If anyone can take on King Kong and live to tell the tale, it’s Samuel L. Jackson.

Jackson plays Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard, a no-holds barred helicopter squadron leader who makes it his mission to defeat Kong on Skull Island.

“[The role] was pretty much a no-brainer,” Jackson told Entertainment Studios‘ Jon Kelley recently. “When somebody finally said, ‘Umm, they want to talk to you about being in ‘King Kong’ — I was like, ‘Talk to me about it? I’m down; let’s do it.’ It’s one of those movies I would have gone to see when I was a kid. To be able to go see it with me in it is a bonus.”

The film, Kong: Skull Island, hits theaters today. It’s a familiar and undeniable role for Jackson, an Oscar nominee and one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.

So how does he continually and successfully play a badass on screen?

“The key to playing a tough guy is confidence,” Jackson said. “Being able to bluff your way or tough your way out of anything and don’t blink. You gotta be that guy — it’s always about who blinks first. Don’t blink. Stay there with it.”