Samuel L Jackson on the Appeal of Playing a Detective in Freedomland: Well, movies fall into certain categories and so if it's a crime drama - and I've done enough of those guys - you are either the good guy or the bad guy. I've consequently played a lot of different cops from a lot of different kinds of law enforcement agencies.
Having a cop like Lorenzo who is a 20 year vet who has a very real connection to this housing project and to my mind, or in my back story, he grew up in those projects and so he knows all of those people and has been in their houses and grown up with some of their kids. He's arrested some of them and kept some of them from going to jail. So he has that very real connection and he has a real connection to his job because he's been on it for years. And all of a sudden he's put into this position where they are asking him that question, 'Are you going to be black or blue?'
People over here at putting pressure on him, and the people over there are putting pressure on him, and he discovers this person on the inside of it that's a real victim that he has to handle in a very specific kind of way to get to the truth of what's going on. In prior derivations of the script Lorenzo [Jacksons character] didn't have all of those things to do. So all of a sudden it seemed like a very sort of appealing challenge for me the actor to kind of get into.
Samuel L Jackson on the Publics Perception of Housing Projects: A housing project owned by Jacksons character is featured prominently in Freedomland and is the setting for the films critical scenes. Jackson said hes familiar with housing projects although he has never lived in one. I lived in a house all my life. I had relatives who lived in the projects in Tennessee and I spent time in and out of projects when I was in Atlanta in college. Morehouse College sits in the middle of some projects and I interacted with some guys who lived in there.
When I lived in New York I was in Harlem and there were huge high rise projects all around, and I spent some time in Cabrini Green in Chicago. So I know what housing projects are and when, I guess, a crime happens in an area like that the immediate thought is that someone black did it because black people live there. No one stops to think that they live in these places because that's the economic strata that theyre in. 80% of those people still go to work everyday and do the same things that everyone else does. But when you go in there, you immediately think black and that it's a high crime area and so the majority of people that live in there are criminals. When you go in with that mindset, you tend to treat the people less than human and the people tend to push back and you push a little bit more and it doesn't take a lot to set off a spark - like that riot that happens in the film.
Samuel L Jacksons Take on the Dialogue of Freedomland: Freedomland isnt an action film but rather a dialogue-heavy drama. Jackson was happy to have the opportunity to have lengthy scenes in which his character and Julianne Moores are allowed to simply talk to one another to move the story along, instead of being interrupted or having the scenes manipulated by quick edits and camera cuts.
It's kind of fun to actually be able to express how you feel and not have a quick camera cut do it for you, or to stand there and talk to another actor about yourself or about what's going on around you and get something from that actor that allows you to get to the next space in that particular speech, and to actually stop and have a real conversation and have a director that's not afraid to let you do it in a conversational sort of pace. That way it's not like, 'Okay, we need to do this in like two minutes because I'm going to cut this up.' He never talked about that kind of stuff. It was kind of like, 'Let it play out the way that you want it to play out. And you can stop and think about it that long. It's okay. We're not in a hurry. Just do it.' It's really refreshing to be able to do that.