Playing young Nick Fury without the eyepatch was a challenge: Samuel L Jackson
The actor returns as the SHIELD agent in the latest film from Marvel's stable, Captain Marvel, which hits the screens on Friday
For fans of Marvel films and the comics, Nick Fury is recognizable by his eyepatch. Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel, which follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes, takes audiences back to a time when Fury still had two eyes. Samuel L Jackson, who reprises his role as a younger Nick Fury in the film, talks about what it’s like to be able to go back to explore the iconic character’s past, collaborating with Brie Larson, and seeing her thrive as the hero she truly is, and much more, on the eve of film's worldwide release.
What have you learned about Nick Fury?
Nick Fury is a master manipulator. That’s his superpower. He knows how to bring people together and manipulate them to get them to do what needs to be done to serve the greater good.
What is it like having a character with this much of an arc?
Part of the challenge for this particular film, Captain Marvel, is that I have two eyes. And it’s almost 30 years ago, so I have to forget who Nick Fury is in the movies that I’ve done before because he hadn’t formed certain opinions yet. He’s essentially a bureaucrat in one of those government alphabet things. He’s still a badass, but he takes orders. He listens to people who are above him. And he's one of those who did not believe in extraterrestrials until he actually met one. Through this story, he develops the cynicism and the bucking authority of the Nick Fury that we know now. I have to be reminded of that when I’m doing this particular film, that he’s not quite there yet. So Nick Fury still has a light side that we don’t see a lot of in those other movies. He has this weird, funny ordinary person sense of humor.
Do you feel personally responsible for Nick?
I do, because everybody comes in and has this idea of who the characters are and what they’re doing. Sometimes we, as actors, have to remind them that we’ve been in this playground for eight or nine movies. So, they’re the new kid in the playground. We know the playbook.
What kind of movie is Captain Marvel?
When you look at the structure, the playbook is an interesting one because there are things that must happen through the beginning, middle and end to get to who Carol Danvers is. In Captain Marvel, there is a buddy cop element to it with Nick Fury and Carol Danvers. We come to a place where Fury understands something about her, and Carol understands something about him. There’s a level of trust in that belief of who each person is and helping that person discover something. She helps Fury discover things about himself, and he helps her discover things about herself.
Fury gains from her an understanding of the universe that he didn't have before; that there is a way to find people who have extraordinary abilities that aren’t a threat and can be helpful. He needs that understanding to go on to really create the Avengers initiative.
For Carol, using her humanity gives her the strength to take on this superhuman thing that happens to her. She literally is the most powerful individual in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But she needs an understanding of her humanity to harness that and use it in the right way.
What does Brie Larson bring?
What Brie brings to this is that level of respect for an audience. She’s done a very serious movie that she won an award for. She’s done a very funny movie with Amy Schumer that people loved and laughed at. And she’s been in an adventure story that I happened to be in with her where we’re running from a big, hairy monster.
But, she also has this real life thing that’s very genuine for young women and women in general where she’s a champion of women’s rights. She's a believer in equality of standards for everybody to live by. And people respect her for that. For her to become that person with superpowers is an amazing thing that’s going to resonate with a whole bunch of young girls and older women because they know who she is. They take her seriously, and she takes what she does seriously. So, when they see her do this, it will be an enormous success for all of them as well as for her. She takes that responsibility very seriously. I love working with her. I love coming to work and talking to her. We have laughs together, but when we hit the playground, the games become serious.