Daredevil: Interview: Charlie Cox

Daredevil 2British actor Charlie Cox takes centre stage in Netflix’s new 13 part series of Daredevil. He portrays lawyer Matt Murdock who hides the secret that he is the Masked Man battling against the evils affecting Hell’s Kitchen, a part of New York that is in the process of redevelopment following the Battle of New York seen in the first Avengers movie. With the series receiving overwhelming acclaim, Cox sat down with Sci-Fi Bulletin to discuss the show…




Have you got a comic book background, or is this very new to you?

This is all very new to me. I feel like I’ve had a crash course in the last year since I got the job. I didn’t grow up on comic books at all.

DD 3There was something quite nice about the fact that I didn’t have any preconceived ideas. I hadn’t grown up on Daredevil, so I didn’t have an opinion on what the show should be like, or who Matt Murdock should be. So what I was able to do was read the scripts and go to the back catalogue and find the different writers and illustrators that best represented the show that was being written so I could concentrate on them.

I think if I had grown up on Daredevil, I wouldn’t have cast me as Matt Murdock! It was interesting to think that they were trying to go down a slightly different route.

What was fan opinion like – or do you try to stay away from it?

My mum sent me one that she thought was quite amusing: someone had blogged, when they cast me, “I don’t know who this guy is but I don’t like his face.” I’m trying to impress my bosses rather than everyone else, and hope that the fans concur with them when the show is released. I don’t think you can please everyone so you’ve got to do your best. The good news is the majority of the fans seem to be really pleased with the show in general.

Daredevil_Vol_2_38Are there any iconic moments from the comics you’d like to recreate now that season 2 has been greenlit?

Yes, but I have to preface it by saying this is in no way a spoiler, because they haven’t told me anything.

There’s loads. In the Bendis/Maleev series there’s a great few issues where Matt Murdock is defending the White Tiger [volume 2 issues 38-40]. The reason I really like that is because he’s defending a superhero, the White Tiger, but he’s also defending himself. He’s talking about himself, and I think that is just thrilling on so many different levels. It’s also great to see a superhero in a courtroom giving a closing argument.

I don’t imagine this will be the case, but I love it when Spider-Man pops up: there’s one great issue where Matt Murdock has to defend Daredevil so Peter Parker has to put on his suit for him so he can sit in the dock.

Other from that, I’d like maybe Elektra to turn up…

Although they’ve probably steered clear of it because it was so much part of the Affleck movie…

That’s a good point.

How much did the scripts change from when you came on board to what you actually shot?

This is the first time that this has been the case: almost nothing at all happened. I didn’t have them all – I was given them as they arrived – but with most television shows there are rewrite after rewrite after rewrite as they’re fine tuning. The scripts that were sent to me were so well polished; the rewrites that came in were minor typos, minor changes here and there. That was so helpful because it meant that the scripts I was working on I didn’t have to then throw that work away and rebuild and rethink everything because they’d been so drastically changed.

DD fightHow detailed were the scripts about the fighting?

Very detailed. Very, very detailed. That scene at the end of episode 2 was written exactly as performed: every camera angle was described. “The camera pans back, we rotate round to the left, we see a room full of Russians who are playing cards and watching television etc.”.

You presumably have done your stage combat qualifications?

Yes, I did mine at school.

Did you have to relearn everything for this? It’s so intense and so different from what you learn.

It’s not that I had to relearn it, but I had to tie in with the kind of martial arts that my stunt double, Chris Brewster, and stunt coordinator [Philip J. Silvera] had designed for this character. A lot of it is hand to hand combat, just two or three guys trying to knock each other out. I loved that it felt that gritty, not every move is spectacular, and amazing. The difference is every now and again Matt Murdock is able to pull something off that the others can’t, and so obviously my stunt double did those moments, and I did as much of the other stuff as I was allowed to do… which at times was quite a lot.

In episode 12, there’s quite a lot of parkour going on…

I did a bit of that! I really enjoyed that stuff. Again, some of it I wasn’t allowed to do for obvious reasons, but a lot of it I was able to do. One thing I’m quite confident at is the physical aspect of filmmaking. I’ve always enjoyed that aspect. I grew up playing a lot of sport, and I’m quite coordinated. The only danger with me is sometimes I’ll push myself a bit too hard and end up not being too safe. That’s something I have to take into account.

DD 5Was it challenging given most of the show you’re either in a mask or wearing shades?

I tend not to think about that. I think it would be a danger to act more just because you’re aware that only your jaw is showing. Maybe that’s a mistake? That was tricky. In the comics, when Daredevil is getting angry they do the gritted teeth! But there’s no way you can do that on a film set, it’s ludicrous: there are other ways to convey that. You feel an energy on screen.

The gripped hand is used a few times.

There you go. There are other devices.

Could you see through the mask?

Yes – not 20/20 vision but you can see.

And then sunglasses at night as well…

We had different shades of sunglasses. If it was a bright sunny day, we had very dark ones, and if it was dark and we were in the office there were lighter ones.

Daredevil-Costume-RevealThe vast majority of it, you’re fighting as the Masked Man, but the final fight with Fisk you’re in full costume – and for series 2 – how different was the feel? Presumably it was made of different materials, different sight: did you have to relearn?

You feel more protected in the suit, much like, I guess, Daredevil would have done. You’ve got the arm guards and the shin guards, and the black bits are designed to protect vital organs, plus you’ve got the helmet. So you feel a little bit more ballsy.

The black vigilante suit is something that he would have bought on the internet and had shipped to the house, and it’s a running top and canvas trousers, so if you pay real attention in the first two episodes, he wears just that. Third episode onwards he starts to put on shin guards that he finds which aren’t very protective but are something…

Presumably the suit is heavier?

Yeah, but it’s pretty amazing how they make it. It was pretty comfortable. It wasn’t constricting in any way: me and Chris were still able to do everything we wanted to do with it physically. I made one request: the boots that came with it were too heavy and I’d been so used to wearing these running boots. They proved so helpful when you’re doing action sequences. I went back and said, “Is there any way we can incorporate that kind of boot into the suit?” They gave me these great boots which were light, and you can jump.

[Click here to read part 2, in which Charlie Cox talks about preparing to play a blind man, shooting in New York, and the future of Daredevil on screen…]



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