Misty Knight may not yet be a household name when it comes to superheroes, but the upcoming Netflix series “Luke Cage” is poised to change that. As one of the very first black female superheroes, predating Storm’s 1975 debut by two months, police detective/Daughter of the Dragon Misty Knight holds a place in comic book history — and now actor Simone Missick is bringing her to life for the very first time.
Little is known about Missick’s and “Luke Cage’s” take on the fan favorite comic book character, who can currently be seen in the pages of Marvel’s “Captain America: Sam Wilson.” No photos have been released of Netflix’s Misty Knight and the only footage released from the series focused on the titular hero. But during a press event at San Diego’s Comic-Con International, Missick spoke about her character and what she means to the series.
“I think a lot of times as a woman, you are either a wife or a girlfriend or a best friend,” said Missick when asked what she was most proud of during her time as the Marvel hero. “And in this opportunity, you got to see [Det. Scarfe] and Misty as professionals with a job, and Misty as a person who has a very strong moral compass who is absolutely dedicated to protecting her community, and that you don’t see a lot on TV. So that was, I think, the proudest moment, to be a person who believes in the system, even though — and you look in our current times, it’s difficult to believe in the system. The proudest moment was to play someone completely different from anybody we’ve ever seen before.”
Missick also spoke about balancing the character’s femininity and strength, as well as playing in the differences between Misty and Simone. “[W]hen you look at a character you try to figure out what are the differences and what are the similarities,” said Missick. “It’s fun playing in the differences, you know what I mean? Misty is so much not like Simone, and so the softer parts are the parts that you have to kind of hide. But she is still a woman at the end of the day, and has a family and a life and a heart and feelings that she kinda has to cover up in order to survive as a detective.”
Frank Whaley, who plays Misty’s partner Detective Rafael Scarfe, praised the connection the two characters have. “It’s an interesting dynamic because the characters really do have a great deal of love and respect for each other,” said Whaley.
“Scarfe is Misty’s mentor,” added Missick. “He showed her the ropes. She had this raw talent that he, unlike other people on the force, nurtured as opposed to looked at it like, ‘Who’s this weirdo staring off into space every now and again figuring stuff out that way.’ They have this really great rapport, this love, this real chemistry that he and I were able to find from day one working together.”
Missick took great joy In playing a beloved and culturally significant character, and expressed excitement in getting to do what Misty Knight does. “It’s exciting when people give you a script and you go, ‘Wait, I get to do this today?’ Because you don’t see it. Misty Knight is one of the first African-American female superheroes. We’ve never seen a primarily — a show of color for superheroes. When we read these things, it’s not a limitation. It’s more like, ‘Aw yes, I get to do this? Yes I will do this! You want me to — ? Yes!’ People do that. It didn’t really feel confining.”
Missick also didn’t feel pressure playing Misty Knight, a character totally new to live-action. In fact, she found being the first to adapt the character into a new medium freeing. “It was great to play a character who we’d never seen before. We’ve never heard anyone speak her words, so there was no pressure in that sense of going, ‘Oh, but Halle Berry did it. And how can I fit into those shoes?’ It was like, these are your own shoes,” said Missick. “So it feels the same way with the show. There’s a responsibility to tell the story accurately and be fair and honest to the people that you’re representing, but there was no sense of, ‘I got the whole world on my shoulders.’ No, we’re just here to tell a story.”
All 13 episodes of “Luke Cage” arrive on Netflix on September 30.
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