Meet the Meachums. Joy, Ward and their father Harold will all feature in “Marvel’s Iron Fist,” though little was known about their roles — until now. At New York Comic Con, David Wenham (Harold), Tom Pelphrey (Ward) and Jessica Stroup (Joy) offered a few new details about their roles, including their ties to Danny Rand and more information about their “complex” family relationship.
“I play Harold Meachum. I play Ward’s father, Harold,” Wenham explained. “Harold was a business partner with Danny Rand’s father. They have a corporation called Rand. He’s a very wealthy, powerful individual, so that was fun to play, ’cause I’m not.”
Asked how he would describe Harold’s relationship with his children, he shared, “In terms of the family dynamic, I think it’s fine to say that the relationship between the three of them — Harold, Ward and Joy — is complex, to say the least. It’s multilayered, it’s multidimensional, it’s surprising and it’s forever changing, depending on the circumstances. It’s forever evolving. And, you know, it’s a strange relationship.”
It’s worth noting that, in the “Iron Fist” panel held later that evening, Wenham referred to his character as “a villain.” What’s more, in a clip shown exclusively at the event, Danny encountered Harold in his hospital room; confused, he said that he thought Harold was dead, to which Harold responded that he had believed Danny was dead, too. It in unclear when the clip takes place within the grand scheme of the show, but it appears as though Harold will be believed dead for at least part of the series.
As to Harold’s son Ward, Pelphrey said, “Ward is a character in the comic books, but I can’t say too much. I would say that we’re not necessarily beholden to representing him exactly as he appears in the comic book. But it’s been a lot of fun! Really dynamic material with a lot of good stuff to explore. Good partners. [Executive producer] Scott Buck did a great job staffing the writer’s room and getting us good scripts.”
Wenham hopes the show will surprise Marvel Netflix fans. “‘Iron Fist’ has an opportunity to differentiate itself from the other three [Marvel Netflix shows],” he said, “Just to show a different facet from the other three stories… The combination of the martial arts and the mystical element in this one, I think, sort of sets it apart from the others as well. So each one of them is slightly different and I think that’s what will probably interest fans, these things that differentiate it from the others.”
“I can say if I did any physical work in this, I think I did basically everything. I did most of my walking and talking myself,” he joked when asked if he performed his own stunts.
The three stars also addressed how they landed their respective roles. “Personally, I finished up a show — ‘The Following’ — on Fox, and — when pilot season came around — I just was putting it out there that I wanted to get on a different platform,” Stroup recalled. “I wanted to work on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, but my main goal was Netflix. My team knew that, and they were sort of funneling scripts and things to me and I saw this.”
“The best thing about auditioning for a Marvel show is that you don’t know anything,” she continued. “You’re not given any information, right? Even the sides that I auditioned with! I didn’t know who this character was. For me, it happened very fast. I tested with Tom [Pelphrey] and then got the show basically the next day and was out here. I’ve now caught up reading comic books. Constant questions, constantly trying to follow with the showrunners, the writers, see what they’re going to do with the characters, but my character is a fun and complex one, so I enjoyed it.”
“I was in Sweden and I got a phone call from Jeph Loeb, asking me if I’d like to be involved in this particular project, and it was about a half-an-hour conversation where Jeph basically talked about the world of Marvel — the Marvel Universe — and then the story of Iron Fist, which I wasn’t familiar with at the time,” Wenham shared. “He said, ‘Would you like to be involved?’ He couldn’t tell me exactly what my character did. He said, ‘But trust me, you’ll have an amazing time.’ And so then I agreed and I flew from Sweden back to Australia, packed a bag and the flew out to New York and began an adventure not even knowing what I was diving into, because the world of Marvel is more secret than Donald Trump’s tax returns. You just have to trust them!”
“I got some sides that were sort of non-descript and I didn’t even know what project they were attached to,” Pelphrey said. “I sent in a tape, went good and went in to test for the part, at which point I got to read the first two scripts for the show, and — as I was sitting in some back closet on Marvel’s LA lot, after I had surrendered all of my personal belongings and signed away my life — in walked Jeph Loeb before I was about to read the script and I got to meet him and he told me about the story and kind of pitched me the character. It was very exciting! And then, you know, got the job and here we are.”
“I loved comic books as a kid; I guess most kids do,” he added. “It’s been impressive to see what Marvel’s done with Netflix. I remember when ‘Daredevil’ first came out and the buzz around that, and then watching the show later when I got this job. It’s just impressive, you know? It’s also nice to see that you can make a comic book type show that isn’t necessarily just for kids, kind of like what ‘Deadpool’ did with the movies, these Marvel Netflix shows are doing for television. There are those of us that are older who appreciate that because there are a lot of fans obviously that aren’t just the younger generation.”
Starring Finn Jones as Danny Rand, “Iron Fist” arrives March 17, 2017 on Netflix. The series also stars “Star Wars: The Force Awakens'” Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing, Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth, David Wenham as Harold Meachum, Jessica Stroup as Joy Meachum, Tom Pelphrey as Ward Meachum and more.
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