British actor Charlie Cox plays the iconic blind hero in Netflix’s critically acclaimed new Marvel series Daredevil. The show is a perfect mixture of gritty crime drama and superhero-story as Matt Murdock, lawyer by day/vigilante by night takes on the scum of Hell’s Kitchen in a series that will have you hooked after the first few minutes.
THE RED BULLETIN: Was it more difficult to learn how to fight or to learn how to act like a blind person?
CHARLIE COX: The blindness was harder. The action sequences were very enjoyable. And I really relish the opportunity to do all the physical aspects of filmmaking. I really like that stuff and I can pick it up quickly. It was physically very demanding of course, but it was really fun. The blindness was trickier. It felt at times like more of a hindrance. It felt like another thing I have to remember when I was acting. It also makes it harder to emotionally connect with another actor.
Did it distract you?
No, what is distracting is, when you move your eyes they automatically focus, and I was trying to not focus, because there needed to be a deadness to them.
A lot of Brits seem to be getting super powers recently, Andrew Garfield, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale to name but a few. Do the Brits have a weakness for sporting a spandex and masks, or is there another reason?
I don’t know. It is crazy. I have no idea why that is. It might just be coincidence. I can’t think of a reason.
Is it true that you never had a gym membership before Daredevil?
Yeah, that’s right.
Any tips on how to get fit really fast?
Yeah, eat right! The eating is the most important part. 80 percent of the job is eating. If you eat the right things your body responds really quickly. Chicken, broccoli, oats – depends if you need to gain weight or lose weight. I had to gain weight, so I had to have lot of like sweet potatoes, oats, rice, chicken and broccoli.
The violence and brutality in Daredevil runs on a very high level. It is a grim show. Other shows like Spartacus or Game of Thrones have a good mixture of violence and sex. Daredevil has less sex and more violence. Is there a special reason for that?
No, I mean there are very popular shows that don’t have any violence in them: House of Cards, Mad Men, Orange is the New Black. And then there are shows that have violence in them. Violence is engaging and interesting to watch, cinematically it is quite compelling. And it appeals to an older audience. I don’t think it is a necessity, but obviously it is for this show. There needs to be a level of violence. And I guess the difference between our show in regards to other Marvel properties, is that this is going a little bit darker, a little bit grittier, a little bit more violent. But in a way the reason behind that is, because I think it suits the source material, it suits a lot of the Daredevil comics, and a lot of them were geared towards a slightly older audience. So really our show is appealing to the grown up Marvel fans, rather than the younger ones.
What’s your definition of a hero?
I think someone who transcends him or herself. You know, someone who finds the strength or the courage in them to do something, to behave better than they usually do; to find areas of themselves that they can improve in order to serve the greater good. So really you can only compare a hero to yourself.
How would a battle between you and Ben Affleck (the star of the Daredevil movie) end?
A battle in real life? He’d probably win. He is much bigger than I am, I think.
If Daredevil would get the chance to get his sight back, would he jump at it? Or would he say: No, I don’t want it anymore.
He wouldn’t take it. I don’t think so. In one of the early comics, I think it might be “Daredevil Yellow” actually, there is a scene where Karen says to Matt: I wish I could give you my eyesight. I wish I could cure your blindness. And he says in a thought bubble: I don’t know how to tell her that I wouldn’t want it back, even if I could have it.
Daredevil is first and foremost a crime drama. What are the five basic ingredients for a perfect thriller/crime drama?
A perfect thriller needs the right soundtrack, Jack Nicholson, a race against time, I guess you have to have that … and one of the lead characters has to die. This is so generic! (Laughs.) And you have to have a scene, where one of the lead characters is really frightened and the bad guy is standing behind him.
The series is shot on location in New York. Do you miss London?
Yeah, I do. I love New York and I am relishing the opportunity to live there and be part of the crazy New Yorkers and the world there. It is really fun, but I am a Londoner at heart. You know, I miss my hometown and my family, my football team [Arsenal].
So what’s the best and what’s the worst thing about London?
I think one of the things, that makes London so wonderful, is the parks, the greenery. There are so many beautiful, huge open spaces in the middle of London, which I have discovered is quite rare. I mean Manhattan has one big park. But everywhere else there aren’t many, and if there are, they are concrete parks. Whereas London has Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Green Park, St. James’s Park, Finsbury Park. Clapham Common. So many parks. That’s one of my favorite things about London: going to the different parks. I guess the worst thing is you can’t enjoy them so much in the summer, because it is not always that sunny.
In the TV show the last thing you see as a kid, before you lose your sight, is the face of your father. What is the last thing you would like to see in your life?
Oh, wow! The ocean.