ITEM! Samuel L. “Oh I'm sorry, did I break your concentration” Jackson called me late last night on the Spider-Phone. Apparently he’s hoppin’ mad ‘cause word just got around to him that his commanding cameo as Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the new Iron Man movie just hit the cutting room floor. Sammy is up in arms about this, as this cameo was supposed to be a serrepticious sneak preview for a possible 2010 tent-pole movie for that same character.
It took more than mere minutes to calm him down, pilgrims. It seems that director Johnny “Fan-Fave” Favreau isn’t taking his calls, hence the late-night shout-out to Your Truly. It’s just as well because the Smilin’ One knows exactly what happened anyway.
Your Uncle Stanley had to remind Sunny Sammy about the little talk we had prior to his accepting the cameo role. I tried to stress to him that as big of an amorous admirer of his work as I was, this was a Merry Marvel Movie and their were a few rules. Rule One: best not to ad-lib your lines too much, and if you do, don’t ever, ever, EVER use any of your *ahem* trademark colorful metaphors. Did Sam the Man listen to that advice? Hell, no. He’s all about being an “artist” and “the method,” whatever that is.
I found out weeks ago when Jazzy Johnny Favreau called me up complaining about the on-set incident. It seems that Sam elected to lace one of his lines with an invitation to the villain to self-procreate, and then accused him by name of having relations with his maternal forbearer. John’s problem was that with the time left to complete his final print he couldn’t even over-dub the lines without it sounding like Jackie Gleason in the network TV version of Smokey and the Bandit. And he couldn’t just leave it in and let a 60-second cameo drop his whole PG-13 rating straight down to an R. That’s box-office suicide for a cross-over comic book flick, kids!
So the decision came down the pipe to cut the scene and save it for a delightfully dirty DVD extra, and Sam’s pretty P.O.ed (that’s Pruriently Offended — Never-Salacious Stan). I tried explaining to him that this was Iron Man, not Unbreakable, and that not every director lets his actors run amuck like M. Night Shyamalan, but to no avail. Before he hung up he vowed to “rally the fan-boys” on the Intrawebs and mumbled something about seeing who was going to procreate who. Ah well, your Uncle Stanley did his boisterous best...