Daredevil at C2E2: Charlie Cox talks about playing the Man without Fear and more


Charlie Cox helped established the Netflix Marvel series as some serious contenders for good comic book adaptations. He discussed his work on Daredevil at C2E2.

Charlie Cox’s Daredevil panel at C2E2 was the very last panel at the Main Stage, and the room was immensely excited to hear from him about what it’s like to play Matt Murdock and Daredevil for Netflix and Marvel.

While Matt Murdock is blind, Cox is not. The 35-year-old actor discussed how he works on playing a man without sight. Cox said he spent a lot of time — and spends a lot of time — with someone who’s been legally blind for 20 years.

Before shooting, he blindfolded himself and then went out with said friend in the streets of New York. “The blind leading the blind,” he said, getting some chuckles.

Later, he said he’d gotten some “contacts identical to my eyes that blinded me” during early filming of the first season. He gave two reasons why he got rid of them: first, he still looked directly at people, which didn’t look well, and second, he couldn’t navigate the set.

Beyond that, though, Daredevil is known for its action sequences. “I like to do as much as they let me,” he said, adding, “Some days [production] is like ‘you’re kidding me, you’re not throwing yourself off of that building.”

When it comes to fighting style, he also spoke about how Matt is “kind of a street brawler.” Perhaps one of the most profound things he said was regarding said fight scenes. “Every punch and kick is like a line of dialogue.”

Charlie Cox at C2E2 The Daredevil You Know panel. Image taken by C. Wassenaar.

Of course, fight scenes themselves have some humor to them, at least in terms of how he relates the stories of production. “However Matt is responding to an attack, it’s never with the use of his eyes,” he explained. “In principle, that’s a really fun idea… he doesn’t necessarily need to move his head to counter that.” However, he added, “Practically speaking, that’s really hard and sometimes dangerous.” That got some laughs from the audience.

Since Daredevil season 2, we’ve seen Cox in The Defenders. He flat-out said he liked seeing Matt get to build some relationships. He explained that “there’s shame around” the powers that these characters have. Cox explicitly used the word freaks, as for once, Matt was around other people who are like him. When it comes to other Netflix MCU shows, though, he said he did enjoy all of the shows. However, he did remark he has not been on Punisher yet, but his favorite MCU show thus far has been season 1 of Jessica Jones.

Later, Cox mentioned he thinks Matt has the most interesting relationship with Jessica, too. “They kind of admire each other,” he said. “That slowly turned into a kind of friendship” during The Defenders. (According to him, it’s similar to how he gets on with Krysten Ritter herself.)

We know that season 3 of Daredevil will arrive sooner rather than later, but he couldn’t tell us anything. (He even said that he found out about the renewal from a fan.)

“If they don’t tell me, I can’t tell you!” he replied when asked about a premiere date for season 3. Nor did he get to talk much about Avengers: Infinity War.

“I can’t really answer that question,” Cox said when a fan asked how Matt might react to the events we know are coming in the MCU. He admitted he’s worried he could give something away for season 3.

Charlie Cox and Clare Kramer at the Daredevil You Know panel at C2E2. Image taken by C. Wassenaar.

Speaking of scripts, though, he did say that he prefers working through things “as they come in” rather than getting everything in one go. “Tell me where Matt is at the beginning of the season,” he said when it comes to his requests of the showrunners.

Then came the fan questions, some of which we’ve already mentioned. “I think fear is universal,” he said. Of course, Daredevil is the “Man without Fear.”

“He doesn’t call himself that!” Cox exclaimed. “My favorite thing about Matt is that he’s afraid.”

He also mentioned that he brings ideas of depression into Matt. “They’re not very relatable,” he said, in reference to heroes who don’t suffer. When it comes to other MCU characters, though, he said, “I see their struggle with the life stuff.”

But does Matt have flaws of his own? Yes — a “short temper.”

“If someone that he loves is hurting, he doesn’t handle that very well. […] I absolutely think Matt gets depressed,” Cox added. Considering he answered the question about depression affecting Matt with “100%,” it was a strong answer.

But Matt is also a ladies’ man. “As Foggy would say, ‘he plays the blind card.’ Take that to mean what you will. He’s a superhero! How much game do you need?” he asked.

“It’s ironic ’cause he’s also like a devout Catholic,” he added, in relation to Matt having been with so many women in the comics.

When it comes to the show, though, he commented that “in many ways, Karen Page is Matt’s true love. She represents everything that he wants to be in a human. Elektra brings out of Matt something that is there, that is undeniable, and in many ways she knows the true Matt. […] Karen really knows a lie.”

However, Cox did emphasize that that doesn’t mean Karen and Matt are doomed or anything like that. We had a quick fan poll, with the addition of Foggy based on Cox’s own suggestion. Although Karen seemed to win out, both Foggy and Elektra got plenty of support from the fans in the room.

Cox did say that he had one particularly favorite moment — from season 1, episode 4, with Claire Temple treating Matt. The first reason? He actually came up with the idea of Claire throwing the shirt at Matt from behind. The second? He really enjoyed how Matt just disappears (because he had the crew put a mat down there… yes, it was in a studio. Don’t worry. He wasn’t endangering himself).

Other superheroes (and villains) did come up, though. Behind the scenes, he did admit that he finds it tough to not go full Batman for some scenes.

“I will get that note,” he said, “‘Yeah, it’s great… just less Batman.'” He even defended Ben Affleck’s Daredevil for the last fan question!

He did express interest in playing a villain eventually, but when it comes to heroes, he said “I kinda feel like I got the best one.”

Next: The secrets of designing the MCU as told at C2E2

After watching his panel, it’s tough to disagree. The first two seasons of Daredevil and the first season of The Defenders are both on Netflix now.