Samuel L. Jackson is known for his onscreen talents in films such as Pulp Fiction, Snakes on a Plane, Glass, and Marvel’s Avengers franchise.
He’s also recognized for his prolific and elegant use of the word “Motherf**ker.” As accomplished as he is as an actor, there are still moments when he turns into a fan, and one of them happened with the late Marlon Brando.
The first time Samuel L. Jackson met Marlon Brando
There are times when actors are floored when they learn a celebrity knows and loves their work. That’s what happened when Marlon Brando caught Samuel L. Jackson off guard. During an appearance on Graham Norton’s show in 2016, he spoke about his experience bumping into the film legend.
He said he was backstage at an event in New York waiting to introduce Michael Jackson. Suddenly, he heard someone reciting the “Ezekiel speech” from Pulp Fiction.
For those unfamiliar, Jackson’s character Jules referenced a biblical passage when getting ready to execute someone in the movie. He gives an extensive version of it toward the end of the film.
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.”
Jackson was used to random people saying the lines to him, but this time when he turned around, he was shocked to see it was Brando. “I let him finish and I’m like, ‘Oh my God. You’re Marlon Brando’,” he said in disbelief, and Brando told him how much he loved the movie.
What happened when Marlon Brando gave Jackson his phone number
Brando insisted that Jackson give him a call and shared his phone number. Jackson told Norton that after he returned home from the New York trip, he rang Brando. He was surprised again when he called and the person who answered said it was a Chinese restaurant.
Jackson didn’t hang up but asked if Mr. Brando was having dinner. “And sure enough, he comes on the phone.” Laughing, Jackson explained this happened every time he called the number after that. Brando didn’t answer the line himself.
Brando had a history of odd phone call habits
Author Richard Cohen recalled the time he received a call at 3 a.m. from Brando, and it was the first time he’d ever spoken to the actor. He’d been attempting to get in touch with Cohen about his book, and while discussing it, heaped praise on him. He’d never had an encounter with him before that.
During a visit at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018, Spike Lee shared a phone call-related anecdote about Brando. “He called me up 2 o’clock in the morning,” Lee said. “He wanted me to do a film about Native Americans.” According to Vanity Fair, they never had a chance to make the film.
“I never heard from him after that,” he said. “I found out later he would call people . . . real late. But somehow, he got my number. I didn’t believe it was him at first.”
Brando’s reputation for calling artists or their publicists out of the blue often had them believing it was a prank — until they heard his unmistakable voice.