Samuel L. Jackson probably won't reunite with his frequent collaborator Quentin Tarantino on the director's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The fan-favorite auteur has assembled one of his biggest casts for his next project, which is a Pulp Fiction-esque journey back to California in 1969. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt lead the ensemble as an actor and stuntman, respectively, and they're joined by a collection of famous names. Hollywood also includes the likes of Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell, Burt Reynolds, and Dakota Fanning (among others). Most recently, none other than legend Al Pacino signed on.
Like most established directors, Tarantino has a usual troupe of actors he typically utilizes for his films. In the case of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino veterans like Michael Madsen and Tim Roth have roles, continuing fruitful partnerships that date back to 1992's Reservoir Dogs. One Tarantino mainstay that won't be part of this epic, unfortunately, is Samuel L. Jackson.
The actor spoke with CinemaBlend while promoting Incredibles 2 and he was asked about his potential involvement in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Jackson admitted there's been no contact between him and Tarantino, casting doubt on it happening:
No, I've been doing Captain Marvel. I'm insulated. I have no idea - I just haven't heard from him.
Last year, Jackson reportedly met with Tarantino to discuss a possible role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, though there likely was a scheduling conflict that prevented the two from working together again. The expectation is for Tarantino to start rolling his cameras this summer so Hollywood can meet its scheduled August 2019 release date, meaning it's possible production on the film overlaps with Captain Marvel. Jackson is reprising Nick Fury for the MCU's 1990s period piece, which is currently in the midst of production itself. It's always plausible Tarantino finds a small cameo for Jackson, but for the time being, Hollywood will be the rare SLJ-less Tarantino film.
Whether it's a lead character (The Hateful Eight) or uncredited voiceover narration (Inglourious Basterds), it's become clear over the years Jackson and Tarantino truly complement each other's sensibilities. It's sad they won't add to their legacy here, but hopefully the opportunity presents itself whenever Tarantino sits down to make his 10th film. For years, the director has said 10 is his magic number before retiring (though he'd be willing to extend the deadline for Star Trek), so if that's his last hurrah, he'd more than likely want to make Jackson a part of the festivities. It's hard to imagine Tarantino bowing out without giving his friend one last great character to play.
- Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019) release date: Jul 26, 2019
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