The movie that introduced the world to Samuel L. Jackson as an actor was Quentin Tarantino’s1994 film, Pulp Fiction. Not only did the movie impact his career greatly, but also highlighted his talent as an actor. Therefore, naturally, people were eager to work with him, as Jackson impressed quite a few eyeballs in the industry, one of which was his own co-star in the movie Bruce Willis. He was the one Willis was looking out for and wanted to take him on a journey that will further end up putting him on the map for the big leagues.
Bruce Willis had a hunch that Die Hard: With a Vengeance will change the actor’s life, and he was right. The movie turned into a successful franchise over the years and changed the action genre forever. Samuel L. Jackson himself also admits that the Die Hard franchise did more for his career than Pulp Fiction ever could.
Bruce Willis wanted to work with Samuel L. Jackson desperately
Samuel L. Jackson‘s Oscar nomination for Pulp Fiction proved he was here to stay and Bruce Willis took notice of it. Although the actors were co-stars, Willis was much higher in the industry than Jackson while filming Pulp Fiction and therefore saw the star quality in him. Thus, the actor pleaded with Jackson to work on Die Hard: With a Vengeance with him. On speaking with The Morning Call, Willis revealed, “Sam’s last speech in Pulp Fiction just blew me away,”
He then further stated,
“He’s talking about redemption, but he’s funny too. Early on, I made a point of screening the movie for John McTiernan.”
He was absolutely enamored by the charm and charisma Jackson brought to the table, thus, he desperately wanted Jackson on board for his upcoming Die Hard movies. And lucky for him, turns out Jackson was a die-hard fan of Die Hard and therefore jumped on the offer when approached. The Django Unchained actor once revealed,
“If I’m channel surfing and I come across Bruce, I’ll stop and say, ‘I’m gonna watch this scene.’ Especially if it’s that scene where he has to run across the glass. Next thing you know, I’ve watched the whole movie,—I’ve seen the first ‘Die Hard’ maybe 30 times. I was always really jealous of Reginald Vel Johnson because he got the job as a cop in the first two movies. I said to myself, ‘Where was I when they were auditioning people for that?!’”
And ultimately his dream did come true, the film ended up changing his career, as well as the movie industry forever.
Die Hard: With a Vengeance made Samuel L. Jackson a big Hollywood star
Although Pulp Fiction was crucial for Jackson to showcase his talents, Die Hard cemented his name in the industry and made him a quintessential movie star. While speaking to Vogue, the actor revealed,
“Well, I became a recognizable star after that film[Pulp Fiction],—But I don’t know about a big star.”
He then further explained,
“Actually, here’s the thing,–Bruce Willis and I were doing Die Hard with a Vengeance when Pulp Fiction came out and we went to Cannes together to watch Pulp Fiction play for the first time. We both thought, ‘Wow, this is great!’ And Bruce said, ‘Yeah, this is good and this film will make you recognizable, but Die Hard’s going to make you a star. Die Hard will change your life.’”
And Bruce Willis was right, the movie shaped the action genre in a whole new way, launching Jackson and Willis into a stardom that cannot be replicated. Jackson then further added,
“And it’s true. Die Hard with a Vengeance was the highest-grossing film in the world that year. That changed the agenda,”
Since then, Samuel L Jackson has been involved in some of the biggest roles the industry has to offer and has been in a broad range of movies that earned him the title of a legend.