With Season 3 of Marvel’s Daredevil, streaming at Netflix, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is back from the brink of death and not only has to deal with his archenemy Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), aka Kingpin, and his unexpected release from prison, but he’ll also have to contend with the rise of Bullseye (Wilson Bethel), who proves to be a formidable enemy, in his own right. And all of this will force Daredevil to choose between hiding from the world or embracing his destiny as a hero.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Vincent D’Onofrio talked about the art he turned to for inspiration this season, what he most enjoyed about the journey he got to take with Wilson Fisk in Season 3, how he changes his voice depending on the scene, the beautifully tailored white suits, Fisk’s interest in Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter (Bethel), what Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) means to him, what new showrunner Erik Oleson brought to the season, and whether he’d ever consider directing an episode of the series.
Collider: You’ve said that prior to shooting the season, you reached out to Bill Sienkiewicz to get some art for this, which you were given. What made you choose that particular artist, and how did the work he sent you help you with your performance?
VINCENT D’ONOFRIO: It’s always helped me with the visual stuff, at least with particular artists. As you know, there are certain particular graphic artists and comic book artists that are very, very inspiring, just because the kind of work that they do is pretty intense. The art helps me a lot more than the actual comic book stories. It’s pretty amazing. These guys are super talented. I did it with Season 1, and then I did it with Bill for Season 3. He sent me a box of stuff, and I didn’t show it to anybody. I had it with me in my room and would pull it out, and it was very inspiring. The art moved me in ways that I didn’t imagine it would. I had no idea it was going to be so helpful, but it was.
That’s really cool. After seeing the downfall of Wilson Fisk in Season 1, we’ve been waiting to see his return and the rise of Kingpin. What did you most enjoy about the journey that you got to play out with him this season?
D’ONOFRIO: I think that the idea of the manipulation part of it with Jay Ali, who plays Agent Nadeem, colliding with the Poindexter stuff, and then eventually when Vanessa comes back into the picture, are my favorite bits. That’s what sticks out, besides the whole Daredevil and Kingpin thing, and what Charlie [Cox] and I have going. He’s just super great to work with and super talented, and he’s very into doing things right, on the day, when we’re shooting. He’s very meticulous and he’s a very good partner to have on set, just because his dedication is so immense and wonderful.
I love how this season finds a really interesting way to get Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk in a room to have conversations and interact with each other. How did you find getting to explore the relationship through those conversations, even though they’re not real for Fisk?
D’ONOFRIO: Yeah, they’re in Daredevil’s head. It was interesting. It was very stylistic and fun, in that way. Charlie had a lot to say in those meetings ‘cause it’s his thoughts. We always made sure that the two of us were in sync with what he was thinking, so that it matched the performance. We tried to get as close as two individuals can. And there was some changes in the voice. That voice that I use for Fisk is very emotional. For those conversations, I controlled the cadence and sped it up a bit and made it more stabbing. It was still emotional, but quicker and more stabbing. It’s different than when he speaks, in real life, on the show.
I love how you also get to go on a bit of a wardrobe journey, too, from the prison jumpsuit to the really crisp white suits. Do you feel a different physicality when you’re wearing the different wardrobe?
D’ONOFRIO: Yeah, you totally feel different. The prison garb was so depressing. It’s ugly and there’s nothing nice about it. And then, you put on those suits, which were beautifully made. They weren’t just costumes. They were incredible pieces of fabric that were tailored stunningly. Michael Andrews, here in New York, spoke with my tailor, and he does incredible work. The materials were two different types of Italian silk. It was probably what you would imagine it would feel like.
What do you think it is that really interests Wilson Fisk in Dex (Wilson Bethel)? Is he just a means to an end for what he wants to accomplish, or does he see something more in him that he can manipulate and play with?
D’ONOFRIO: I think he likes him, but he finds him a little disappointing, at the same time. He realized that there could be chemistry between them, and he took advantage of that, which is not a very nice thing to do. I actually think that it’s really awful. It’s a combination of those two things. They do, in fact, have chemistry, and he’s willing to use that to his favor. In the end, he cares very little for this other man, so it’s an intense relationship because of that. The end goal is to preoccupy the city with this chaotic Daredevil, so that he can make the moves he wants to make. And the way that Wilson Bethel plays him is pretty awesome.