Samuel L. Jackson is set to return to Broadway this month to play the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in ‘The Mountaintop,’ but he’s hoping to not go down the road traveled the last time he was on Broadway, which lead to a crack cocaine addiction that landed him in rehab and almost killed him.
Jackson worked so hard to play Boy Willie in August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson,” but never actually got to appear on stage, only being the understudy for for Charles Dutton.
He reveals; “I originated the role at Yale (Repertory Theater) and then I had to understudy him (Dutton) because the role was written for him when he was doing ‘Crocodile Dundee 2,’ so when ‘Crocodile Dundee 2’ was over he came back and he started to do the play. It was pretty much the play that put me in rehab.
“You have to show up every day and sign in and if that person’s not there by half hour (before the show) you start getting ready to go on. But he was always there… I had to sit backstage until at least the first act was over and listen to the play onstage, which was kinda running me crazy, so I used to sit on the back steps and smoke crack.”
Jackson’s wife noticed the behavior and called a friend in Tennesee, who ultimately saved his life.
Samuel L. Jackson has since been sober for 21 years.