Film & TV

Student Session: Plumb Your Emotional Depths

Samuel L. Jackson

Lesson time 13:24 min

Sam directs the actors to perform a scene from The Negotiator in which two characters—Danny and Farley—are on opposite ends of the power spectrum. Students play the scene and then switch roles.

Samuel L. Jackson
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- All right. Actor dates, here we go. Oh, so is this something you know? - No. - Or know of? - Yeah. - "The Negotiator?" - Yep. - All right. So I guess, you know, just by the title, we're talking about somebody who's a wordsmith, used to using words situationally. So who do you think that Danny Roman is? - The Michael Jordon of negotiations. - OK. And the Kevin Spacey character on the other side, who's not in this particular scene, but he's also-- - He's the Larry Bird. MAN: He's the Phil Jackson. - Yeah, Sabian, he's that guy. So who do you think that guy on the other end of this conversation is? - He's not in the NBA. - The guy coming off of the bench. He's coming off the bench. - He's a cop who's part of the hostage negotiation team, who's been around. He's studying. He's learning. He learning the ropes. And you know, he's part of-- part of Danny's team. And Danny is-- Danny's gone rogue, essentially, in their minds. And he's called in to have a conversation with the other, you know, all-star-- negotiation all-star, who's not there. And this kid thinks, you know, maybe I know enough that I can talk to him since Danny and I are friends. And let's see how that works out. So I don't know how much characterization you've done in your heads about who you wanted to be, how you want him to be, whatever. But, um we've got two very divergent personalities here. They're both very different guys. So let's see how you jumped in it. So Brendan, Rob, because these girls always want to go first. Let you watch. Let's watch and see what happens. And action. - Sabian? - Uh, [CLEARS THROAT] it's Farley. - I told you I don't want to talk to anybody but Chris Sabian. - Yeah, he-- he-- he's gonna be on his way real soon. Just-- we just need more time. - We don't have more time, Farley. - What are you doing here, Danny? It's pretty serious. - It is serious. And why aren't you taking me seriously? - Well, we are. We are. Um, we are. We just-- [CLEARS THROAT] I just want to talk to you, OK? - Wait. Wait. Whoa, hold on. You wanna-- you wanna talk me down? - Uh, we need to, uh-- uh, tell me what you want. - You want a shot. All right, I'll give you a shot. We got a little time before Sabian gets here. What do I want, hmm. Let's see. Uh, how about, can I see a priest? - No, you can't see a priest. - Good, Farley. You don't want me seeing a priest because a priest is associated with death. And you don't want me thinking about death. But you said no, Farley. You can't say no. Never say no in a hostage situation. - Danny, can-- can--can you could just relax a little bit? - I am relaxed! A little bit of advice for you, Farley. Never say no to a hostage taker, all right? It's in the manual. Are you gonna say no to me again? - No. - Wrong answer, Farley. Shut up. Never say no, can't, don't, or want. It eliminate...

Get into Character

As a kid, Samuel L. Jackson stuttered so badly that he stopped talking for almost a year. Today he’s one of the world’s most successful actors, with roles in over 100 films, including Pulp Fiction and The Avengers. In his online acting class, the Oscar-nominated star shares how he creates memorable characters, powerful performances, and a long-lasting career. Learn to master auditions, analyze scripts, and find the truth in every role you play.


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I can only say wow. I have learned a lot about acting and I am grateful for this course. Thanks Masterclass, thanks Sam. It was a great and inspiring journey for me to watch this course and during this trip I got the inspiration to act.

Really enjoyed it! Sam taught me all sorts of new things that will help aid me in my future acting endeavours!

The class has improved my thought process in many ways. I however feel the price is steep, I feel the information is something worthwhile, but this is more of a reflective lecture, than it is for interaction. I wish each class would start with a goal, that goal would progress with you through the chapters and you would build on it, and grow.

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Frank T.

Sam Jackson to me is the greatest actor on the planet. If you don’t believe me check out his work on “ the actors studio“. He has a Fort Knox of acting power, intelligence, and understanding

Gabor G.

Great exercise! This is a great masterclass for directors too. I thought they were stronger when they switched roles. It suited their acting style more and created a more dynamic scene.

A fellow student

Great to see the role reversal between actors. It allows people to see what you can become when your in a desperate situation and you dont know if it can be solved

Jenna L.

It's a great exercise to switch characters right away, especially when they have so many differences. Thank you for yet another great lesson!


Great exercise playing both sides back to back like that. That was a very interesting read!

A fellow student

its really cool seeing the actors; and when they know all the character lines.

Danny B.

Being able to pull more from the scene is something I’m definitely going to pay more attention to as I continue to learn and grow

Rahul S.

I am looking for a partner to perform with. Please reply if you wish to rehearse it with me. We can do it on a video/voice call over facebook or something. Thanks

Stewart M.

can you imagine the change of emotions from each actor in that short amount of time.

Saul C.

I like the way this scene work out being in both sides of the coin it gives you more ground to find the right moves in every line . the only thing I saw I didn't understood was the ending like Samuel said like he just shoot somebody they need to react to that . overall impress.