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Jackson takes dark turn in 'Django Unchained'

LAPACAZO SANDOVAL Special to the AmNews | 12/28/2012, 3:12 p.m.

Here is what you have to know about actor Samuel L. Jackson: He just doesn't give a flying $%@&. That's not to say that he isn't passionate about his work or that he is indifferent about the world around him; the opposite is true. He is just that "cool dude"--he is not pretending.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, I was among a group of journalists at the Ritz Carlton who got to hang out with the cast of "Django Unchained" and director-screenwriter Quentin Tarantino. It was big fun learning the views on film, politics, history and race that some of my favorite artists share. Of course, the N-word was bounced about, but the "pink elephant in the room" phenomena had long been addressed.

All of the forthcoming accolades about the film, especially on the performances and the writing, are deserved. Money is funny, but your dollars won't be wasted in purchasing this ticket. Remember, it's a Tarantino cinematic, sweeping, epic experience, and he cares about his people. For proof: "I don't ever want to disappoint my audiences," he flat-out stated. "Sidney Poitier is one of my dearest friends and mentors. When I expressed that I was having some growing concern on the reception of the subject matter explored in the story, he told me this: 'For whatever reason, you were born to tell this story. You can't be afraid of your own movie.' In short, he told me to 'man up.'"

Tarantino took the legend's advice and created, in my opinion, a solid love story hidden inside an epic western with tinges of Mandingo brute force--but it is a love story. There isn't a woman alive that doesn't crave a "Django kind of love," and I include myself in that group. But Jackson summed it up best, I think, when he roared, "Hell, this is 'Shaft' on a motherf--g horse!"

The following is a Q&A at the Ritz Carlton in New York City with Jackson.

Samuel L. Jackson: I've seen this film with British audiences and with the Hollywood industry-elite crowd, but I can't wait to watch this at a Magic Johnson Theater where the "folks" will share their opinion and talk back to the screen.

Amsterdam News: The talk-back might be more colorful than anything Quentin created. So are you a fan of westerns?

SJ: Hell yes. I played cowboy and Indians as a kid, but I didn't see anyone like Django on the screen because he did not exist. I wish he did. It's no secret that I wanted to be that character, but I'm, like, 15 years too old. So when Quentin gave me a look at the character, Stephen--"the head n-- in charge," it was hard to say no, so I didn't.

Stephen could be called the grimmest "Uncle Tom" to ever strut his palsy-shivering twitch of evil on the big screen. Your thoughts on playing an oily bastard?

SJ: Thoughts? I hope the audiences hate me. I hope they hate my guts! He is a despicable, dark character who is in charge of the Candyland plantation, which is a corporation. Call him "Spook [Dick] Cheney": He's the boss when the boss is away entertaining himself with bloody, to-the-death, Mandingo fighting.