Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Can Violent Roles Turn Actors Into Violent People?

            Samuel L. Jackson has starred in many famous films, including many directed by Quentin Tarantino. Jackson has frequently portrayed characters that glorify a particularly violent lifestyle. Does this suggest Jackson is a bad person? Or is he just really talented at playing violent characters? In an interview with Channel 4 News, Jackson defends his reputation as a person, claiming his roles as violent characters do not affect his personal life. 
            This interview was released one year after Django Unchained, a movie Jackson starred in, was debuted. In this movie, his character made several threats to torture the main character, Django. At the time of the interview, plans for Tarantino’s next movie, The Hateful Eight, were underway. Jackson was set for a role in that film as well. The interviewer pestered Jackson about these roles and how violent they were, wondering why he didn’t seek a different character type. Jackson continuously defended himself, claiming he is a great father and son. It seems as if our culture is becoming more and more violent as the days go on, so it was important that Jackson protect his persona and his characters from further judgement from the media.
            It is highly likely the audience of the interview is composed of Jackson’s biggest fans, as well as Channel 4 News followers. It is important to Jackson to protect his reputation in order to keep his fan base satisfied. The viewers could be looking in from two sides: judging Jackson or supporting him. He knew that he needed to change the opinions of those who judge him, and keep his supporters by his side. Keeping this audience in mind, Jackson found it essential to maintain composure throughout the interview to prove his point: that he is not a violent person, just a great actor with talent in portraying violent characters.
            Throughout the interview, Jackson never backs down. He never gives in to the pressure of the interviewer and stays true to his words. He proves that he is indeed a good person with good intentions. It is obvious that Jackson’s intentions of the interview are to boost his reputation and expand his fan base. The main take-away of the interview is simply to prove Jackson’s integrity as a role model.
            The interviewer from Channel 4 News is trying to have Jackson admit that violence in movies is shaping children to become violent as well, and that his characters have influenced society in a negative way. It is obvious that Jackson wants to deny these accusations, as he continuously dismisses the idea that movie violence is correlated with real-life violence. Personally, I have always admired Samuel L. Jackson as a talented actor, but never questioned his ethos. This interview only confirms my previous opinions of Jackson.
            Samuel L. Jackson has in fact portrayed characters with a particularly violent identity, but he does not let his career interfere with his personal life and his identity. This interview with Channel 4 News might attempt to make Jackson look a certain way and put him under a negative light, but his true fans know him to be a great person behind the scenes and in reality. It was obvious throughout the interview that Jackson was getting frustrated with the interviewer for his accusations, but he never let his frustration turn to anger. Jackson kept his composure and proved to his audience that he is just like anybody else, that he does not use his fame to get ahead in life. After watching this interview, I know for sure that Samuel L. Jackson is not a violent person, that his role as violent characters did not influence him as a person, and that he is just a normal human being like the rest of us.

Link to interview on YouTube:

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