Interview with Avengers’ Nick Fury – Samuel L. Jackson

avengers Nicky fury interview

Avengers


SAMUEL L. JACKSON REPRISES HIS ROLE OF NICK FURY, HEAD OF S.H.I.E.L.D., AS HE ASSEMBLES THE AVENGERS TEAM IN “MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS”

Samuel L. Jackson is no stranger to Marvel’s world of Super Heroes. The veteran actor has played Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., in the “Iron Man” films, “Captain America” and “Thor.” In “Marvel’s The Avengers” Jackson’s Nick Fury takes center stage as he assembles The Avengers to thwart a threat endangering the entire world. Commenting on his expanded role, Jackson says, “It’s great to be the guy who is the organizer. My character, Nick Fury, also knows his limitations in terms of who these Avengers are and what they’re capable of doing. He’s the guy who has the raison-d’être that kind of understands the threat and has to get them to understand the nature of the threat.”

But putting together a cohesive team of exceptional superheroes, who have essentially always worked alone, can be a tough task, even for the iconic Nick Fury. Jackson comments on the team building, “Egos are egos. You don’t want to change a person’s personality but you do want them to understand that unity means a lot more than the individual and I think at a certain point even Tony Stark gets it; he’s basically the hardest person to convince that working together with other people will make both him and us a stronger unit against a force that’s something bigger than we’ve ever seen.”

Describing his character’s relationships with members of The Avengers team, Jackson points out: “Nick Fury has a good relationship with Black Widow. He has an interesting relationship with Iron Man because of his relationship with Tony Stark’s father and they’ve been through a couple of things together and had some encounters. Fury trusts Captain America and has confidence in his ability to help him with the team.

“He doesn’t know Thor very well, but trusts him too, in a specific kind of way,” Jackson continues. “In the case of Doctor Banner, everybody has this healthy fear of him because we don’t know when he’s going to change and when he changes he’s not rational at all. Hawkeye, Clint Barton, is one of Fury’s agents and in the original derivation of S.H.I.E.L.D, Agent Barton was one of the people who had helped him form S.H.I.E.L.D., so their relationship is close.”

avengers interview

As far as Nick Fury’s relationship with his second in command Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders, Jackson admits that it is “a bit contentious.” He says, “She does follow military protocol and takes her orders. But she takes them grudgingly most of the time. Maria reports back to the 12-person council that runs S.H.I.E.L.D. a lot more than Nick Fury does.”

According to Jackson, co-star Robert Downey Jr. “always brings a specific kind of energy that people know, love and understand” to his roles and says about working with him, “As actors, we respect each other; we’ve known each other for a long time and I enjoy watching Robert work and I think he enjoys watching me work, which works very well for us.”

Jackson also spent a lot of time with Scarlett Johansson before “Marvel’s The Avengers,” having worked with her on the film “The Spirit.” He feels that she brings “toughness and savvy” to her role of Black Widow that women like to see in female characters. Jackson explains, “She embraces the toughness of her character and she makes it seem effortless. She has this bigness of character that allows her to pull off the things that she does.”

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is the first film that Jackson has made with director Joss Whedon. Commenting on what he believes Whedon brings to the film, Jackson says, “Joss [Whedon] brings true understanding of what a comic book is and what comic book characters represent to the people who are going to watch the film. He’s putting together a film that he would pay his money to go and see and that I would pay my money to go and see and that understanding is quite essential to this particular film.

“There are so many characters that have their own individual personalities and he knows how to set up the conflicts between the characters, how to resolve them and how to make us all feel like a big unit when we start to work together,” concludes Jackson.

Recalling how excited everybody was when cast members showed up on stage at Comic-Con, Jackson has an idea of what audiences will be expecting when “Marvel’s The Avengers” hits theaters this summer. He says, “I do think that they want an exciting film; I do think that they want a film that does have some complexity and I do think that they want a conclusion that’s extremely heroic and not just ‘heroic’ and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”

avengers samuel l jackson interview

Questions & Answers with Samuel L. Jackson:

Q: Can you talk about your character and where we find him in the beginning of the film?

A: We find him in S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, which happen to be on the Helicarrier, and he’s gathering his various super heroes together, The Avengers, to fight a threat to the world posed by Loki, Thor’s brother.

Q: Can you talk about your character’s relationship with each Avenger?

A: Nick Fury has a good relationship with Black Widow. He has an interesting relationship with Iron Man because of his relationship with Tony Stark’s father and they’ve been through a couple of things together and had some encounters. Fury trusts Captain America and has confidence in his ability to help him with the team. He doesn’t know Thor very well, but trusts him too, in a specific kind of way. In the case of Doctor Banner, everybody has this healthy fear of him because we don’t know when he’s going to change and when he changes he’s not rational at all. Hawkeye, Clint Barton, is one of his agents and in the original derivation of S.H.I.E.L.D, Agent Barton was one of the people who had helped him form S.H.I.E.L.D., so their relationship is close.

Q: Can you talk about Agent Maria Hill’s role and the dynamic between her and Nick Fury?

A: Maria Hill and Nick Fury’s relationship is a bit contentious, even though she does follow military protocol and takes her orders. But she takes them grudgingly most of the time. Maria reports back to the 12-person council that runs S.H.I.E.L.D. a lot more than Nick Fury does.

Q: What did you think when you first saw the Helicarrier set?

A: It’s a pretty awesome set. Having watched enough “Star Trek” and other sci-fi films and now to have my own place of power, where I actually controlled the ship and controlled everything that happens on it, is a pretty great feeling. It’s spectacular; it’s kind of wonderful; a lot of people there running around doing stuff all the time, so it gives me a sense of power and the sense of urgency and business that a big ship like that would have, with all the intelligence gathering and capacities there too. We can pull in sources from pretty much everywhere and the fact that we can get all the super heroes to come there is pretty impressive in itself.

Q: What does S.H.I.E.L.D do for the world?

A: S.H.I.E.L.D. is a protective agency. Nobody is really positive whether it’s a U.S. government agency or United Nations agency. They’re not authorized to do anything militarily and they’re not really authorized to do anything in a police capacity. But Nick Fury monitors a lot of stuff and when he sees a need, he generally goes against the grain; he rubs a lot of people the wrong way by taking action in situations where they don’t necessarily want him to take action.

Q: Can you talk about what it has like been for you as an actor with your character being the center of the film?

A: It’s great to be the guy who is the organizer. My character, Nick Fury, also knows his limitations in terms of who these Avengers are and what they’re capable of doing. He’s the guy who has the raison-d’être that kind of understands the threat and has to get them to understand the nature of the threat; that we’re a lot stronger together than they are individually. Using Coulson in a manipulative way to get them to do what he needs them to do is not above Nick’s character. He does kind of fudge the truth a bit to get them to take the bait and join in, and eventually they all do.

Q: The team is really struggling to come together and can’t seem to get their act together, is this frustrating for Nick Fury?

A: Egos are egos. You don’t want to change a person’s personality but you do want them to understand that unity means a lot more than the individual and I think at a certain point even Tony Stark gets it; he’s basically the hardest person to convince that working together with other people will make both him and us a stronger unit against a force that’s something bigger than we’ve ever seen.

Q: How is it working with Robert Downey Jr. and how is it working out for Iron Man being part of a team?

A: Robert [Downey Jr.] always brings a specific kind of energy that people know, love and understand. It’s interesting watching the integration of his energy with Captain America’s and his energy with Thor. He has knowledge of Black Widow because she was in his organization for a while; he has affection for her but he also has this sense of autonomy that you kind of have to break through. No matter what he’s doing, it always seems like he’s an island, even though he’s an integral part of this team. You can’t tell him that he’s the most important or the strongest part of the team because then he’ll take it over. It’s just in his nature. So Fury has to rein him in and constantly remind him that he had this relationship with his father that allows Fury to be a sort of a father figure to him. It’s garnered Nick Fury a certain amount of respect from Tony Stark. But as actors, we respect each other; we’ve known each other for a long time and I enjoy watching Robert work and I think he enjoys watching me work, which works very well for us.

Q: How has it been working with Scarlett Johansson and what is she bringing to this film?

A: Scarlett [Johansson] brings toughness and savvy that women like to see in their female characters. Naturally, she’s beautiful so guys like looking at her. She takes her beauty for granted, which is wonderful. She embraces the toughness of her character and she makes it seem effortless and that’s very difficult to do because you know guys always think, “I don’t care how strong a girl is, she can’t knock me out.” But she has this bigness of character that allows her to pull off the things that she does. She and I have had a great relationship since we met on “The Spirit” and spent a lot of time together. So when you see us together, there’s a great affection between the two of us and especially between the Nick Fury character and Black Widow. There’s a genuine like father-daughter love that kind of transcends the job. I give her a bit more rope than I give most other people because of it.

Q: How’s it working with Joss Weldon and what does he bring as a director to the film?

A: Joss [Whedon] brings true understanding of what a comic book is and what comic book characters represent to the people who are going to watch the film. He’s putting together a film that he would pay his money to go and see and that I would pay my money to go and see and that understanding is quite essential to this particular film. There are so many characters that have their own individual personalities and he knows how to set up the conflicts between the characters, how to resolve them and how to make us all feel like a big unit when we start to work together. I think people who are comic book fans will appreciate the film even more because it is a live-action comic book.

Q: Can you talk about working with a writer who is also the director, especially when you change dialogue?

A: I haven’t found a lot of things I want to change. I just get used to juxtaposing words or sometimes saying the idea as opposed to saying what’s exactly on the page because it sounds a lot different when we’re having a conversation, as opposed to comic book characters having conversations. They do have certain syntax and they do use certain words or they make sentences in a different way than we make sentences in our normal, everyday conversations.

Q: What is it about the Marvel brand that people are drawn to?

A: I think people feel like they’re getting get their money’s worth. They come with an expectation that is actually met and most times exceeded and it’s very difficult to do that. Anticipation is very high for the majority of these films before they come out and when they do come out, in this electronic age, if somebody is sitting in the movies and they’re watching the movie, they’re texting their friends, going yeah, this is the movie you want to see.
It’s living up to the expectation and that’s very, very difficult to do now, especially with people being so savvy about the techniques that we use to make films. It used to be a mystery; it’s not a mystery anymore. Everybody looks at CGI in another kind of way; they look at 3D in another kind of way. So if you can meet the expectations of the tech-savvy people who are coming to the films now, then you’ll always be successful.

Q: What can audiences expect from “Marvel’s The Avengers” this summer?

A: I’m not real sure but I remember how excited everybody was when we showed up on stage at Comic-Con and we were just standing there in our street clothes. I do think that they want an exciting film; I do think that they want a film that does have some complexity and I do think that they want a conclusion that’s extremely heroic and not just “heroic” and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.

Interview courtesy of Disney South Africa

Written by