Charlie Cox: Redux

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Charlie Cox, in his second Dragon Con panel, which took place Saturday at 11:30AM in the Marriott, entered to loud cheers and instantly reaffirmed his nice-guy reputation by pouring the moderator a glass of water before picking up and absentmindedly fidgeting with a red and silver pen as he answered a slew of new (and a few recycled) questions.

“So nice,” the moderator exclaimed when he noticed the full glass, ribbing Cox with a, “What the hell?!” Cox just gave a swoon-worthy grin and, with an aw-shucks-kind-of-attitude, and moved on.

“I didn’t do my research,” he said about auditioning for Daredevil. “So, I didn’t play the character blind.” He also didn’t audition with the actors who would eventually play Karen and Foggy, Matt Murdock’s closest friends—a triangle he likened to the Scooby Gang.

When asked about being a part of another grouping, “The Red Team,” Cox admitted he didn’t get the reference before deadpanning, “So, the people who dress in red? I see how we did that.” Cox wasn’t interested in the Daredevil fighting alongside the likes of Deadpool, for instance, but he was keen to discuss the meticulousness of Netflix, Marvel, and the show runners in linking his show with Jessica Jones and the upcoming Luke Cage—the trifecta that will form The Defenders along with the Iron Fist.

“I’m really excited about Luke Cage,” Cox told the audience, saying that he believes it will be culturally interesting. He’s also a fan of Jones, but admitted to being more of a movie guy, with a few exceptions: Fargo and Stranger Things, the latter of which drew immense audience enthusiasm. Cox had even taken a picture of a guy at Dragon Con dressed as the infamous flowered-wall bedecked in Christmas lights and paint from Things and sent it to people at Netflix.

As for his own show, he appreciates the gritty realism displayed in season 1, likening it to a crime procedural, but wouldn’t mind having more of Murdock’s wry humor revealed. He also appreciates how the addition of mystical elements in season 2 is helping build the world where the Defenders will reside together. “It’s dangerous because you don’t want to take people out of the reality,” he said, but sees the shows merging along a sophisticated path. Additionally, he believes that Murdock’s failure at the end of season 2 will lead Murdock to a place where he is willing to accept help and form the Defenders. Cox, however, just had one request: that the Daredevil and Luke Cage enact a comic book scene wherein the two sit on wall together eating hamburgers.

Cox may not have realized that Murdock was blind in his first auditions, but he’s since mastered how to navigate the world without sight. “I can’t read braille,” he said, “but I know how it is read.” In a scene where he is handed a card with braille, Cox knew that the card had been mistakenly (as in not pre-scripted) handed to him upside down by the positioning of an address in the lower right hand corner, so he turned it. The moment was caught on camera. “I love that you picked up on that,” he told the audience member who asked about it because he too loves to uncover those nearly hidden, but meaningful, moments on screen.

Learning how to be a lawyer was much less interesting. “It turned out to be a fantastic sleeping pill,” Cox said of the material that helped him recognize legal speak, jesting that it was riveting. Watching a real trial (about a woman suing the city after she stepped in a pothole) was not very exciting either.

He joked that he doesn’t really care if Foggy and Murdock reunite, but Cox is keen to explore Murdock and Karen’s relationship—recounting a “beautiful and romantic” moment where he moves a raindrop on Karen’s arm. But, it’s an important relationship to both Murdock and Foggy, Cox said, as they are loners who don’t have any other real friends. “It’s perfect for Matt,” Cox said, “I think he needs Foggy. I think Foggy needs Matt.” Cox and Eldon Henson (who plays Foggy) seem to have fun portraying the bickering bromance the characters have developed.

Daredevil’s violence doesn’t faze Cox, but he did get squeamish watching Fisk behead a man with a car door in season 1 even though he knew it was coming. “I’m pretty good with violence,” he said, “but I can’t watch doctors.” Especially if they are removing vital organs. His own run-ins with violence on set are few, but funny. On Stardust, a large vase that was supposed to disintegrate upon slamming into him had solidified overnight and, instead, knocked him across a room and then broke against a camera as it rebounded. A chunk fell off and hit him the head, a fact he didn’t realize until watching the dailies later, as the two hits happened so quickly and dazed him.

Cox enjoys doing accents because they change the way he addresses people. And, he’s such a wiz at them that on Boardwalk Empire he was at risk of being subtitled because he gave his character an almost indiscernible brogue.

Cox believes Murdock puts on the Daredevil’s signature suit with good intentions. “[Murdock] knew he was gonna go out and make a difference,” he said. The suit changes Murdock; it even alters his speech, making it more aggressive with interesting, short, sharp sentences. The change in speech was something that the show’s producers cautioned him on, saying, “You’re starting to sound like Batman.” But Cox was quick to point out that there aren’t that many ways to sound threatening.

Cox recalled how he was once given kudos for a scene with Frank Castle, played by Jon Bernthal, wherein he cries upon hearing Castle’s personal tragedy. Except, Cox couldn’t remember crying. When he watched the episode, he saw the “tear” come down and remembered that it was actually sweat from having just carried Bernthal up a hill. “If I ever need to cry,” Cox said about future scenes, “I’m gonna carry Jon Bernthal.”

On the complexity and moral ambiguity of the Frank Castle plotline, Cox believes Murdock understands Castle’s stance but, “there’s no way [Murdock] could agree with what Frank is doing.” And, there’s no way that Cox is dying his hair red, one of Daredevil’s signature features. “We tried,” he said. “It looked really weird.”

And, let’s be honest: why mess with a good thing. Cox is perfect as he is, embodying the Daredevil mind, body, and soul.

About the author

Kelly McCorkendale is a dog-lover, avid quilter, and occasional creative writer who loves the color orange and boycotts cable (except Game of Thrones because, well, what if winter is coming!?). After college, she realized poets weren’t in demand, so she shipped off to Madagascar with Peace Corps. Since then, she’s found a niche working on health systems in Africa but has a long-list of life tasks yet to be fulfilled--such as perform blackmail, learn a trade, and become a competitive eater. She has an MA in International Education, believes rice is the elixir of life, and, in high school, won the best supporting actress honor for the state of Missouri. She may also recite poetry (her first love) when imbibing in alcohol.

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