Samuel L. Jackson says he’d love to play Nick Fury well into his 80s


Samuel Jackson on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter. Image courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.

In a feature for The Hollywood Reporter, Samuel L. Jackson revealed how much of a comic book fan he was, how he got the role as Nick Fury, and other details on his role to superstardom.

The stories they tell about Hollywood is true: making it isn’t easy. Even megastars like Samuel L. Jackson face a long, uphill battle to the top. But of course, preserving through the rough times makes it all worth it in the end. Opening up more about his journey to the top, Samuel L. Jackson shared a few memorable moments on his path to stardom in a feature for The Hollywood Reporter.

Now 70 years old, Jackson’s had a long career of acting both on screen and on stage, filled with meeting memorable directors and actors — including his wife of 38 years, LaTanya Richardson. Jackson also talked about his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which really pushed him to become the “most bankable star,” with the movie franchise pushing him to earn $5.76 billion in the U.S. Here are just a few highlights from THR‘s interview of the man and the legend, Samuel L. Jackson.

A comic book homage got him his role as Nick Fury

In an odd turn of events, Samuel L. Jackson didn’t really have to do much to land the role as Nick Fury; it was pretty much promised to him. It all started in 2002, when Nick Fury appeared in Marvel comic The Ultimates, and writer Mark Millar created Fury’s image in Jackson’s likeness.

Millar told THR, “I had no idea when we used his likeness he even knew who the Avengers were.”

But as Millar found out, Jackson is a huge comic book fan — see: his role in Unbreakable — and Jackson definitely found out. When Jackson eventually did see it, it wasn’t until his agents made a few calls that Marvel (as a part of its apology for not telling him they used his image) offered him a role as Nick Fury… if ever he were to appear in a movie. We think Jackson and his agents literally made the best call on this one, seeing as Jackson’s made it through nine movies since he signed on.

In fact, Jackson loves Nick Fury so much that he’d love to play the character well through his 80s. As Jackson puts it, “I could be the Alec Guinness of Marvel movies.”

Fury is his favorite Avenger

In a video Q&A for The Hollywood Reporter,  comic book superfan Jackson shared who his favorite Avenger is. We should have all seen this coming, but the answer, of course is Nick Fury “because he’s me,” he explained.

In the Q&A, Jackson also answered who’s harder to keep in line for Nick Fury between Captain Marvel and Spider-Man. This should be a given as well: he picked Spider-Man because he’s just so energetic. In the next MCU movies Jackson will be appearing in this year, Fury serves as an ally to both Captain Marvel in her solo movie and Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Far From Home. It’s nice to see Fury’s forever keeping watch over the Avengers, even if Spidey’s a little all over the place.

Samuel L. Jackson for The Hollywood Reporter. Photographed by Brian Bowen Smith.

Bruce Willis doubted Pulp Fiction would make it big

As Samuel L. Jackson was on the rise in Hollywood in the early ’90s, he met Quentin Tarantino, who wasn’t quite as big then as he is now. Before even getting to be in Pulp Fiction, Jackson auditioned to be in Reservoir Dogs. He didn’t get the part he wanted, but he was still able to meet up with Tarantino at a premiere for the movie. That’s when Tarantino revealed he was working on a script with him in mind.

Thus, Jackson got his part in Pulp Fiction with co-star Bruce Willis. He later appeared Die Hard with a Vengeance, also starring Bruce Willis. But before the Die Hard sequel premiered, Jackson and Willis attended the premiere of Pulp Fiction, in which during the screening, Willis whispered to Jackson, “This movie’s OK, but Die Hard’s going to change your life. This movie’s not going to change your life.”

It’s laughable now, but considering Die Hard was already a well-received movie franchise, it makes sense that Willis thought his movie would have a lasting impact on Jackson’s career. While both movies were great for Jackson, Pulp Fiction no doubt lives on in the heart of fans of the cult movie… So much so that a Bible passage he quotes in Pulp Fiction even appears on Nick Fury’s tombstone in Captain America: Winter Soldier.

He was an usher for Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral

That’s right, Samuel L. Jackson was an usher at Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. He grew up in the U.S. South, and attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, King’s alma mater. Despite King’s methods of peaceful protests during the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson eventually found himself identifying more with non-pacifists. Jackson explained: “It was easier for me to side with their ideology [than with King’s]… or understand that ‘violence is as American as cherry pie,’ as [H. Rap] Brown put it. That made sense to me, you know? Somebody hits you, you hit them back.”

His earliest acting memory comes from when he was 3 years old

Most everybody starts out with humble beginnings, even Samuel L. Jackson. In the interview, Jackson shared that his earliest acting memory comes from when he was just 3 years old. He had a role as a Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, thanks to his aunt who introduced him to theater. He also remembered playing Humpty Dumpty, and we think these two great roles are just as significant as Nick Fury, Mace Windu, Jules Winnfield, and any other character he’s played over the years.

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This year, you can catch Jackson in Captain MarvelSpider-Man: Far From Home, Glass, and many, many more.

Read The Hollywood Reporter‘s full interview here