Who is Claire Temple?
That’s been the burning question since Rosario Dawson‘s character name in Netflix’s ambitious TV adaptation of Marvel’s “Daredevil” was revealed. Longtime comic fans recognized the name as originally belonging to the nurse who was once married to former Goliath Bill Foster and later romantically entangled with hero-for-hire Luke Cage before becoming a full-fledged doctor, but that character is the definition of obscure. Rosario’s Temple has also been linked to “Night Nurse,” Marvel‘s medical-drama comic of the early ’70s, later revived as a character who frequently helps superheroes recover from their battle wounds.
Dawson joined CBR News at a press roundtable, where the actor offered up a few more hints of insight as to the role Claire Temple will play in Matt Murdock’s television adventures.
Was Daredevil a property you’d been a fan of prior to this show?
Rosario Dawson: I have been, yeah. I very much like Daredevil. I like the street-level characters. I like that idea of someone who goes out there and pushes themselves to greatness when they’re around people who are not people, who have real super powers and all of these different things and still feel compelled to not just go, “Oh, okay. Well, these major characters exist. You’re going to come and fly and shoot laser beams, and it’s going to be great. So I guess I’m just going to kind of concentrate and do my thing.”
That’s the world that we live in right now. We have police officers and firemen. I’m not going to run into that burning building. I’m not even going to call 911. Someone else will. Like, we have that thing of passing it on, so I’ve always been particularly fascinated with the kind of Daredevil-type characters, those people who go, “No — I can do something to help. And it’s not always going to be comfortable, and it’s going to put me at risk. I’m going to make my whole world vulnerable for it, but I can do something here. And I can’t not. I can’t un-know something that I already know.”
And those people who are like, kept up at night, not on how to keep themselves safe and make themselves lots of money and be successful, but people who are going, like, how can I make that a possibility for someone else? Put myself at risk. Even thinking about the Batman character — who puts on a batsuit and fights petty crime when they’re a billionaire? A person who has everything that we all are supposed to aspire to and says, no — what I really want do is this. And vigilante justice is this space that I know I can really make a difference. What? So that to me, is just so compelling.
The fact that we get to explore those characters in depth all throughout these different series that Marvel’s doing with Netflix is very exciting. I think puts a different onus on the viewer to not just look at it like just entertainment, but maybe be a little bit compelled and persuaded and inspired to step up your game a little bit and be the hero that you can be.
Your character, though derived from the comics, doesn’t come in with a lot of comic book backstory baggage. It’s kind of a fresh reinvention. So tell me about the fun and appeal about her.
Well, I love the fact that for everybody who’s going “Claire Temple?” and “Night Nurse?” you’re kind of getting into it. People know those disparate characters and that Marvel’s doing something fun, which is what we get to do when you have a whole universe that you created that you can play with, is that you can change things and massage things and develop things. So for me, that gets me really excited because I love the question mark that’s on there. There’s a lot of people going, “Well, wait a minute. That character was married to Luke Cage, so does that mean she’s gonna…but wait, that character was Night Nurse, and what does that mean?” All of this delights me. It’s so fun. It’s my question, as well.
I’ve never done television, really, before, so to be in this experience where I’m eight episodes in and I’m finally finding out my character’s going and making that detour. I’m like, “Oh, okay — that’s cool.” I couldn’t have just looked at that in the comic, or just like looked at some old film or something like that, about it. We’re reinterpreting these characters and this world, and for someone like myself, who loves comics and has been wanting to be a part of the Marvel Universe for a very long time, it’s really cool to go in, in this way. I think it’s exceptional and special and awesome and perfect.
Was it important to you that Claire speak Spanish?
When I first read it, it was in Spanish, and I thought it was really great. It feels like New York to me. It’s definitely one of those things like, “Yes, okay. You have a diverse character, speaking Spanish,” and you click all those boxes. But just as a fan, just a regular person, besides looking at, “Oh, let’s pepper in some Spanish in there as an idea,” it’s New York. It would be weird if someone didn’t speak another language at some point.
I’m sure if maybe someone came up with an idea and said, that would be great to interject that in. But in reality, that, to me, automatically, as you’re starting that next episode, you’re in New York. You’re going to hear different accents. You’re going to come across different cultures, people with different backgrounds. People have relationships, and the fact that they’re speaking Spanish to each other makes sense to me.
You just graduate into a different sphere just by taking those allowances, and I like that. I like that it didn’t feel like — for some people, maybe it will occur that way — but I like that it didn’t feel like anything other than making sure that we were being really realistic about our portrayal of these characters in New York in this moment.
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