Pam Grier, Robert Forster Talk Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown Blu-ray
An Interview with Pam Grier and Robert Forster
By Wilson Morales
October 4, 2011
In 1997, following the success of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ (1992) and the award-winning ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994), director Quentin Tarantino released his third feature film, ‘Jackie Brown,’ which was an adaptation of the novel Rum Punch by American novelist Elmore Leonard and pays homage to 1970s blaxploitation films.
The film starred one icon from that era, the lovely and talented Pam Grier, who was previous known for ‘Foxy Brown’ and ‘Coffy.’
Also included in the film were Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Bridget Fonda, Chris Tucker, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr. and Michael Keaton. Needless to say, but the film reignited both Grier and Forster’s careers, having garnered Forster an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and Golden Globe nominations for Jackson and Grier.
Now for the first time ever, Lionsgate has made ‘Jackie Brown’ available on Blu-ray.
A sexy flight attendant (Grier) is caught in a plot between the police and an arms dealer, and everyone’s looking for the payoff. There are six unlikely players on the trail for a big score – a half million dollars in cash. But alliances are shaky when its unclear who is playing and who is getting played.
In speaking with Blackfilm.com, both Grier and Forster spoke on how ‘Jackie Brown’ reignited their careers back on track.
How excited that the film is finally out on Blu-ray?
Pam Grier: There are a lot of films that will not come out in Blu-ray so to make transition into high technology will bring in another new contemporary audience of whether they are young people or techies of all ages but it will be on a new format that’s really extraordinary. It’s going to be something everyone will really like. I’m very excited.
Robert Forster: It’s high definition so anything you can see it better. It’s awesome!
Can you talk about being asked to play the role?
PG: I was collaborating with the writer and director Quentin Tarantino, and he had a vision. He invested two years of his life to write that for me. He was already popular because of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’ and everyone wanted to work with him. He said he was writing something for me and showed up six months later with a script. I remember reading it and thinking how remarkable it was and incredibly well written it was. I was humble and so grateful that I would get to work with him. He’s such a film buff that he knows a lot of films, and the music and composers of films. He’s a historian of the classics and contemporary films.
RF: Well, my career was dead at the time. I had no agent, no manager, no lawyer, and I was reduced to hoping, at that time, some young guy, who watched me growing up, would turn into a filmmaker and give me a good job. Into a restaurant walks in Quentin Tarantino. I had auditioned for him a few years before for ‘Reservoirs Dogs’ and I wasn’t sure if he remembered me so I called out his name. He did remember me, and we sat down, talked, and six months later at the same restaurant, because I go there a lot, he was sitting in my spot and when I walked up to him, he got up and handed me a script and said, “Read this and see if you like it.” That was the beginning of a great new period in my life. I have had a great 14 years since then.
Did you feel any pressure as the lead of his first film after ‘Pulp Fiction’?
PG: No, I hadn’t thought about that. I don’t think he did as well. It was a completely different film. When an artist creates something original, he doesn’t worry about his previous work.
How was working with each other?
PG: For me, we had the rehearsal process, but through the luck of the draw, Quentin had selected a really good actor to work with who was open and humble. Our preparation was on point. It was a joy to work with Robert.
RF: We had both done exploitation films like ‘The Banker,’ where I played a cop or good guy. We were also in ‘Original Gangsters,’ but we had no scenes together. I had never met her prior to that but always admired her. We were both journeymen at that point. When Quentin offered us the parts in his film, I remember thinking, “This time I can meet her and kiss her.” What a lucky guy I am.
Will there be any additional scenes on the Blu-ray that we hadn’t seen before?
PG: No. I think the sound and the clarity and true sharpness is something that people will appreciate.
RF: I asked about it and was told that there are some critics’ appraisal of the movie. There are some discussions of the film some years later besides being shown in sparkling HD.
Was there any particular scene that you enjoyed the most?
RF: What it’s hard to say but this is one of the great roles of that year. I’m extremely privileged to have received an Oscar nod for it.
PG: There’s too many. There’s the one with Samuel Jackson where he comes to Jackie’s apartment to kill her. There’s the scene coming out of the jail as well as the scene with Michael Keaton. There’s also the scene with Robert at the end of the film.
Before ‘Jackie Brown,’ were there any films you turned down that you really wanted to do?
PG: Yes, ‘What’s Love Got With It?’ They had already hired the lead and I was taller. Tina Turner was 5’1 and I’m 5’8 so when I put on high heels to dance I look like I’m 6’4. Often times, that happens when you are too tall to be the love interest of someone that may be shorter.
What do you have next?
PG: I play Rza’s mother in his film, ‘The Man with the Iron Fists.’ We shot that film in China. I just finished ‘On the Seventh Day’with Blair Underwood in New Orleans, which was produced by T.D Jakes and Jeff Clanagan of Codeblack Entertainment and Nina Henderson Moore. I also did a film with Ving Rhames in Pittsburgh called ‘Mafia,‘ where I play a bad cop.
RF: I have two scenes in ‘The Descendants‘ with George Clooney. I’m used to taking jobs. I have 2 exes and 4 children. When asked if I would willing to work a small amount of scenes, I didn’t reject the opportunity. I met with Alexander Payne and months later, he called and invited me to come to Hawaii and be part of the film. I play George’s angry father-in-law. George happens to be a good of a guy as he appears to be. This is rare in our business. I also have a small part in the TV series ‘Alcatraz.’