Driis Music


A Tale of Two Mr. Browns

"Beating a Dead Horse"

When I arrived at the Fashion Center food court just after 10AM, the cast and crew had just finished shooting a shot and were prepping the equipment for the next shot. I spotted the usual suspects: Grier, Forster, Bender, and Q, but there was someone new added to the mix--Samuel L. Jackson, wearing long hair extensions, a red beret, blue jeans, and a dark blue shirt with red and white trim.

There was no chance of me being mistaken for a crew member this day, and not just because I didn't wear a shirt that could be linked to the production--just about every male member of the crew was dressed in drag. Most wore skirts, some wore dresses, one person wore Grier's flight attendant costume from two days earlier, another wore a shiny metallic gold number that looked like a cross between Hercules's outfit and one of the gaudy Goddess costumes from Showgirls. And, yes, even Q was in the act--decked out in a white dress shirt, blue coat with a patch, plaid skirt, knee-high black socks, and matching black and white shoes, he looked like a Catholic school girl with a serious glandular problem. It was quite a sight, to say the least.

The interscene break was quite long, and I sat at a table a hop, skip, and a jump away from Q's chair. At one point, Q told Jackson and Bender a rather long and involved anecdote. It was vintage QT--arms flailing about, moving from side to side, voice alternately loud and soft. After the break, a brief shot of Grier, sitting at a table, calling for Forster's character to come over ("Max! Max!") was filmed. Three takes took all of two minutes, and once again there was a long break.

Q moved his director's chair next to a table where Jackson sat, but soon Jackson moved to another table, where not-in-drag Bender was seated, (shocker here) talking into his cell phone. Q talked briefly to the two other people sitting at the table and then just sat there. A few random shoppers walked up to Jackson and Q and asked for their sigs; they obliged. Seeing that this was as good a time as any, when Q saw me, I waved, and I motioned if I could come over. Oddly enough, he shook his head no. I said that I just had one little thing to say, and he shook his head again. I asked if I could at least yell what I wanted to say from where I was standing, about 5 feet away. He said, "Just wave." So wave I did as other people went up to him, and he signed autographs for them.

This struck me as kind of odd, but I wasn't about to go anywhere. In time people stopped going up to him, and he just sat there. He looked over at me again, and I made a half sad, half pouty face and shrugged. He then asked with a laugh, "What do you want?" I said, "I just want to say one thing," and he finally motioned me to come over. We shook hands, and he said that the problem was he didn't want to get into "a big fucking thing" right now (which he knew could very likely come about with our two motormouths) since he's at work. "It's cool for you to hang around and stuff," he said, "and say 'hey' whenever we see each other..." and he demonstrated the "hey" bit with his hands. True, I thought, but I told him that I didn't want to get into "a big fucking thing" (and I didn't), and that I hadn't asked for a moment like this in the days I'd been there. And he said, "Yeah, you didn't yesterday." Once that was cleared up, I told him that I wasn't going to come back today since we already had our "big goodbye thing," but I got my second rejection notice from the film school, and I showed him the double "DENIED"-stamped form. His tone changed, and he said, "I'm sorry to hear that, man" and went on about Steven Spielberg's infamous rejection, and how later people said to him "why didn't you tell us who you were?" when there was no way of knowing back then, when it mattered... I said that "I guess I should just do what [people] always tells me, just start writing," and he said, "Yeah, just go for it." I then went on about how writing in that way doesn't really come naturally to me, not like the reviews, and he said to go for it and once again said that he was sorry. After all that, I asked if I could, in the very end, come out of my three days with a pic with him, and he said that he would except that he was dressed the way he was. I said that it would be cool--"Mr. Brown with Ms. Brown." He laughed, but still said no. I asked him if it was Drag Day or something, and he said it was just Skirt Day. Q and I shook hands once again, and I thanked him for everything and told him this time really was goodbye and that I was sure we'd see each other again, and he smiled. And with one last, firm handshake, we said our final goodbye, at least until the next time I see him off the set, where we'd be free to get into "a big fucking thing"...

Jackie Brown: The Review

(written July 3, 1997)


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3 Days on the Set of Jackie Brown/text and photographs © Michael Dequina
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