Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion director Ali Selim echoed the current Hollywood talking point that there is no right or wrong, but the characters are all going through some kind of grey moral area.
Speaking with ComicBookMovie.com’s Rohan Patel, Selim was asked, “The scale of this series is so massive, what was your initial approach when you read the material? Were you able to look at it like a six-part film? Were there any series like Bourne that you were able to draw inspiration from? ”
He answered, “The script that Kyle Bradstreet created has great themes of paranoia, suspicion, distrust. The main character who is a catalyst into the story is Nick Fury, who’s a man who has questions about his purpose and his existence, and he’s come back to Earth to find his footing again.”
“If you mix all of those things up, my mind immediately goes to film noir, and I’m much older than you, so I don’t go to Bourne,” he said. “My mind goes to The Third Man, the classics, Coppola’s The Conversation, Alan Pakula’s Klute, and The Parallax View, and even All The President’s Men, because I love that sense of grey, the sense that it’s not binary, good and bad.”
Selim explained, “But really, everybody in the series, even the villain, is moving through a sense of shades of grey and trying to find their purpose. So, I go back to those classics and inform the themes and the tone and the feeling.”
Selim would also share more about Nick Fury’s character in the series, “He’s more vulnerable. I think he’s more curious about finding his way through this new world and through his new self in this new world, and I think Sam Jackson knows the character of Nick Fury better than anybody on Earth, but he’s never explored the depth of this Nick Fury that’s in this show, and so, once again, my job is to just to create an environment that helps him do that, to the best of his ability.”
“I think, he and I are closer in age than not, and I think exploring issues of a failing body and wisdom and being on Earth for a long time,” he relayed. “I think Sam and I had a lot to talk about, about our own personal experiences as they related to Nick Fury. At the end of the day, Sam is a strong, clear actor, who is also a great collaborator.”
Jackson previously relayed to Vanity Fury that this Nick Fury is not the Nick Fury that viewers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have come to expect. He said, “Even Nick Fury can be shaken, you know?”
“He’s up there trying to process what the f**k happened, you know? And what his place in the world is,” Jackson continued. “The death of Iron Man, the death of Black Widow—with that stuff going on, he just kind of checked out.”
In fact, Jackson even made it clear they were going to distinguish these two versions of Nick Fury through his physical appearance, “He just doesn’t wear the patch. The patch is part of who the strong Nick Fury was. It’s part of his vulnerability now. You can look at it and see he’s not this perfectly indestructible person. He doesn’t feel like that guy.”
Marvel Studios’s Vice President of Production & Development Jonathan Schwartz would later inform Total Film via The Direct that Jackson said he did not recognize the character he was playing in the show as Nick Fury.
He said, “Nick Fury is going through something very internal in this show. On our first call together, Sam said to me, ‘I don’t know this Nick Fury.’ He’s lived the badass Nick Fury. And suddenly, he’s a Nick Fury who’s a little broken and a little older, and wondering what’s his place in all of this and does he have the juice?”
The official synopsis for the series reads, “In Marvel Studios’ new series Secret Invasion, set in the present day MCU, Nick Fury learns of a clandestine invasion of Earth by a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls. Fury joins his allies, including Everett Ross, Maria Hill and the Skrull Talos, who has made a life for himself on Earth. Together they race against time to thwart an imminent Skrull invasion and save humanity.”
The series arrived on Disney+ today, June 21, 2023.
What do you make of Selim’s comments about all the characters going through shades of grey rather than recognizing right and wrong?