Élodie Yung on Why Elektra is a tortured soulThe beautiful French actress talks to The Red Bulletin about her new role as Elektra in the second season of Daredevil
THE RED BULLETIN: In a recent interview you called Elektra a sociopath. Was she difficult to play?
ÉLODIE YUNG: She is kind of a sociopath. That’s the way the writers presented her to me. I then did some research to really understand what their traits are. She definitely has aspects of a sociopath: she doesn’t have much of a conscience. She doesn’t feel guilty about what she does. She doesn’t really care about the well-being of other people. She plays life like a chess game, using people to get what she wants. But that’s not everything about her. Frank Miller said something interesting that resonated with me and I tried to keep in the process of creating our Elektra. He says that it is not a question of knowing if Elektra is good or bad. She is just one of the villains with a weak streak. She has this coldness and this darkness to her: she is violent and she has a blood lust. But I think the love she has for Matt Murdoch is her weakness. So I don’t think she is a complete sociopath, because she is capable of love.
Is she a villain?
The lines are blurred with Elektra. We really tried to make these characters as human as possible. She has bad things in her, but overall I would say she is a tortured soul.
What attracted you to the role?
At first I didn’t know I was auditioning for her!
But wasn’t it quite obvious who you were auditioning for?
I didn’t know who Elektra was. I had seen the first season of Daredevil because everyone was talking about it, but I am not really into superhero movies. I didn’t grow up reading the comics and I have never seen the film. I didn’t come with a preconceived idea of who the character was. And I actually think they did that on purpose. I am quite sure that they cast Charlie that way as well. I don’t think he knew the character either.
And he didn’t know he was blind either.
I think their process is a bit weird at first as you really don’t know who you are auditioning for. But it is actually quite clever. You go into a room and you just have to be yourself and bring to the table what you think is the best for this scene. Having this type of freedom to create something is quite amazing. So I didn’t know anything about her, but when I discovered whom I was stepping into, I was like: WOW!
Elektra is an iconic figure for all the fans of the comics. Are you worried about how they may react to your character?
You cannot live in fear. I try to never worry about what the public think. Obviously I want fans to be happy about the way I have played her. I loved playing her so much that it would hurt me if I disappointed people, but I don’t feel an obligation to just please the fans.
Do you think The Punisher or Elektra could get their own shows?
To be honest, I am not sure if this is what they have planned. They have a pretty good roster at the moment with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the planned releases of Iron Fist and Luke Cage. I think they brought The Punisher and Elektra into Daredevil’s world to really make him evolve and to force him to think about what a hero really is. Throwing wild cards like The Punisher into the game forces Matt Murdoch to really question what he is doing in Hell’s Kitchen. It is because of his actions that people like The Punisher are taking matters into their own hands.
Is it true that you faked your CV to get your first audition?
A friend of mine at the time was taking theatre classes and she said: “Élodie, if you want to make some money, my teacher said that we should register at this commercial agency. Just say that you are an actress.” So I wrote on my CV that I was an actress and this is how it all started. I was sent on a TV commercial and then a casting director for a series here in France got in touch. She was like: “Are you an actress? Because we are looking for new kids for the second series.” And the rest is history.
Your character Elektra is quite a good liar. She tells white lies. What is the biggest white lie you have ever told?
I couldn’t tell you. (Laughs.) I never lie.
Well, to get that part back then you obviously had to come up with a fake CV …
It was just a little trick and it helped. But yes, that was probably my biggest lie. It just opened the door for the path I’m on. Everything is based on a fake CV. I have a real CV now though. I can show it to you if you want? (Laughs.)
You are the first French actress to star in a Marvel TV show. Is that a big deal for you?
Not really. It is just nice to be part of a project that I respect. I think there is a quality about this show. I don’t see myself as a pioneer. I think this job is probably becoming more and more global. Films and series will be built more often this way in the future. And the good thing about America that I have experienced so far, is that they have been very open to people with a French accent or half French and half Asian roots. They have a curiosity that I really appreciate.
Who is your favourite Superhero now that you have done your homework?
Like Elektra, I am not a good student. I can only talk about this show because I have researched the Daredevil universe. I think The Punisher will surprise people.