“I think it was finding how to portray Fisk in an emotional way, as well as a menacing way.” – Vincent D’Onofrio on Playing the Kingpin in ‘Daredevil’
If you’re a Marvel fan and have Netflix, you’ve likely binge-watched all thirteen episodes of Daredevil, the first of several Netflix series about Marvel’s street-level superheroes. Charlie Cox, who stars as blind lawyer Matt Murdock and his alter ego Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio, who stars as Walter Fisk AKA Daredevil’s archfoe the Kingpin, joined Reddit for an Ask Me Anything chat. The two went into detail about working on the series and offered praise to each other for their work on the series.
When asked how he reacted after reading the script for the first time, Cox reveals that he was immediately on board. He says, “I wrote an email to my agents saying ‘I will play any role in this show. ..PS I want to play Daredevil.'”
D’Onofrio praised Cox’s ability to portray the same character both in and out of the Daredevil suit. He says, “I think that one of the great changes that Charlie made as an actor was to not divide the two– Matt Murdock and Daredevil. They are one. I believe that was Charlie’s choice, and an actor, and that was very smart. That unlike other superheroes, there’s really no change when the vigilante outfit is on. He is Matt Murdock and Daredevil all the time.”
The English-born Cox had to prepare himself to portray the Man Without Fear in numerous ways — including reading lots of comics. He explains, “Obviously I had to learn quite a few skill sets for this role. The main ones being: Blindness, form of martial arts and the American accent. However, the greater part of my preparation was spent reading comics. I think you will find influence from many of the DD writers and illustrators over the years. Personally, I found Bendis/Maleev runs incredibly helpful in terms of the tone of our show.” Later, Cox also elaborated on the physical demands of the role and complimented his stunt double. He says, “I have always really enjoyed the physical aspect of filmmaking and asked that I be able to do as much of the action as possible. This turned out to be quite a lot and as you say labor intensive. However, I should mention my incredible stuntman Chris Brewster.”
As the elder of the two, D’Onofrio has far more acting experience. In fact, he says that he no longer finds acting intimidating as he did when he was working with Stanley Kubrick in his first movie. He says, “I think when I was younger roles were intimidating. Now I just see each one as an adventure. I guess when I was young, the role in Full Metal Jacket, because it was my first film. These days, I only hope to get complicated and difficult roles to play. Because as I said, that’s where the adventure lies for me.”
D’Onofrio reflected on what it was like to play a multi-layered villain. “I think it was finding how to portray Fisk in an emotional way, as well as a menacing way. It was important to me to take Steven DeKnight’s words off the page and perform them to include the humanity that he wrote them with. That was the biggest challenge throughout, to keep it sprinkled with the Marvel universe with a superhero feel, and at the same time ground it with emotional truth.”
Cox also had high praise for D’Onofrio and how his participation brought more prestige to the series. He admits, “When I found out he had been cast in the role, I knew that this show was going to be serious. I knew I had to bring my A game. He is one of the best actors out there. And also, it turns out a lovely man.“