Daredevil Director on Ben Affleck, Mistakes, Changing Kingpin’s Race

As of Valentine’s Day 2023, Ben Affleck’s often-mocked comic book movie “Daredevil” is 20 years old. Yahoo Entertainment marked the occasion by sitting down with the 2003 comic book movie’s director, Mark Steven Johnson, who admitted that part of the movie’s failure came from his decision to over-cram the story.

“Looking back on it, one of the mistakes I made with the film was wanting to put everything in!” Johnson said. “I wanted to do Daredevil’s origin story, and I wanted to do the Elektra Saga and I wanted to introduce Bullseye and Foggy. I wanted everything to be in there, but the film could only support so much. And then when you’re told to cut a half-hour out and and make it more of a love story, things start to feel rushed and not quite right. It’s a fan thing: when you love something so much, you want to tell it all.”

“Daredevil” starred Affleck in the title role opposite Jennifer Garner as Elektra, Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin, Colin Farrell as Bullseye and Jon Favreau as Foggy. The movie, released by 20th Century Fox, did not impress film critics but still made $179 million at the box office, which was good enough to give Garner her 2005 spinoff movie “Elektra.” Johnson said the plan was to make a second “Daredevil” movie after “Elektra,” but the latter’s $57 million gross made it a box office bomb and effectively killed the franchise.

In his interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Johnson also revealed he faced backlash over his decision to colorblind cast the role of Kingpin. The villain is a white man in the comic books, but Johnson felt Michael Clarke Duncan was the best actor for the job and cast him.

“Oh yeah, I got a lot of blowback,” Johnson said. “It’s the strangest Catch-22, because you want to have opportunities for everybody. You say, ‘I’m not going to pay attention to race: I’m just going to cast the right person for the role.’ But then you get killed for that [from some fans] who say: ‘The Kingpin should be white’ or ‘He’s not my Kingpin’ and all that kind of stuff. So I definitely got heat on that, but I don’t regret the decision at all. Michael was fantastic. It’s hard to find a guy who is that big and also that formidable, and Michael was definitely that guy. God bless him.”

When the Daredevil storyline got revived by Netflix for a new series, Vincent D’Onofrio stepped into the role of Kingpin opposite Charlie Cox as the eponymous superhero. Both actors will be starring in the upcoming Disney+ series “Daredevil: Born Again.”

“I think Vincent D’Onofrio is wonderful as the Kingpin,” Johnson said. “It’s all about finding the right actor for the character, you know? Vincent is a great Kingpin and Michael was a great Kingpin. And the show is terrific. It’s fun, because everybody gets to have their imprint on it: You don’t own the character, you just get to be the steward for a short time and then pass it on for someone else to do something with it.”

Head over to Yahoo’s website to read Johnson full interview about the 20th anniversary of “Daredevil.”

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