Interview: Samuel L. Jackson of 'The Avengers'
'Joss Whedon made a comic-book movie and got the "comic" part right …"
First seen in the Marvel movie-verse as a post-credit moment in "Iron Man," Samuel L. Jackson's eyepatch-wearing, glowering super-super-secret agent Nick Fury has become a common thread in the later films -- and steps up to the front in "The Avengers." We spoke with Jackson in L.A. if he knew all of this was going to happen, the best part of working with writer-director Joss Whedon and if he is, as his co-stars suggest, scarier before lunch than after …
MSN Movies: This character has gone from this little post-credit "Yes!" moment to being this huge presence in these films and in this shared universe. Did you know it was going to be like that from the jump?
Samuel L. Jackson: I didn't know it, but I kind of felt something positive was going to happen through all this after the great response we got to the little tag ending of "Iron Man," and all of a sudden I pop up in the next one with Natasha, who enhances my presence. Hopefully being the ligament that ties all these different films kind of mentioning "The Avengers" initiative all the time. Mentioning and hinting at kicking somebody out of "The Avengers" initiative wasn't even in at a certain point, so people kind of go, "What's he talking about?" Finally you get to a place where you see what Nick Fury has been trying to do.
You have this film where you have CGI, huge green people throwing cars around …
He's not real?
… He's not real, but at one point you get to step out with a rocket launcher as casually as I go out to get the paper in the morning and just light that up. How much fun is it shooting that kind of huge action?
Well it's always fun to do that. I mean we've been trained as boys all our lives to do stuff like that or to imagine that we're doing it, so to put a real bazooka in your hand and shoot at a moving plane is like, "Really?" It's always great too, because you shoot at people in these things and they can't yell, "You missed." It's nice.
You've worked with other directors in the other films. What did Mr. Whedon bring to the film specifically that got you jazzed about the film?
Joss has a specific understanding of this genre that a lot of other people don't have. He likes comic books. He creates comic book characters. He creates heroes. He understands the jargon. He understands the rules of creating a world, and establishing a set of rules that make that world work in terms of us excepting the fact that they are extraordinary people in this ordinary world. If we have extraordinary people with us, there could extraordinary people wanting to harm us, and we need these extraordinary people to save us. He knows that. I think the one thing he did that a lot of people missed over the course of making these films, when they start talking about based on the comic series "The Avengers" are based on. He got the comic part right. He added humor that's amazing, that goes along with the action.
Clark Gregg and Cobie Smulders mentioned you are most intimidating after the director yells 'Action!', and before lunch. Would you say that that’s a fair assessment?
That could be true, yes. I'll accept that …
("The Avengers" is in theaters making a lotta money as you read this.)