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09/03 - Michael Clarke Duncan Passes Away at 54

Michael Clarke Duncan, who portrayed the Kingpin in the 2003 DAREDEVIL movie, has passed away at age 54. He had suffered a heart attack in July and did not fully recover.

While Duncan was a somewhat controversial choice as the crime boss, it is hard to imagine who else could have stepped into the role for the DD movie.

In 2002, I asked director Mark Steven Johnson what Duncan would bring to the yet-to-be filmed movie, and this is what he said:

I knew that there would be some controversy on this one. I looked at a lot of actors. Wrestlers. You name it. But in the end, I went with the best big man working today. To me, MCD is more true to the comic book than anyone else out there. The most important thing about the Kingpin is not whether he's black or white, it's whether or not he strikes fear into you. You must believe that he could grab Daredevil and snap his spine in half. If you go with someone smaller, he becomes Lex Luther. Remember, Affleck is over 6'3". He dwarfs a lot of the so-called "big men." I don't want to use special effects to make somebody bigger because, again, that takes me away from the reality of the film. MCD is going to play him as Wilson Fisk. Not a hip-hop version. Not a street version. He's true in every way to the character from the comic book -- except that he's black. If I stayed true to the race of the comic book, I'd have an all-white cast. And how true to life is that? Regardless, this isn't about race. If MCD was white I'd cast him. If he was Hispanic I'd cast him. He just happens to be black and the best actor for the role. In the end, I think he's going to be the ultimate Kingpin.

Condolences to Michael Clarke Duncan's family. An actor who was well-respected and had a reputation as being a "gentle giant" and genuine nice man.

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