Daredevil, the first of Marvel Studios and Netflix’s upcoming TV series about superheroes based in Hell’s Kitchen (which shall culminate in a Defenders crossover mini-series), is slated to begin production on location in New York next month, which explains the recent influx of updates on The Man Without Fear’s live-action small screen debut.
First came the news that Steven S. DeKnight (Smallville, Spartacus) has taken over show-runner duties from Cabin in the Woods co-writer/director Drew Goddard (whose penned the first two episode of the Daredevil series) – and thereafter, Marvel announced that Charlie Cox (Boardwalk Empire) has been cast as blind lawyer Matt Murdock by day, masked vigilante Daredevil by night. (Or maybe by day occasionally – being Daredevil isn’t exclusively a graveyard shift job.)
Everyone superhero needs an antagonist – and easily, the most famous of Daredevil’s is that of Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. The Kingpin, who was previously brought to life onscreen in a memorable turn from the late Michael Clarke Duncan. Marvel Studios has officially confirmed that, in the upcoming Daredevil Netflix series, Fisk will be portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio – who, by the sound of it, will be playing a mostly traditional version of the Kingpin – described as “a powerful businessman whose interests in the future of Hell’s Kitchen” brings him into conflict with Murdock – and his costumed alter ego.
Here is an official statement from Marvel’s Head of Television, Jeph Loeb:
“We’re incredibly proud to have an actor with the gravitas and versatility of Vincent joining ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ in such an integral role. Wilson Fisk is an iconic villain whose cunning and power make him the dangerous equal of our hero.”
D’Onofrio, pictured above in last year’s Sly Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger team-up action/thriller Escape Plan (not his best work, admittedly…), is an award-winning character actor and seasoned veteran of the small screen, famous for his longtime role on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and performances in such films as Full Metal Jacket, Men in Black, and The Cell – all featuring D’Onofrio playing smart, yet deranged killers, disgusting creatures, and/or characters who descend into madness. (He’s also playing an antagonist of sorts in next year’s Jurassic World.)
In short: if you want someone to play Wilson Fisk, D’Onofrio is as good a choice as any you could make right now. Marvel Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada has described the upcoming Hell’s Kitchen Netflix series as being very much steeped in the neo-Noir genre, so expect D’Onofrio’s Kingpin to be quite the ruthless businessman. Maybe he’ll join Loki, among the ranks of Marvel Studios’ best villains to date.
Marvel’s 13-episode Daredevil series will premiere on Netflix in 2015.