Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ traces making of a superhero

By Rumy Doo

Show deliberately paced to accentuate character growth, writer Scott Buck says

  • Published : Mar 29, 2017 - 15:55
  • Updated : Mar 30, 2017 - 09:56
The new Netflix series “Iron Fist” is an atypical superhero story in many ways, focusing on the budding stage of the hero’s development and taking on a more optimistic tone, according to its cast and creator.

Compared to darker shows featuring brooding, burdened heroes, this rendition of the original Marvel Comics is “a much lighter show,” said writer and showrunner Scott Buck at a press conference Wednesday in Gwanghwamun, Seoul.

Buck and three members of the cast -- Finn Jones, Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey -- are in Korea to promote the 13-episode series, launched this month and available on Netflix Korea.

“Other characters are fully formed, but with Danny Rand, we try to tell the story of someone who’s trying to figure out ... what his place in the world is,” said Buck, who has participated in the making of several well-received shows such as “Dexter” and “Six Feet Under” in the past.

Reviews have said that the show’s plot unravels at a pace that could seem tedious.

“Our goal was to deliver the story and the growth of the characters well … and find meaning in each scene,” Buck responded. “Our primary goal is to give life to the characters.”

British actor Jones plays the role of Danny Rand, the son of a billionaire who, after losing his parents in an accident, is adopted by Buddhist monks and trains in martial arts, eventually gaining the ability to summon the power of the “Iron Fist.”

Portraying action scenes was a fulfilling challenge, Jones said. “Martial artists have been training their whole lives to perfect their craft. I had three weeks,” he said. “I had to use all my time around the clock to try to bring the character to life emotionally and physically.”

More than anything, Jones was drawn to the imperfections of the character, he said. “To me, it is more interesting to embrace his faults than to play the perfect hero.”

After 15 years of training in the Kunlun Mountains of China, Danny returns to New York City, his birthplace. He becomes enraged at discovering the sinister truth behind his parents’ deaths, and struggles with his duties as the Iron Fist and his rightful ownership of Rand Corp., his family’s company now operated by billionaires Ward Meachum and Joy Meachum, played by Stroup and Pelphrey, respectively.

From left: “Iron Fist” cast members Finn Jones, Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey as well as writer Scott Buck pose for a photo at a press conference Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul. (Yonhap)

“Ward is the face and in charge of running Rand (Corp.),” Pelphrey said of his character. “I think he’s in a very difficult position as (a) keeper of secrets and a teller of lies, a bit of a manipulator.”

While Ward is not a villain, “he’s not quite a hero,” Pelphrey explained. “It’s been a lot of fun playing a character who’s so morally ambiguous.”

Stroup said she came to star in the show after auditioning for a pilot season in Los Angeles. “I had it in mind that I wanted to wait for a Netflix show,” she said.

“I wanted to work on a different platform, and Netflix was the ultimate goal for me. I didn’t know which character or project it would be -- it’s all very hush-hush in the Marvel world.”

By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com)