Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson, famous for his roles in “Pulp Fiction” and “Coach Carter,” is one of the guest of honors this year at the Cairo International Film Festival.
Though the Hollywood star arrived some 50 minutes late to the press conference held in his honor at Cairo’s Sofitel Gezira Hotel on November 13, all was forgiven when Jackson entered carrying a large Egyptian flag, showcasing his support for the Egyptian football team the day before a high-stakes world cup qualifier match against Algeria.
Whatever ambiance of merrymaking Jackson brought with him was quickly overshadowed, however. As soon as the actor took his seat a fist-fight broke out between two cameramen. “Is one of them Algerian?” asked a concerned fan, reflecting the incredible tensions gripping the nation in anticipation of the game.
Nevertheless, the conference was characterized by laughter, which ensued as soon as Jackson began taking questions. “I feel safe here,” he said when asked about Egypt, “Actually, I feel safe anywhere where there’s people of color.”
Having starred in over a 100 films in his 40 year career, Jackson has established his reputation as an actor capable of assuming leading roles in some of the best films ever, as well as in some of the not-so-acclaimed variety. Remarking on his choice of films, he said: “We work in the entertainment business. My job is to entertain, not to just take up roles that will necessarily get me an award… Sometimes you want to watch an entertaining film without thinking too much about what’s going on.”
Asked about the most significant experience in his career, the film star noted his role in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever,” which garnered him his initial critical acclaim. Playing the role of a drug addict hooked on crack, Jackson explained that he himself had checked out of a rehabilitation center only two weeks before shooting the film after years of addiction to the substance.
“‘Jungle Fever’ was probably the first artistic thing I did without being under the influence of anything,” said Jackson to a hushed audience. The room erupted into applause when he concluded with: “I’ve been clean and sober since then.”
The star has recently signed a nine-picture deal with Marvel Entertainment to play Nick Fury in “The Avengers” series. “A white man with one eye,” quipped Jackson ironically of the comic book character he is set to play. Fans will also see him appear in the upcoming Iron Man II, Thor, The First Avenger: Captain America, and The Avengers sequels.