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Hawkeye star Fra Fee may have “accidentally” taken a tracksuit home with him from set, but he’s still protecting the fourth live-action MCU series’ many secrets with glee. The Irish actor and singer plays Kazi, Maya “Echo” Lopez’s (Alaqua Cox) top lieutenant in the Tracksuit Mafia. While Fee won’t reveal if the Tracksuit Mafia answers to Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk from Netflix’s Daredevil, he does admit to feeling envious of the Rogers: The Musical performers. After all, his first feature film role was Courfeyrac in Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables, and he has numerous Broadway and West End stage credits to his name.
“I begged them to let me be involved in Rogers: The Musical,” Fee tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I was like, ‘Just let me start at the back, stick an alien costume on me, and I’ll sing the tenor line.’ I was desperate. So yes, of course, I was extremely jealous of everyone who got to be involved. When I read it in the script, I was like, ‘This is genius.’ I loved it. But who knows? Maybe I’ll do the actual musical when it reaches Broadway.”
Marvel Studios was so impressed by Cox’s take on Maya Lopez that during the filming of Hawkeye, they informed her an Echo-led series was in development. Former Better Call Saul writer Marion Dayre is currently leading the Echo writers room, and Fee hopes he receives a call to reprise the role of Kazi.
“I have not received a phone call yet, but I’m keeping the phone on just in case,” Fee shares.
In a recent conversation with THR about episode three, Fee also discusses learning ASL (American Sign Language) for his scenes with Cox. Then he points out the parallels between Hailee Steinfeld‘s Kate Bishop and Kazi, and why he thinks Kazi may have feelings for Maya.
So were you given a tracksuit as a wrap gift?
Can I say this? I may have accidentally brought a tracksuit home by mistake. I may have. They’re very, very cozy. It was like working in your pajamas. It was great! (Laughs.)
I don’t blame you one bit. Did you know what you were auditioning for?
Not a clue! The dummy sides that I was sent portrayed someone that was interesting and had various motivations. He had a sense of duality about him, but I had absolutely no idea who it was that I was auditioning for until I did my last meeting with Rhys Thomas, our director. I was able to get a sense of who he was, but even then, things evolved and changed. I was then able to bring my own ideas to the table because there’s actually a lot that is unsaid with Kazi. There’s a lot that’s brimming at the surface. So it was nice to figure out what his motivations are and what he’s actually fighting for in the show.
Kazi interprets for Maya (Alaqua Cox) in the same way that Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) interprets for Clint (Jeremy Renner) in episode three, and they’re both sidekicks to superheroes as well. Did you recognize these parallels as you were filming?
It’s a wonderful thing that you’ve picked up on. Communication and the barriers of communication are themes that seem to run throughout the story. Learning sign language was the greatest gift in order to communicate with Alaqua and befriend her and get to know her. But to tell this story in such a beautiful way that I’ve never done before … . I’ve always used my voice for everything I’ve done before, but this was so, so gorgeous. And yeah, Clint would be nowhere without Kate in this story. So those dual themes are absolutely on purpose and expressed beautifully.
Besides learning ASL, did you and Alaqua have time for rehearsal?
Yes, we were very lucky in that the scheduling allowed for quite a lot of rehearsal for us. Initially, I was terrified at the prospect. I didn’t want to do a bad job. I wanted to be proficient enough to actually show Kazi as someone that is fluent in the language, but thankfully, we did have a lot of time. So it meant that I was more comfortable whenever we got to shoot, but we were also more comfortable with each other. When you’re filming stuff, it’s very rare that you get to spend a lot of time with your fellow actors. Things happen very fast and things change, but we were able to rehearse these scenes and just get to know each other. So when we got on set, we were friends and we were able to lift each other up and support each other and make mistakes without feeling embarrassed. So that was a real blessing. It really was.
Maya’s desire for revenge is causing her to be a bit reckless and Kazi’s efforts to talk some sense into her aren’t really registering. What do you make of their conflict going forward?
Kazi finds himself in quite a tricky predicament in that the mafia, by nature of who they are, need to maintain something of a low profile, and the escapades of episode three, the car chases, were a disaster. (Laughs.) I suspect that Kazi thinks he deserves to be higher up in the ranks than Maya is. This is something that he has devoted his entire life to and possibly feels emasculated by that. That’s the really wonderful dilemma that he’s in because he’s trying to keep the organization intact but he’s also loyal to her. They have a history together. They’ve known each other all their lives, and he might be harboring some deeper feelings for her. That’s up to everyone to decide, but I suspect that could be true. So it’s complex and messy and there’s dual loyalties going on, but that makes it really exciting.
Kazi is also worried that “Uncle” is going to find out. While I’m not asking you to tell me who he is, what was your reaction when you first found out who the Uncle character is?
I have no idea what all you guys are talking about. (Laughs.) I think it’s Uncle Dave! They have an Uncle Dave that comes around for Christmas and he’s a great laugh. But it’s not really a big deal. It’s not very important to the story. (Laughs.)
I can see an infrared laser in the mirror behind you.
(Laughs.) All I’ll say is that we have two episodes left and it’s going to be an unbelievably exciting finale just in time for Christmas. I’m genuinely watching this in real-time with you guys. I’m excited to wake up on Wednesday mornings and watch the show. Things have changed and evolved even from when I shot the series. A lot can happen in post, and a lot has happened already. So I’m trying to piece this all together as well, and I don’t entirely know where it’s going. But it’s going to be good, I know that much.
Can you say if you’re going to be involved in Alaqua Cox’s Echo series?
I have not received a phone call yet, but I’m keeping the phone on just in case.
Were you delighted to take an elbow, a throat punch and a leg sweep from Hailee Steinfeld?
Sure! (Laughs.) Yeah, why not!? All that stuff is so fun to do. The stunt teams on all of these shows are the real superheroes. Heidi Moneymaker was our stunt coordinator, and she’s just a legend. But the entire team was so wonderful at supporting us and everything. So all of those sequences were just a blast to do, and whenever Hailee and I got to do the fighting together, it was so, so fun. She’s just top-notch.
Since you’re a song and dance man, were you a little jealous of the actors that got to be in Rogers: The Musical?
I begged them to let me be involved in Rogers: The Musical. I was like, “Just let me start at the back, stick an alien costume on me and I’ll sing the tenor line.” I was desperate. So yes, of course, I was extremely jealous of everyone who got to be involved. It just turned out amazing. When I read it in the script, I was like, “This is genius.” I loved it. But who knows? Maybe I’ll do the actual musical when it reaches Broadway.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Hawkeye is now streaming on Disney+.
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