(L-R) Finn Jones (Iron Fist), Jessica Stroup (Joy Meachum) and Tom Pelphrey (Ward Meachum).
Cinema Online is still reeling from having met the stars from the latest entry of the Marvel Universe, "Iron Fist", Danny Rand a.k.a. Iron Fist himself, Finn Jones, Jessica Stroup (Joy Meachum), Tom Pelphrey (Ward Meachum) and executive producer and writer Scott Buck, who were in Singapore to talk about their show that is currently streaming all of its 13 episodes on Netflix.
Approached as a corporate/family drama first then superhero show second, "Marvel's Iron Fist" follows protagonist Danny Rand who returns to his home, New York, 15 years after a plane crash somewhere at the Himalayan mountain range kills his parents and leaves him to train the ways of the Kung fu at a mysterious monastery called K'un-Lun. In trying to reclaim his identity and ownership of his family's business, Rand Enterprises, he also has to convince his disbelieving best friend Joy Meachum and her brother Ward Meachum - who have since taken over the enterprise - on who he is, while as the Iron Fist, Danny struggles to destroy a benevolent force in their midst known as The Hand.
Showrunner Scott Buck with the cast of "Iron Fist".
Jessica Stroup plays Joy Meachum.
Tom Pelphrey plays Ward Meachum.
Since the show made its debut, not only are the critics and fans divided over it, but even fans can't seem to agree on whether "Iron Fist" is good enough compared to the critically acclaimed Netflix-Marvel predecessors, "Daredevil", "Jessica Jones" and "Luke Cage".
Surely with such big shoes to fill, this task may seem next to impossible? However, as the folks at Marvel have always said: the movies and shows are not made for the critics, but for the fans. For this case, that rings true to not all, but a niche group of comic fans who find the show to be not all that bad and a necessary vessel to lead off to the TV version of the superhero ensemble, "The Defenders".
Will there be a season two? That seems likely, considering the show remains at 3.98 over 5 star rating on Comicbook.com and is the most binge-watched Netflix drama of the year.
Hate it or love it, after meeting the cast and showrunner in Singapore, here are the 10 things we learned that is a must know for not only "Iron Fist" but all fans of the Netflix-Marvel series...
1. Netflix's "Marvel" cast didn't know what they were auditioning for
Be it for the big screen or the small screen, we all know how Marvel can get very secretive with their projects. Talking on how he ended up with the role, Tom - who already gained his own fan base while starring in the Cinemax series "Banshee" as the former neo-nazi turned policeman, Kurt Bunker - said he had blindly sent in a tape of his audition without even knowing what it was for.
"The character was called Walter and the two-page script was of him having dinner with his dad. I thought that was a really good." A month and a half later Tom got the call that they wanted to have a screen test with him.
"I was very flattered but I still had no idea what it was for! I asked them [Marvel] if I could get some more information, so I went to the Marvel lot in L.A. and they brought me down a long hallway to some back room. I had to surrender my cellphone! And so they gave me the first two scripts written by Scott Buck. Jeph Loeb of Marvel TV was there and it all became very exciting."
2. Tom Pelphrey has a crush on Carrie-Anne Moss
Jessica who is well-known for her role in The CW's teen drama "90210", also had somewhat a similar experience and her audition role wasn't anything like Joy Meachum.
"My character was hungover! Someone comes in and pisses her off and she tells them what to do with themselves and leave. It was a fun scene. I had to put it on tape and send it over." Just like Tom, Jessica too got a call a month and a half later. "Jeph Loeb called me and said, these are the best three words you'll ever hear, "Welcome to Marvel"."
Meanwhile for the "Iron Fist" himself, Finn facing unemployment, got a mysterious call for the role on the last day of filming for "Game of Thrones". "I was in the airport on the way home and I got a call for an audition. I put myself on tape in London and I sent it off. Didn't think about it for months and then in early 2016 I found myself in L.A. for auditions." What followed was an intense 3 week long audition and meetings until Marvel finally gave Finn the greenlight to become the "Iron Fist".
All we can say is at least he didn't have to spend 15 years in K'un Lun like his character Danny Rand to become the Iron Fist!
One of the best moments for the Daytime Emmy Award winning actor, Tom, was when he got to meet Carrie-Anne Moss, from one his favourite movies of all time, "The Matrix". "When I was a younger man, I had a very big crush on Trinity! When I saw that I had a scene with Carrie in the script, that was one of the more exciting moments for me on set. I kind of reverted to my 16-year-old self!".
3. People keep giving Finn Jones Iron Fist comics
There have been many interpretations of Danny Rand in the "Iron Fist" comics and there is another new comic out just last March that depicts a completely different version of Danny. But Finn believes that it doesn't matter how many versions the character ends up getting, as the essence of it is essentially the same and that's what he wanted to portray via his own take of the role. That doesn't mean he will ever stop reading the comics though, just ask him, cause he has tons of them!
"The comics go into the mystical elements a lot more. I have a huge stack of them at the end of my bed, and before I go to sleep I just grab one. People keep giving me comics so I never have to buy them!"
4. Jessica Stroup injured her hand on set
5. David Wenham is a really funny guy
In trying to amp herself up during one of her scenes, Jessica had accidentally punched a board when the crew wasn't even filming and busted her knuckles open. "I wanted my older brother to be proud of me. So he could see that I could actually punch. And I was like, I'm going to make this look legit." Ouch!
Tom said he had the best time on set with David Henham who plays his father, Harold Meachum, on the show. "Apart from being a very talented actor, David's a really, really, really, funny human being! We had some scenes where Harold punches Ward and it was a lot of fun and there was a lot of playful banter with "Daddy" [British accent], as we like to call him."
6. Why the heck is Iron Fist so mellow?
Scott Buck ("Dexter" and "Six Feet Under") who is the executive producer and writer for the show, explained why "Iron Fist" is more mellow than the other Marvel series. As his first ever Marvel show, what appealed to him was that the core idea of it not being a show about a superhero, but about a person who happens to have a super power.
"I wanted to explore what that meant and what Danny Rand is going to do with that. Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are slightly older characters who are fully formed and are who they are. They're not going to change. They're dark characters with a dark outlook on life as opposed to Danny Rand who is younger and is still trying to figure out who he is and what it means to be the Iron Fist. Despite all the horrific things that has happened to him, he has this optimistic outlook and always believes that no matter what, things are going to work out some how. I think because of that, this gives the show a slightly different tone compared to the rest. A lighter tone, a happier tone."
7. Ward Meachum was originally Joy Meachum's uncle
The original comic book was lighter in tone despite the subject matter and had Ward Meachum's character as an older character. He had blonde hair, glasses, and is actually Joy's uncle. Meaning he could be Harry Meachum's brother or a cousin. Although it would have been also interesting to see a 'brother vs brother' dynamic on the show, we're glad that the creators of the show decided to go with the later reiteration of the character and play on the father-son conflict, or else we wouldn't even have had Tom Pelphrey on the show!
8. IF there's "Iron Fist 2", it'll be 'betrayal' themed and the villain is...
[Spoiler Alert] If you have seen all 13 "Iron Fist" episodes, then you know that there is now a lot of bad blood between multiple characters on the show. First off would be the definite and predictable tension between the Meachum siblings. After being surely felt like she had been robbed of her father (RIP Harold Meachum?), Joy must harbour some resentment against Ward, who in his defense was only trying to protect her from the evil that their father had become. But still, having not being able to see the abuse Ward has been through all those years, Joy might not be kind enough to take to Ward's justifications too lightly.
In the last episode, we also see Joy meeting Davos (played by Sacha Dhawan), who conspiratorially tells her he knows how to bring Danny Rand down. Not only does Joy want in on his plans, but we are also surprised that Davos, who has been like a brother and best friend to Danny all these years in K'un Lun is suddenly letting his bitter resentment loose and seeking revenge against Danny for taking away his 'rightful' Iron Fist endowment. With some sneaking puppetry by the still creeping Madame Gao, we won't be surprised if Davos has indeed switched his alliance to The Hand. Plus, just try saying 'Davos' in a deep voice and tell me it doesn't sound like the name of a supervillain?
Speaking of The Hand, remember how Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick) 'betrayed' her sensei Bakuto of The Hand? Well, The Hand knows, sees and hears everything, right? Won't they be coming after her then especially since she is now with the 'sworn enemy of The Hand', Iron Fist?
9. Finn doesn't give a sh*t about bad reviews
Even though the press didn't get to ask the cast any questions about the show directly, one reporter managed to shout out his question as the press conference was nearing its end, "What about the bad reviews?" To which the calm Finn quickly got to its defense and grabbed a mic, "Well, from what I'm experiencing, people have been loving the show. From the people on the street, there's been a hugely, overwhelmingly positive response from the fans and I'm very grateful for that." It must not be easy dealing with the harsh reviews of the critics, and we're pretty sure the cast and crew don't appreciate that their hard work is constantly being taken apart, but well, at least the team takes solace that the show does have its own group of fans and they will be ever ready to stand up for it and shut down all the negativity.
10. Krysten kicked someone in the face FOR REAL in "Defenders"
According to Finn Jones, the filming for "The Defenders" had wrapped up in the second last week of March in New York and the story takes place in a very short amount of time, meaning it could be highly action packed and generally awesome! After much persuasion, Finn couldn't reveal much except that Krysten Ritter had kicked one of the stunt guys in the face! We think it's by... accident? Anyway, in case you didn't know, the teaser for "The Defenders" has just been released and it will be coming to Netflix this August!
Cinema Online, 06 April 2017