Black Canary Actress Shares Sam Jackson’s Advice for Playing DC Role
Jurnee Smollett, who played Black Canary in Birds of Prey, reveals the advice she got from Samuel L. Jackson before taking the role in the DC movie.
Black Canary star Jurnee Smollett has shared the advice that Samuel L. Jackson gave her before she took on the role. Smollett originally played the character of Black Canary, also known as Dinah Lance, in the 2020 film Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Black Canary is a lounge singer with the power to emit hypersonic screams. She eventually teams up with Margot Robbie’s Quinn, Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to form the titular Birds of Prey and help take down her villainous employer, Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor).
After making a splash in that Suicide Squad spinoff film, Smollett has been tapped to reprise the role in a Black Canary solo movie. There are not currently many details known about the film, though it has been announced that the script is being penned by Misha Green, the creator of the HBO series Lovecraft Country, which also starred Smollett. So far the project, which is intended to be an HBO Max exclusive, has not gotten a director or any other cast members attached. However, there is a fan theory floating around that the film may feature Savant, the villain played by Michael Rooker in the opening sequence of James Gunn’s 2021 DCEU film The Suicide Squad.
Today, THR released a conversation with Jurnee Smollett about her part in the new Chris Hemsworth thriller Spiderhead and playing the role of Black Canary. She described her trepidation when taking on a character like Black Canary, who already came with fans and a certain set of expectations. She sought advice from Samuel L. Jackson, who took on a similar role in the MCU when he was cast as Nick Fury, and he guided her in typical irreverent fashion, saying that she should “go and piss on your territory.” Read her full quote below:
I remember calling him and being like, “OK, so like, yo, what do I do? Is there a way in which I should approach this any differently than how I would approach any other character? I always do so much research of the world.” And he said, “Baby, just go and piss on your territory.” So I’ve been just so truly, truly humbled by the response from the fans.
If there’s one person who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to joining major franchises, it’s Samuel L. Jackson. In addition to playing the title character in the remake of Shaft and taking on the role of Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, he joined the MCU as Nick Fury from the very beginning, facing down initial backlash for being a black actor taking on a role that was typically depicted as a white man. He went on to become one of the most essential characters of the franchise, appearing in 11 Marvel films so far as well as making cameos in several episodes of the tie-in series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and starring in the upcoming Disney+ limited series Secret Invasion.
Smollett and Jackson go way back, as well, having starred together in the 1997 Kasi Lemmons film Eve’s Bayou when Smollett was only 10 years old. It seems that he has taken on a fatherly mentor role for the Black Canary actress. However, being a father figure clearly doesn’t prevent him from indulging his well-known dirty mouth.
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