An offhand comment during a TV interview put Samuel L. Jackson on the path of the Jedi.
In the 1990s, asked if there was a director he really wanted to work with and aware that a "Star Wars" prequel trilogy was in the works, Jackson said, "Yes, George Lucas. I'd love to be in 'Star Wars,'" the actor said Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival, where "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" was screening.
Word trickled back to Lucas, who brought Jackson in for a chat.
"I remember saying to you in that first meeting, 'I would really like to be a storm trooper,' " Jackson said at a news conference alongside Lucas and other "Star Wars" collaborators. "'Anything. Nobody needs to know I'm in the movie but me. I'll just run across the screen, and I'll be happy.'"
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Jackson ended up getting the plum role of Mace Windu, the Jedi master who fights a losing battle against the evil ruler destined to become the tyrannical emperor of the original trilogy.
The original movies spelled out that the emperor and his henchman Darth Vader destroyed the Jedi order, so Jackson knew Mace's days were numbered in "Revenge of the Sith." But Jackson likes the way Mace exits.
"I was pleased with my death. I asked him not to kill me in my sleep," Jackson said.