In Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who pushed for realization of The Avengers initiative, organizing a group of people with extraordinary abilities or special gifts – despite questionable backgrounds – into a team that can protect Earth from threats unknown. On the film side, the launching point of this shared universe where these characters could co-exist began with a simple cameo appearance by the character at the end of 2008’s Iron Man.
Six years later and Fury, still an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, plays a crucial role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Fury might be facing his greatest challenge yet in the Cap sequel, and for fans of the series, they’ll get to see a little more about what makes Fury who he is – that is, if you can believe what he says.
Don Kaye had the opportunity to chat with Samuel L. Jackson on behalf of Screen Rant about his role in Captain America 2 and the franchise as a whole. They talk about Jackson growing into the role of Fury, fans learning more about the mysterious character, and working with Robert Redford. And yes, we ask about The Avengers: Age of Ultron…
Nick Fury think he’s kind of got things under control when this movie starts, but he doesn’t, does he?
Jackson: He thinks so, yeah. Everybody would like to think they’re handling their business when they’re handling it. So yeah, he’s sort of surprised when he finds out he’s been, I guess, hacked in a sort of way, yeah.
Was it fun for you to get a little deeper into his character this time around with the story about his grandfather and some of the other things about his past coming to light?
It’s sort of great to have those things and voice them. But as usual with Nick Fury, I mean, there’s so much stuff you’ve got to wonder what’s true and what’s, you know, fiction. As in, you know, does he really have a wife? Did his wife really kick him out? You know.
How comfortable are you in this guy’s skin now?
Oh, very much so now. And, I mean, I enjoy going back into the guise of Nick Fury and kind of feeling that powerful and, you know, that smart, and I guess in some instances that brave.
How have you seen the Marvel movies sort of change over the course of time you’ve been involved with them? Because you’ve done five or six now…
So how have they changed in terms of the way they operate and the way things keep growing?
Well, different directors bring different things to the process, and the evolution of this particular story is so great that I was really pleased to be a part of it, because I mean, I like doing “entertaining” films as much as anybody else, you know, going from set piece to set piece. But to have something that actually has a back story that has intrigue and I guess some political awareness in terms of a film like this, it’s pretty unique. And I think maybe they’ve discovered a way to enhance the stories and kind of pique the audience’s interest in another way, and get another kind of audience member to come in to see a film that has this amount of intrigue and this amount of – I don’t know if I’d call it political thriller, but sort of anti-government in terms of a hero film.
How much fun was it to play those scenes opposite Robert Redford, who was the face of those political thrillers that first came out in the ‘70s?
Oh, great fun for me. I had that whole “Three Days of the Condor” feeling when I’m, you know, standing there with him and I’m just kind of like, “This is awesome.” Even we have those moments where you find yourself standing opposite somebody and you kind of go, “Oh my God, I’m standing here with Robert Redford,” you know. I mean, Dustin Hoffman did that to me once when we were working together. He looked at me and he was like, “You had that moment, didn’t you?” And I was like, “What?” He said, “You looked over here and you were like, ‘Oh my God, I’m working with Dustin Hoffman.’” And I just fell on the floor laughing. But he was right (laughs). Those are moments worth, you know, worth being in the business for.
Real quick, a word on “Avengers 2”? When do you go into that?
I don’t start until mid-April, but I think they start in a couple of weeks. So…looking forward to it!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is produced by Kevin Feige, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp and Hayley Atwell, with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!