Samuel L. Jackson has had a long and storied career, for which he was honored Sunday night at the BET Awards -- and Jackson opened up to ET's Kevin Frazier on the silver carpet about the one role that started everything for him.
"Jungle Fever changed everything for me for real," Jackson said, referring to the 1991 Spike Lee-directed film about an interracial romance. In the film, Jackson played the drug addicted brother of Wesley Snipes. "That got me into Hollywood and it was a wonderful opportunity to start something. It was a very cathartic change in my life and it was the first thing I did without a substance in my body and I've been pretty much clean ever since and ascending, so it's been fine."
The Hateful Eight actor also talked about what being honored with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award meant to him.
See photos of Samuel L. Jackson through the years:
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 12: Actor Samuel L. Jackson attends Warner Bros. Pictures' 'The Big Picture,' an exclusive presentation highlighting the summer of 2016 and beyond at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage)
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 09: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Actor Samuel L. Jackson attends the 2016 MTV Movie Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 9, 2016 in Burbank, California. MTV Movie Awards airs April 10, 2016 at 8pm ET/PT. (Photo by Frederick Brown/MTV1415/Getty Images)
Actor Samuel L. Jackson (L) speaks while actress Brie Larson (R) looks on during a press conference for the Vietnam location filming of 'Kong: Skull Island' in Hanoi on February 21, 2016. On location shooting in Vietnam for the upcoming film is due to begin next week for approximately five weeks. AFP PHOTO / HOANG DINH Nam / AFP / HOANG DINH NAM (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 09: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Actors Halle Berry (L) and Samuel L. Jackson attend the 2016 MTV Movie Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 9, 2016 in Burbank, California. MTV Movie Awards airs April 10, 2016 at 8pm ET/PT. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for MTV)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13: Samuel L. Jackson arrives ahead of the Australian premiere of The Hateful Eight at Event Cinemas George Street on January 13, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Samuel L. Jackson -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Actors Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Jason Leigh attend the 2015 National Board of Review Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 306 -- Pictured: Actor Samuel L. Jackson during an interview on January 5, 2016 -- (Photo by: Jon Pack/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 04: Actor Samuel L. Jackson attends 2015 New York Film Critics Circle Awards at TAO Downtown on January 4, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 21: Filmmaker and Director Quentin Tarantino and actor Samuel L. Jackson pose at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 21, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER: Samuel L. Jackson celebrates his birthday at an event To Celebrate Quentin Tarantino And The Cast & Filmmakers Of The Hateful Eight at The Nice Guy on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for The Weinstein Co.)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 21: Samuel L. Jackson attends a Hollywood Walk Of Fame Ceremony Honoring Quentin Tarantino on December 21, 2015 in Hollywood, California.(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 07: Actor Samuel L. Jackson arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Hateful Eight' at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on December 7, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 05: Actor Samuel L. Jackson attends the Hateful Eight SAG Screening and Q&A at the Pacific Design Center on December 5, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for The Weinstein Co)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 04: (L-R) Cast members Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell attend the ''The Hateful Eight'' special cast Q&A screening at the Egyptian Theatre on December 4, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for The Weinstein Co)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Actors Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Wesley Snipes speak onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 7th annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actor Samuel L. Jackson attends EXTRA's 'WEEKEND OF | LOUNGE' produced by On 3 Productions at The London West Hollywood on September 18, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Samuel L. Jackson attends the annual BGC Global Charity Day at BGC Partners on September 11, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
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"You get a lifetime achievement award, means I've made a mark in this business. I entertained a lot of people, which is important -- and it's great to be recognized by my peers, my people," he said.
But there'll be no resting on his laurels for the 67-year-old. "My thirst for creativity doesn't change," he said. "I'm like singers who get up and sing every day, write music, painters who get up and paint, I want to get up and act every day. There's only a limited number of acting opportunities in everybody's life. I want to make sure I get all mine."