Samuel L. Jackson Does a Dramatic Breaking Bad Monologue for Alzheimer’s Charity

Over a career going strong since the sev­en­ties, Samuel L. Jack­son has shown us time and again that he can deliv­er a mono­logue — a boon to the craft of screen act­ing, where brief but pow­er­ful speech­es seemed to have fall­en out of fash­ion just before Jack­son’s rise to fame in the nineties. His per­for­mance as Jheri-curled hit­man Jules Win­n­field in Quentin Taran­ti­no’s Pulp Fic­tion, of course, sup­plied one of the engines of that fame, and who among us does­n’t know at least part of his Bib­li­cal “I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furi­ous anger” from ear­ly in that movie? In the nineties, crit­ics looked to Amer­i­can inde­pen­dent film for excit­ing, inno­v­a­tive sto­ry­telling. At the moment, they look to tele­vi­sion, and specif­i­cal­ly to shows like Break­ing Bad. At the top of the post, you can see these worlds col­lide, with Jack­son’s record­ing of his own ver­sion of one of the series’ best known mono­logues.

As mil­que­toast high school chem­istry teacher turned sav­age­ly cal­cu­lat­ing metham­phet­a­mine entre­pre­neur Wal­ter White, Break­ing Bad’s star Bryan Cranston has deliv­ered more than a few strik­ing mono­logues him­self. Beset by a case of ter­mi­nal lung can­cer, White casts off the man he was to become the man who can, by the fourth sea­son, speak the words he speaks just above to his wife, after she objects to the dan­ger of his new line of work. “Who are you talk­ing to right now?” he asks. “Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you would­n’t believe it. Do you know what would hap­pen if I sud­den­ly decid­ed to stop going in to work? A busi­ness big enough that it could be list­ed on the NASDAQ goes bel­ly-up. Dis­ap­pears. It ceas­es to exist with­out me. No, you clear­ly don’t know who you’re talk­ing to, so let me clue you in. I am not in dan­ger, Skyler. I am the dan­ger.” Jack­son per­formed his ren­di­tion of the mono­logue for an Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion char­i­ty dri­ve, but I would imag­ine Break­ing Bad’s fans as well as Jack­son’s own would hard­ly mind see­ing him turn up on the show for a prop­er role.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Inside Break­ing Bad: Watch Conan O’Brien’s Extend­ed Inter­view with the Show’s Cast and Cre­ator

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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