samuel l jackson in captain marvel

Question: The character of Nick Fury has proven to be a fan favorite of the MCU. To what do you owe that–?

Jackson: Yeah, they missed me a little bit, didn’t they? I haven’t been in like the last six movies. They sent me on a road trip and didn’t let me come home.

Question: To what do you owe that popularity?

Jackson: What do I owe that popularity? A lot of other movies. Yeah. You sort of earn a reputation for being able to embody specific characters in specific ways. And I do a lot of movies that are kind of gun movies or action movies, because I loved them when I was growing up and to have an opportunity to do them now is like perfect for me. So I tend to sometimes just choose movies because they’re movies I would’ve gone to see when I was a kid or when I was young. There’s really no other reason to do Snakes on a Plane. But it was fun. And I try and have fun.

I mean, work for me, I mean, acting’s always been fun. And I think because I was a stutterer and was halfway shy when I was a kid being able to be on stage when I first discovered it from my Aunt who was a performing art teacher in Chattanooga, she always was in charge of pageants and plays because she was a performing arts major at North Carolina A&T. And she never had enough boys. And I lived in the house with her. So whenever she did something, I had to do it. And the discovery of that and people pinching you on the cheek, oh my God, you’re so good, you were so wonderful made you go wow, okay. That’s something I can do. And I feel very good about myself when I do it.

So I started at a very young age. I got away from it for a while. But I still performed, because I was in a marching band, a very good marching band, a concert band. And then when I got back to college, I rediscovered theater. When I was in high school, they wouldn’t let me do all the plays and said, you gotta let somebody else do it. Nobody else was volunteering, I’m here. But they go out and recruit people anyway. So it’s part and parcel of that. The adulation, the joy of me being there. It’s a really wonderful way to make believe.

I was an only child, so I spent a lot of time reading and being in my own head and exploring worlds the way I wanted to explore them. Or exploring stories the way I wanted to explore them. And my grandfather told me stories and he would make me tell him stories. So we shared made up stories on the porch at night. And we did that. So and listened to a lot of radio drama. So I learned to use my voice and inflection and whispering and opening, vocalizations come to me easy now, because I listened to people like Andy Griffith and The Shadow and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Just crazy radio stuff. I listened to them.

So coming to work or me is a real joy. I don’t care about the 5:00 AM call. I get up at 5:00 AM and when I’m not working I get up at 5:00 AM anyway, so I can go to the golf course so I won’t get out of the habit of getting up at 5:00 AM. So I continue to do that. And it’s a joyous place for me to be, come and forget about who I am, what’s going on in my house, what’s going on in the world. Can’t listen to the news every day. So to come here and to go into a world that has its own rules and to create a character that doesn’t know anything about any of that is a wonderful escape for me. And it helps keep me sane.

Question: Can you talk a little bit about what it means to you to be such a big supporting role in the first female-led Marvel superhero movie.

Jackson: No. Does that mean something?

Question: I would certainly say it does. It does to me.

Jackson: Let me think about that. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I thought I was the star. I have a daughter and I have a wife who feels undervalued. Because she is a Black woman, she is in this business and she’s been in this business longer than I have. She was a professional actor when she was a kid and doing all this stuff. And she’s a specific body type and a specific… skin tone. Which is not the preferred skin tone of this business basically. I mean, Viola Davis is the biggest dark skinned star. And… being able to uplift women in a very specific way,

I grew up in a house full of women. Who always made me feel special. And made me tow a specific line. I understand a lot about who they are and what they felt just because I heard it. And I had to experience it every day. How hard the world is for women specifically. And I guess as I got older because my world was specifically Black and White when I grew up, ’cause I grew up in segregation. So I didn’t talk to White women, ’cause I didn’t know any. So I only talked to Black women, so I know what their worldview was and what it meant. And it wasn’t until I got older that I realized that White women might be as beat down as we were in a specific way.

And to work with Brie who has a very political aware sense of self, who not afraid to use her platform to push female agendas has been a real joy. This is my third movie with her. I did Kong with her, so we went all over the world. And then I did her movie, Unicorn Store. And to be a part of this specific story where she has such an enormous responsibility, especially in the success of the Marvel Universe and what it means every time there’s a Marvel film.

And to look at what happened last year with Wonder Woman, DC almost figured it out with that movie. To know what’s going to happen when this movie does actually hit theaters for women and little girls are going to be amazing. Just because of who she is and what her understanding of her responsibility to not the male audience, but the female audience that’s coming to this film. To be able to be alongside her, support her and to give her what she needs to be this strong character questing for self-identity, number one. And once she realizes what her power is and how she wills it has been a real honor for me. ‘Cause I want Brie to succeed in a very real, very strong way.

And… to have the opportunity to come into this particular place where they actually know how to do this. They figured it out. There’s a Marvel playbook that works. I mean, as out of the box that people think Black Panther was, it’s part of the Marvel playbook. It just happened to have Black people in it. And this is a Marvel movie being made through the Marvel playbook and it just happens to be a strong female character in it. And it will hopefully incite people the way Black Panther incited us racially when we saw it. So I’m really proud to be part of it.

Brie Larson Interview

Question: What has been your impression of what Brie has done with the role in terms of like the physical demands that it’s entailed? This is new territory for her.

Jackson: The physical demands? Whoo… Let me see, when was the…? I think about a year ago, Brie started working out. And the girl that I did Kong and Unicorn Store with is not this person. She’s got, she’s like five percent body fat now. And she used to send me workout videos, which were like crazy, dope workout videos. And she was, the first one she sent me she was lifting, what was she lifting? Like 100 pounds. She was doing this thing with a waist lift, about 100 pounds. The last one she sent me was 350. And she does chin-ups and she sent me a video of her pushing a Jeep up a hill. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

So she’s made a distinct transformation that I don’t think a lot of people would be willing to do and it’s a huge commitment to do stuff like that. When I was doing Tarzan with Alexander, wow, he would come to work at like 4:00 AM in the morning and go workout. And then he would eat. And then he would do his cardio. And then we would start to shoot. And every time they said cut, somebody was putting a weight in his hand. He was doing curls and he was doing pushups. Brie’s sort of like that. At this point in her development that she can actually do all that stuff. I mean, it’s kind of crazy. Let’s see, what else did she…?

[JACKSON SHOWS US A VIDEO OF BRIE LARSON PUSHING A JEEP UP A HILL]

Jackson: See, that’s her pushing a Jeep up a hill. Wow. Killing it. Yeah, right. Have to find a better one.

Journalist: Thank you for sharing that.

Jackson: That’s not it. Where’s the good one?

Question: Was she trying to encourage you to like push it?

Jackson: No, I have an age limit. I’m done with all that. I go to Pilates. I only push my body weight. I don’t mess with any other weights. None.

[JACKSON SHOWS US ANOTHER VIDEO]

Jackson: Here we go. Look at that. Got it going on. So yeah, I’m impressed with what she’s doing.

Question: Thank you so much.

Jackson: All right, guys. Enjoy your stay here today.

Journalist: Good luck with the rest of it. Don’t lose an eye.

Jackson: All right.

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