ShortList’s Ralph Jones talks to Samuel L Jackson about men's health, baldness, and dildos
Your charity One For The Boys is about raising awareness of cancer among men. Should we be talking about it more?
It shouldn’t be treated as a taboo subject. We should all come together to be open about the subject so men can look out for the signs and talk it through with their friends. You’re not in it alone.
Have you lost all inhibitions when discussing awkward health issues?
Yeah, I am open and up for talking about health issues. It is something all men should open up about. It can be difficult and I get that, but the more you do it the easier it becomes. Now we have social media which acts as a great channel to seek guidance – it can be a place that unites people and helps drive conversations.
As a cool bald person, what’s your advice to men losing their hair?
If you’re losing your hair you might as well accept it. Handle it. Find a way to embrace your baldness that makes you feel confident and strong. It’s way less maintenance than people actually believe.
When did you start going bald?
I got my first bald spot in college, so I was about 20. I realised it was going to happen and, being a well-read person, I understood because my mother’s father was bald, I was going to be bald. I thought I was safe because my dad has plenty of hair. Nope. Well, you’ve got a full head of hair so you’re OK. But now there’s no such thing as a bad haircut. So you can get your hair cut any way you want and everybody will think you’ve got your own dope style and won’t realise you’re going bald.
You’ve also been attacked by sharks and by snakes. Which one would you prefer to kill you?
Shark. It’s quicker.
What about a shark or thousands of snakes?
No. A shark. Snake bites take time. A little more agony involved. You get bit by a shark, you go into shock pretty quickly.
You’re remaking The Blob. If you were an invader from outer space, what kind of persona would you adopt?
I don’t know where I’d want to be from. Probably another dimension where people are more tolerant.
How would you terrorise the streets?
I’d probably want to terrorise the streets in a sexy way. Invade with amorality.
Are we talking lust?
Yeah. Lay lust on the planet. Make everybody so lustful nobody wants to fight, everybody wants to fuck.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever had to autograph?
I guess that would be between a Rabbit and boob.
Well, it wasn’t the same girl. But yeah, this girl had me autograph her Rabbit… which was bizarre. I guess that means I’m home with her… having fun with her.
Oh, that kind of Rabbit. I was thinking about cuddly rabbits.
Well, that’s a real cuddly Rabbit. Even more cuddly.
Was it only at a certain point in your career when the dildos and boobs came out?
No, it was kinda straight away. I’ve signed tons of boobs over my career, in different places.
You’re not in Captain America: Civil War. Did you feel like you were missing out?
I’m in Avengers 3 and 4. So I’m still part of Marvel. I’m still around.
What would you say is the worst thing about being an A-lister?
You have no anonymity and you lose the ability to just be. I go to the supermarket all the time but you lose the ability to be anonymous, so people are going to say things to you or ask you to take photos or do things. Everybody thinks it’s OK to take a photograph with you.
Does that soon get annoying?
When I lost my anonymity in the beginning, OK, people wanted you to sign shit because they didn’t have phones with cameras. Now, everybody’s got a picture and it’s not even about you, really – it’s about them being able to post that picture and say they were with you or around you. I read things all the time: “I saw you walking down so and so and I took a picture of you,” and it’s not me – it’s somebody else. So I guess there are a lot of people who look like me. The invasion of privacy became greater once people could take photographs of you.
Autographs now feel classy and old-fashioned.
If people want me to sign a ‘Bad Motherfucker’ wallet or they have an action figure or... a boob… then I go, “Well, I’ll sign your boob if you promise you go to a tattoo parlour and get it done permanently.”
Has anyone done that?
I’ve seen some really, really bizarre tattoos of me on people’s bodies – as Jules [Pulp Fiction], Mace Windu [Attack Of The Clones] or whatever. Everybody thinks they know the Ezekiel speech, or they ask me to do it. At least five times a week somebody asks me if I know what they call a quarter-pounder with cheese in France.
I'll just delete that question...
The Fiat & One For The Boys campaign aims to get men talking about male cancers. #DrivingConversations