Interview With Greg Cox
(January 2003)

Greg Cox is the author of the Daredevil movie adaptation that is now in stores. With the movie only a few weeks away, I asked Mr. Cox for his comments, opinions, views etc. on writing the novel, the casting, his research and everything else that was involved with adapting the story by Mark Steven Johnson. Here's what he had to say:

It all started with an editor, Ginger Buchanan at Boulevard Books, recommending me for the job. I had previously written several IRON MAN and X-MEN novels for Ginger, so she passed my name onto her colleague, Dan Slater at NAL, who was looking for someone to write the DD novelization.

I was excited by the opportunity, having been a DD fan for years. This was also my first real movie novelization, although I had edited several movie tie-in books over the years. (Among other things, I edited the novelizations of MORTAL KOMBAT, STEEL, and--gulp!-CUTTHROAT ISLAND.)
XXXXXXXX (c)2003 Kuljit Mithra http://www.manwithoutfear.com XXXXXXXX
As I recall, I got the script around the end of June, along with a packet full of production art and sketches. I immediately went back and reread Frank Miller's whole Elektra-Bullseye-Kingpin arc from the 1980's, which I vividly remembered from my college days. I also tracked down a copy of Madeleine Robins's DD novel, THE CUTTING EDGE, just to see how she translated DD into prose. (By coincidence, Madeleine is an old friend of mine; it's a small world . . . .)

For local color, I spent an afternoon in the real Hell's Kitchen in NY, soaking up the atmosphere while taking plenty of notes and snapshots. I also found a chatty bartender in an Irish pub (not unlike the one Bullseye goes to in the movie) who filled me in on the history of the area.

To my slight disappointment, I discovered that today's Hell's Kitchen, post-Giuliani, is not nearly as grimy and dangerous as the 80's version described in the original comix, so I had to take some artistic license there! Ditto the waterfront where Matt's father briefly works.
XXXXXXXX (c)2003 Kuljit Mithra http://www.manwithoutfear.com XXXXXXXX
With only the production sketches to work with, I prowled the internet relentlessly, searching for anything I could find on the movie: photos, set reports, fan websites, etc. Occasionally, this proved incredibly helpful. After a fan site mentioned the name of the real hotel where they filmed the ballroom scene, I went strai ght to the hotel's actual website, where I found photos and descriptions of the ballroom, lobby, etcetera, which helped me describe that scene more vividly.

I also monitored the casting of even the smallest part, so I could describe the supporting characters more accurately. Once I found out, for example, that the part of Jose Quesada was being played by the same guy who played the sidekick on "The Invisible Man" tv series, I knew I could safely describe Quesada as "a short, balding, pit bull of man."

When it came to the actual writing of the book, I encountered both opportunities and challenges:
XXXXXXXX (c)2003 Kuljit Mithra http://www.manwithoutfear.com XXXXXXXX
To start with, I had a good script to work with, one that made sense and built to a dramatic conclusion. After writing umpteen original novels, it was kind of relaxing to sit back and let someone else take care of the plotting for once!

It also helped, of course, that I've known these characters since I was a little kid reading the old Stan Lee/Bill Everett stories. I didn't have to work overtime trying to figure who this "Foggy Nelson" character is and what's he like. Matt and Foggy and the Kingpin and the rest were already burned into my brain.

Writing movie novelizations presents its own unique challenges, too. For one thing, you have to turn a 120 page script into a 300 page manuscript. As a rule, I tried to generate two or three pages of prose for every page of the script, mostly by adding plenty of description (remember those snapshots of Hell's Kitchen?) and by getting into the heads of the characters to describe their thoughts and reactions.

Another challenge is that, by necessity, movie scripts are all about the dialogue and the action; they don't describe the sets or costumes in detail. Which means that they're often frustratingly vague about what things look like. For example, the script will say that Elektra shows up "looking drop-dead gorgeous," but doesn't say what she's wearing, what her hair is like, etc.
XXXXXXXX (c)2003 Kuljit Mithra http://www.manwithoutfear.com XXXXXXXX
This is where prowling the internet for publicity and production shots came in useful. I got inordinately excited everytime I found a shot of Elektra in her civilian clothes: "Aha, so that's what she's wearing in the playground scene!"

Sometimes, though, you just have to make something up and hope for the best...

DAREDEVIL, of course, presented one unique challenge in that Matt is blind! I went crazy trying to figure out how to describe scenes from Matt's point-of-view; after all, you couldn't just write "Matt looked across the room" or so on. And how do you mention the color of things? At times it felt like I was trying to describe things with one hand tied behind my back! (Sneaky writer trick: when in doubt, just write that Matt "sensed" that a dagger coming at him or whatever.)

I took me about two months to write the book. Fortunately, there's wasn't a lot of rewriting involved. Fox tweaked a couple of the action scenes, so that the fight choreography matched what was actually filmed, but the changes are pretty minimal.

Now I just have to wait for the movie like everyone else. I'm really looking forward to it. The script was astonishingly faithful to the original comics, and the casting seems on-target:
XXXXXXXX (c)2003 Kuljit Mithra http://www.manwithoutfear.com XXXXXXXX
Affleck: Unlike some action stars, I can actually believe that Ben Affleck went to law school which should make him a believable Matt Murdock.

Garner: I'm a huge ALIAS fan, so I can't wait to see Jennifer Garner as Elektra.

Duncan: To my mind, Duncan is perfect as the Kingpin. Above all else, the character needs to be big and imposing with a deep resonant voice, and Duncan sure fits the bill there. Changing the Kingpin's race doesn't bother me--heck, Daredevil can't even see what color his skin is.

Farrell: I'm less familiar with Farrell, having only seen him in MINORITY REPORT, but I'm curious to see his Bullseye. The scarred forehead is a nifty touch, although the effect is probably lost on Daredevil. (I made sure all the sighted characters mention it, but I don't think DD reacts to it at all in the book.) Interestingly, some of the early sketches Fox sent me had Bullseye in his costume from the comic book, but I had my editor call Fox just to make sure that he wasn't wearing it in the movie. That was one of the few case where I felt I really had to get a definitive ruling from the studio. Otherwise, I tried not to bother them with lots of nitpicky questions!
XXXXXXXX (c)2003 Kuljit Mithra http://www.manwithoutfear.com XXXXXXXX
With the DAREDEVIL now in the stores, just in time for the movie, I've moved onto other projects. At the moment I'm novelizing a new vampire movie, due out next Fall, and recently had a short story published in a BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER collection, TALES OF THE SLAYER, VOLUME 2. I also owe Pocket Books another STAR TREK novel, which will probably be a prequel to THE WRATH OF KHAN.

Needless to say, though, I'd love to come back and do the novelization of DAREDEVIL II or an ELEKTRA movie. Here's hoping!

Many thanks to Greg Cox!

----------------------------------------------
(c) Kuljit Mithra 2003
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear
http://www.manwithoutfear.com
----------------------------------------------


Read more interviews!

40th Anniversary
Ben Abernathy
Alejandro Arbona
Jose Guns Alves
Mahmud Asrar
Dick Ayers
Jonathan Barron
Thomas Baxter
Black and White
Haden Blackman
Randy Bowen
Alan Brennert
Chris Brewster
Ed Brubaker
Steve Buccellato
Bob Budiansky
Danny Bulanadi
John Byrne
Harry Candelario
Joe Caramagna
Sergio Cariello
Bernard Chang
Marco Checchetto
Dan Chichester
Gene Colan
Hector Collazo
Jason Copland
Matt Costello
Greg Cox
Paul Crilley
Daredevil '83
Daredevil V3
Keith DeCandido
Tom DeFalco
Roberto De La Torre
J.M. DeMatteis
Kim DeMulder
Brian Denham
Will Devokees
Carmine Di Giandomenico
Josie DiVincenzo
Chuck Dixon
Scott Dunbier
Kieron Dwyer
Tommy Lee Edwards
Elastic
Elektra Hand Devil
Steve Englehart
Fall From Grace
Tito Faraci
James Felder
Karin Fong
Tim Flattery
Justin F. Gabrie
Ron Garney
Pat Garrahy
Stefano Gaudiano
Uri Geller
Steve Gerber
Christopher Golden
Steven Grant
Devin K. Grayson
Larry Hama
Cully Hamner
John Patrick Hayden
Jason Henderson
Glenn Herdling
David Hine
Matt Hollingsworth
Caleb Howard
Dave Hunt
Ray Iannicelli
Alex Irvine & Tomm Coker
Tony Isabella
Richard Isanove
Chris Ivy
Danny Johnson
Mark Steven Johnson
Dan Jurgens
Joe Kelly
Karl Kesel
Lauren Mary Kim
Daniel Kish
Jim Krueger
Ryan K. Lindsay
David Liss
Scott Lobdell
Jeph Loeb
Tom Lyle
David Mack
Clay Mann
Jason Martin
Vatche Mavlian &
Brett Matthews

Shane McCarthy &
Martin Redmond

Scott McDaniel
Luke McDonnell
Manny Mederos
Jon Mefford
Stuart Moore
Richard K. Morgan
Yvonne Navarro
Eddy Newell
Fabian Nicieza
Ann Nocenti
Cary Nord
Mike Oeming
Ariel Olivetti
Denny O'Neil
John Ostrander
Jimmy Palmiotti
Ande Parks
Seth Peck
Khoi Pham
John Pirkis
Joe Quesada
Ben Raab
Bill Reinhold
Graeme Revell
Madeleine Robins
Robert Rodi
Javier Rodriguez
J.G. Roshell
John Rozum
Matt Ryan
Reza Salazar
Tony Salmons
Salgood Sam
Chris Samnee
David Sarrio
Christie Scheele
Peter Shinkoda
Jim Shooter
Bill Sienkiewicz
Thony Silas
Warren Simons
Walt Simonson
Marc Siry
Suzanne H. Smart
Kevin Smith
Spoken Comics
Stephen D. Sullivan
Billy Tan
Scott Terra
Tim Tuohy
Ron Wagner
Mark Waid
Lee Weeks
Lee Weeks (2)
Zeb Wells
Phil Winslade
Marv Wolfman
Gregory Wright
Paul Young
Zachary Zirlin



 
COMICS: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Annuals | Appearances | Costumes | Digital Comics | Hardcovers | Key Issues | Logos | Origin | Price Guide | Recommended | Reviews | Secret Identity | Sales Data | Titles | Trades | Untold Tales

CREATORS: Cover Artists | Inkers | Pencillers | Writers

MEDIA: Actors | Books | Cartoons | Computer Fun! | Movies | Music | Pictures | Sightings | Sketches | Video Games | Wallpapers

FANS: Fan Art | Fan Costumes | Fan Custom Figures | Fan Fiction | Fan Films | Fan Guitars | Fan Tattoos
 

 

Daredevil (and other related characters appearing) and the distinctive likenesses are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used WITHOUT permission.
Copyright © 2017 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Visit Marvel.com.
www.manwithoutfear.com is owned and operated by Kuljit Mithra. Web site is © Kuljit Mithra 1996-2017.

Keep up to the date with your trusted Daredevil source ManWithoutFear.com on and