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Daredevil is back.
On Saturday afternoon at New York Comic Con, Marvel unveiled the first footage from its Netflix series Daredevil, ahead of its 2015 series premiere.
Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel Television and a Daredevil executive producer, noted that “Daredevil will be the first of five series to appear exclusively on Netflix,” along with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders. (Of casting for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, he clarified that “neither one of those roles has been cast. Anything you’ve heard? Just a rumor.”) Later, when asked if Agents of SHIELD will have any effect of the Netflix series, he responded, “I have two answers: one, that’s a Level 7 question; and two, I think you know — it’s all connected, man.”
Loeb then introduced the first clip of the New York City-set series (“It was the only place we could shoot it,” said Loeb of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood), which features a knife-weilding intruder in Karen Page’s (Deborah Ann Woll) barely lit apartment being fended off by Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) — wearing all black and a makeshift black mask. Their fight has them falling out Page’s window onto the street below.
Loeb then formally introduced the cast for their first press appearance: Toby Leonard Moore as Wesley, Bob Gunton as Leland Owlsley, Vondie Curtis-Hall as Ben Urich, Ayelet Zurer as Vanessa, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Woll as Karen Page, Vincent D’Onofrio as the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, and Cox as Matt Murdock. They were joined onstage by showrunner Steven S. DeKnight.
Castmember Rosario Dawson was absent because she’s currently shooting in Los Angeles. “I think you’re gonna love what she’s done, guys,” said Cox before a second clip, featured Dawson as Claire Temple, unspooled. “I’m the lucky girl who pulled you out of the garbage,” Temple says to Murdock in the clip. “Your outfit kind of sucks by the way.” When he won’t tell her anything about his identity, she decides to call him Mike, a guy she used to date who was very good at keeping secrets too.
DeKnight said of the show’s origin, “When we were on Buffy 12 years ago, we sat in my room, Jeph came in late one night and I just had a wall of Marvel action figures and Daredevil was a prominent one. We said, ‘We’re gonna do that show one day, and we’re gonna do it right.’ “
Gunton called his part in the series “jumping into my fevered teenage dreams, where light and dark and secrets and broken people are trying to find their way through life — as a teenager, I felt like there was something broken in me. For all of these people, it’s not so much the external things they’re fighting as what’s inside them. My character, one of his armaments is a sardonic wit, which I responded to. The writing is so snappy and tight, and in the case of Leland, I think very amusing.”
Curtis-Hall added that his character’s passion for the truth and the city matches Daredevil’s in “wanting a better New York. … It’s not just about the jumping off buildings, it’s really about the heart of the characters.”
Loeb played a third clip, showing the first time Vanessa meets Wilson Fisk — in an art gallery. Fisk, shown gazing at an all-white painting, is approached by Vanessa, who says, “There’s an old children’s joke: You hold up a white piece of paper and you ask, what’s this? A rabbit in a snowstorm.”
Vanessa continues, “People always ask me, ‘Why do you charge so much for what amounts to gradations of white? … All that matters is, how does it make you feel?” Fisk turns to her and admits, “It makes me feel alone.”
Zurer said of playing Vanessa, “She’s a person, who if there’s a locked door, and someone would say, ‘Don’t go in there,’ she will. In that sense, that’s what opened that channel for me.”
D’Onofrio explained of his villain, “Our Fisk, he’s a child and he’s a monster. Every move that he makes and everything that he does in our story comes from his foundation of morality inside himself. And meeting Vanessa, the one thing that she does for him so far, is brings him out of the shadows. … You have a feeling of the origin of Wilson, and how he becomes this iconic character that everybody seems to dig. We’re playing it real, we’re playing it emotional, and moment to moment, and I’m digging it.”
“There are no heroes or villains; there are just people making different choices,” said the showrunner of his characters’ moral ambiguity. “[Daredevil is] one bad day from becoming Frank Castle instead of Matt Murdock. With Wilson Fisk, when you hear the explanation of what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, you’ll say, ‘You know that’s not a bad idea. That’s pretty good.’ “
Henson auditioned for the series via a video from his phone while shooting a Hunger Games installment. Though he didn’t have much time to prepare for the role, “it’s really nice to be able to come to work and be excited about the people you’ll spend 12 or 13 hours a day with.”
Woll also said of Karen, “The most interesting characters are the ones who are flawed. … I was talking to one of my producers who said, ‘Karen keeps getting into trouble,’ and I said, ‘No, Karen is trouble.’ ” She noted of transitioning from True Blood, “I was a little sad about leaving that other family,” but was thankful for a welcoming Daredevil cast.
Cox, loved on-set his professionalism and sense of humor (Loeb joked that he “has a bit of a man-crush” on him), first joked, “Wait, Daredevil’s blind?” before he explained of the lead role, “We’re making a show about human emotion, conflict and inner turmoil. … We’re meeting a man who is a lawyer by day and believes in the law and justice, and at night, is taking the law into his own hands and deciding what justice should be for himself. All that time in between is battling with that concept.”
Daredevil premieres on Netflix in 2015.
Oct. 13, 3:15 p.m. Updated with footage from the panel.
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