Actor signs long-term deal to play Nick Fury

Samuel L. Jackson has buried the hatchet with Marvel Entertainment, making a deal to play the role of Nick Fury in “Iron Man 2,” and potentially many other films.

Jackson’s deal is a long-term commitment to play Fury, the leader of the espionage unit the Shield. His deal contains an option to play the character in nine future Marvel superhero films, efforts that are expected to include “Captain America,” “Thor,” “The Avengers” and “The Shield” as well as potential sequels.

Jackson introduced Fury in the closing moments of “Iron Man,” when the character asked Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark to join his group. Fury is a natural to show up in multiple Marvel franchises, as he crosses paths with many Marvel superheroes in the comicbooks.

Jackson’s Marvel future looked murky, after he reportedly expressed his displeasure with the producer-financier’s initial offer to reprise his role. Jackson was hardly alone: Even though “Iron Man” grossed more than $600 million worldwide, Marvel brass has been sparing in offers to talent like Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell to play villains in the sequel, sources said.

Jackson and his ICM reps have evidently cleared those dealmaking hurdles, and he will take part in the sequel that director Jon Favreau shoots in the spring, with Paramount Pictures distributing in summer 2010.

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