Samuel L. Jackson disses rappers-turned-actors. The ''Star Wars'' Jedi resents the trend of hip-hoppers taking roles away from trained thespians or working alongside established movie actors like himself
Samuel L. Jackson
Credit: Samual L. Jackson: Kevin Winter/ImageDirect

Samuel L. Jackson costarred with rapper Eve on the upcoming film ”XXX,” but don’t think he was too happy about it. In fact, he tells the Sacramento Bee, he so resents acting alongside rappers that he won’t even read scripts for movies where rappers are being considered for lead roles. ”To take people from the music world and give them the same kind of credibility and weight that you give me, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker — that’s like an aberration to me; you just can’t do that,” he says. ”It’s not my job to lend credibility to so-and-so rapper who’s just coming into the business.”

Jackson especially loathes the idea that rappers are taking roles from theater-trained thespians like himself or lesser-known trained actors. ”I know there’s some young actor sitting in New York or in L.A. who’s spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft but isn’t going to get his opportunity … because of some actor who’s been created — and you can use the word ‘actor’ loosely,” he says.

Still, Jackson has appeared in movies where rappers held supporting roles, including ”Sphere” (with Queen Latifah), ”Deep Blue Sea” (with LL Cool J), and ”Shaft” (with Busta Rhymes). And he even musters kind words for one rapper-turned-actor, Will Smith. Smith’s role in ”Ali,” for which he became the first rapper nominated for an acting Oscar, ”takes him out of that Fresh-Prince-is-saving-the-world-as-an-Air-Force-pilot thing and gives him some credibility as an actor,” Jackson says. Nonetheless, he says of rappers, ”They do what they do, we do what we do. I don’t think you can take your average rapper and put him in [my role in] ‘Changing Lanes’ and it would be the same movie.”

If it’s any consolation, some rappers feel the same way. On its new song, ”Playa Hata Degree,” the duo MaddWest raps, ”I hate all these rappers in movies that shouldn’t be actin’/Except for Will Smith, and that cat shouldn’t be rappin’.”