February 2003
Daredevil : An Interview with Michael Clarke Duncan

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

Daredevil: An Interview with Michael Clarke Duncan

Not many folks have made a BIG entrance in Hollywood like Michael Clarke Duncan. At 6’4 he stands a giant amongst his peers. When he first came on to the scene opposite Tom Hanks in “The Green Mile”, who knew he would garner an Oscar nomination for his performance. Although he didn’t win, he managed to parlay that good spirit to subsequent roles in “Armageddon”, “The Whole Nine Yards” and “Planet of the Apes”. Last year he co-starred with the Rock in “The Scorpion King” as his nemesis. Playing the evil one has come in hand as he will play that sort of role again in his latest film opposite Ben Affleck in “Daredevil”. Duncan stars as Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, a massively muscled underworld figure. In an interview with blackfilm.com, Michael Clarke Duncan talks about the character that most comic book fans know is portrayed by a white man.

WM: Many comic book fans know that Kingpin is portrayed by a 6’7 430 pound white guy. When the casting of Kingpin came about, how were you brought in the picture? Did you auditioned for the part or were you called?

MCD: They called me and offered me the role. The director called me and wanted to have lunch. I thought he was going to offer me something else, maybe a smaller role. When he said he wanted me to play Kingpin, I look at him and said “You know the guy is white, right?” He said yes and still thought I was the best actor for the job and the people at Fox thought I was the best actor for the job. After he told me that, I didn’t have a problem playing the role.

WM: Were you a fan of the character?

MCD: Oh yeah, I grew up with the Daredevil comic book, Spiderman, Superman, and Batman. I grew up with most of those DC and Marvel comic books when I was younger. In fact, Kingpin was one of my favorite characters.

WM: In the film as well as the posters we see planted all over the country, you are wearing a white double-breasted suit. Had you worn one before and did it comfortable?

MCD: I don’t have too many white suits, maybe cream, but no white suits. They made the suit feel right for me. It was the first time on a set where the clothes were Taylor-made.

WM: If you were the best actor for the part, did you do any physical training for the part?

MCD: I had to gain weight. Once again, they wanted me to be a little bit thicker. The height wasn’t a problem but they wanted me to be more muscular. So I started doing my power lifting regiment when I need to gain weight to build my muscles up. So I got to 335 almost 340 pounds and I lifted everyday, and that gave me a broader swollen look on camera.

WM: How challenging was the fight scene with Ben Affleck as Daredevil?

MCD: Kingpin knows about Daredevil, and Daredevil is coming for him. Kingpin sends all his bodyguards home, tells everyone to clear the building, and the lights start going out on each floor of this tall skyscraper building. When the fight scene starts, I’m pretty much whipping his butt, but had to let him get his cuts in, because he couldn’t look that bad.

WM: Did you do some of your stunts?

MCD: I did all of my stunts. I did every single one. There was a big size difference between my stunt double and me, and you would be able to notice on camera. They told me I had to do everything and I was cool with that.

WM: In the film, there’s a scene where Kingpin drinks and smokes, which something you don’t do. Was that a difficult scene to shoot?

MCD: It was definitely challenging. I talked to Mark Steven Johnson (the director) about it and I was trying to get around it at first. I was trying to do other things that the Kingpin character would do other than smoke a cigar. Once I started rereading the comic book, the character always smokes a cigar so it was sort of hard to get around it. If you are going to play a character, then you have stay true to that character. So what they did was give me these herbal cigars which didn’t have any nicotine in it. All I did was puff on them and blow the smoke out. It looked cool.

WM: As a black actor, it’s a challenge getting roles. Is it a problem for you when you get offered roles more for your physical appearance as opposed to your acting ability?

MCD: That’s part of it. I understand that most of the time when I get offered a role, it’s mostly because of my physical appearance but hopefully most of the other times, it’s like this film, in that I was considered the actor for the role. I take it in stride. If they want me for my physical or acting ability, that’s cool with me. I just love to work.

WM: What sort of roles do you prefer to do?

MCD: I like drama and comedy. I like comedy a lot. I have yet to do a romantic film or romantic comedy that I can get into. I think that would funny, and something the fans would enjoy as well.

WM: What’s the best film of 2002 that you saw?

MCD: I haven’t seen a lot of film, but I did like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I also liked the Bourne Identity and The Transporter. I like action films and I dug the Transporter. So many action films are coming out this summer, so it will very interesting to see who lands on top.

WM: What’s next for you?

MCD: Right now, I’m reading scripts. I have a movie coming out with Val Kilmer and it’s called “George and the Dragon.” It will be released very soon and I also have a fight scene in that film with Val Kilmer. Patrick Swayze is in the film as well. It was pretty interesting. That’s a comedy and it was very funny, so hopefully the fans will get a kick out of that also.

WM: Thanks for talking with me and blackfilm.com

MCD: Thanks very much.