With two seasons of Daredevil under his belt, Charlie Cox has shown us that he is The Man Without Fear, embodying the masked hero that we have seen for over fifty years in the comics. Charlie came from a theater background, one that he’s returning to in New York City for Incognito this summer. Rappler recently caught up with the actor to talk to him about his embodiment of Matt Murdock, and how his personal morals compare with those of his character and his enemies. You can read bits of the interview below and then head over to the source to check out the full interview!
When it comes to Daredevil, one thing that we can all agree on is that it has some of the best stunt-work out of any comic book adaption – whether on the big or small screen. When asked what that was like for him, Charlie explained that his job isn’t as hard as it looks. With no fight experience, he has learned to create these fantastic fight sequences along the way, while also coming to appreciate just how talented his stunt double (Chris Brewster) is at doing the more complicated stuff.
You know, it was kind of easier than it probably looks because I have a very amazing stunt double, and he was able to do a lot of the heavy-lifting early on. And as the first season kind of developed, then I got better at it and practiced more and did more of the scenes. You know, I was able to do kind of… more of all the sequences and I was better at it.
The second season was particularly fun because I was very heavily involved with all of the action sequences. And I was, just last year, not as much as I was this year.
What I can do is I can do the hand-to-hand combat stuff and the kicking and the punching. I can learn the choreography quite well, but obviously there is a lot of the Daredevil signature moves – you know – the big kick flips and stuff that’s not me. [laughs]
Charlie went on to talk about past comments in regards to his particular voice for Daredevil. After all, as fantastic as the show is, there’s no denying that it has managed to become its own thing outside of the comics. For Cox, it was important to make this version of Matt Murdock his own as opposed to trying to take everything from the comics and make it something else.
In an interview with Variety back in March, you mentioned that you consider the show as one particular take on Daredevil, and not just the graphic novel version. So, in your mind, what would you think is the main difference – if any – between Netflix’s interpretation of Daredevil and the comic books?
Well, what I meant by that is if you read the comics – if you read them all from 1964 – if you’ve read every single Daredevil comic, what you discover is that they changed immensely based on the era, the writer, the illustrator, even the editors.
The tones change. The characters change. The way they look change. The way Matt looks changes, and also his voice. I know, obviously, it’s a book, but his voice, meaning, the way he talks – the way he’s written changes.
And so, it’s evident to me early on that there’s no way that you can be all of those Matt Murdocks, ’cause they’re different. You have to choose.
I have to find the Matt Murdock that is appropriate for this show on Netflix and the Matt Murdock that I believe was written by Drew Goddard in his first few scripts.
So there are issues, there are different runs of comics that I think best represent our show. I think that it was important to be specific rather than try and please everyone ’cause I think that’s the danger.
You have to remember that it’s me – I’ve been cast. So, I have to be within the realms of possibility for me. [laughs]
It is amazing how Cox has created his own voice for Matt Murdock, yet feels so true to the character from the comics. With the emotional journey Matt has endured so far, what might be left for him as he goes forward? And what about The Defenders, which Cox is set to film next?
Well, I don’t know ’cause I don’t know what the future holds in terms of whether we do a third season or not. I mean, obviously, the next thing that happens is The Defenders, and I must say this, but I have no idea what the storyline will be for The Defenders. I guess they’re writing it, or they’re beginning to write it right about now. So, I don’t know what those – what the story will be.
But, obviously, The Defenders means that in some way, Matt Murdock will be teaming up with other characters. And so, one of the lessons that he’s had to learn in season 2 is he’s had to learn to fight alongside someone else, which was something he was unwilling to do in the first season. He’s adamant that he’s gonna do this by himself. He doesn’t wanna endanger or bring anyone else to the mix.
In season 2, he allows Elektra to help him, and he needs her. There is no way he would be able to do – they’ll be able to do what they do – that nobody will be able to take on me, Matt, and ninjas that they take on in season 2, if it wasn’t for her. I mean she helps him and trains him.
And so, going forward, he’s able to go further with feeling comfortable with working alongside other people. And I think that’s an emotional journey, as well as – you know – a practical one.
Over the course of the first two seasons of Daredevil, we’ve seen a rather big change in Matt Murdock. Not only has he fully developed into this vigilante, eager to clean up the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, but he has also found himself facing the likes of Frank Castle and Elektra during the second season.
How do you think is Matt or Daredevil threatened by The Punisher or Elektra’s challenge to his power or position as the protector of Hell’s Kitchen?
A really good question. I think that the biggest challenge for Matt in season 2 is the emotional journey that he has to go on, and the coming to terms with the idea that The Punisher is not too dissimilar from himself, and that is immensely scary to Matt.
Initially, when The Punisher shows up – when Frank Castle shows up – Matt views him in the same way that he viewed Wilson Fisk. He’s a bad guy, and he needs to be brought to justice.
And then, of course, Karen Page suggests that he’s actually not a bad guy. He’s kind of a force for good, but he kills people. And she is the one that kind of presents to Matt the idea that him and Daredevil are quite similar, which is terrifying to Matt because if that’s true, then he is, in some ways, responsible for all of the massacres that The Punisher has brought to Hell’s Kitchen.
Scarier still is in the back of Matt’s mind – I think – he thinks that if that’s true, if he is responsible, then he has to give up Daredevil. I don’t know that Matt is ready to do that. I don’t think he wants to, and I don’t think he’s capable of it yet.
He’s fallen in love. He’s addicted, and he needs Daredevil. In the way that he says that the city needs him, he needs Daredevil, you know.
Elektra is, you know, the kind of person that she represents, the way that she operates – the way she lives her life is challenging for Matt because he’s very attracted to her, and she accepts him in a way that no one else accepts him.
She’s the only person in his life that truly loves Daredevil, who knows about Daredevil, and loves him, respects him and wants to engage fully in being touch with his dark side. So, that feeling is incredibly empowering for him, and it’s incredibly tempting.
As Cox notes above, we saw Matt’s love life take an interesting turn during season two. Not only does Matt find himself interested in Karen, but he also sees himself being pulled back to Elektra. Of course, when it was all said and done, it was Elektra that Matt ended up with, so what does this mean going forward? Are we going to see Karen become a “fall-back plan” for Matt with Elektra [currently] out of the picture again? For Cox, it was important for him that this wouldn’t be the case.
There was lots of discussion about that because what was important to me – what I said to the writers about that time, is somehow, Elektra drew him back in. Somehow, he was able to go to a vulnerable place with her, and he opened the floodgates of the past with her. And that affected him deeply.
In doing so, he betrayed Karen a little bit. And what was important to me was that, at the end of the season, he doesn’t choose Karen because he’s lost Elektra.
And the moment at the end of season 2, the sense of that scene should be that Matt – it’s effectively Matt saying, “I don’t know how to explain to you what happened. I don’t know how you and I would recover from this. I don’t know if we have a future.”
“But what I do know, is that the only chance we have is if you know the whole truth – if you know everything, if there are no more secrets. And this is my secret. This is who I am.”
And so that’s what that moment is, and you know, if they are to rebuild a relationship, that’s gonna take time, and similarly, he needs to rebuild with Foggy.
When it comes to a third season of Daredevil – hey Netflix, where’s my announcement? – there are really so many different situations that the future of Daredevil could include. We can see how he got here by watching seasons one and two, which are both currently streaming on Netflix. We’ll see Charlie Cox in the MCU next in The Defenders, which is filming this fall.