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Samuel L Jackson Discusses "Home of the Brave"


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Learning Through the Research Process: “I guess my greatest revelation was the thing that I was talking about, the doctors and the closeness and the immediate nature of medical care that's available to them,” said Samuel L Jackson. “How well they actually take care of these guys. Then the coming home part…and the fact that there is no law in place that allows these people who've lost their jobs to come back and get their jobs back. That nobody's going to go to these people and go, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. We told him he could have his job back when he came back. I don't care who you've got to move or what you've got to do, but this person needs to be employed again. He was over there fighting for you.’

Then that's another problem. People are going, ‘Well, you're not fighting for me because they're not here.’ We're in their neighborhood in an interesting sort of way. If they were in our neighborhoods, we'd be doing the same things they're doing. We'd want our way of life back. We'd just want them to kill Bush so we could get back to life, like they wanted to kill Saddam so they could get back to their way of life. But we did that and I thought once we did that, gas was going to be cheaper but it wasn't. It went up to $5 a gallon and then it went back down to $4.50, and now I think I'm getting a bargain. So now everybody can come home. Gas is cheaper.”

Home of the Brave Might Be Considered a Hard Film to Sell: Jackson believes that once audiences figure out the film isn’t about the war in Iraq as much as it’s about the soldiers themselves, they’ll be more willing to purchase tickets and check it out. “There are some war things in it but it probably will be a hard sell for a moment, until people realize that it's a story about people and not war. It's about the effects of war and it's about who we are as American, and what we're doing for the young people that are coming home. Hopefully word of mouth will help that and some of the reviews will be fine and people will see them and go out and see it.”

Comparing the Demands of Home on the Brave to Black Snake Moan: Jackson said, “Black Snake Moan was kind of more demanding just because there were things that I had to learn to do that I wasn't capable of doing. It's not like I had to learn to do heart surgery or amputations. I can fake it. But in Black Snake Moan, I actually had to learn to play a blues guitar. So from February until we finished, every day I was six, seven hours a day messing with a guitar or sitting with somebody who's smacking you on the fingers. That's a lot more demanding, plus you get calluses on your fingers. I'm not used to that. I almost had working man's hands for a while. Calluses on my fingers - it's crazy. So yeah, it's a lot more tedium.

The freakiest thing that happened to me on this film was the first day we were shooting the MASH unit. The guy they brought in on the stretcher and threw up on the table and said his leg was blown off, I threw the thing back and he didn't have a leg! Nobody told me. It was like this bloody stump there. I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ They hired a real amputee but they didn't tell me. You don't have to learn things like that. But, the tedium of learning to play guitar, learning specific songs, I had to do that for like six months before we started shooting. And then I had to sing, which was really bad.”

A Quote That’s Been Lost in Translation: Jackson’s been quoted as saying he would never work with a rapper in a film. The actor says that’s not actually what he said. “I said I would never do a movie where I was propping a rapper up. There's nothing I can do about it. They asked me if it was okay that they approach 50 Cent to put him in this movie. I'm like, ‘Fine.’

I read the script and I saw what we had to do together. Not that that's the end all be all of what it is. We're in a funeral together. I'm in the back row, he's in the front row. There's nothing I can do to stem the tide of people from other venues coming into this business. Not that I want to. But I still think that because of my background and because of where I'm from and what I did, it's still doing a disservice to any young actor or actress that's out there going through all the things that young actors and actresses go through to get a break in this business, to do a movie and verify or validate someone's career from another venue that hasn't done all those things. I still refuse to do that by supporting them if their name is above mine.”

Reflecting on the Snakes on a Plane Hype: The Internet may have been all abuzz about Snakes prior to the film’s release, but that hype didn’t translate into ticket sales. “It was a fun ride and people had fun doing it and building up the hype to it,” said Jackson. “I guess a lot of people learned a lot of lessons behind it that a lot of people who sit at home and kind of do this and have fun doing it don't go to the movies. But I had a great time doing it. I'm still very pleased that I did the film. I'm still very glad that people got to see it. I'm actually kind of sorry they're not releasing it for Christmas so people can buy it and give it to people.”

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