'Daredevil' Showrunner Steven DeKnight Talks Inspirations, Casting, and Plans for Season 2
I know you guys have already slurped down the first season of Daredevil like the power guzzlers you are, but I still have three episodes left and I do not want it to be over. Sure, The Defenders, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are all on their way, but we’ve all fallen in love with Daredevil’s great cast, storytelling and fights; dammit, we have to go back to the…Kitchen. Though he can’t yet say whether season two will be a go, showrunner extraordinaire, Steven DeKnight — who jumped right in when Drew Goddard left to do The Sinister Six — has a few plans up his sleeve. During his press rounds interviews, DeKnight revealed his season one inspirations, and some of his ideas for the future.
On Why He Signed On, Despite Having a Steady Gig at Starz:
“I wasn’t really looking to do anything, honestly. I had been working pretty steadily at Starz for seven years, and I was happy with my development deal with them. But I went over, I read the first two scripts, I heard the pitch, and I knew it was just too damn good to turn down. I grew up reading comics…I had always loved Daredevil, so it was a great opportunity. I loved the fact that they were taking a more gritty, grounded approach to this little dark corner of the Marvel Universe with the street level heroes. That’s what really got me to sign on.”
On His Inspirations, and the Series Having a Frank Miller, noir-ish Feel:
“Talking about the noir aspect, we really appreciated it like a 1970s crime drama feel, The French Connection or Dog Day Afternoon. It’s a high bar, and we figured we’d shoot for the moon and, at least aesthetically, let’s see if we can have that feel. I was overjoyed when I signed on and the decision was already made to shoot in New York. I don’t think this would have worked the way it does without that New York backdrop.
It’s all of the Frank Miller and Brian Bendis/Alex Maleev work. Those were my strongest influences. Of course, there is one classic moment with Daredevil, where he’s fighting Bullseye over the city. They both fall, and Daredevil snags Bullseye and is holding over the city. Then, he drops Bullseye onto the street. It was such a stunning moment, that a hero would do that. It really made an impact on me, as it really addressed the endless cycle of catching the bad guy, putting him in jail, and waiting for him to escape again, in superhero comics. But seeing Matt Murdock break that cycle, and decide that he wouldn’t let that continue anymore, was huge…Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Daredevil captured that “premium cable” tone for a comic so well. I was heavily influenced not only by Bendis’ writing, but Alex Maleev’s art.
My influences for action for this show range from Oldboy for the sequence we did in episode two, and the action in The Raid and The Raid 2, which is very gritty, grounded and goes on longer than expected, which is what we wanted in episode two.”
How The Right Trio — and Kingpin — Was Cast:
“It was just a matter of matching [Charlie Cox] to other actors and actresses. We were very cognizant that the show needs Matt, Karen and Foggy to all work well together. You didn’t want one person to be out there, so [after Charlie] we next concentrated on Foggy. Once we had Elden Henson as Foggy, we all really felt Karen Page was a linchpin. Deborah Ann Woll came in and auditioned and just blew us away.
…one of the first things I did when I came on was pester people with, ‘What about Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin?’ I was sending pictures from the Internet with him and a shaved head and a chopper mustache saying, ‘Imagine him without the mustache!’ The first reaction I got was ‘Do you know what he makes in TV? We can’t afford him!’ But I kept pestering, and our casting team floated it out to him and he was very enthusiastic and interested. There is not a more perfect actor on the planet to play Wilson Fisk, and he is a dream to work with.”
Making Plans for Season Two:
“As to whether Wilson Fisk continues on is something I won’t spoil…
If we’re fortunate enough to get a second season, since there are three other shows happening almost simultaneously until The Defenders, it’s a little hard to plan right now. But there are so many great stories to pull from. From big story arcs, like the Elektra and Bullseye epic, to great secondary villains and arcs. People like Gladiator and the Owl would be great. We always talk about how we’d love to get Stilt Man in there. I don’t know how we’d do it on this show, because it’s a little outside of the box. But there are so many great places to go, and that’s not even considering the story potential once all the other shows are up and running. You could bring in Danny Rand, or Luke Cage, and have Matt work with them. And the wonderful bits with Jessica Jones, where she works with Matt for his law firm. When you have decades and decades of material to draw from and be influenced by, there’s just so many places to go.”
With the absolute raves this series is getting, I can’t see them not doing a second season, but I’m guessing we have a long wait.
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