'Daredevil' Star Charlie Cox: Matt Murdock Has Met His Match In The Punisher

The star talks with THR about Elektra's arrival and more details from season two.
Courtesy of Netflix

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Daredevil season two, episode three.]

Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is done underestimating The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) on Netflix's Daredevil.

Episode three of the Netflix drama's sophomore season ended after Frank Castle aka The Punisher had Matt tied up on a roof, able to only helplessly watch as Frank murdered someone right in front of him.

Frank then instigated a fight with the Dogs of Hell biker gang that Matt was forced to finish. This was the second time in as many interactions that Frank had the upper hand on Matt, and Matt now knows the kind of fire power and dedication Frank has at his disposal. He understands Frank's philosophy and vendetta. And he's going to use that knowledge in any way he can to bring Hell's Kitchen's newest killer to justice. 

The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Cox about how failing to stop the Punisher twice will affect Matt going forward as Daredevil, fight scenes and more.

Let's talk about the introduction of The Punisher. Based on the first half of the season, Matt seems to have really met his match — physically and philosophically.

That's a great way of putting it. When Frank turns up, initially Matt would like to stop him in the same way he stopped Wilson Fisk [Vincent D'Onofrio] — a bad guy who needs to be brought to justice. But what is made very clear to him quite quickly is that it's slightly more complicated than that. What becomes clear to Matt, despite how different he feels, is that he and Frank Castle are very similar. That's a horrible idea for Matt to stomach because what he sees in Frank Castle is a killer. That's everything that Matt isn't and doesn't believe that he is. A lot of the relationship that Matt and Frank build is based on this difference of opinion that ultimately results in Matt and Frank having to recognize that they're actually more similar than they are different.

Episode three marks the second time that Matt has gone up against The Punisher, and the second time he's failed to bring him down. After the events of season one, what does Matt think of this new threat?

From Matt's point of view, he sees it as a shortcoming of his rather than a triumph of Frank's. Matt is capable of being quite arrogant and stubborn in that way. If you were to ask him when he's chained up in episode three, "How did you lose those fights?" He would say it all stems from a lack of attention. He wasn't able to sense the gun at the end of episode one. Of course, it's that gunshot that causes his momentary lapses of hearing, which is his entire power ultimately in many ways. He recognizes that Frank Castle is a real threat, but he thinks that he's more of a threat based on his gun power over his physical fighting ability. He just happens to have caught Matt off guard on a couple of occasions and that's completely frustrating to him.

How is that going to affect Matt as Daredevil going forward?

One of the things that's going to happen this season is something that Karen [Deborah Ann Woll] and Foggy [Elden Henson] have been saying to Matt all along, even though Karen of course doesn't know that Matt is Daredevil. Even Stick's [Scott Glenn] been saying it: You can't do this yourself. You can't take all of this on yourself. It's too much. You won't make it. That's something that becomes clear to Matt this season. If he continues to try and do the job he's doing as Daredevil, i.e. bringing villains to justice vigilante style, then he's going to need help.

Matt doesn't seem like the kind of person who would ask for help ...

Maybe there was a time when the criminal world had not become accustomed to him and so he had the upper hand for a period of time. But eventually, they are going to figure it out and be prepared for him. That's going to be pretty bad for him when that does happen. Frank Castle is the first example of that. Thankfully for Matt, though we don't know this at first, Frank initially doesn't have any interest in trying to kill Daredevil. Frank does have his own sort of moral code, though Matt doesn't know this. Whether Matt respects that moral code is irrelevant. He still does have it.

The stairway tracking shot in episode three rivals, if not tops, the hallway tracking fight scene from season one. How did filming this shot compare?

It was great. It was a very tall order. And as soon as I read it on the page, I thought, "Wow, we're really going to try and top this? Is that even wise? Are there too many similarities with it being a hallway/stairwell fight in one take?" I learned to never underestimate the fight coordinator Phil Silvera and Chris Brewster my stunt double, because they're so extraordinary. We had about two days to do it. It's tricky because I really don't get any time to learn these action sequences beforehand. I'm learning it as we go during filming that day, six or 10 moves at a time or however much I can remember. This time around we were aware of it being an homage. We went bigger and I think it turned out brilliant.

Matt's relationship with Karen is growing into something bigger this season after such a slow burn in season one. Matt has only been in short-term relationships so far, so what is it about Karen that's different for him?

There's two things going on with that. I think Karen is the love of Matt's life. But whether he knows that yet or not, I don't know. From the comics and based on the history of the characters, when Matt Murdock meets Karen Page, you know that sparks must fly because of their comics history. On this show, what we're hopefully encouraged to believe and see is that Karen Page represents exactly who Matt Murdock should be with, who he needs to be with, who he would benefit enormously from teaming up with in a romantic way.

And Karen adores Matt. She's smitten with him. She's so in awe of his courage and his bravery and his resolve. But the big problem is that the massive elephant in that room is that she doesn't know everything there is to know about Matt. If she were to find out, that could considerably change her opinion of him and her feelings towards him. But what's strange about it is that Matt is able to be a version of himself with Karen that is completely authentic. It's his true self and he really flourishes when he's around her. But he's still not able to confide in her and reveal to her this other side of himself.

Elektra's (Elodie Yung) arrival is coming sooner than viewers think. What are viewers going to see from her dynamic with Matt?

That follows really well from the previous question, because that one thing I was talking about, that one aspect that is the problem with Matt and Karen, the thing that Karen doesn't know about Matt, that's the one thing that Elektra does know about Matt. In a completely different way, he's able to be himself with Elektra in a way that he's not able to be with Karen. That is truly thrilling. For Daredevil to go out there and be himself and reveal himself to someone exactly who he is when he's in that Daredevil persona is something that he's never really been able to do. He did it a little bit with Claire [Rosario Dawson] and now Foggy does know but he doesn't feel quite comfortable being his true self around either of them. With Elektra, she encourages it. She wants him to be Daredevil. She wants him to take things further with it and tap into his darker side.

How does Matt feel about Elektra?

It's very tempting for Matt to listen to the voices that say, "Yes, this is who you are, go further, go deeper." But on the other side, you've got Frank Castle calling him a half-measure because he's unable to bring these criminals to justice with any form of finality. That Matt/Elektra relationship is challenging for him. But something Matt slowly realizes this season is that he needs help, literal and physical help with his endeavors. He can't do all this by himself. As the odds stacked against him become even greater, he's suddenly presented with someone who can not only hold their own from a physical point of view, but they can actually shoulder some of the burden while he's injured or learning to readjust to new fighting skills and techniques that come later on in the show. That's a huge turn on for Matt, to find a partner who's willing and able to match him in his physical endeavors.

Daredevil season two is now streaming on Netflix. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for more coverage.