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Samuel L. Jackson on Soul Men

Published November 4, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Dimension Films
We've seen Samuel L. Jackson with funny hair before. That was the hook of his big break performance. Soul Men plays it more overtly for laughs, showing every era of a fictional soul trio in the decades of music and fashion.

Samuel L Jackson One of Two Soul Men


"We just kind of put on the stuff," said Jackson. "The pompadours were kind of funny because that’s a specific era. You remember seeing groups like that for sure. Then the Earth, Wind, & Fire mode. We were up there actually singing ‘Shining Star’ and John [Legend] didn’t know the words. We were like, ‘Everybody knows “Shining Star."’"

In the film, Louis (Jackson) and Floyd (Bernice Mac) reunite after their lead singer dies. They haven't spoken in 30 years but the funeral offers one last shot for a comeback performance.

"Those two characters also, you look at those two guys, they are two guys that Bernie and I recognize and know in a very real way. They are guys of a certain age but they grew up together. They were kids together. They know a lot about each other. Floyd’s desire to be famous again gets infectious to Louis. He starts out wanting the money, but once they start performing again you get that ‘Maybe we can get that last kind of thing.’ Everybody wants some closure on their career. It’s an interesting dynamic between the two guys."

Soul MenSoul Men


Even though the band is fictional, the story is not far fetched. "When you look at the hierarchy of groups, the group dynamic, when it was Marcus Hooks and the Real Deal, Marcus was the cute guy who was out front. He could sing and the girls dug him so he got to pick the girls first. I was the guy who could really dance. Girls like guys who can dance, so I got to pick girls second. Floyd was the guy who thought he should have been Marcus. ‘He ain’t no better than I am. Why is he the leader? I should be the leader.’ So he got to pick last because he was always grumpy. They know things about each other. Louis was the guy who always defended the group. Floyd was the guy who talked a lot of sh*t and got everybody in trouble. I was the guy who led the fight. Marcus we just kept out of the way because he was cute. In group dynamic when people break up they break up for reasons. Most times its money, we still see that, guys are still fighting about money. But they go back on tour so they can make money. These guys fell out about a girl. That happens to be a girl that they both fell in love with, loved separately, and together. There is a questionable paternity thing going on in there too. Once they get past the fact that she was in love with both of us, we both had this love for her, but she’s gone. Now they have to figure out why they are still together and what it was that brought them back together."

Luckily, Jackson and Mac had seen enough that they never let egos get in the way on their respective rises to stardom. "We were kind of grown when it happened for us. The level of hard work that we know we put in, and the pay off for it, kind of gives you a reason to feel like ‘I earned it, I deserve it, and I can stand up a little straighter.’"

Soul Men opens to theaters on November 7th.

For the trailer, poster and more movie info, go to the Soul Men Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Dimension Films
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