Finn Jones: “There are a lot of vulnerabilities I share with Danny Rand”
THE RED BULLETIN: Danny Rand, your character, is a billionaire Buddhist monk with awesome martial arts skills. How did you prepare for the role?
FINN JONES: There were three different sides to my preparation. There was physical preparation, there was emotional preparation and there was mental preparation. I just allowed myself to be as open as possible to Danny’s flaws and Danny’s contradictions within his character.
Did you read the comics to prepare for your role?
I read as many as possible, but there are a lot of them! I have a big stack by my bed so every night I grab one and flick through it. I really like Immortal Iron Fist, Iron Fist: Living Weapon and even Power Man and Iron Fist.
How many hours did you spend in the gym?
I really would have liked to have spent more time on the physical side of preparation, but unfortunately as soon as production started there wasn’t space in my shooting schedule to do as much physical training as I would have liked to. Before the show started, I went into a heavy gym routine and a heavy martial arts routine for about a good solid three weeks. I was hoping to continue that through production, but once it started it became very difficult to keep that up. I went to the gym every weekend on my days off. Then I had martial arts training, and at lunchtime I was picked up on my choreography.
It sounds super intense.
Yes it was! We worked on Iron Fist for six month and then I went straight on to The Defenders, so in total I’ve been doing this for nearly a year now.
Is there anything you have in common with your character Danny?
There are a lot of vulnerabilities I share with Danny.
Danny isn’t afraid of being open and naïve and innocent. There are times where I’ve also been a bit naïve. I always try to do the best thing and often my naivety gets me in trouble. But I think this’s also a positive attribute. Danny is also an orphan like I was, so we share those similarities.
Iron Fist leads up to the crossover The Defenders. Was it easier for you to work on an ensemble show than a solo story?
Iron Fist pretty much meant being in almost every scene, every day, so the workload is super intense. With The Defenders, you’re part of a bigger thing. It was really nice to go to bed after working on the set and you just feel the support from the other actors. We get on pretty well, and even though sometimes the shooting can be quite brutal – filming in New York in winter gets quite cold and the nights can be quite long. But having really great actors and good people around you helps to keep the energy going.
Which of your co-stars was the most fun on set?
I think we’re all fun and we all kind of have our own little unique part in our friendship. Mike [Colter] is hilarious. He’s so goofy sometimes and he just comes out with the most ridiculous things. Krysten [Ritter] has got really great energy. She’s really fun and upbeat. And so is Charlie [Cox]. I am not trying to promote how much of a cool gang we are, but we really get along well together and there’s a great energy between the four of us.
Do you miss being part of the Game Of Thrones gang?
Definitely. I spent six years on that show and I kind of grew up through that show. I’m glad that I left when I did, though, because it allowed me to go on and do this role. But I’d love to know how it’s going to end. I want to know the ending before everyone else does. [Laughs.] GoT is like a family to me. Like everyone else you talk to. It’s always tough when you move from job to job: you create such strong and intimate friendships with the people that you work with and then you move on to another show and you just hope the other show has that kind of community.
Back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are theories that things may come to an end in 2019 with the as-yet-untitled sequel to The Avengers in 2019, which is set to follow on from Infinity Wars. What’s your take on that?
Marvel Studios and Marvel Television are two separate entities. I’m not being made aware of anything that has to do with that movie. If there was to ever be a kind of combination of the film world and the television world, I think it’d be way more interesting for some of the movie characters to come down to the street level TV world. I think people would really like to get into the heads of those movie superheroes a bit more and let our writers flesh them out. You don’t really get to see that in the movies. I think that would be the more interesting take than rather us going to the movies.
Who’s cooler: DC or Marvel superheroes?
I think they’re both good. It all comes down to individual characters and stories.
That was very diplomatic. Do you have a favourite comic book character?
I’m more into graphic novels. I’m a big fan of Akira. I grew up reading Japanese graphic novels – I tend to like that side of things.
There was a bit of a diversity debate on Twitter about Iron Fist not being played by an Asian actor. What do you think? Is social media a blessing or a curse for actors?
I think it’s a blessing. I think it’s a great outlet to share ideas, especially at a time when there’s so much confusion. It’s important to promote healthy ideas. I really value that talk. I wanted to promote representation in television and film, and that was my recent intention – and I stand by that. I’m grateful that I can have that voice.