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Behind the Scenes of 'Snakes on a Plane' with Samuel L Jackson

Jackson Discusses One of the Most Talked About Movies of 2006


Samuel L Jackson stars in Snakes on a Plane

Samuel L Jackson stars in Snakes on a Plane.

© New Line Cinema
Samuel L Jackson. Snakes. A Plane. Is there really anything else you need to know about Snakes on a Plane in order to figure out whether or not it’s your kind of movie?

Jackson understood exactly what he was getting himself into when he signed on to star in Snakes on a Plane. In fact, Jackson had a better grasp on the idea than did the person(s) responsible for temporarily changing the name from the deliciously descriptive Snakes on a Plane to the oh-so-generic Pacific Flight 121. Jackson would have nothing to do with the Pacific Flight 121 title and he was right. There's no way the Internet movie community would have gone crazy over Pacific Flight 121 like they did for Snakes on a Plane. The buzz (or more appropriately 'hiss') around the ‘net over the film stems from what could possibly be the best title of a movie in decades – Snakes on a Plane.

Not Exactly An Oscar-Caliber Role – But Who Cares?: When Jackson read in the trades that there was a film in the works called Snakes on a Plane and that it was actually about poisonous snakes on a plane, he pursued the project and asked for a starring role. The shocked execs at New Line Cinema couldn't believe Jackson really wanted to be involved in the film and had to double check with his agent and then his manager to make sure it wasn’t some kind of joke. Jackson said that aside from the film’s title, the main reason he did Snakes on a Plane was simply because he thought it would be fun.

“All movies aren’t fun; some are hard work,” said Jackson. “You try to do something and convey a set of emotions that have to do with some real life kind of stuff. That’s a popcorn movie. We know what it is. I don’t have to go in and worry about my motivations. F**king snakes all over the plane. That’s scary. ‘Let’s go! Scream. Yell. Let’s look dire. Oh my god, somebody got bit (gasps). Oh snakes gonna bite me!’”

An Old Hollywood Adage Warns Against Working with Kids and Animals: But what about working with snakes? Jackson replied, “I never really had to do anything with them. We didn’t see them. We had all the rubber snakes and the CGI snakes. The second unit had the real snakes. Plus, real snakes are kind of lazy. You bring them on set, they don’t want to be bothered with the light. They’re always trying to crawl into somewhere there’s no light, get inside a seat cushion or something. There’s really no such thing, I don’t care what Jules [Sylvester] says, he’s not a snake ‘trainer’. [He’s a] snake handler. You cannot say ‘Action!’ to a snake and they do stuff. You can’t make them sit up and roll over. You can’t make them do anything, really. They did provoke the poisonous snakes on second unit. We would see them doing stuff like that. We would watch that on a monitor. They had an Albino Cobra on second unit that they had striking a seat one day. Frightening - very frightening.”

Snakes on a Plane was Originally a PG-13 Movie: Prior to the Internet community becoming obsessed by Snakes on a Plane, the studio/filmmakers were aiming for a PG-13 rating. Jackson said that idea was just plain stupid. “We were all kind of going, ‘Come on man! For real? We can’t say that either?’ We only get two f**ks in a PG-13 movie and it has to be in a non-sexual context. You can’t say Goddammit ever. Oh s**t, maybe, maybe once. So when the snakes are biting people do we see that? No, not really. You’re making a mistake here. We need to do this right. Plus, you already pissed people off with that Pacific Flight 121 s**t.’”

The Different Variations of the ‘Mother F**king Snakes’ Statement: Jackson explained, “There’s only so many that make it work. I said it before we even went back to do it. I was always of the mind that we should do this movie like we think it should be done and the way the studio thinks it should be done so you’ll have it. ‘Save you some time and money.’ But they didn’t.”

Page 2: Jackson on the Snakes on a Plane Buzz and Other Upcoming Film Projects

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