.