I'm convinced that Snakes on a Plane is the apotheosis of self-awareness in moviemaking. Once upon a time we had cheese fests like Con Air, Speed, and pretty much anything produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. You know the movie: contrived, ridiculous plots, gratuitous explosions, etc., etc. The thing is, they took themselves pretty seriously. They were out to make some dinero, and they had to at least pretend to be realistic to pull in the cash.
Now, in our hyper-ironic, self-aware times, we get movies that are aware of their own cheesiness. They embrace it. It's a selling point. Sam Jackson:
"I read [a Variety] article and it said Ronny Yu was doin' this movie at New Line, SNAKES ON A PLANE. So, Ronny and I had done a film before and we were in touch, so I emailed him. 'What is this, man?' He's like, 'Oh, it's a horror picture about poisonous snakes on a plane.' I said, 'Can I be in it?' He was like, 'For real?' I'm like, 'Ya! For real. Seriously!'"
Which proves that a) Sam Jackson is a badass and b) Snakes on a Plane is founded on the assumption of its own ridiculousness.
The interviewer also asked him whether they added a lot of gore when they did re-shoots to make the film R-rated:
SAMUEL L. JACKSON: Yeah. Yeah. It's all about that, you know. You go back and you put in the snake hits you wanted to put in because you have the ability to show a snake gnawin' on somebody's arm, not just jumpin' off screen and jumpin' back, cutting to somebody (holds his arm) going "Ow-ow-ow!" You see that snake hangin' on that person's arm and that person' tryin' to shake it off! Or somebody gettin' bit in the face, you know, by a snake. Nasty stuff!
QUINT: Great. Because if I was in the audience for SNAKES ON A PLANE and just saw a parade of reaction shots I'd be pissed.
SAMUEL L. JACKSON: No! Hell, no! You want the snake hit! You want to see it. You have two people goin' to screw in a bathroom on a plane and you know that there are some snakes on there... you know that when that tit comes out, you want to see a snake on that tit! At some point you gonna go, "Man, I know a snake's going to show up somewhere... and hopefully that snake's going to be on that tit!"
Read the whole thing at AICN.