- (Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
- (Photo: http://www.djangounchained.org)
Samuel L. Jackson has avoided the hot topic of the excessive use of the n-word in "Django Unchained" in an interview this week.
The Quentin Tarantino-directed film follows Jamie Foxx, who portrays a slave who kills slave-owners in the pre-Civil War Deep South in order to rescue his wife from a brutal plantation owner.
During an interview about the film, Jackson refused to discuss the use of the n-word until his interviewer, film critic Jake Hamilton, used the actual word, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Have you ever said it?" Jackson asked during the interview with Houston's Fox TV affiliate.
"Try it! We're not going to have this conversation unless you try it," insisted the actor before laughing.
Although the exchange was friendly, Jackson never took a stance on the use of the word in the film.
Jackson was not the first to shed light the controversial content in "Django Unchained," and many in the film industry have sounded off.
Spike Lee, who has criticized Tarantino's films before, said that the film was "disrespectful to my ancestors."
"I can't speak on it 'cause I'm not gonna see it," said the director speaking to Vibe magazine about "Django Unchained."
"All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors. That's just me … I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else," added Lee.
In 1997, Lee criticized Tarantino for the use of the n-word in the film "Jackie Brown."
"Let the record state that I never said that he cannot use that word," said Lee, according to TMZ. "I've used that word in many of my films, but I think something is wrong with him."
Alternately, Kerry Washington, who portrayed Foxx's onscreen wife in "Django Unchained," referred to her role as the opportunity of a lifetime.
"I have to honor the truth of what happened here to the best of my ability," the actress told The Times. "One of our background actors was a pastor, and he was saying on set that we are the answer to their prayers- to the very people who walked on this land … and that's why we are here to tell their story."
Meanwhile, the "Django Unchained" director Tarantino defended against criticism about the use of the n-word over 100 times, telling MTV: "I think it's kind of ridiculous."
"No one can actually say with a straight face that we use the word more than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi," continued the director. "So since they can't say that, what they're basically saying is I should lie. I should pretty it up. I should lie, and I don't lie when it comes to my characters and the stories I tell."
Furthermore, Tarantino maintained that his work comes before any amount of social criticism.
"Not one word of social criticism that's been leveled my way has ever changed one word of any script of any story I tell," the director told THR. "I believe in what I'm doing wholeheartedly and passionately. It's my job to ignore that."
"Django Unchained" also stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz and is currently playing in theaters nationwide.