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Exclusive: ‘Daredevil’ Star Vincent D’Onofrio Talks Kingpin, Marvel Fans and ‘Defenders’ Crossover

Daredevil Vincent D'Onofrio Kingpin
ScreenCrush

No, you shouldn’t adjust your computer screen. The above photo is of Vincent D’Onofrio, who shaved his head for his role as Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin) in Marvel’s upcoming ‘Daredevil‘ series, to stream on Netflix in 2015. As he told ScreenCrush earlier today, tonight he’s filming a big scene in Brooklyn where “it’s the first time you see my character do something physical.” Given how intimidating the ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ vet looks in person with this new look — mind you, he’s also 6’4” — we can’t wait to see how his character comes to life on-screen.

Marvel is currently hard at work filming the first of its four upcoming Netflix series (and that’s not including the miniseries team-up of ‘The Defenders’) in New York, but in between shoots, D’Onofrio stopped by the ScreenCrush and Loudwire offices to talk about one of his other passion projects, an indie film titled ‘Mall’ that’s directed by Linkin Park member Joe Hahn. D’Onofrio produced and co-wrote the script for the film, which spotlights a group of characters during a tragic mall shooting.

The film is scheduled for a limited release starting October 17 — be sure to stay tuned for more interviews with D’Onofrio and Hahn before then — but we had to ask the Kingpin himself about transforming into the iconic Marvel villain, his hopes for creating the quintessential portrayal of this character, the series’ crossover potential, and more.

Now you’re branching off into two major franchises, one of them – we talked about it a little bit – is ‘Daredevil.’ How has this transition for you been, especially with ‘Daredevil,’ which has such a diehard fanbase, and sometimes even fundamentally so?

Yeah, it’s huge. It’s huge. I mean the whole Marvel world is so huge. But I gotta tell you, I couldn’t be working for nicer people. I really am. I’m just having a great time. The whole — the way that we’re shooting it, our Daredevil, everybody that’s in the show, is just going so well. Tonight we have a big fight scene that’s happening. It’s the first time you see my character do something physical.

Everybody I talk to who has been involved in a Marvel project describes [the experience] almost as their childhood fantasy come to life.

Yeah. I mean, it’s kinda cool. The thing about Marvel is that they’re not – they’re into real acting. They’re looking for artists that are willing to take chances and are willing to create characters, even if that character has been around for years and years in comic books, they still are depending on us to create something and take it somewhere else.

Robert Downey [Jr.] is the perfect example of that. Who knew that Iron Man was going to be who Robert made him?

That’s true.

And Jon Favreau. I would have never guessed Iron Man was going to be that kind of Tony Stark. Not in a million years, and, you know, that’s because of Jon and especially Robert. So, everybody is following suit with that. Personally, I felt Downey kind of led the way in that, and he’s kind of said to the studios and to the public, “It can work. These Marvel things can work.”

Did he give you any advice?

…Actually, we have discussed Marvel, but just in the kind of “great that we’re both doing characters that are in the same world.”

Does that potential for crossover — whether it’s branching out into other TV shows or branching out into Marvel movies — does that entice you about this?

Well, I think they have some kind of plan. I’m not really allowed to discuss what the plan is, but they have a plan. I think the beginning of the plan is series stuff with Netflix, and then they have a bigger plan to branch out, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you specifically what that is.

That’s fair. With such an iconic villain, though, as the Kingpin, there are a lot of fans out there with their ideas of what this man is. For you, what is that character and what do you want to bring, or what are you most excited to bring out in this character?

[Brief silence] I’m not gonna tell you.

I think – it’s not just me, by the way, it’s the writer. It’s Steven DeKnight, it’s Jeph Loeb at Marvel, it’s the scripts, and it’s me. I think it’s gonna be the … I hope — I should say – I hope it’s gonna be the new way to look at Wilson Fisk. I think that there will be no other Wilson Fisk but this one after we’re all done with it. That’s what we’re hoping for.

Just from the people I’ve spoken to, they’ve been so ecstatic over your casting in this role.

It seems to be working really well, yeah.

Does fan reaction, or fan interaction or projections, get to your head at all?

No, I love it. It’s like when you’re doing a play and you feel the audience before you walk out for your first cue, you know? That feeling is quite something. When you do a play, you do so many performances. You show up in the dressing room after your 100th performance and you’re like, “I don’t wanna do this play anymore. I just don’t wanna play it anymore.” And you’re about to break into tears because you just don’t wanna do this fucking play anymore, you know? And in dressing rooms in theaters, you have these little speaker boxes, and you can hear the audience coming in. Once the audience starts coming in, hearing them, you suddenly go from hating the play to wanting to go out again, just by hearing the audience. And so it’s the same kind of thing. I can hear the audience with these fans of ‘Daredevil’ and these fans of Marvel, and it just makes you enthusiastic.

I don’t know how into detail you’re allowed to get, so definitely stop me if I’m going too far, but all these Marvel worlds, especially ‘Daredevil,’ have a wealth of characters and villains and all these crazy people who can cross-pollinate…

Yeah, The Defenders.

Obviously the Kingpin is going to be a main focal point from the villainy side of things. Are there any other characters you can tease or point out from the comics?

No, not specifically. I can’t talk about anything. I can just say that they’re gonna go all the way. They’re gonna go super cool — like, super, super cool.

Check back later for more information from D’Onofrio on ‘Mall’ and his involvement in the upcoming ‘Jurassic World.’

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