The star of ‘Daredevil’ and ‘The Defenders’ talks his favorite scenes to shoot and Matt Murdock’s psyche.
When Marvel’s Daredevil hit the digital shelf at Netflix, fans and critics alike were blown away. It quickly garnered high praise across the board-with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, multiple award nominations and arguably most importantly of all, it earned the respect of Daredevil comic fans. The writers, producers and creative team ensured the series reflected the dark gritty nature of Daredevil’s character, while at the same time ensuring the man behind the mask, Matt Murdock, was portrayed as the law abiding and god fearing man that he is.
Charlie Cox’s performance in Daredevil is without question utterly fantastic and one of the biggest reasons this show succeeded as well as it has. Cox is an English actor who prior to Daredevil and the upcoming and much talked about The Defenders, was known for having starred as Tristan Thorn in Stardust and Owen Sleater in the second and third seasons of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. At Boston Comic Con this weekend he sat down for an hour with fans to do some Q&A in a capacity packed main theater.
Will Matt and Karen’s relationship be addressed in The Defenders?
Charlie Cox: “We’re trying to bring four worlds together in a limited amount of time. A lot of the personal relationships for Matt and conversations with certain individuals will have to be put on hold because of that. We’ll have to investigate things a little more thoroughly with Karen in season 3.”
Matt Murdock has a friends in Foggy and Karen, yet he’s still kind of always been a loner. How does that type of personality fit on a team like The Defenders?
Charlie Cox: I think all four of The Defenders, maybe with the exception of Iron Fist, think of themselves as lone wolves. One of the things that’s always been interesting to me about The Defenders is it’s four characters who have no interest in working as a team. For the writers of the show it’s a challenge of figuring out how do you get these four people to want to be in a room together? I can say the first time these characters are actually in a room together is very interesting and funny.
Who’s wearing the disguise? Matt Murdock or Daredevil?
Charlie Cox: Matt Murdock really is a lie. I think he’s tormented by this idea that when he walks around in his daily life as a visually impaired lawyer, he’s fooling the world and the people he cares about. That doesn’t sit well with him as a man of faith. Matt has faith, but it’s tinged with kind of a pessimissm. He believes in the fundamental goodness of people, but also the fundamental evil of people as well. That’s whats fun about playing Matt Murdock–he’s a walking contradiction in a way. He believes in God, justice and the law but he runs around at night as a vigilante dispensing his own justice. There’s this man of faith who often has no faith in humanity.
What are the biggest challenges of playing Daredevil?
Charlie Cox: Playing a blind character. It can still be fun though! In episode four, Claire Temple chucks my shirt at me and I had this idea that I’d grab it mid air from behind without looking at it. It was a nightmare to shoot. We had to have someone off stage do a countdown to make it work. We had to do it like 15 times to make it work. I had only just met Rosario Dawson and here I am sitting there taking up hours of her time.
The material [in the mask] allows you to see a little bit. The biggest problem is we tested it on Tuesday morning. I was like “oh yeah I can see great!” Of course after that every action sequence takes place at night and every fight scene happens in the dark. So it was awful. The thing that I always found funny about the first season of Daredevil is no characters in the show were ever like “how does this guy see?!” It’s a man in a black mask and no one is questiong how he’s seeing things, let alone fighting.
On building a relationship and dynamic with the other Defenders
Charlie Cox: We all obivously knew each other a little bit. I’d seen Krysten and Mike in the corridors at the studio since we were filming shows at the same time. It’s one of those things where we came together and really hit it off. I really love those guys. The Defenders is going to be a little different from the previous shows, it’s a little more fun and light hearted. A lot more jokes. It needed to be different.
Cox proceeded to tell the crowd a story about one of the first days of filming. At lunch time the four Defenders took a break and decided to leave set to go have lunch down the street at a local sushi restaurant.
Charlie Cox: As we paid the check and we’re leaving, we’re all in costume mind you, but as we were leaving Mike walked out first. There’s this guy outside who’s obviously a fan and he sees Mike and goes ‘Oh cool!’, then Krysten walks out and the guy goes “aww no way”, then I walked out and the guy makes some sort of high pitched squeak and then finally Finn walks out and at this point the guys mouth is wide open and he’s making some kind of weird noise.”
Favorite episode of Daredevil?
Charlie Cox: As an actor my favorite was episode seven of season two. What’s happening in Matt’s life at that point is he’s working on the trial of the century, the trial of Frank Castle, ‘The Punisher.’ But at night he’s going out with Elektra, he’s not sleeping and he’s massively overwhlemed. Even worse, he’s keeping secrets from Foggy and Karen. When I was reading the script for those episodes, I was very excited to play a character who’s burning the candle at both ends and coming apart. Matt Murdock is typically a very cool customer and it’s rare for this type of thing to happen with him. It was exciting to play Matt in a circumstance he normally doesn’t find himself in.
On the best part of playing Daredevil and the best role he’s played
Charlie Cox: There are days when it’s January in New York and it’s 4am and its -10 outside and I’m in spandex on a rooftop and it’s pretty miserable. But having said that, I know that the action sequences are something special and unique to my craft as an actor, that I won’t always get to experience, especially as I get older. As painful as it can sometimes be, I really really enjoy that. I’m in a Daredevil panel in front of a lot of people. This role has changed my life. I didnt even know these things [cons] existed before this role.
Be sure to catch Charlie Cox and the rest of The Defenders when it premieres on Netflix Friday, August 18th.