Jackson, Shyamalan reunite to finish film trilogy
BACK when wunderkind director M. Night Shyamalan and evergreen star Samuel L Jackson first collaborated at the turn of the century in the now-cult classic Unbreakable, they rubbed each other the wrong way.
Shyamalan described Jackson as "grumpy" while Jackson referred to the then-newcomer as something of a "tyrant" basking in the critical and commercial notice garnered by his first film, The Sixth Sense.
But for the upcoming thriller Glass, which is the sequel to 2016's Split and reunites Jackson with Bruce Willis to round-out Shyamalan's comic-book trilogy, the pair found a new way to work together.
"First time he was fresh off the success of Sixth Sense and he was a little young, full-of-himself," Jackson tells News Corp Australia.
"He thought he knew all the answers, so he made us do specific things that he wanted done, which I guess serviced the film in an interesting sort of way because he was trying to build attention and keep the suspense going as long as he possibly could."
Jackson, 69, says in the decades since their first outing, Shyamalan, 48, "got banged around doing some other films" and that he much preferred working with the matured director.
"It kind of put his feet back on the ground," Jackson says of Shyamalan, who has not made another runaway hit until recent years.
With dozens of film credits including Pulp Fiction and the upcoming superhero film Captain Marvel, Jackson is one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, but in Australia he's also known for a controversial stint promoting online bookmaker Bet365.
"I don't do that anymore," Jackson says of his affiliation with the company, which ended in 2015.
"You get mean tweets from Australians, (saying): 'You're ruining our family Samuel'," he says, adding in his defence that: "I ain't tell you to gamble. Gamble safely. Then you lose your money."
To his 7.75 million Twitter followers, he's also well known as a vocal and thorny critic of the current president, as well as Republicans generally.
"I've always been politically active," Jackson says.
"Since I was young, since the Vietnam War or segregation. I grew up in segregation in Tennessee so yeah, I've been politically active pretty much my whole life."
In an interview in his second hometown of New York, where his wife LaTanya Richardson is currently appearing on Broadway in To Kill A Mockingbird, Jackson describes his Glass character as "among his top 10" favourite roles.
"It was easy to play somebody who is smart.
The challenge is playing dumb people," Jackson says. "But Elijah's a very smart guy. So he's fun to watch him or be inside while he's manipulating the situation that everybody else thinks they control."
Jackson says the booming success of comic-book themed movies being produced by the Marvel and DC franchises is due to a human desire to dream.
"There's always been this huge love of comic book characters," he says.
"When I was a kid we read comic books. We just didn't have access to the films…
"People like things that are greater than themselves; people like thinking of themselves as extraordinary or being able to imagine themselves as having a specific power or some powers that they can do. People have always been fascinated by it and I think they always will be.
"Even, you know, back when it was just books and people were just reading mythologies about Greek gods. It's always been the thing that we love."
Glass opens in cinemas on Thursday.