published Thursday, May 6th, 2010

'Iron Man 2' presents Nick Fury as spy, sponsor and mentor

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By Geoff Boucher

Los Angeles Times

Think of Nick Fury as the spy who came in from credits.

During the making of the first "Iron Man," Samuel L. Jackson was invited to film a quick scene in the role as "a tag," the name for those short (and often funny or sequel-suggesting) snippets of film that roll after the credits. The Fury tag was especially fun because in Marvel Comics, the modern incarnation of spy-chief Fury was in fact modeled after Jackson -- which made the "Iron Man" after-credit scene one of the most memorable ever, right up there with "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Napoleon Dynamite."

The tag also turned out to be one of heck of a job audition for Jackson -- signed a nine-movie deal with Marvel Studios to make his fictional espionage czar the unifying crossover character as Marvel moves forward with the plan to interlock all of its superhero films.

"The idea was just to do this tag, and we thought it would be really fun to get Sam since the comics version of Fury is based on him," said "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau. "Now it's become much more than that. In the ("Iron Man 2") film, he has a significant role and becomes the entry point to connect Tony Stark to the agency called SHIELD and, thereby, the rest of the Marvel Universe, with Captain America, Thor, the Avengers."

In "Iron Man 2," Fury is a bit slippery -- he shows flashes of candor and empathy in dealings with the billionaire super-hero Stark, but then he also makes some Machiavellian moves that make it clear that his pragmatism is greater than his patience when it comes to SHIELD's secret agenda.

In Jackson, Favreau says, Marvel has a charismatic player with a black-ops grin who can hold his own in a room full of super-powered types.

"He has tremendous presence," Favreau said.

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