Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in ‘Iron Man,‘ ‘The Incredible Hulk,‘ ‘Iron Man 2,’ ‘Thor,’ and ‘Captain America: The First Avenger,’ Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ is the super hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Directed by Joss Whedon, ‘The Avengers’ (‘Avengers Assemble’ in the UK) stars Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki). Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, and Stellen Skarsgard co-star. ‘The Avengers’ is released in cinemas April 26th in the UK and May 4th in the US.

Nick Fury is front and centre in ’The Avengers.’ How was that for you compared to the many cameo roles the character has had in the other Marvel franchises leading up to this film?

Samuel L. Jackson: It’s great to be the guy who is the organiser of The Avengers team. He’s the guy who has the raison-d’être that kind of understands the threat and has to get them to understand the nature of the threat – that we’re a lot stronger together than they are individually. Using Agent Coulson in a manipulative way to get them to do what he needs them to do is not above Nick’s character (laughs). He does kind of fudge the truth a bit to get them to take the bait and join in, and eventually they all do. Nick Fury monitors a lot of things and when he sees a need he generally goes against the grain, I think he rubs a lot of people the wrong way by taking actions in situations that they don’t necessarily want him to take action in but he does anyway.

As the director of S.H.E.I.L.D., he has to make the hard decisions that aren’t always popular with the team….

Samuel L. Jackson: Yeah. In ‘The Avengers’ we finally find out more about S.H.I.E.L.D. through Nick Fury, what his Avengers initiative actually is that he’s spoken about before. You see a base of operations that is very different from the little office that you’ve seen him in before, with the Hellicarrier. You also find out that he has some pretty interesting toys to play with (laughs), which are fun, and a pretty big organisation around him. It was an awesome feeling to be in the same room as all those guys at the same time. Especially when I get to sort of manipulate them (laughs). Get them to do my will!

Nick Fury has more of a father-daughter relationship with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow?

Samuel L. Jackson: Yeah. Scarlett Johansson brings a toughness and savvy that I think women like to see in their female characters. She is beautiful, so guys like her, but she embraces the toughness of her character and makes it seem effortless – which is very difficult to do. Guys always think, “I don’t care how strong a girl is, she can’t knock me out.” But she has a bigness of character that allows her to pull off the things Black Widow does. Nick Fury has a genuine father-daughter love for Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow that kind of transcends the job and he gives her a bit more rope than he gives most other people because of it.

How was it working on that Helicarrier, having your own place of power?

Samuel L. Jackson: It was a pretty awesome set. To have my own place of power, where I actually control the ship and control everything that happens on it, is a pretty great feeling. It’s spectacular, it’s kind of wonderful – the set was incredible, incredible! A lot of people are there running around doing stuff all the time, so it gives me a sense of power and the sense of urgency and business that a big ship like that would have, with all the intelligence gathering and capacities there too. I think that really helped me with the character, with Nick Fury. I felt like boss (laughs).

How did you find it working with Joss Whedon? I think he’s done an amazing job in balancing and grounding these characters, while still having all the sci-fi and action elements.

Samuel L. Jackson: He’s a dictator! He tells you what to do and you do it (laughs). He’s great, fortunately for us Joss has a very clear understanding of what this world is and how it works. How these individuals fit in it, how they fit with each other, or don’t fit with each other. In terms of rubbing each other the wrong way, finding a way to test each other and gain a measure of respect. Joss Whedon set up the standard of what this particular place was, an ordinary world with extraordinary people in it. Joss just understands the genre so well, the script was amazing, the characterisations, the interactions between the characters, the relationships how they’re formed, built….it was all brilliantly conceived by Joss.