DAREDEVIL - Q&A with Ben Affleck
What attracted to you to the role of DAREDEVIL?
I read it as a kid and was always interested in the comic book. Certainly there were flashier superheroes out there who zipped around and would fly into exploding suns with great regularity, but for me, this character was what was so compelling. He just moved me in a way some of the others didn't. Daredevil was different. There was something more real about him than many of the other superheroes in comic books. And when I met Mark Johnson (the writer/director), I could immediately see he was interested in preserving the integrity of the comic book and character. He had storyboards, computer graphics, music animaes. One of the reasons I had always liked Daredevil and his alter ego, Matt Murdock was because they were flawed, vulnerable and that as Daredevil, Matt had no superhero powers besides his radar sense. I think I also related to him because he was openly Catholic and the son of Irish Catholic immigrants, which is similar to my background. He also had tragic love affairs, which made him even more real.
How did you prepare to play a blind man?
I wanted to learn what it was like to live with no sight. I worked with this amazing, guy named Tom Sullivan, who's blind and does stuff like scale Mount Everest which can really put your own life in perspective. What was interesting is that he was helping me to learn to understand what it was like being blind, but he couldn't see what I was doing. I could just freely stare and observe him. I also wore these special contact lenses that made my eyes looked scarred and opaque from the radiation accident that had originally blinded Daredevil.
Why do they call Daredevil, the man without fear?
I think that has to do with the fact that he's blind and he would sort of dive off of buildings without fear because he couldn't see how far the drop was. The idea being a little bit of ignorance is bliss in a way. If you don't know how scary something is, you're more likely to try it. I also think the Daredevil theme and the connotation that he's not afraid to do anything is emblematic of the way which he turned his blindness into an asset.
How is Daredevil different from other superheroes?
A lot. The vigilante element in his character puts him at the far end of these guys; not to mention his religion and belief in Catholicism. He's more real than most of the other superheroes out there. He gets banged up when he fights and will come home and take some vicodin for the pain and then soak his scarred body in Epsom salts. I think overall, he's more human and he battles with the same things the rest of us do on an everyday basis. Also, the heart of the movie is a love story with Jennifer Garner, which is one of the reasons it's opening on Valentine's Day. That's also what made the movie different and more interesting than a lot of other comic book movies.
Do you think audiences will perceive Daredevil as less than spectacular because of his lack of spectacular super powers?
I'd like to think that ultimately it's the story that makes a movie and whether the characters in it are compelling or not. I think the characters are extremely compelling in DAREDEVIL because they are more accessible. While they live in this world of superheroes, they're much more like we are as normal people. In many ways I think that's more interesting than a guy in a blue and red outfit that repels bullets. It's harder to identify with that. Plus, this is a darker, more grown-up story. There's none of that Boy Scout, truth, justice and the American way element to it. It deals much more with moral ambiguity. You may sacrifice some of the flash, but in turn I think audiences will identify more with the characters.
So is the movie targeted at both kids and adults?
That's the idea. The characters are more multi-layered than I think you typically see in more youth oriented comic book movies. But once you reach the ages of ten or eleven, I think anyone can appreciate it on the fundamental drama, adventure, excitement level. Older audiences might appreciate it as a story about character, darkness, right and wrong, revenge and bigger, more traditional themes. I don't think whether you're a kid or an adult, the audience will want for eye candy.
With so many comic book movies coming up do you ever worry that the genre is being overplayed?
Sure. I worry about so many things, so that's just another one. What mitigates that somewhat is that DAREDEVIL is the next one coming up. Then it's X-MEN II and THE HULK. I know that GHOSTRIDER, SUBMARINER and THE PUNISHER are all in development and the whole thing could get a little tired by the time those come around. But who knows, it may just turn into a genre of movies. They made a whole lot of Westerns before people stopped going to see them.
So what's your take on a DAREDEVIL sequel?
I think it's a little premature to talk about that. There's a couple of story lines that I like, but people are going to have to respond to this one first and like it the way I did when I was young for it to be successful enough for them to serialize it. If that were to happen, then I would decide if I wanted to do it based on what the story was for the next one. I've always wanted to do the story line that Kevin Smith wrote, which was six episodes of the comic book he called, "Guardian Devil." It was a neat story. That would be my vote, but right now, it's a long ways off.
Question and Answer text Copyright Twentieth Century Fox