The Kill Room Was Supposed To Star Uma Thurman And A ‘72-Year-Old Jewish Man.’ How Samuel L. Jackson Was Cast Instead

The Kill Room Was Supposed To Star Uma Thurman And A ‘72-Year-Old Jewish Man.’ How Samuel L. Jackson Was Cast Instead

The Kill Room, the sophomore effort of Friendsgiving director Nicol Paone, is a quirky and thrilling crime-comedy with equal parts laughs and violence. The film gives cinema buffs of all tastes something to look forward to, but the obvious buzz surrounding the flick is going to be that it reunites Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson in a starring capacity for the first time since 1994’s Pulp Fiction. This in itself is exciting, but to take things up a notch, CinemaBlend learned that Thurman herself was the one to bring Jackson on board, and in the process got his character a pretty substantial rewrite.

I recently caught up with Nicol Paone to discuss The Kill Room, and when I asked how she got these two icons to reunite, she provided the following anecdote:

Sam was all Uma's idea. She texted me and said, ‘is Sam Jackson an option?’ And I was like, ‘let me think about that for a moment, please. Of course, Sam Jackson is an option!’ And then we, Jonathan (Jacobson) and I, rewrote the script for Sam because the role was a 72 year old Jewish man named Herschel. And so we rewrote it to be The Black Dreidel who speaks Yiddish. And top of 2022, I got a call from Sam's agent saying Sam would love to do The Kill Room. And that's when I realized, ‘my God, what have I done?’

Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Gordon Davis, a.k.a. The Black Dreidel, is a crime boss who runs his operation out of a kosher bakery. Not only is that one of the best mob nicknames of all time, but Samuel L. Jackson is perfectly suited for the role. Had Uma Thurman not brought him on board, the character and the film itself would have gone in a completely different direction. This is just another one of those happy accidents that makes for a fun Hollywood story.

It’s important to note that while The Kill Room is Uma Thurman and Sam Jackson’s first time leading a film together in decades, they obviously haven’t been estranged. After all, he was just a phone call away, and the two were spotted kicking it backstage at a Broadway production last year. Samuel L. Jackson also appeared in the Thurman-led sequel Kill Bill Vol. 2. Even though it was more of a cameo than a starring role, it does rank pretty high when it comes to Tarantino/Jackson badassness..

To make the Hollywood connections even more bonkers, The Kill Room also stars Uma Thurman’s daughter Maya Hawke, who at one time was rumored to join Tarantino and her mother in the long-anticipated (and possibly fabricated), Kill Bill Vol. 3. Tarantino recently got honest about the realities of the threequel actually coming to fruition, but hey, anything can happen. 

No matter how often their paths cross, folks will always associate a collaboration between Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson with Pulp Fiction. Not only is it how the two earned their only Oscar nominations, but it’s widely considered to be Quentin Tarantino’s best film. Now they’ve added a new chapter together with The Kill Room, which is in movie theaters everywhere right now! Go check it out for yourselves, and put a cap on this September’s new movie releases with something special.