“I just wanted to figure out how long I had to stay alive to shoot nine pictures.”
I've done a lot of interviews at a lot of events over the years, and I have to give special credit to 20th Century Fox this year for staging one of the most orderly and relaxed afternoons I can remember. They had a place on top of the Hard Rock Cafe. Nothing major. A suite with a long balcony and a hot tub area. They had some tables set up on the balcony with food. They had some chairs. And they had an area where we were able to set up to talk to a group of people representing the slate they had that afternoon.
Samuel L. Jackson is an icon at this point. He has put his stamp on this era of cinema in a way few people ever could. The number of films he's been in, the range of films he's been in… it will be impossible to tell the story of mainstream filmmaking from 1990 – (let's hope ) 2030 or so without including Jackson and seeing his face constantly. That seems to delight him.
Sofia Boutella joined Jackson on the balcony, and the two of them were there to represent the “opposition” in “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” the new action film from one of my favorite trios in bad behavior, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Mark Millar. Boutella is a dancer and an actress, and when you see what she does in the film, it makes perfect sense why they hired her. It's a very physical role with a very particular aspect to it that a dancer can sell in a way most actors could not. But even in our short interview, she's got a fun energy with Jackson, and I saw that in the clips in Hall H as well. These two seem like they're going to be fun to watch together.
I love that Jackson basically throws down a challenge in our interview, daring film critics to figure out where he's drawing inspiration for his work in “Kingsman.” I mentioned that I am intrigued by his character's voice based on the glimpses we've had so far. “I'm really looking forward to that and what major connection people make with that. 'Are you really trying to do that?'”
Jackson's a sound-bite machine, though. You've got to love any guy who can drop “Somebody called me the Jesus of Comic-Con this morning. I just keep getting resurrected and come back and come back and come back…” into the middle of a thought and then just keep going.
We got into the Marvel thing a bit, and he mentioned that he's ready to figure out how to extend his contract after he shoots his last two currently-contracted Marvel films. He also gives a nice shout-out to Mark Millar, who basically cornered Marvel into casting Jackson, which makes this movie a nice full-circle way for them to finally officially work together.
He mentioned at one point that he's pretty sure that the film he's making will have him back at Comic-Con next year, and after the interview, we talked a little bit about that film, the David Yates version of “Tarzan,” and it sounds like he's really excited by what he's seen of it so far. It's exciting to see someone who's made this many movies who can still work up that same thrill about being able to be part of the creation of something cool.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is in theaters October 24, 2014.