Daredevil 2003’s Director Looks Back on Its Highs and Lows
Image: Marvel/20th Century Films
Before Charlie Cox fought dudes in hallways and made frequent blind jokes in the MCU, 2003’s Daredevil movie hung over Matt Murdock for years. The Ben Affleck-led film could probably be considered a cult classic these days in some respects, but it doesn’t really come up in conversation, unless someone wants to say that Cox’s Matt Murdock is the definitive version of the character.
Daredevil hit its 20thh birthday before the weekend started, and Yahoo Entertainment managed to sit down with its director Mark Steven Johnson to look back on the film. Johnson, who also directed 2007’s Ghost Rider, was upfront in saying that the maligned film was bursting at the seams. “I wanted everything to be in there, but the film could only support so much,” said Johnson. “I wanted to do Daredevil’s origin story, and I wanted to do the Elektra Saga and I wanted to introduce Bullseye and Foggy. […] One of the mistakes I made with the film was wanting to put everything in!”
When Daredevil had its physical release, there was also a more well-liked director’s cut featuring a subplot with the late Coolio. Understandably, Johnson considers that the “real” version of the film, since it has more of everything in the theatrical cut and comes out to be a “more complete” film. “When you’re told to cut a half-hour out and and make it more of a love story, things star to feel rushed and not quite right. It’s a fan thing: when you love something so much, you want to tell it all.”
In that same interview, Johnson opened up on what he had in mind for a potential sequel. Like the original film, his follow up would’ve put focus on more of Matt’s love life, but this time with Karen Page (played by Ellen Pompeo). But that was entirely dependent on the success of the spinoff film for Jennifer Garner’s Elektra, which released in 2005 to not much critical or commercial fanfare. “I didn’t work on the Elektra movie at all, but that one didn’t work out and then everything kind of went away, unfortunately,” he said.
For the full look back at Daredevil 2003, which also includes Johnson’s thoughts on racebending the Kingpin (as played by the late Michael Clarke Duncan) and Marvel’s involvement with his movie at the time, you can read it here. And you can watch the Daredevil movie over on HBO Max.
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