Charlie Cox blinded himself to play Daredevil


Daredevil is a Marvel street-level hero once described by Captain America as “a blind guy with the superpower to see”. When it came to portraying him on screen, Charlie Cox decided to go the Daniel Day-Lewis route and literally blinded himself with special contact lenses. 

If you’ve never seen Daredevil, in the show Cox portrays Matthew Murdock, a blind lawyer who moonlights as a costumed vigilante called Daredevil who shatters human jawbones with pin-point accurate, backflip-assisted foot slaps and screaming mounted haymakers.

Despite being blind, Murdock can “see” using his other senses, meaning he can function just as well as a sighted person. This Radar Sense as it’s called basically gives the hero 360 degree awareness of his surroundings at all times and means his odds of accidentally bumping into shit are effectively nil.

However Murdock still pretends that he’s blind during his day-to-day life to allay suspicion about him being Daredevil and to lower people’s guard while cross-examining them in court. Which is pretty genius, nobody expects the guy bumbling around his office trying to find his cane to spend his free time having fist-fights with ninjas or slapping Black Widow’s ass.

In other words, although Matthew Murdock can “see” perfectly fine, when he isn’t in costume he acts just like any other blind person would. This is something Cox was very keen to represent accurately on screen, so he did what any (balls out insane) actor would do and had an optician make special contact lenses that looked exactly like his own eyes that also blinded him when worn.

Cox would later note that while this did allow him to accurately portray a blind man without really trying all that much, whenever it wasn’t his turn to be on camera he would wander around bumping into stuff. Something he would later admit got real old, real fucking fast.

Cox eventually got rid of the contact lenses and instead decided to just try, well, acting, working closely with a representative from the American Foundation for the Blind to emulate the mannerisms of an actual blind person. Cox wanted to know exactly how a blind person would perform various household tasks and even went as far as blindfolding himself while making sandwiches and shit when he was at home so he could get used to not looking at his hands when performing menial tasks. The end result was a performance the American Foundation for the Blind lauded as one of the most accurate ever given of a blind person. Something that kind of ended up biting Cox on the ass a few years later.

You see, one thing Cox learned to do while portraying Matthew Murdock that was apparently super hard for him to unlearn was not making eye contact when talking to people. After two years of staring straight past people with a glassy, empty stare, it kind of become second nature to Cox who eventually didn’t even realise he was doing it. This reflexive way of speaking to people while acting caused Cox to totally bomb a highly-secretive audition he later found out was for the Han Solo standalone movie. According to Cox, he was stopped halfway through a line reading by a confused director who pointedly asked him, “why aren’t you looking at me?”

Cox wasn’t called back for a second audition and given that the Han Solo standalone movie is in all kinds of trouble, it was probably a mistake not to at least consider hiring the guy who can backflip kick people’s heads off.