If your only exposure to the Daredevil comic book character is the much-maligned Ben Affleck movie, get ready for a change: Netflix’s new “Daredevil” series, premiering April 10, is bringing a new look to the character. As played by Brit Charlie Cox, the character doesn’t yet have his trademark horned outfit, and is something of a gritty street fighter. We checked in with Cox about what it’s like taking on an iconic character and whether or not he can actually see anything in that Daredevil costume.
What do you think sets Daredevil apart from other superheroes?
The great thing about the Daredevil character is that he doesn’t have any superpowers so they ground him in reality. One thing that I found quite enjoyable about playing this character is, if he gets hit he bleeds, if he gets cut he bleeds, and he doesn’t have unbreakable skin or there isn’t any ambiguity about whether you can kill him or not. If you shoot him he dies, you know? And he’s learned to live with this secret, which marks itself as a disability, but it isn’t actually a hindrance. He’s able to access it and use it in a way so that he can operate better than a seeing person.
He also seems to swing back and forth between being this really violent vigilante and the guy who jokes around with his law practice buddy.
We meet Matt Murdock at a time of his life where he’s kind of on the brink of something. Maybe he doesn’t know it at first, but he’s beginning the evolution into what we’ll come to know as Daredevil. And so, I think he’s quite serious a lot of the time. I don’t think he has always been that way or will always be that way, but our Matt Murdock in this season is very conflicted, he’s very confused, he’s quite frightened, I think, at times, which is ironic, because he’s known as the one without fear. And I feel like he’s looking for the balance, he’s looking for the harmony, he’s looking for the way to be who he is becoming, but also remember that lighthearted self, and the guy who has a sense of fun and a sense of playfulness and love.
How good is the visibility in the hood they have you wear?
It depends—you know, in broad daylight it’s pretty good, you can see almost everything through it. Obviously a lot of the occupational hazard of a hooded superhero is that you go out at nighttime [laughs]. So the visibility isn’t quite as good, but you adapt to it and it never proves so problematic that we couldn’t shoot anything.
Will we see the more iconic Daredevil costume this season?
You’ll see it in the first season. Unfortunately I can’t tell you when, but there will be an evolution from that early costume into something that is more recognizable to the traditional Daredevil costume.
And for fans of the comic, which ones did you draw the most inspiration from?
There’s a number of series called the Bendis Maleev [Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev] series, and, you know, they did a bunch of stuff in the ’90s and the early 2000s and tonally and thematically, they were very in keeping with the scripts that I had read for the first few episodes. They painted a very grey, dark world. The lines between good and evil and right and wrong are very blurry, and we meet a Matt Murdock and a Daredevil who dances on both sides of those lines, so it was very compelling to read and felt very realistic and truthful and gritty, and so those are the ones I focused on the most. But one of the things I was told very early on is that the show is quite heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s “Man Without Fear,” so I read all that stuff as well.