Samuel L Jackson does not kiss many women on screen. He has made well in excess of 100 films but reckons he has locked lips with no more than five leading ladies.
This is perhaps unsurprising. His most fruitful and famous collaboration — with director Quentin Tarantino — has not resulted in many love scenes.
But he makes up for lost time in his new film The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which sees him passionately smooch his on-screen wife Salma Hayek at great length.
The movie, which sees Jackson cast as Darius Kincaid, the hitman of the title, and Ryan Reynolds as Michael, the bodyguard assigned to protect him, does not sound like a great love story at first.
But then we meet Hayek’s Sonia, Darius’s yoga-practising, foul-mouthed and incarcerated wife, who Darius is desperately trying to free from prison and we understand why it was actually the romance at the heart of it which was the film’s first appeal for Jackson.
“That was totally part of the allure for me,” he says. “There is a love story in there. And I’m giving relationship advice to a guy that I hate on this road trip and it’s all about the words and the things we are talking about and what’s happening and it’s not just about killing and getting away, it’s stuff, we connect through that and he learns something about me and I learn stuff about him.”
As a duo, Jackson and Hayek complement each other perfectly, on screen and in person. As they chat animatedly, Hayek drapes an arm round Jackson’s shoulders in a matey fashion.
Before they settle down to be
interviewed, they are gossiping about pilates instructors, with
Jackson encouraging his pal to visit the London-based teacher who trained him and Margot Robbie for The Legend Of Tarzan.
Jackson has spent so much time in London that he once even talked about living there, although he says that never materialised.
“I never actually did scout locations to live here. I did six out of eight films here in the last two years.
“I walk around all the time, people either got used to me or they don’t
notice me as much as they used to, which is fine. I have my earphones in and I walk around all the time.
“I’m always perusing streets I haven’t been down and looking for shops that have things that are interesting.”
Of all those films he made, none gave Jackson, who has been married to wife LaTanya Richardson since 1980, the chance to flex his romantic muscles on screen.
Looking at Hayek, he muses: “We had that conversation earlier today, when I told her she is one of maybe five women I have kissed in my cinematic history,” he says.
“It’s all fresh to me because I don’t do it that often, so it’s always kind of an experiment.”
Hollywood being what it is, Hayek, 50, is a very experienced on-screen smoocher.
“I have kissed almost every actor I have ever worked with and I’ve done I don’t know how many movies.
“Lately less, I’m surely I will be
retiring from the kissing very soon, but I’m always the girl that gets kissed in the movies and I’ve got to tell you that Sam is up there as one of the best ones.”
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