Facing fury

Facing fury
Samuel L. Jackson plays S.H.I.E.L.D.

Samuel L. Jackson has played some larger-than-life characters throughout his 40-year showbiz career, such as Mace Windu in the Star Wars movies and most recently as the iconic eye patch-wearing Nick Fury in The Avengers and Iron Man flicks.

Playing Fury is no doubt the biggest achievement for the 65-year-old US actor. After all, he was born to play the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., the peacekeepers of the modern world.

In the comic books, Fury was originally depicted as a cigar-smoking white man.

However, in 2002, the character underwent an extreme makeover to become an African-American, who was patterned after and bore the uncanny likeness of Jackson himself - even before he was cast in the role.

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is directed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo and opens here tomorrow, Fury finds himself facing an enemy who threatens his career, the world and everything he believes in.

He tells M about his character growth after five outings as Fury, working with Robert Redford, who plays high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Fury's boss Alexander Pierce, and being part of the Marvel universe.

On how his character has changed since the first Iron Man movie in 2008

Jackson: Nick Fury hasn't really evolved. He's always been that master manipulator. He's just this ordinary guy inside this spectacular world who seems to be able to make extraordinary men bend to his will. Now (in this movie) you find him at work.

You've seen who Nick Fury is but you don't know who he is. You see the relationship with his boss. You find out that Nick Fury actually admires someone. You get bits and pieces of who he is, and at the end of this film, he's heading to another place, the next phase.

On why he didn't ask Marvel why it took six movies to develop his character

Jackson: I don't ask them anything. I just don't want them to kill me! (Laughs) Actors get very quiet when things start to happen because they don't want to die. I want to survive. It's like what I did in Star Wars. I just show up and keep quiet.

On whether there's more Nick Fury to show in future movies

Jackson: I can only hope so. Marvel doesn't tell us anything!

On working with Robert Redford, who plays government official Alexander Pierce

Jackson: He's a guy who lends this film another kind of credibility. I watched him and respected him before I got into Hollywood. I am awed by his ability and am impressed by the work he's done, and that worked well for me in this film. Robert's great. He came in and fell right into the groove.

On being part of The Avengers universe

Jackson: It's been so fun. It's like we're going to the biggest Halloween party ever. We're like kids living in the same neighbourhood and have these great costumes... We go on vacations and do other movies, then we come back home to the neighbourhood and put our costumes on.

We all like each other. We've been to a lot of places together. We are not just together on set, we go out, eat together... We enjoy each other. It's great to get back in the saddle with them and hang out.

A lot of times we're the kids who run the playground. The Russo brothers are the new kids on the block. They have to convince us that they have a new game we want to play.

joannes@sph.com.sg


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