Comics On TV

Charlie Cox Breaks Down Daredevil Season 3's 10-Minute One-Take Hallway Fight

Plus: Showrunner Erik Oleson and costar Wilson Bethel on the backstory that leads to Bullseye.

by | October 22, 2018 | Comments

Anyone who’s seen the third season of Marvel’s Daredevil, now streaming on Netflix, will have one key question in mind after finishing the finale: Why sausage and broccoli pizza?

“Broccoli pizza’s a crime and should never be eaten by anybody,” joked new cast member Wilson Bethel when Rotten Tomatoes spoke with him, star Charlie Cox, and showrunner Erik Oleson just before the season premiered.

Bethel and Oleson spoke about broccoli pizza, but the duo (and star Cox) also discussed much more serious topics, including the backstory for Bethel’s character, the season’s single-take hallway fight, Matt Murdock’s will to live, and more.


WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT THE THIRD SEASON OF NETFLIX’S DAREDEVIL (AND WE’RE NOT JUST TALKING PIZZA TOPPINGS).


But first, the pizza: Bethel’s character, Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter (a.k.a. Bullseye), eats slice after slice of the strange pizza while watching the object of his affection, a server named Julie (Holly Cinnamon), do the same thing at a New York pizza joint. Of course, he sits in his car while she sits in the pizza place responsible for the unusual topping.

“We actually shot that scene on location at what I consider to be the best pizza place in all of New York: in Midwood, Brooklyn, called Di Fara,” Bethel said. “Which is just out-of-this-world, lights-out, good pizza, so you can imagine my horror when you’re at the best pizza place in New York, and they’re supplying you with hot pizza, and its broccoli pizza. I mean that’s just — it’s criminal.”

Culinary crimes aside, the pizza plays a key role in an early scene featuring Dex. Oleson told RT, “I was very hungry when I wrote that line.” The unusual choice of topping originates from the showrunner’s personal history: “I was remembering, back at NYU I would do a broccoli and sausage pizza. There was a place on University Place just north of Washington Square, and it was was my go-to-slice. It was a weird, great slice.”


Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

(Photo by Nicole Rivelli/Netflix)

The memory provided a key detail in the scene, which Oleson called “this warped stalker date.” Daredevil begins a story which could easily be known as “Bullseye: Born Again.” The backstory of Bethel’s character “was never really set in stone in the comics,” Oleson explained, and indeed, the character’s origins in Marvel Comics lore are obscure. The name “Benjamin Poindexter” is more likely a cover persona than a clue to his true past. But as viewers of Daredevil learned over the weekend,Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) discovers the intimate details of Dex’s difficult upbringing in an innovative flashback scene set in the middle of episode 4.

Oleson told Rotten Tomatoes that the flashback sequence was a result of his desire to expand the visual vocabulary of the show, including the moment that the color drains out of the frame, and various parts of Fisk’s hotel suite become key locations in Dex’s life. A brick wall represents a spot where a younger Dex developed his throwing strength and accuracy. Another part of the suite becomes the office of Dex’s cancer-ridden therapist.

“I wanted to do something that was elevated beyond a traditional flashback,” Oleson said. “I don’t remember whether it was my idea or another writer, we started talking about this conceit, this kind of magical realism. I’m a big fan of magical realism. I loved it in Six Feet Under and some other places. A lot of great television shows use it. The Sopranos did as well at times.”



For Bethel, it was just “exciting” to understand his character better. As he explored Dex’s backstory, he saw the character as both a victim of circumstance and a man with a heart of darkness in his chest.

“Clearly, there is a guy who had a deeply troubled childhood and came up in some really adverse circumstances, but I also think that there is also a part of Dex’s mind that does not work like [most people’s],” the actor said, adding, “This guy had some serious pathology. For the majority of Dex’s life, he has figured out ways to keep that pathology at bay from usurping his better nature.”

Fisk discovers this truth about the FBI agent during the episode, which leads to him breaking Dex down in a fashion similar to the one his comic-book counterpart uses on Matt Murdoch at the beginning of the classic Daredevil tale “Born Again.” Fisk also begins to seduce the character in order to fit him into his plan of making Daredevil a public menace.


Marvel's Daredevil SEASON Season 3 EPISODE 7 PHOTO CREDIT David Lee/Netflix PICTURED Charlie Cox

(Photo by David Lee/Netflix)

In episode 6, Dex takes possession of a Daredevil costume and becomes a counterfeit Daredevil. For star Charlie Cox, the sensation of seeing someone else in the suit was strange and even frightening.

“It would be scary as hell if you walked into a room and that guy was standing there,” Cox said. At the same time, while “there’s a part of me that loves the red costume,” he admitted to a certain relief in returning to the season 1 black costume. “It’s a lot more comfy.”

But beyond the shared costume, Cox thought something else united Matt with Dex: their shared history with abandonment. It is even something they have in common with Fisk, even if Cox believes Matt is “loathe to admit it.” It leads to a truth the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen may not want to face.

“One of the things that is most uncomfortable to Matt Murdoch, particularly in season 3, is that he does recognize himself in these other people,” Cox said. “And probably his biggest fear is that he is deluding himself, and he is actually as much of a menace, if not more, than these so-called bad guys. I think what keeps him up at night [is] this perpetual fear, this question of is he doing the right thing? Is he himself a hero or a villain?”


David Lee/Netflix

(Photo by David Lee/Netflix)

Of course, questions like that may be the furthest thing from Matt’s mind when he finds himself in the annual hallway fight. This time around, the brawl is a 10-minute-long take, featuring several complete fights, a key plot reveal, and a prison riot — without a single cut, though Oleson mentioned he and his crew built in ways to cover cuts if the scene did not work in rehearsals. After shutting down filming for an entire day to work through the scene on set, they managed to shoot it in real time.

“It was insane what Charlie and the stunt double and the stunts team and the guest director pulled off,” Oleson said. “I’m glad that we were able to do the whole version of the hallway fight.” He also called it something both he and Cox hold up as “proud experiences of our careers.”

Though proud of it, Cox admitted he was unsure about the sequence when he first read the script.

“I felt like it was gonna be too much of ask,” he said. “So it’s an amazing testament to all of us, the stunt team particularly, that we were able to pull it off.”

One interesting wrinkle in the scene is Matt’s lack of readiness for the fight. In preparing to look unprepared, Cox said it becomes a matter of showing the character’s instincts.

“You can’t plan anything. You can’t plan how you’re going to take someone down, really,” he said. “You have to just prepare yourself to be as quick and as powerful as you can be.”

While all the fight scenes on television come down to learning the choreography, special attention was paid to making Matt look like he was off his game.

“The great thing about doing a one-take scene is you don’t have to act tired,” he added. Where a more traditional fight allows for breaks to set up new camera angles, the 10-minute one-take presents every moment live – from Matt taking on orderlies to getting into a cab outside the prison – with no stopping. By the point Matt reaches the back seat and speeds off, Cox was “literally that tired.”

To Oleson, the tension of producing a full 10-minute action scene in real time underscores the meaning of the fight: “He is exposing himself to Fisk beyond any doubt that he is Daredevil.”

That moment of revelation makes the risk of the hallway fight less physical and more wide-reaching.

“It’s kind of like the worst case scenario for Matt Murdock,” he explained. “I also was just stoked to see him fight as Matt Murdock. I totally geeked out on that.”



Before the hallway fight, however, was an even tougher crisis for the Catholic superhero to handle: contemplating suicide. Oleson felt it was the natural extension of Matt’s experience during The Defenders and the darkest place for the character to start the season. Even as his body healed, his spirit continued to grapple with the question in the first several episodes. When asked if Fisk presents Matt with a distraction from his darker thoughts, Oleson noted the timely way Matt’s hearing returned as word of Fisk’s release from prison went out over the police radio.

“Is there perhaps some spiritual level to that?” Oleson asked. “Is it the voices of the angels that are coming through on those radios, giving Matt what he thinks is bad news, that Fisk is getting out, or is it God reaching into him and saying, ‘Don’t give up hope Matt, there is a purpose for you yet?’”

 

While Oleson made the case for divine intervention, Cox felt Matt’s struggle with faith is “always gonna be ongoing.”

As Cox explained, “When you have a religious superhero, it’s a great conflict to embrace. I don’t know that he’s ever going to completely make peace with that.”

And even if Matt decides to keep on living, how he lives will be the greatest question Matt needs to answer.

“He either needs to stop doing what he’s doing and live a normal life, or he needs to be engaged with Daredevil, be the superhero he wants to be, and stop questioning it,” Cox said. But as season 3 illustrated for the actor, the distinction between Matt and Daredevil is “always going to be a blurry line for him.”


Daredevil season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Man with No Fear returns to top form with a third season that begins tediously slow but gradually generates comic book thrills, immeasurably helped by the welcome return of Vincent D'Onofrio's menacing Kingpin.

Tag Cloud

cancelled Television Critics Association Disney+ Disney Plus art house The Walking Dead SXSW ESPN IFC Films Mudbound Film a nightmare on elm street king kong international Pet Sematary Comic-Con@Home 2021 rt labs critics edition Sneak Peek Esquire Brie Larson APB renewed TV shows spain child's play The Walt Disney Company Reality BBC One critic resources DC streaming service mob 2016 spanish language ID rt labs WarnerMedia hispanic 24 frames Set visit docuseries TV renewals 2018 screenings Awards Tour kids Writers Guild of America foreign TV movies deadpool Biopics Apple supernatural 007 BAFTA Lucasfilm suspense Musicals Disney Channel Star Wars Awards crime thriller Sci-Fi TV Land VH1 E3 Rocky hidden camera royal family Pop ITV Netflix Christmas movies Ellie Kemper Academy Awards TNT Travel Channel IMDb TV Podcast 1990s 72 Emmy Awards Disney Plus Holidays composers YouTube Red Pop TV Family science fiction australia live action Universal Pictures Tumblr BBC LGBT marvel cinematic universe Thanksgiving Emmys Rocketman 2017 Tags: Comedy Crunchyroll Arrowverse CBS All Access natural history werewolf criterion series Acorn TV Drama GIFs cults Mystery prank mutant comic book movie Turner action-comedy Spectrum Originals godzilla Comics on TV streaming movies cancelled TV series First Reviews black laika Video Games kong Black History Month Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA boxing TCA Winter 2020 Martial Arts stoner Action critics dexter true crime joker name the review high school movies Sundance TV 71st Emmy Awards ratings Legendary documentary japanese crime Avengers nfl target USA Network Adult Swim dark Musical 2020 harry potter 20th Century Fox BBC America vs. YouTube Premium travel asian-american GLAAD Marvel Studios toy story crossover Country 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards young adult NYCC Emmy Nominations Box Office Ovation Opinion what to watch italian ABC 21st Century Fox political drama award winner A24 japan Heroines TV rotten movies we love Fargo Horror strong female leads ABC Family football Mary poppins classics Sony Pictures 93rd Oscars versus Turner Classic Movies cops talk show doctor who toronto parents DC Comics jamie lee curtis Christmas scary movies mission: impossible Television Academy book war anime directors comics wonder woman blaxploitation witnail zombie dc adenture television psychological thriller Classic Film Food Network Holiday Photos MSNBC Nickelodeon reboot SDCC golden globe awards slasher latino sag awards Image Comics new star wars movies Comedy New York Comic Con Discovery Channel Starz space animated Grammys saw RT21 worst movies YouTube mockumentary Stephen King CMT Winter TV batman video on demand cars miniseries Walt Disney Pictures sequel spinoff zero dark thirty indie 73rd Emmy Awards sitcom cinemax Universal psycho Creative Arts Emmys Prime Video Shudder satire Netflix Trophy Talk sopranos discovery chucky Fantasy Lionsgate Oscars Anna Paquin Nominations FOX Marvel Television Superheroe police drama Exclusive Video Captain marvel Valentine's Day Endgame emmy awards Rock diversity Character Guide American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Christmas movies OneApp video comic books trailers WGN rom-coms Fox Searchlight DC Universe SundanceTV aliens comiccon thriller Paramount Plus rotten TruTV social media marvel comics best blockbusters Trivia ghosts AMC Hulu dceu festivals biography streaming Bravo boxoffice The Academy The Arrangement Cartoon Network Freeform Best and Worst disaster obituary children's TV Spring TV dramedy Tokyo Olympics TCM TLC book adaptation PBS Extras 45 fresh LGBTQ FX Premiere Dates medical drama pirates of the caribbean NBA concert nbcuniversal sequels basketball FX on Hulu adventure breaking bad cooking Summer IFC unscripted screen actors guild San Diego Comic-Con new zealand 4/20 Reality Competition binge Alien Fox News Rom-Com History Star Trek Amazon based on movie Sundance halloween tv romance comedies vampires zombies theme song 2019 canceled heist movie olympics popular Paramount Amazon Studios live event die hard Cosplay legend Nat Geo Election National Geographic Logo Syfy E! Disney streaming service Winners black comedy Comic Book Apple TV+ cancelled television quibi trophy stop motion Neflix sports teaser reviews Countdown Disney comic book movies Tarantino razzies Pacific Islander comic NBC FXX HFPA scorecard Shondaland Trailer Animation Amazon Prime Calendar BET Awards indiana jones green book USA Broadway james bond Mary Tyler Moore Hallmark Year in Review crime drama Chernobyl Crackle documentaries Certified Fresh docudrama canceled TV shows elevated horror CNN facebook scary The Purge Hollywood Foreign Press Association cartoon Pirates Western finale spanish Song of Ice and Fire Toys halloween Ghostbusters singing competition Black Mirror debate DirecTV anthology universal monsters worst remakes golden globes feel good HBO Go PlayStation mcc Marathons ViacomCBS ABC Signature Mindy Kaling cats X-Men spy thriller Super Bowl period drama Marvel HBO Max spider-verse Binge Guide The Witch movie hollywood Sundance Now gangster Instagram Live See It Skip It superhero Britbox historical drama christmas movies Vudu YA monster movies know your critic Quiz A&E Baby Yoda biopic BET all-time TCA Awards Red Carpet Dark Horse Comics cancelled TV shows robots venice superman Schedule adaptation Epix romantic comedy Lifetime casting slashers Warner Bros. women stand-up comedy OWN hist Mary Poppins Returns free movies franchise Music Fall TV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Cannes films aapi twilight TBS archives Elton John tv talk TCA 2017 Amazon Prime Video Spike game show Columbia Pictures spider-man serial killer Hear Us Out 79th Golden Globes Awards festival jurassic park dragons technology Film Festival transformers hispanic heritage month RT History Peacock king arthur scene in color telelvision The CW politics independent CW Seed Paramount Network Teen GoT kaiju Masterpiece 90s TIFF DGA VOD game of thrones Apple TV Plus Women's History Month Infographic Pixar 2015 french Comedy Central fast and furious new york 2021 Interview Tomatazos justice league lord of the rings MTV nature President dreamworks AMC Plus richard e. Grant Watching Series revenge Tubi VICE Funimation First Look blockbuster Wes Anderson dogs 99% posters news Pride Month El Rey PaleyFest Showtime genre HBO MCU rt archives Polls and Games CBS TV One Kids & Family Superheroes leaderboard Hallmark Christmas movies south america