Daredevil is one of Netflix’s most anticipated original series releases, and set to drop in just a few days for your binge-watching pleasure. Many of you may be familiar with Marvel’s street level superhero – but what’s great is that those who aren’t can just come in and discover the tale of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox): blind crime lawyer by day, vigilante crime fighter by night, against the underground crime ring led by Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio).
We got a chance to talk to Daredevil himself, Charlie Cox, about the show – along with his, team composed of Elden Henson (who plays his firm partner Foggy Nelson), Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page), Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple/Night Nurse) and the producers behind the series, Steven DeKnight and Jeph Loeb. Find out what you need to know about the exciting world of Hell’s Kitchen, it’s heroes and villains.
Daredevil takes a more rooted approach to the world everyday citizens live in, versus the large scale conflicts of The Avengers. What steps were taken to pull grounded stories from the Daredevil canon and yet have them make sense as results from the incidents in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Jeph Loeb: It goes to character, character, character. While we didn’t pick any specific storyline from any of the runs on Daredevil, we definitely were spiritually influenced largely by Frank Miller and Michael Bendis’ run, Alex Maleev’s art. With Alex’s art, we looked at that and said “that’s the look of the show.” And that really captures it.
For us, it all really came down to character. With 13 hours, what we have is the luxury of time. If we were doing a movie, you’d see Wilson Fisk in the first ten minutes. Because we have 13 hours to play with, we don’t see him til the end of Episode Three. Even if we were on a network, you’d see a lot more of Wilson Fisk in the first episode but because we’re with Netflix, they really support long form story telling. We can let the story breathe, which is what I really loved about working on this, is that we never felt like we had to burn through a bunch of story. We never felt like we had to have three action set pieces per episode to keep the audience interested. We just simply allowed it to breathe and live the way it wanted to live
Steven DeKnight: By the same token, one of my favorite things is when you first get to meet Wilson. We always talked about this idea that we were gonna create this on the one hand monster, we needed to make sure we saw another side of it. Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock is so compelling and damaged and vulnerable and funny and is all of those things, we needed to make sure his antagonist was as strong.
So that entire episode is built around a love story, and then this horrific thing happens that instantly shakes you out of and over that. That’s part of the joy of being able to know that you don’t have to wait another week to see what happens, you just hit a button and you get to find out what happens next.
The end of Episode Two had an amazingly intense fight sequence in the hallway. What was the training like leading up to that shoot, and how was that day on set?
Charlie Cox: I did all of that. I remember reading that in the script and having to go through it very, very slowly and being like “Wait. how is this going to work? What’s this going to look like?” It was really a very magical day because it was one of the last days of – we block shot the first two episodes with [director] Phil Abraham – it was one of the last shoot days of that, and we had all day dedicated to it.
First half of the day was just the camera movement, the camera going back and forth and making sure we got all the angles and where we’re supposed to be. It’s very, very tricky because every single hit has to sell on camera. If one is missed the whole shot doesn’t work. I think we did 12 takes, and I think three were usable and one of them was fantastic. And we watched that back when it finally happened, you know midway through one of them Chris took one to the head and we weren’t sure he was going to continue. But it was wild because the way that we did it, I walk into a door and I quickly hop out, and he continues and he comes out and I run back around the set, come in and do a little bit and I’m out another way, and he goes in and I come back out with the kid. It was pretty spectacular.
Rosario Dawson: I love that [the fight scene] keeps going, and that’s the thing with the luxury of the time that we have. When you’re doing a 13-hour movie almost, you really get to take that time not only with the fights, but with everything – with the development of the suit, the development of characters and the idea, and the back and forth and the stress and going “Am I doing this?”
That’s the thing I’m so moved by, when I think about the hero’s journey and someone who decides to take that on and be someone who says “I am going to take on vigilante justice, this is my calling.“ It’s not something that just happens once. You don’t go “Okay, I’m a fireman, I’m a police officer.“ You have to put on that suit everyday. At any point you can walk away.
The fact that this person gets back up and tries again and throws this punch again, you’re just like “Yes!” It’s exciting, they’re doing it and like a police officer or fireman, they’re just this normal person. There’s no radioactive spider bite or alien father, iron suit or magic hammer. There is nothing, no different kinds of things to take you out. Seeing the moments that looked like they hurt, that makes it real. I think that’s gonna be the difference.
Did that affect your choices, as far as what motivates Claire to help Matt and justify helping this person who is doling out this grey area justice?
Rosario Dawson: I know, I like that it’s our tagline, “Justice is blind.” I think how we even imagine what that looks like, we have blinders on, how to get to these different things. When you’re really talking about helping here, in a lot of situations, it’s hard to even get someone to call 911 – let alone try to jump in and protect somebody, or put themselves in danger before they think of someone else.
I think she [has done that] in her own background of what she does. She’s used to being in emergency situations, she’s used to going in and trying to help but she’s usually patching people back up. She’s not patching them back up so they can go back out and get scrappy again. And so that’s a really interesting thing, because she believes in him and believes in what he’s doing, but is definitely confronting and it’s not challenging for her to accept. That’s the amazing thing, and especially as you go through the series, you’ll see a lot of people confronted with what they think they know.
And looking at the gritty, dark, not black-and-white, very grey reality, things won’t always fit into the perfect box that you want it to. That’s why it makes them reluctant heroes, because it isn’t easy and it isn’t perfect, but that’s what makes them heroes because they keep doing it. [Claire] does heroic things, but I think she is definitely moved by who he is as a person and recognizes in herself and asks, “Could I be doing more?” And I’m curious to see how people react to that. It’s a subliminal question, but I think it’s a very real question that’s presented with the show.
Foggy and Karen definitely complement Matt, in that they all have different strengths that make this team a family. Elden, what was important to you in being able to bring Foggy to life? And Deborah, did current events like the information leaks inform you in fleshing out Karen?
Elden Henson: It was a pleasure to work with this group of people from top to bottom, everyone on the crew. It’s an incredible experience. I just try not to get fired. That’s what I’m doing. [laughs] I do whatever I can with what’s presented to me. Yeah, I just try not to get fired.
Deborah Ann Woll: With Karen, I thought a little bit about the idea of the sort of whistle-blower. We’re in the weird world right now where that’s kind of happening here. You keep hearing stories, and it’s sort of topical. Are you really going to take down people who you thought were your friends, but then they betray you? That’s a very scary, delicate place to be. And I think once she decides to commit to that then yes, she has to play that role. She has to play the role of the person who is not going to give up, and isn’t gonna let scare tactics take her down.
Daredevil will premiere its entire 13-episode first season on April 10, exclusively on Netflix.