With the much-anticipated second season of Marvel's Daredevil dropping on everyone's Netflix a couple of weeks ago, Charlie Cox sits down with ClickTheCity at his Asia press junket at the Sofitel So Hotel, Singapore, for an exclusive interview. The British actor who plays Daredevil/Matt Murdock in the Netflix Original Series is set to visit Hong Kong and Japan next for a series of Netflix Asia activities.
With everyone now being incredibly mobile and connected wherever we go, the on-demand and multi-platform nature of the leading Internet televsion network makes binge-watching more fun with shows like Daredevil ready for you to stream anytime, anywhere, without any commercial interruptions. "What's interesting about Netflix is that we're not reliant on ratings," Cox shares, "they don't release their numbers and so, no one is watching or not watching our show based on the number of people that are watching. Everyone has to make their mind themselves, you know? And so that's a lovely freedom--there's a sense of relief behind that." Creators at Netflix are given no limits on narrative, making the platform ripe for exciting and innovative content. For the Marvel fans, Daredevil is the first of a series of Netflix originals of Marvel superheroes, which includes Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, which all lead up to the characters teaming up for The Defenders. "What I like about our show, what's interesting about Daredevil on Netflix is that it doesn't rely on CGI at all. It's all practical," the actor adds, "It's possible to have amazing stunts without the use of computer generated technology."
Cox knows well the weight he bears of the Stan Lee creation, and is grateful to be part of the show that has the superhero in a gritty crime drama, revealing the underbelly of New York in darker tones. "For whatever reason, there's a huge appetite for superheroes, and what we've seemed to learn is that it's just not kids who like superhero content," he says. "Putting Daredevil on Netflix allows us to give a show to a slightly more mature audience and include slightly more sophisticated themes and ideas. So far, that seems to work. One of the things that come clear to me having met many of the fans is that if you grew up as a great Daredevil fan, you didn't cease to become a fan when you hit a certain age. A lot of these fans are still great fans. They may not read the comics everyday like they did when they were kids, but they're still great, passionate fans that are well into their thirties, forties and fifties. And so, a lot of the older fans have said to me, the ones I've met, said it's so nice to have a superhero show that's for me."
Twenty minutes seemed like only five as we sat down with Charlie Cox and talked about the show -- there still were many unanswered questions on my page-long list afterward, especially after bingeing on season two during the long break. Keeping highlights of the Q&A session spoiler-free for those who have yet to catch up, read below the interview with Netflix's blind crime-fighting vigilante and 'avocado at law.'
Question: I read in a previous interview that you took a crash course on who Daredevil was once you got the role. How has this shaped your idea of how Matt Murdock should be, versus maybe when one approaches it from a fan's perspective, someone who grew up with the material?
Charlie Cox: Yeah. I think many ways. Actually, it was quite helpful because when you read the Daredevil comics, which I started to do after I've gotten the part, one of the things you discover is that the character and the tone of these comics change immensely over the years, depending greatly on the time period, the writers, and the illustrators. The look changes. Frank Miller's Daredevil is very different from Brian Bendis' Daredevil who is very different from Brubaker's, and even Stan Lee's. What was helpful was that the first thing that I read was the script for the show. Then once I had a sense of who this character was from the scripts, I was then able to go to the comics and find the different runs and the different eras that best represented the show and concentrate on that. I think if you are a fan--not to say that a fan of the show couldn't do a great job--but I think it would be a danger that you would try and encompass the entire run of Daredevil and that would be a mistake; I think you have to be specific. And I think that it was kind of easier for me to do.
You said you felt connected with your characters. What are the similarities you have with Matt Murdock or Daredevil?
You know, I think I said before the things I like about this particular superhero and this portrayal of him, the way he is written, is that I like exploring his flaws. I like trying to make him relatable by exposing the sides of him that he isn't maybe as proud of. It's undeniable that he is incredibly brave and courageous, and he's a force for good and he's trying to help people, and he wants nothing more. He wants to make the city better for people. But at the same time, he's incredibly selfish. He has a disregard for his friends at times, he's kind of dismissive of them because he believes what he is doing is more important than friendships. He's got a temper, he's stubborn. He is arrogant at times. He has a childlike sense of invincibility, he's foolish... And I relate to a lot of those qualities, you know? [laughs] That's the best fun for me, playing a superhero that's deeply flawed. In many ways I relate to all of those things. I'm capable of all of those things. But he's definitely braver than I am. [laughs] But he's also probably got a lot more temper.
How different was it for you preparing for season two, compared to season one?
Yeah, we have less of that Catholic guilt in season two, but partly because he was so busy in season two. In season one, Matt, he's after one man. And because he doesn't always have his next move, he spends a lot of time in his apartment feeling the feelings of guilt and concern about what he was doing, and all those kind of things. And he was plagued by doubt in season one. By the end of season one, because of what happens with Wilson Fisk, I think he feels vindicated. I think he feels like he was right--he made the right choice, and it's benefitted the city. And he saw value. And with that comes an arrogance and a swagger. So in preparation for season two, I really wanted to find Matt Murdock who kind of like held himself differently. A Matt Murdock who knew at the back of his mind that he's a celebrity in many ways. And then of course, hopefully what's interesting about that is that he then had to suffer a great humiliation, a great humbling, over the course of season two, because he's confronted with even bigger problems than the previous year.
Moving forward to a possible season three, which characters do you want to cross paths with Daredevil in the show?
I have to be very careful about answering this kind of question because firstly, I don't know if there will be a season three. But also because I've been told off in the past for speculating. [laughs] The one I will say which I think is fair to say is, I would like to see Wilson Fisk return for a full season, I think that we don't need to have a new baddie every year just because we're trying to change it up. What I love about the Daredevil comics is that this character Wilson Fisk, he's constantly there, he's constantly in the background. You can't get rid of him. And the relationship and the dynamic is potentially so interesting and sophisticated and true to life. You can't just kill all your enemies and wait for the next one to emerge. Having said that, I do think that if we do continue to make Daredevil at some point, I'd like to see Bullseye show up, because I don't think it would be complete without him. But I do fear for Karen Page's life if that happens.
With season one generating so much noise and getting great reviews, do you feel more confident now moving on to season two?
No, not really. I mean, I care greatly about this character. And also, from an acting point of view, when I've done movies in the past--you know, you do a movie and a year later it comes out, and the reviews come out a year later. And by then you've done something else, you have something else that you are invested in and thinking about. And so, obviously you care how the movie does, but there's a detachment since it's been a long time. For the last two years, all I have been doing is Daredevil. It's all I've done. And I am emotionally, tremendously connected to the character in the show and my work in that it takes up a lot of my life. It's hard work, I'm the lead character in it, so I'm heavily involved in all aspects of it, and so it's impossible for me to be blasé about the outcome. When season one came out, I was thrilled with the response. But equally I was just as nervous about how we're going to recreate it, how we'll do it all over again. I think that it's that natural, you know? You hope that it all comes together and people respond to it in a way that that you want it to. What's interesting about Netflix is that we're not reliant on ratings. They don't release their numbers and so, no one is watching or not watching our show based on the number of people that are watching. Everyone has to make their mind themselves, you know? And so that's a lovelty freedom--there's a sense of relief behind that. I've got friends who are on shows which are incredibly well reviewed and critically acclaimed and they enjoyed filming immensely, but the numbers aren't good, and ultimately that's what matters for certain networks. So it's an interesting one, I hope that we get to keep on doing it but I also hope that we get to do keep doing it because it's good, you know? So, we'll see.
All 13 episodes of Marvel's Daredevil season two are now available to binge-watch on Netflix. Watch everything on Netflix by signing up for a plan (Basic/P370, Standard/P460, Premium/P550) and get one month free. Visit www.netflix.com, like Netflix Asia on Facebook (/netflixasia) and follow on Instagram and Twitter (@netflixasia).