Samuel L. Jackson is driving our golf cart pedal to floor through the unseasonably cold southern California morning fog, pushing the whining electric engine to its limits. It is 8:15 a.m., and he and his foursome have already played nine holes. I met up with them at the turn and hopped into Jackson’s cart as they continued on the course, interrupting their mild shit-talking with sporadic occurrences of golf on the back nine. It is one of those bizarrely random Los Angeles groupings of people you never imagine together. Richard Schiff puffing on a cigarette in a faded Yankees cap and pink-trimmed performance golf slacks. An unfailingly upbeat producer-writer who spends much of the time encouraging everyone’s shots and explaining the game of cricket. A young semipro in a razor-crisp polo who drives the ball off the tee like he’s opening up a portal to another dimension. Don Cheadle is supposed to be here but is absent for unknown reasons. (We eventually discover on the clubhouse television that it has to do with him appearing on Good Morning America at that precise moment.) I later hear that Josh Duhamel frequently rounds out the group. I have never been on a golf course in my life.
This becomes clear to me when I later interview him in the country-club restaurant and he sprinkles n-words and motherfuckers about the dining area like handfuls of glitter as Grandpa- and Memaw-type club members look awkwardly into their eggs Benedict. He behaves not only like a man who belongs here but also like one who basically owns the place. His casual inattention to the perceived authority of white power structures is so deeply woven into his way of being that in his presence it seems bizarre that anyone, anywhere, would think to behave differently. A lot of people like to say they don’t give a fuck. Samuel L. Jackson simply doesn’t.
In two separate calendar years, 1990 and 2008, Samuel L. Jackson’s name was on the call sheet for seven different films. Moreover, he has found his way into megafranchises like Star Wars and The Incredibles, and as former SHIELD director Nick Fury, Jackson has shot eleven different Marvel movies, including four Avengers films.
But if any year is the year of Sam Jackson, 2019 looks to be it. In addition to his upcoming Marvel work, he will star in the sequel to 2000’s cult-classic remake of Shaft and handle narration for the much-anticipated docuseries Enslaved.This year also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Pulp Fiction, which will be celebrated with hundreds of theatrical screenings and a bevy of appearances and interviews by the man who immortalized Jules Winnfield. The Jackson-led M. Night Shyamalan sequel Glass opened the year atop the box office for multiple weeks, and between that and his Marvel commitments, the actor could spend the first year of his seventies with more weeks at number one than any other working actor in 2019—a remarkable feat for a man who is already the highest-grossing film actor of all time, with his movies accounting for an estimated $13 billion combined.