This is not a story about the feverish hype swirling around Snakes on a Plane. It’s not a review of the film, because Snakes on a Plane is so critic-proof that snotty journalists like me don’t get to see it before it opens. And it’s not yet another piece in praise of Snakes star Samuel L. Jackson’s inherent awesomeness (not that I’m denying it, of course). What follows is an interview with the individual who just may be the coolest cat in America right now — snake handler Jules Sylvester, the guy responsible for charming winning performances out of Jackson’s forked-tongued co-stars. Sylvester, a Hollywood veteran who’s wrangled critters on everything from Men in Black (thousands of cockroaches) to Out of Africa (lions, dogs, owls) to Arachnophobia (duh), is bar none the jolliest person I’ve ever talked to at 8:30 in the morning on the subject of killer snakes.
Image of Albino Monocled Cobra from Chameleon Counters.
[Note: this is the complete transcript of the interview that appears, in edited form, in this week’s Guardian print version.]