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Luke Cage’s Frank Whaley Gets Honest About [SPOILER]

by  in CBR Exclusives, TV News Comment
Luke Cage’s Frank Whaley Gets Honest About [SPOILER]

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Luke Cage” season one now streaming on Netflix.


The highly anticipated Marvel series “Luke Cage” has arrived on Netflix, packing so much of a punch that the show may have temporarily knocked out the streaming service for a few hours over the weekend. Fans eagerly took the train uptown to Harlem to watch the “Jessica Jones” supporting hero spin off into his own series, one that’s incredibly relevant for audiences of today.

RELATED: Luke Cage’s Coker Speaks To Community Power, Hip-Hop Inspiration

Like previous Marvel/Netflix shows, “Luke Cage” is packed with a strong supporting cast ranging from villains like Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth to Alfre Woodard’s Mariah Dillard to heroes-in-the-making Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). And then there’s Misty Knight’s partner, Detective Rafael Scarfe. As played by Frank Whaley, the irreverent Scarfe brings a bit of classic cop wisecracking to the show, balancing out the justice-hungry Knight. But — and here’s where spoiler warnings come into play — there’s more to Scarfe than meets the eye.

CBR caught up with Whaley at the red carpet premiere for “Luke Cage” and found out from the actor what it was like bringing those spoilery scenes to life.

CBR News: During the first half of the season, we find out that Scarfe is on Cottonmouth’s payroll — and then the detective dies from wounds inflicted by his criminal employer. What was it like finding out the truth about your character?

Frank Whaley: You know, I was bummed out because I was having so much fun. But I understand that these things happen and it was kind of a roller coaster because there was a moment where I might not be going in that direction, and we talked about that and that’s a long discussion with many people that’s out of my control at the time. And then, the final word came down.

Did your heel turn affect how you were playing against Simone Missick’s Misty Knight? Did you know your character’s allegiances going in?

I didn’t know that going in, but it didn’t really have any affect. I found out in episode, maybe an episode before and at that point — I can’t say that it really affected anything because at that point, we’re so connected after six episodes or seven episodes or something like that. We’re so connected and she and I were really spinning on all cylinders, she and I together. So for me that was a treasured connection acting-wise because as you can see in the show, we had an enormous amount of chemistry together and worked well together.

You’re in a superhero series playing a detective. Did you ever have an inclination or desire to play a superhero, punch people through walls?

Yeah, but I sort of — I’m not sure if that’s in the cards for me [laughs]. But, given my personal demeanor and diminutive qualities. But yeah, that would have been great but just to be in their aura and their realm was amazing. And to be able to play a character that is so dimensional and goes from one thing to another thing, that’s an actor’s dream. And to do it in a badass setting like Harlem and with this music and great looking actors, yeah. It was almost like being a superhero. Almost.

Executive produced by Cheo Hodari Coker, “Marvel’s Luke Cage” stars Mike Colter as Luke Cage, Mahershala Ali as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard, Simone Missick as Misty Knight, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple and more. The entire first season is now available to stream on Netflix.

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