Iron Fist star Finn Jones is glad that the other street-level superheroes of Marvel’s Defenders have Danny Rand’s back.
After all, Danny had a hard enough time convincing the people once closest to him in his own Netflix series that he was, in fact, the Immortal Iron First and protector of the mystic land of K’un-Lun. But as the various champions of New York City’s streets at last gather together, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have seen just enough of the impossible to give Iron Fist the benefit of the doubt.
Jones, too, is glad that fans of Iron Fist had the show’s back despite some less than glowing critical evaluations, and he reveals that he’s committed to working hard to tell Danny’s story in a compelling way across the Marvel TV landscape — and, yeah, he’s still hoping to tie on that iconic head mask (but you can keep the booties).
CBR: One thing that kept coming back to me as I was watching Iron Fist was I really was looking forward to seeing your take on Danny Rand bumping up against all of the other Defenders. Tell me a little bit about that from your perspective — what was fun about bringing Danny into that mix?
Finn Jones: First of all, as actors all coming together, it was really nice for all of us. We’ve all led our own individual Marvel shows, and we all know what it takes, and we all know the successes, and the frustrations with working on one of these shows. So as a group of actors when we all came together, we all came from a very equal playing field, and understanding and supportive of each other’s work. So from the get-go, it was a very kind of safe, supportive and appreciative environment to work in with the other actors.
I guess from a character’s point of view, when they first get together, Danny is the youngest of the four. Because he’s the youngest, he kind of has this reckless, youthful energy about him, that just wants to get shit done, and he wants to get it done now, because he understands the threat. He thinks he understands the threat better than anyone else, because he’s had firsthand experience with the threat.
So when they first come together, Danny’s the one that’s trying to explain to them what the situation is. And because the other Defenders are from very real, gritty worlds, they kind of look to him like he’s insane. And obviously, Danny is very used to this because he’s dealt with it a lot in the first season of Iron Fist, back into the western world.
So Danny is very headstrong, very reckless, but also kind of has this very youthful optimism and passion to get together. Also, Danny is someone that’s always struggled with solitude, and he’s a very vulnerable character that is constantly looking for family. He’s constantly looking for brothers, and sisters, and family, and friendship. When he finds these other three individuals that have similar abilities, he’s kind of enamored by it.
He, on one side, deeply wants them to be his friend, and he deeply wants to work with them, because he needs that kind of compassion and that kind of support family system. But on the other hand, because of what has happened in Iron Fist, and because his trust has been diminished so much by The Hand, by Colleen, he is reluctant to kind of trust them at first.
So he’s kind of in this situation where his heart really wants to kind of emote, and be friends with them and team up with them, but his head, and his instinct and his trust is kind of saying, “Whoa, hold on now, Danny. You’ve been in this situation before. Let’s maybe just think twice before jumping into this.” But obviously Danny is someone that’s led by his emotions, and his rage, and his passion, and that’s what ends up kind of being his successes, but also being his downfalls at the same time.
For you on the set, you’re coming in and working with Mike [Colter] and Krysten [Ritter] and Charlie [Cox]. Tell me about finding your dynamic, having been leads of your own show and now coming together as an ensemble.
Yeah. Really, it was effortless. From the get-go, we had such a great energy between us. We all understand what it takes, and what we’ve all been through to bring about one of these shows. It’s not easy doing one of these Marvel epic shows. They take it out of you! I think we all came in all wanting to kind of vent some or share stories about our individual successes, but also about the frustrations of being a fucking superhero sometimes.
Coming together and being able to have that kind of cathartic experience, and only we understand each other because only we have gone through this, was a really great thing, I think, for all of us to have. It also just made it fun. We didn’t take ourselves seriously, but we took the work seriously, and I think that’s the best place that you can come to when you’re working with an ensemble of actors. Take the work seriously, care about the characters, and the dynamic, and the story, but when the cameras aren’t rolling, don’t take yourself seriously.
At the end of the day, it’s just a television show. We definitely all share that kind of vibe, and it creates a very fun and very positive atmosphere. I think we all had a great time working together.
That made for a perfect segue into my next question, which is, you know what it’s like to work on a hotly anticipated unique show with a lot of secrecy in terms of Game of Thrones. Coming into Marvel is a whole different kind of animal.
It’s a totally different beast.
Tell me about the experiences, the great things, and the puzzling things, as you went through on the first show, and as you’re working on the second one.
The differences between something like Game of Thrones and Iron Fist, really from the working standpoint: first of all, Game of Thrones is an ensemble piece. So you’ve got many different actors coming together to tell the story. It’s also a show which when they film an episode, I think it takes between 20 and 25 days per episode, for an hour of television. Whereas Iron Fist, there is really one lead character, and then a handful of other supporting leads. We’ve got, I think, 10 days, 11 days, to fill an hour’s worth of television. So immediately, the workload is double, and the time you have to do it is slashed by half. So that gives you an idea of the leap from that show to this. Also, we were doing 13 episodes in six months, and Game of Thrones does 10 episodes in six months. So that gives you an idea of the layout of the workloads.
Hype. There’s hype surrounding both shows. There was hype surrounding Game of Thrones, and there’s hype surrounding Iron Fist. Hype is wonderful. It’s a great thing, because it means people are interested in your work. It means there’s a buzz. But it does mean there’s a lot of judgment. All those people critiquing every single minute detail of your performance, or of the show. That can kind of get in the way of creativity at times. When you’re trying to be in a safe space, when you’re free from judgment to allow these characters to grow over years of television, hopefully, when you’ve got that much judgment on you, it’s very difficult to allow yourself the freedom. I learned that back on Game of Thrones.
So when it comes to the show being massive, and hyped, whatever, from an actor’s point of view, I really try and step back from that, and just focus on the work that I have on my lap, and the day-to-day process of just bringing it together. Actually, working on Defenders, all of the other actors obviously totally understood that as well. And even though the show is certainly anticipated and all of this kind of stuff, when we were working together, none of that mattered, and none of that even came into consideration.
The actors, they cared passionately about the characters that we portray, and the story we’re telling. We just wanted to come together to try and create the best story that we could. I was very grateful to be able to work with other actors on The Defenders that shared that kind of belief when it came to work ethic.
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