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Feature: Daredevil

Blind Ambition

Daredevil, soon to be leaping from comic to screen Daredevil, aka Matt Murdock, aka ‘The Man Without Fear’ will be the next superhero to storm your Multiplex.

Even though the film is not due on our screens until 2003, the stars and production team just couldn’t wait to talk about it…

The latest Hollywood blockbuster turning a Marvel comic book superhero into a big screen legend is Daredevil, known as ‘The Man Without Fear’, a best-selling comic since Stan Lee created the title character back in 1964.

Daredevil is a masked law-enforcer with a difference – he’s blind. After a freak accident with radioactive waste, Matthew Murdock lost the use of his eyes, but found his other senses were ‘mutagenically’ heightened. A lawyer by day, by night he stalks the streets in search of crime, his extra-sensory powers, together with brilliant martial arts fighting skills, and a useful weapon in the form of a billy club, make him an avenger of justice.

Avi Arad, one of the movie’s producers and CEO of Marvel Studios, is the man who supervises the transition of characters like Daredevil from comic book page to film. “I’m very happy to be here and finally making this movie,” he says. “Daredevil, as you know, is a regular man. A man with a heart, a man that is trying to do things right and use his humanity really to win.

“We’ve been waiting to make this movie for a long time,” continues Arad. “We’ve just come back from Japan, where we were celebrating the roaring success of Spider-Man, and Sam Raimi was asked by the press, ‘What’s the next Marvel movie you want to see the most?’ And without hesitation he said, ‘Daredevil’.”

The movie has been quite some time in the making. “Six years ago,” explains Gary Foster, Daredevil’s other producer, “Mark Steven Johnson [writer and director] came into my office and said, ‘There’s a property that’s going to be available called Daredevil. It’s my dream to make this movie.’ But I’d never heard of it to be honest! He threw a bunch of comic books on my desk and I read them and was immediately attracted to this character. Here’s a guy who has a moral dilemma, a struggle between his humanity and his handicap. Mark has been working on this for six years, trying to get the deals done and finally he’s got it done. He’s the central creative force behind all this.”

Writer/director Mark Steven Johnson made his directorial début only four years ago with Simon Birch, for which he also wrote the script. “This is something I’ve been wanting to do since I was about 12 years old,” says Johnson. “I’ve been reading the comic ever since then. It’s something that’s become an obsession for me.”

Many names were short-listed including Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Guy Pearce and Mark Wahlberg, but eventually it was decided that Ben Affleck was the best man for the job. So, was Ben a fan of the comic book ?

“Everybody has one thing from their childhood that they really remember, that affected them and moved them. Daredevil was that thing for me,” Affleck explains. “So, I was excited to do it. It’s such an incredible cast to work with and Mark had some really exciting, interesting ideas about how he wanted to shoot the movie, how he wanted it to feel and how he wanted it to be different. I’m glad it’s finally come to fruition.”

by Peter Simms

Read the full interview in:
Starburst #289

© 20th Century Fox
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #289
September 2002
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