You might not have had the chance to watch all of Luke Cage on Netflix — and if you tried to binge it on launch day, there’s a good chance that Netflix was down. It’s believed that the latest Marvel series was so popular that it crashed Netflix. One of the reasons why Luke Cage is so popular is Simone Missick, who plays policewoman Misty Knight. Although comic fans know Knight for her powerful bionic right arm, Missick portrays the human behind the superhero (though she isn’t ruling out a bionic arm in a future season). In an interview with Vulture, Missick speaks about what she loves about the character and the surprising amount of improvisation allowed on set.
Missick admits that at first she didn’t realize that her character eventually becomes a superhero — and that she actually fell in love with her before she knew Misty Knight had those abilities. She explains, “When I read the sides — you know Marvel is so secretive I didn’t get a script — I had no idea this was Misty Knight, that she was a superhero. That she had a bionic arm. It was just some woman named ‘Missy’ who was a detective. A lot of times when we look at drama, which it came off on the page as, it’s very one way. She’s a cop. She’s just spouting out dialogue. With this there was so much humor. And ‘Missy’ was so funny. She was sarcastic and she was smart, she was sexy and she was strong without trying to be. It didn’t feel like a bravado she was putting on. It just seemed like it came from who she was. I felt like Misty keyed into all those things I identify with myself.”
Despite Marvel being so secretive about its scripts and so particular about its universe, Missick reveals that she was able to improvise some of her character’s dialogue. She says, “You know, with Frank Whaley, who plays Detective Scarfe, my partner, our directors really gave us a lot of freedom to improvise. Although the writing is amazing, it is a superhero show. So the cops are there to push the story along. Frank and I, as actors, recognized what’s interesting to see is humor. So we’d come on set and you’d think we were trying to do a sitcom. We’re like, ‘What can we say here? Let’s do this!’ Every day it was something. He would decide I want to eat in this scene. It would build things that were already on the page to make them more organic.”