Samuel L. Jackson Sounds Off On A Time To Kill Cutting An Oscar-Worthy Scene

In a wide-ranging, must-read interview with Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri, Jackson, who, despite being one of our greatest living actors, has never won a competitive Oscar (he received an honorary Academy Award in 2022), revealed that the filmmakers turned Hailey into a more calculating killer to, presumably, heighten the dramatic stakes. In doing so, they travestied his character’s righteous motivation. As Jackson told Ebiri:

“In ‘A Time to Kill,’ when I kill those guys, I kill them because my daughter needs to know that those guys are not on the planet anymore and they will never hurt her again — that I will do anything to protect her. That’s how I played that character throughout. And there were specific things we shot, things I did to make sure that she understood that, but in the editing process, they got taken out. And it looked like I killed those dudes and then planned every move to make sure that I was going to get away with it. When I saw it, I was sitting there like, ‘What the f***?'”

Jackson went on to state, in his wonderfully blunt fashion, “The things they took out kept me from getting an Oscar. Really, motherf***ers? You just took that s*** from me?” This included a monologue that, when he performed it on set, left everyone in tears. Why did they cut this scene? “Because it wasn’t my movie,” he said. “[T]hey weren’t trying to make me a star.”

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