Vincent D’Onofrio reveals that X-Men star Hugh Jackman encouraged him to play a Marvel Cinematic Universe villain in a casual conversation.
Vincent D’Onofrio reveals that X-Men star, Hugh Jackman, encouraged him to play a Marvel Cinematic Universe villain. D’Onofrio made his Marvel debut as part of Netflix’s Daredevil series in 2015, facing Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock across the show’s 3 seasons. The actor would once more appear in 2021’s Hawkeye, reprising the role of Wilson Fisk as the series’ hidden villain.
Debuting as a shadowy figure in New York’s criminal underworld in the wake of The Avenger‘s Battle of New York, D’Onofrio’s Fisk in Daredevil is an intimidating, threatening crime boss who comes to blows with Cox’s Matt Murdock during the hero’s war on the criminals of Hell’s Kitchen. After bloody fights, prison sentences, and returns across the Netflix series, Fisk disappeared from the wider MCU due to Netflix winding down production on their Marvel series amidst Marvel Studios assuming greater control over their television output. D’Onofrio made his surprise return in Hawkeye, as a post-Blip Fisk reforged his criminal empire through dealings with Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) and Maya Lopez’s (Alaqua Cox) Tracksuit Mafia, targeting a valuable item to former Avenger, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). Following his highly anticipated, much-rumored return, D’Onofrio has revealed a surprising Marvel star played a hand in him pursuing the role.
As reported by CBR, D’Onofrio made a guest appearance on the Marvel News Desk, where he shared that Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman urged him to pursue an MCU villain role in a casual conversation. D’Onofrio shared that he was familiar with Jackman through family, and that when the two sat on D’Onofrio’s patio, the Kingpin actor expressed interest in the superhero genre after Iron Man was released. Stating that he would like to play a villain, D’Onofrio was then urged by Jackman to pursue a role. Read D’Onofrio’s full recollection below:
“The only thing that was on my radar at that point when it came to superhero stuff was Robert [Downey Jr.]’s performance in Iron Man, which I thought was extremely impressive. I think I was actually with Hugh Jackman — he was over at my house ’cause our kids went to the same school, and we were sitting at my patio . . . and I said, ‘This superhero stuff is really turning out to be interesting,’ and he goes, ‘Yeah!’ And I’m like, ‘You know, I think one day I’m gonna get the chance to play one of those bad guys, and I think I could tear it up.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I think you could too.'”
After months of teasing on social media, D’Onofrio made his full on-screen return in episode 5 of Hawkeye, “Ronin,” with co-star Hailee Steinfeld and episode directors, Bert and Bertie, praising the actor’s work on the series. Fisk would step into the fray in the following episode, “So This Is Christmas?” with him and the Tracksuit Mafia attempting to assassinate Eleanor Bishop as she threatens to break their agreement. Attempting to kill a fleeing Eleanor himself, the much stronger Fisk is taken on by Kate Bishop (Steinfeld), who dispatches him with trick arrows. Fisk’s final appearance saw Maya hold him at gunpoint for arranging her father’s assassination, with the camera panning away as gunshots are heard.
Though D’Onofrio’s Kingpin’s fate is unknown, his return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe was met with much excitement from fans. Like Jackman, D’Onofrio is seen as the perfect representation of his character on screen. With D’Onofrio hoping for a larger MCU role in the future, it is interesting to hear how Jackman not only influenced modern superhero cinema through his own work in the X-Men franchise, but a simple conversation between him and a friend led to one of the most widely praised villain portrayals in the genre’s history.
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