Disney and Marvel's ongoing success story added two new chapters with the successful releases of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. The 2014 summer blockbuster season is winding down, the fall releases are on the horizon, and fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are looking ahead to what's next.
May of 2015 will see the release of director Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron with Peyton Reed's Ant-Man to follow in July. Perhaps just as exciting, however, is the fact that showrunner Steven S. DeKnight's Netflix series adaptation of Daredevil will premiere in early May 2015, just the first of four Marvel-based series to debut on the streaming service.
Daredevil will star Charlie Cox as The Man Without Fear, with Vincent D'Onofrio set to portray Daredevil's nemesis Wilson Fisk (a.k.a. Kingpin). Rounding out the cast are Rosario Dawson (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Elden Henson (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 & 2), and Peter Shinkado (Falling Skies).
Joining them will be Deborah Ann Woll, who for seven years has portrayed neophyte vampire Jessica Hamby on HBO's True Blood. With that show about to wrap up forever, Woll talked at length to Zap2It about her experience playing Jessica and the way her character has evolved. Woll was asked about how much of Jessica she may or may not pull from when moving on to her Daredevil character, Karen Page (Matt Murdoch's love interest).
According to Woll, the characters might be far less alike than she expected, saying:
Well, I'm already starting to notice huge differences between the two characters [in 'True Blood' and 'Daredevil']. That's already kind of exciting to play. I can feel myself go, "Oh, if this was Jessica she would do this," but wanting to kind of steer differently than that. It's always going to be me in some way. I think, as an actor, that's part of it. You have to bring some of yourself to it, and that's why you have to revisit roles over and over again, so you can see different people bring themselves to the part.
So it's always going to feel a little bit similar because it will always be a piece of me, but I can choose to respond differently or play things closer to the chest. It's been a really interest experience, actually, stepping outside of Jessica. It feels sort of weird. Jessica was like an old pair of jeans. I knew every rip, every stretched out spot. It just fit me just right after so many years. Karen, it's going to take a little bit of time, but I'm starting to figure out how to I fit into those clothes.
In the Daredevil comics, Karen Page is the longest-running love interest for the title character, with their relationship weathering many and varied obstacles before she is eventually murdered by the villain Bullseye (played by Colin Farrell in the 2003 film).
From Woll's comments, it sounds like playing Karen will require a significant shift in method and style. The actress went on to comment on what it will take to access her new character's emotional range, saying:
And then I was like, "Oh, right. I've only known Karen for like four weeks as opposed to seven years." I have to do this work all over again, and maybe in two years I'll be at the point where I can cry at the drop of a hat for Karen. [Laughs] But it just takes a little bit of extra effort to get there, and making things even more real or higher stakes for yourself, whatever you've got to do to get yourself there. It's a reminder of how special it was to do that one show for seven years.
With the promised gritty, street-level storytelling, it might be safe to expect some intense drama alongside the Hell's Kitchen heroics. Judging from the range of emotions Woll seems to need to conjure up to play Karen Page, fans might expect her character arc to include some key moments from the comics, notably her anguish at discovering Daredevil's secret identity.
Then there is the unfortunate and misguided arc which saw Karen become a heroin addict and delve into pornography. Just how gritty will Daredevil get? Deborah Ann Woll is known for having bared quite a bit on True Blood, but one hopes the showrunners approach her new character with a bit more restraint.
Daredevil is expected to premiere its 13-episode season on Netflix in May 2015.