Charlie Cox sits in the snazzy compounds of The Disgruntled Chef at The Club Hotel along Ann Siang Road, fielding questions from regional press about Marvel's Daredevil's recent season two premiere on 18 March. At the bar and lobby next door, cardboard characters from another Netflix hit, Orange Is The New Black stand silently next to counters, where a mock commissary is set up. A staircase leads guests down to Luke Cage's bar, a regular haunt of titular character Marvel's Jessica Jones. At the hotel's rooftop bar, Pablo Escobar's notes are scattered all over the floor as guests sip on A World of Fire, a Daredevil-inspired cocktail of pisco, mezcal, ginger, blackberries and ginger beer — it was every Netflix fan's candy store.
As for Cox, the 34-year-old London native was in town to promote Netflix's critically acclaimed Marvel's Daredevil, where he plays the titular role. Playing blind lawyer Matt Murdock who masquerades as Daredevil in the streets of Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, the series also stars Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson and Rosario Dawson. A piece of the pie that is the Marvel Universe, Daredevil joins Marvel's Jessica Jones and upcoming shows Marvel's Luke Cage, Marvel's Iron Fist and Marvel's Defenders, bringing much fan fare to viewers in Singapore, where Netflix just premiered in January.
As we cosy up to Cox, he sheds some light on what it means to represent the blind community as he shares some screen tips. We trust the actor — before Marvel's Daredevil, his resume details roles in film and television including Stardust (2007), Downton Abbey (2010), Boardwalk Empire (2011-2012), and The Theory of Everything (2014).
1. Get lucky
"The thing I say which isn't really advice and not fun to hear, is 'get lucky'. I count myself as fortunate — I know a huge amount of very talented actors who don't get the opportunities. Don't get me wrong, I work very hard. Somehow, somewhere I've been at the right place at the right time."
2. Read your script more times that you think you need to
"I heard that Anthony Hopkins — one of my favourite actors — reads his script 200 times. My main preparation for every job is to read it till I can't read it anymore. What I've discovered from doing that is that the danger with most acting is that there's a temptation to act the plot. And that's not your job as an actor. The plot is in the writing. In real life, you don't act your own plot. You don't know your own plot.
I'm preparing for a play in New York, and I'm reading the script twice per day. Get to the point where you're so familiar with it, you get all the tones and it'll come like second nature."
3. Subtlety is everything...in other words, adopt Brando's style
"It's almost like a process of osmosis — it (the script) just gets into your bones. Everything becomes very simple. My favourite acting is acting that's really simple. Like Marlon Brando: It's bold, brave and simplistic. Gene Hackman as well. What they're doing is they're playing what's going on underneath everything. It's so subtle."
4. Consistency is vital
"The hardest thing I've worked on is the blindness aspect. There's the eyes, which is one thing, then there's the technique that Matt employs to convince the outside world that he's blind. I always have to remember in every scene I'm in, who's in the scene. The thing that's probably the hardest is when I'm operating as Daredevil would, without the illusion of blindness. He would never need to look at anything with his eyes in order to pick it up. But me Charlie, I would need to see it to pick it up! (laughs) So often we have to do takes over and over again, because he would never miss it."
Marvel's Daredevil is currently showing on Netflix.