Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Jackson was addicted to crack cocaine, though he somehow managed to keep working and stay functional. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 70-year-old actor opened up on his past addiction to crack while working as an understudy on Broadway in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. He was shadowing Charles Dutton, who played the lead and infuriated Jackson with his performances.
"I had to sit there every night on the steps behind the theatre and listen to Charles Dutton do that part," he explains. "I'd sit there and smoke crack while I listened to the play. It made me fucking crazy. Because I'd be listening to him doing the lines and going, 'That's not right!'"
Jackson also remembers another night when was smoking crack and spotted another actor he greatly admired -- Jessica Lange. She was taking a smoke break while working on A Streetcar Named Desire. Just a few years later, the pair were co-starring in Losing Isaiah.
Jackson hit rock bottom when his wife and daughter discovered him face down on the kitchen one day. They insisted he go to rehab and he agreed. However, while sobering up, he was sent a script from Spike Lee. The already famous director wanted Jackson to play a crack addict in his next film, Jungle Fever, which he did. Ironically, it was his first sober role.
"All the people in rehab were trying to talk me out of it," he says. " 'You're going to be messing around with crack pipes. All your triggers will be there. Blah, blah, blah.' I was like, 'You know what? If for no other reason than I never want to see you motherf**kers again, I will never pick up another drug.' Cause I hated their a**es."
Jackson also recalls auditioning with a “horrible” actor for a role in an indie film called Reservoir Dogs. It turned out that supposedly dreadful actor was Quentin Tarantino, the film’s director. Jackson was in the audience at the Sundance premiere of the film, where he decided to talk to Tarantino again.
"I was thinking, 'Well, good movie,’ he tells “Then I realized that dude who I read with was the director! So I go over to him and tell him how much I liked the movie but how it would've been a better movie with me in it. So he said, 'Well, I'm writing something right now for you.' I was like, 'Really? You remember me that well?' And then about two weeks later, Pulp Fiction came."
To date, Jackson have earned a grand total of $5.76 billion at the U.S. box office and a staggering $13.3 billion worldwide with a big chunk of those coming from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (nine of the highest-grossing films of the past decade), in which Jackson plays Avengers boss Nick Fury, a role he took up almost as a lark in 2008 and is about to reprise yet again in Captain Marvel, opening March 8 2019.