Thanks to his freshly shaved head and snappy wardrobe, Vincent D'Onofrio walks into the room basically as the Kingpin, the bald baddie he'll play in "Daredevil," Marvel's upcoming Netflix series. It's a far cry from his character in "the Judge," which has its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. He plays big brother to a hotshot lawyer played by Robert Downey Jr., an acting contemporary — and fellow Marvel employee — D'Onofrio somehow hadn't crossed paths with before.
I like the look. How long do you have live like that?
I actually don't mind it, it's kind of nice. But until December, we shoot. For the first 13 [episodes].
It's surprising you and Robert Downey Jr. hadn't crossed paths before.
We were surprised, too. Basically we're the same generation of actor. I remember, I told him this story when we first met. I was sitting in a movie theater watching "Chaplin" — I'm a little older than him, but he started acting before I did — and I turned to my best friend and said, "Man, if this guy can do this, I'm f---ing done for." I was so amazed by his talent. You know, he's an extraordinary guy, Mr. Downey. I consider him a close friend now, we've become good friends. We've talked about it, that we wish that we had worked together in the past. But there's plenty of time now.
Did you and Downey make any reference to your work as "Thor" in "Adventures in Babysitting," seeing as how he plays Iron Man?
Yeah. Yeah, a lot. (laughs) We're both part of the Marvel thing now. It's a big world, that world. It's awesome. Actually, when I was considering playing [Kingpin], I asked his advice. I trust his opinion. As far as the Marvel machine, it's pretty impressive. Never mind how much business they do and blah blah blah, that's a whole other world. I'm not really in that world. But creatively they're just completely on top of it.
How has it been coming back to film after being on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" for so long?
I'm glad that I'm doing films again. I'm really, really, really enjoying myself. And when you work for Netflix, it's like doing a giant film. I don't feel like I'm back in the television business or anything, because it's basically a 13-hour movie.
It is fascinating the way television is morphing that way, with things like "True Detective" and "House of Cards."
Yeah, the whole world has changed. I wish that it had changed about 10 years earlier, but are you going to do?
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick