Samuel L. Jackson on adults reading comic books, a Die Hard return and ‘motherf**kers’
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Samuel L. Jackson on adults reading comic books, a Die Hard return and ‘motherf**kers’

COMIC BOOK movies are dominating cinemas right now and no one knows better than Mr. Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson.

An integral part of the Marvel cinematic universe, Jackson’s latest film Glass sees the actor return to the subject matter once again in a role he first took on some 19 years ago.

Back when Jackson first played Elijah Price, aka Mr Glass, in M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero thriller Unbreakable, the idea of comic book movie trilogy was almost unthinkable.

A lot has changed since then, but long before James McAvoy’s majestically manic multiple-personality-led turn in Split, the idea of returning to the Unbreakable universe had been on the cards.

“I always felt he [Elijah] needed closure,” Jackson says. “And Night said years ago it was a trilogy when we started doing Unbreakable.

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"I knew I was locked up in this place. I just wanted to know what I was up to. Get some closure.”

The result was Glass, a comic book movie origins story with a difference, pitting McAvoy’s twisted Kevin Wendell Crumb against Bruce Willis’ David Dunn while Jackson’s Elijah runs interference.

A unique take on the genre, the film is further evidence of the fact comic books are an increasingly mainstream, adult, entity to be enjoyed by one and all.

That’s a viewpoint at odds with some people, like Bill Maher, who have gone to great lengths to tell us all how comic books are for kids and kids alone.

It’s also a viewpoint that goes against what Jackson, comic book fan and fully-grown adult, believes.

"What do adults read exactly? Everybody is not a history buff. Everybody doesn’t want to read history. Everybody doesn’t want to read political commentary,” he argues.

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“I’ve always used comic books as a form of escapism. I read normal books, I read books that allow me to use my mind to draw the pictures but sometimes I like looking at what that world is or what that particular space the story happens in looks like to them.”

Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis in Die Hard With A Vengeance.

Jackson would be forgiven for responding in more aggressive terms – he does enjoy using the word “motherfucker” every now and then. But, as the man himself explains, he tends to pick and choose when he uses that particular phase.

“It all depends. If you’re talking about someone that is a friend, it’s a friendly way of saying it. If you’re talking about someone you’re upset with there’s another way of saying it. If there’s a situation there’s another way of saying it, if it’s descriptive.

“Motherfucker is kind of…it’s a utilitarian word. You can use it in a lot of different ways.”

One man who has heard Jackson utter the word on more than one occasion is his co-star Bruce Willis. The pair first connected on Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction before forming a formidable partnership in the excellent Die Hard With A Vengeance.

Given that Willis has already signed on for another instalment, one has to ask whether Jackson has ever had the chance to return to the role of Zeus Carver - or whether he would even like to, for that matter.

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“I’ve heard people say they are doing another Die Hard and they are going to put Zeus back in it and I’m just like ‘okay, fine, let me know when that happens’ otherwise I’ll just keep going to work,” he says. “Of course [I would like to return], I love Zeus Carver. He’s a great character.”

For now though he’s focusing on Glass, having enjoyed returning to a character that had laid dormant for nearly two decades.

“There was no difficulty reconnecting with Elijah knowing who he is, having a good understanding of where he was when he got locked up and the fact he’s been in this particular place and the fact he knows David Dunn has been out there doing what he’s doing.

“It was kind of fun figuring out what they were doing to him in that particular place and what they were doing to dampen his intelligence or to keep him from finding a way out because he’s smart enough to find a way out of there.”

Glass is in cinemas now.