Daredevil Press Day!!
Fox held a press conference yesterday at the prestigious Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles yesterday to update the media on DAREDEVIL. I was lucky enough to go and, after being there a while, realized that JoBlo gets mucho respecto from the other media outlets there. One guy from MTV, whose name I never got, told me he hits our site to start every morning. It's Wheaties, then JoBlo, I guess. In that order. Pretty sweet.
Also, realize that this report is a little behind the curve today because I value depth and quality. DD fans will understand. There, that's off my chest too.
First and foremost, they were shooting a scene for the film in a grand ballroom right next door. Before the press conference started, I slipped out and snuck a peek at what was going on. I guess it's a banquet scene that gets rudely interrupted by Kingpin. That would've been interesting to see. I did see Ben and Jennifer Garner shooting a little exchange near the door. He was in a tux, and she was looking smokin' in a formal dress. Before I could catch more, I was whisked away by the stagehand meatheads. [Ed. note: Way to go, John! - MS]
Anyway, once I got back into the presser, the main cast and crew stepped away from the shooting to talk with us for a while. Affleck, Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Steven Johnson (director), Avi Arad (Marvel Studios CEO and a producer), and Gary Foster (producer) were all there. It was cool. First, they showed us a trailer or, as they called it, a "pre-teaser" of the film. Supposedly it's going to run with MINORITY REPORT in most theaters. It was intense. The first shot is from the city rooftops, and quick-cuts into techno tunes and non-stop, MATRIX-like action. Affleck kicks ass - a significant departure from most of his roles. I did see a kiss in there, for all you love story haters out there. So be prepared. Overall, I must say I was impressed. It looked dark, gritty, and action-packed. MATRIX meets BATMAN.
Before they got to Q and A, they spoke a little about the production. The entire film is being shot in LA, which makes everybody happy. It sounds like they started shooting in late March, and hope to wrap in July some time. Several of them used the phrase "came to fruition" (I counted 4 times overall, once by Affleck, once by Duncan, and twice by the director), which showed that this project has been in the works of many, and has been the vision of Johnson from the start. Arad even mentioned several times that he actually had to get a restraining order on Johnson, due to his incessant pestering to get the film made. I don't think he was kidding, and everyone seemed to share a sense of joy that the film was finally being made.
Here are some interesting items from the Q and A…
- Ben is supposedly wearing contacts during the shooting that make his vision blurry. Not blind, but blurry. The goal was to get as close to his character's handicap as possible.
- Favreau put on significant weight for the role of "Foggy" Nelson. It was obvious.
- There is an Elektra spin-off definitely in the works. Arad also mentioned the possibility of other spin-off sequels, and seemed to be looking towards Duncan when he said that.
- They are developing an R and a PG-13 version for DVD.
- One of the heavy influences for the film was Japanese animation. Their goal was to replicate that in their fight scenes.
- Johnson has been working on the film for about 6 years now.
- Garner and Affleck work extra hours after the shooting on their fight sequences. Garner even said she practiced a lot on the set of her television show "Alias".
- They are making a concerted effort to stick to the original Man Without Fear, Frank Miller character.
Here are some specific exchanges from the conference that are interesting…
AFFLECK (on why he took the role): "Everybody has that one thing from childhood that they remember and that sticks with them. This story was that for me."
What sensitivity did you have to take to prepare to portray a blind character?
AFFLECK: "It's kind of misleading. In a way, he is blind yes, but because he's able to cobble together a mosaic impression of everything around him based on his other heightened senses, he is able to navigate the world…It's kind of a sonar, which will be represented in the movie with this really cool series of effects that Mark created, this kind of this shadow world. He sees things, but he can't really see texture. He knows where things are, but he still has to fold his bills the way a regular blind man folds his bills so he doesn't get a one-dollar and a five-dollar bill confused. He still has to read Braille text to find his clothes. So Mark tried to create a combination of the vulnerability of his handicap, with the extra abilities…As far as the genre of comic book movies, this one is definitely aiming more towards the character in the story. So the challenge is to make it honest and believable."
Did you other guys have any pre-film experience with the characters you play?
MICHAEL: I was very familiar with Kingpin. When I read the comic books, that was the only person I read it for…This is like a dream come true.
JOE: I had no idea about the DAREDEVIL comic strip. I think the first time we talked about it was when I ran into Mark at a coffee shop…but it's always a pleasure to see the enthusiasm from Mark and all the actors.
What do think about the Elektra costume?
JENNIFER: I had no influence in choosing the look…The costume is certainly not something I'd wear in everyday life…But the costume designer has done an amazing job of taking something that could be embarrassing and making it look as cool as possible.
And now it's my moment to shine….
ME: Are you guys having an especially hard time with a film like this, a film
with such strong characters, to remove yourselves from the character at the end of the
AFFLECK: "I don't have any delusions about being a superhero when I go home. I'm acutely aware of how average I am.(laughter)…Sometimes I think I can fight after the rehearsals, but then I'm quickly diffused of that."
Oh, thanks for making me look dumb, Ben…;)
ME: Are you developing DVD content as you go?
JOHNSON: "Yeah, we have a ton. I'm a huge DVD fan…From the first costume fitting, to training, we have hundreds of hours of stuff. Hopefully we'll have a couple of dvd versions out, an R and a PG-13 version."
And this following stuff is bad-ass. Duncan addresses the controversy about why he was cast in the Kingpin role, and looks a little serious…
DUNCAN: "When they told me they were going to cast me in the role I was very shocked. I'm aware the character in the comic books is white. And I knew that would be the major disagreement with some fans who follow these comic books religiously. But I guarantee you, when this movie comes out, I think everyone will be satisfied that I was cast as Kingpin. I guarantee it."
Overall, it was a blast there. Fox spared no expense to get us up close with the filmmakers and the cast. Affleck and Garner seem to have good chemistry off the set, that's for sure. And according to Johnson, the chemistry amongst the characters while the cameras are rolling is "absolutely perfect." And remember, he did SIMON BIRCH, so he knows a thing or two about good chemistry. I still cry when I see it.
Anyway, as if there wasn't enough anticipation already, this even will only fuel more. Seeing Michael Clarke Duncan up there, and envisioning him kicking ass against Ben Affleck, is enough to get anyone into the theater…if Jennifer Garner in a leather outfit didn't already do that.
Head over and read Part 2, including a full transcription, of the DAREDEVIL Press Conference!