Just prior to the release of ‘Daredevil’ Season 2, I was fortunate enough to interview Chris Brewster, the man who has been the stunt-double for Charlie Cox since Season 1 of ‘Daredevil.’ Chris was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the new season, the action involved, and what it was like to be on-set during the second season of the iconic television show. Check out the full interview below, but reader BEWARE, there are definitely SPOILERS for Season 2 of ‘Daredevil’ below:
ScienceFiction.com (SF): For Season 2, do you feel they stepped up their game in terms of stunts and fights scenes?
Chris Brewster (CB): I think Season 1 surprised the world. People weren’t ready for a television show to have the action of a feature film. Normally, due to the duration of filming an episode of television, the action is rushed and watered down. NOT on Daredevil. We pushed the limits on the first season and were part of an amazing show. This season, people know what to expect, so we had to come in even stronger. We took every action sequence and figured out a way to make it bigger and better than any of our previous pieces. I really feel like we leveled up this season.
SF: Do you think Matt Murdock’s growing confidence in his crime-fighting skills going into Season 2 has led to bigger fight scenes and stunts?
CB: The story of the first season focused on Matt Murdock growing into the vigilante/hero Daredevil. He was learning and developing his fighting style. Season 2 takes place after he has defeated Kingpin and is at the top of his game. He has had a lot of time to hone in the art of fighting crime. He is definitely more confident. He is more polished and assertive. However, the only way to raise a hero’s level is to raise the level of their foes. This season introduces some amazing characters, each of whom brings an amazing style of fighting into the mix. Plus, there are thugs, and ninjas, and all kinds of awesome bad guys making every single fight and sequence exciting. Daredevil’s crime-fighting skills are definitely tested.
SF: What challenges came up now that Daredevil is fighting with characters like the Punisher, who’s weapon of choice is a gun?
CB: Every character’s fighting style changes depending on their environment. For instance, Daredevil is a very flashy fighter, but he is also very intelligent. While he loves to flip around, he wouldn’t risk exposing himself with a flip, while there are guns around. Being around weapons like that makes DD’s style more direct and “close quarters combat” style.
SF: Now that Daredevil is wearing the full-on suit (as opposed to Season 1 when it was just the black shirt), is your job more difficult? i.e. does the suit make it harder to move/ do stunts/ fight fluidly?
CB: The new suit is way heavier and more cumbersome than the old vigilante suit, but I love that kind of challenge. I started training in a 15-pound shirt, and 5-pound shorts, to be able to flip and move better in the suit. Once I built the strength and body awareness with the extra weight, I was actually able to use the extra weight to propel me into my techniques. I’m the only person I know who can throw a backflip with a double twist while wearing an extra 20 pounds.
SF: This season Daredevil is wielding his iconic batons from the comic book, did you enjoy having a weapon to use during the fights? Or was it just a tool that got discarded when the fighting came down to hand-to-hand combat?
CB: I love using the batons. They are so iconic to the character. I love that in Season 2, we are able to get closer and closer to the comics! Plus, I think it adds depth to the fighting style. Choreography gets boring if you just see the same punches and kicks over and over. We now have new elements to work with. And there is nothing cooler than seeing Daredevil use his batons to fly through the air!
SF: Can you tell us what your favorite fight/ stunt was in Season 1? How about Season 2?
CB: I’m obviously partial to the hallway fight in Season 1. It was a huge challenge and a really great accomplishment. In Season 2, we have another scene that is basically the hallway fight on crack. Again, we are always looking to go bigger, so we did. I really love this new one as well.
There are a bunch of other fight/stunt scenes this season that I really love too. The sparring match in episode 5 has a really great story surrounding it. Every fight with the Hand is exciting, and ultimately, the final fight should be absolutely epic. I haven’t seen it yet, but it was a blast to do. I also really love how we were able to emulate a lot more of the comic book style for Daredevil this season. The baton work, and “flying” is so true to the character, and SO MUCH FUN to do.
SF: Conversely, what was the most challenging fight/stunt you worked on in Season 1? Season 2?
CB: There were a few times in Season 1, that I was truly blind. Between the vigilante mask, and the lighting in the alleys at night, I literally couldn’t see. It was a fun challenge, fighting and flipping “blind”. It made me feel very Daredevil. The most challenging and exciting stunts of Season 2 are the ones that involve Daredevil flying through the air. The one at the hospital (You’ll know which one I’m talking about when you see it), was completely crazy and exhilarating.
SF: The stairwell fight is pretty spectacular. Any particular challenges fighting with a gun taped to one hand and trailing that chain?
CB: Well, every element in a fight scene creates a challenge, but that’s the best part of choreography. You need to put yourself in that scene, and think “what could I do?” While some people would think that you would be limited with a gun taped to one hand and a chain around the other, I see it as an option to use two very cool weapons. The empty gun works like brass knuckles, and just adds impact to every punch, and the chain adds an extension, so Daredevil can reach further than he could empty handed. I think challenges like this are what make a fight scene memorable!
SF: Also, was the chain CGI, or practical? Or a mix of both?
CB: It was a mix of both. We had a short chain that we used in the fight, but we also have an amazing VFX team, led by Karl Coyner.
SF: Clearly the idea was to top the hallway fight from Season 1, which I personally think you guys accomplished. Was there a lot of excitement on set to be trying to top such an iconic scene?
CB: Absolutely. I love pushing the envelope and always striving for more. The hallway scene from Season 1 turned out so great. We knew it would be a challenge to top it, but I’m all about the challenge. There was a lot of brainstorming going into this one, and I am extremely happy with the way it turned out. I’m already brainstorming on how to top it again if we get another chance!
SF: The fight seemed pretty intense, especially the close quarters stuff on the stairwell, how much of that was Charlie Cox and how much did you get to take on?
CB: It was a great split. Charlie did a ton of the fighting and stunts, not only in this fight but throughout the whole season! He is amazing. Normally, I’ll show him the choreography, and within a few minutes, he is on camera, kicking butt.
SF: You always hear about actors wanting to do their own stunts whenever possible, was it that way with Charlie Cox? Or did he step back and let you handle all the action so he could focus on the character?
CB: Charlie is always up for anything. He jumps in and does a huge amount of the action. Not just your typical “actor action”… He does all of it. He’s been in the wires, he does parkour, he fights, he crashes through tables… He’s better at spinning the batons than I am, and I’ve been doing martial arts for 25 years! We go back and forth in every action sequence. He is so athletic and good with choreography. I honestly can’t tell who is who, when I’m watching us fight on the screen.
After having finished the season (make sure to check out all of our recaps of ‘Daredevil’ Season 2!), I can definitely agree with Chris that they leveled up on the action for the season. I too, loved the batons and seeing more comic book elements integrated into the show, and after the crazy stunts and action of Season 2, I cannot wait to see how they manage to top themselves in Season 3, and/or the ‘Defenders’ movie.
Let us know your thoughts on the action of ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 in the comments below, and whether you thought they managed to top themselves after the amazing action of Season 1.
Lastly, I would like to thanks Chris for taking the time to answer my questions!