Samuel L. Jackson is currently reprising the role of Nick Fury in Marvel’s Secret Invasion, a conspiracy thriller on Disney+ which sees the shapeshifting Skrulls attempt to infiltrate human society. The 10-episode limited series is expected to set up the next cinematic installment of the MCU, The Marvels, which will reunite Jackson with his Captain Marvel co-star—and real-life bestie—Brie Larson.
The first Captain Marvel broke box office records when it was released in 2019, with the most profitable opening weekend of any female-led movie to date. However, the film wasn’t without its critics, with certain subsections of comic fandom resisting the idea of a superhero blockbuster led by a woman, and The Marvels may well face similar complaints from sexist fans.
According to Jackson, however, Larson remains unbothered by the “incel dudes” who have a problem with movies depicting women as heroes. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the actor praised Larson’s resilience and feminist principles—both qualities which are also embodied by her Marvel character Carol Danvers.
“Brie’s a stronger person than people give her credit for,” Jackson said, explaining that the two of them first bonded while working together on 2017’s Kong: Skull Island: “We became great friends during that particular experience because we were having such a hard time.”
Jackson added that he got on so well with Larson that he volunteered to be in her directorial debut Unicorn Store, and they grew closer during that process, to the point that he actively encouraged her to take on the role of Carol Danvers in the MCU.
“We bonded through the election while we were doing her movie when Donald Trump won,” he said. “She was broken and I was like, ‘Don’t let ‘em break you. You have to be strong now.’ Then, when she got Captain Marvel, she called me and was like, ‘They want me in the Marvel Universe. Should I do it?’ And I was like, ‘Hell yeah! Let’s do it!'”
“But she’s not going to let any of that stuff destroy her,” he continued. “These incel dudes who hate strong women, or the fact that she’s a feminist who has an opinion and expressed it? Everybody wants people to be who they want them to be. She is who she is, and she’s genuinely that.”
While Larson remains tight-lipped over whether or not she will continue to appear in any MCU projects after The Marvels, she has spoken positively about her experience of playing a character who represents so much to so many comic book fans.
“The thing that has just broken my heart open the most has been how many different kinds of people respond to Carol,” she said earlier this year. “It’s so much more than me, and so much more than my body holds. Different sexual orientations or ways that you identify with gender or race. It goes beyond that. And that’s the thing that’s been exciting for me.”
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.