Interview with ‘Daredevil’ and ‘The Defenders’ star Amy Rutberg

Amy Rutberg, Defenders

Daredevil is not only the first of Marvel’s original shows that debuted on Netflix — it’s also one of their most beloved to date. Originally hitting the streaming service on April 10, 2015, comic-readers and newcomers alike quickly latched on to the series, demanding to see more. A second season was released on March 18, 2016, with a third one currently in development.

credit: Benjo Arwas

 

Amy Rutberg is one of the many talented actors/actresses who has had the opportunity to be a part of the show. Portraying the character of Marci Stahl — a no-nonsense lawyer with ties to the Nelson and Murdock Law Office — Rutberg is just one of the reasons why Daredevil is so great.

Rutberg also reprised her role as Marci in Marvel’s The Defenders.

While Marci Stahl can have somewhat of an intense presence, Rutberg isn’t quite so intimidating. Even with all the success she’s had in the past, she still has an incredibly friendly and charming personality.

Amy Rutberg spoke to Brandon Schreur of The Celebrity Cafe in an exclusive interview, offering insight on what portraying Marci Stahl was like and what we can expect out of her in the future. Read the full transcript below:

Brandon Schreur: Hi Amy, it’s so nice to be speaking with you.

Amy Rutberg: Ahh yes, you as well. Where are you right now?

BS: I am in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

AR: Oh nice! I love Michigan, I’ve been to Ann Arbor many times. I don’t know how far away that is from Grand Rapids.

BS: It’s about two hours from us, but I’ve been there before.

AR: Oh cool, nice.

BS: Well thank you so much for taking time out of your day to talk to me, how are you today?

AR: Oh no problem. I am doing pretty good — it is cold, but it is not freezing. I’ve got a live show I’m doing tonight at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, so I’m getting ready for that. Yeah, life is good.

BS: Now when you say cold, how cold are we talking? I’m currently looking at 20-degree weather with two feet of snow.

AR: Oh no, no no no. You know, I’m used to being interviewed by people living in Los Angeles, so they have no idea what cold is, but you — you’re an expert. I should never bring up the word cold to you unless I, like, can’t feel my fingers.

BS: Right, exactly. But I’m sure it’s chilly at least.

AR: It’s chilly. Today I think we have a high of, like, 38.

BS: That’s still cold!

AR: Yeah, it’s cold, but it’s not crazy cold.

BS: I’ll give it to you, you earned it.

AR: Thanks.

BS: Well, first question, I wanted to talk to you about Daredevil and The Defenders. I’m a huge huge Daredevil fan.

AR: Oh that’s so awesome!

BS: Yeah, I love it, probably one of my top five favorite shows. So I’m wondering if you can tell me what lead up to you getting the role of Marci Stahl and everything that was involved with that?

credit: Benjo Arwas

AR: Sure! You know, Daredevil came as a total surprise to me. I auditioned for Daredevil blindly. They had a really great casting director, Julie Schubert, who also used to do House of Cards. They asked me to come in and the project had some weird, fake nameI don’t even remember what it was.

I was in a really weird — well, I shouldn’t say weird — I was in an interesting mental place because I had just had a baby about a month before. So I was, like, not sleeping and totally didn’t expect to get this job. But I loved the material and said to myself, “Oh, whoever this Marci character is, I have a nice connection to her.”

So I came into the office, and I did only one take. Usually, when you do these kinds of things with a casting director you do them a couple times, so they can give you notes and etc. But for this, I just did one take and left. Two weeks later, I got a call that said, “Hey, it looks like you might book this job, you’re up for the final approval. By the way, it’s for the first Marvel Netflix show Daredevil.”

I was so excited. I didn’t want to get too excited because I still had to get final approval from whoever it is — I’m assuming it’s Marvel and Netflix, but there’s many levels of approval. But whoever the last person was, approved me and I got to do it! The great thing about Marci is that I was just supposed to do her for one episode, but now I’m still playing her three and a half years later.

It’s especially fun because I’m not actually in the comics. I bug Joe Quesada about it pretty much every day. Every time I see him those are the first words out of my mouth; “When is Marci going into the comics?!” and he’ll go, “I’m working on it, I’m working on it.” So maybe we’ll see that someday.

BS: Wow, that’s amazing. I didn’t know that you were only supposed to be in one episode, but I’m glad they kept you on.

AR: Well as far as I knew, I was only supposed to be in one episode. They might have had it scripted that Marci would be what she ended up being in the first season, but when I booked the job I thought it was just for one episode. Then it ended up being a lot more. They’ve gone through show-runner changes and staff changes and Marci is still there, so that’s cool.

BS: Yeah, that’s awesome. So I’m wondering, then, what the set on Daredevil is like. Since this is the first Netflix Marvel show, was there a lot of intensity and pressure to make sure it was really good and to try to launch it off the ground? Or was it more laid-back and cool? Did you know that you were about to create something incredible, or was everyone nervous about it?

AR: No, I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I would not describe the Daredevil set as laid-back. At the time, I had just come off a show called Alpha House. It was an Amazon show, a comedy with John Goodman. I was shooting that, like, the week before I started Daredevil and that was a laid-back set.

Marvel and Netflix have a lot going on. The crews work incredibly hard. Those guys and gals are busting their asses. Just in my neighborhood, Manhattan, they’re working until 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning. It’s a six day a week job, eleven months a year. It’s often the same crew — once they finish Daredevil, they’ll start on Luke Cage, and then they’ll do Jessica Jones. I mean, obviously they can’t just work with one crew — they have multiple crews — and Daredevil shoots in tandem, meaning they’re often shooting two episodes at once. But it’s a lot of really, really hard-working professionals that put in a lot of hours. It shows.

When I saw season one of Daredevil, I was blown away. At that point, I wasn’t reading the full scripts and I barely even knew what my character’s real name was going to be. But when I saw the final product, I mean I was blown away. It was not at all what I expected either. The only thing I knew about Daredevil was from the Ben Affleck movie from the late ‘90s or whenever it was. But this, this was way different, and there’s really nothing to compare it to.

BS: Definitely, and that’s exactly how I felt about it too. So a lot of your scenes in Daredevil are with Elden Henson’s character, Foggy. I’m wondering what your dynamic is both on-set and off-set. Are you guys pretty close? You work, like, really well together in the show so I’m wondering where that chemistry comes from.

Amy Rutberg
credit: YouTube

AR: Oh, thanks so much for saying that! Elden is one of those actors who I felt very comfortable with from day one. It ended up being a great working environment. He is, as a person, pretty laid back. Yet, at the same time, he’s game for anything. I mean, he doesn’t come in saying, “This should be this way and this should be that way!” He likes it to all happen organically. I think that comes from all the years he spent as a child actor and in different films. But I think this is his first regular role on a television show, and it moves a lot faster. So he’s always very polite and aware of the pressure, while also being conscious of all the moving parts. We have a good time.

He’s really my lifeline on Daredevil. I mean, I serve as his character, so I’m glad we have a nice working relationship and always feel so comfortable. Like if I want to try something or especially during the psychical stuff — seeing how Marci and Foggy have an intimate relationship — I always feel very comfortable and he has an easy and relaxed demeanor. I appreciate that about him.

On a personal note, we actually had kids at the same time. The first day I met him on set we were sitting in the makeup chairs and he was complaining about how he didn’t get any sleep the night before. I asked him why and he said it was because he just had a baby six weeks ago. I was like, “Oh yeah? Well, I just had a baby seven weeks ago!” Our kids have never met but it’s funny that we have that common link.

BS: Sure, and I think that definitely shows in Daredevil, because you guys work really well together.

AR: Yeah we do, we really do, and I would say that I’ve worked with a lot of men in television and a lot of different types — big stars, non-stars, guys who were over the work, guys who were excited about the work. The best compliment that I can pay Elden is that it’s really easy with him. There’s a real ease.

BS: Definitely. So you said Marci is not a character originally from the comics, but I’m wondering if you read any of the Daredevil comics in order to prepare once you found out that you were going to be in the show?

AR: I did, yeah! I read the comics and I’ve tried to keep with them ever since. Now I really enjoy them and am very invested in Matt Murdock. I knew about Foggy and I knew about Karen Page, so that’s been a fun part of the process.

I love Deborah Ann Woll and I love Karen Page, but I think my favorite character is Wilson Fisk. What D’Onofio does with Wilson Fisk — I just think he’s the greatest villain I’ve ever seen on television. Forget that it was a comic book character, the complexity of that man in season one and then into season two and, well, it’s no secret that he’s a part of season three since he’s tweeted about it — he’s just amazing to me. I’m in awe of what he brings to that role.

BS: Oh yeah, he’s terrifying and I love him too.

AR: Terrifying, right?

BS: Oh, totally. Are you team Matt and Karen or are you team Matt and Elektra as far as relationships go?

AR: Oh Karen for sure.

BS: Oh noooooo! Are you sure though?

AR: Oh Yeah, I’m into it! To me, there’s no such thing as too much Karen Page or too much Deborah Ann Woll. I mean, Elodie is beautiful and she was great, but there’s that scene…is it in season 2? Where Matt and Karen finally kiss on the steps, do you remember?

BS: Yup. I think you’re right, that was season two.

AR: To me, that was such an electric and magic moment.

BS: Yeah, they’re great together. I’m still team Matt and Elektra — the scene on the rooftop at the very end of season two was perfect I thought, but I get it.

AR: Yeah, well, hopefully, we’ll see them together again. Elektra died at the end of season two, or at least we think she’s dead. What happens from there in the comics?

BS: I think the comic follows a similar storyline to the show where she dies at one point and then comes back later in The Defenders. It seems like they’re following the storyline pretty strictly, I think.

AR: Okay, interesting. So maybe we’ll see more of her, I don’t know.

BS: I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I’m guessing I already know the answer to this question, but I’m going to ask anyway. In Daredevil you play a character who is very out-spoken, brutally honest and, at times, can be kind of off-putting. Is this how you would describe yourself in real life at all? Are there any similarities between you and Marci?

AR: [laughter] You know, I don’t think it’s fair to call Marci off-putting, but I can see why you would say that — especially in the first introduction to her. Marci is complex and she’s definitely rough around the edges, but I also think she is a girl you want in your corner. I think Marci has a much bigger heart that, hopefully, someday we’ll see, but I think it’s much bigger than she lets on. I think she probably really loves Foggy quite a bit.

So am I like Marci? Yeah, I guess I can be a little rough around the edges. I like to think I’m a little softer than Marci, though. There’s definitely an aspect to my personality — if I had ended up being a lawyer like my father wanted me to, I definitely think there’d be even more similarities.

BS: Interesting. Do you ever get to give insights into Marci’s character? Like, is there ever a time when you’re filming a scene and you know exactly what Marci would say in this moment and try to say it?

Amy Rutberg
credit: YouTube

AR: You know, we stay to the dialogue pretty closely. Beforehand, if we have questions or comments, everyone is really great about taking suggestions. I don’t often give suggestions, but the writers are really great and easy to work with. Once we’re shooting the scene, none of us really improvise because the writing is so good. If there are physical actions or things that Marci would do, I always feel pretty comfortable doing them. 90% of the time the director goes along with it and agrees and lets me do what I feel like doing. So that’s nice.

BS: Right on, that’s cool. Now — without pressuring you into giving away anything you shouldn’t — the third season of Daredevil is in the works. Is there anything more we can expect from Marci in the future? Is she going to show up and are we possibly going to learn more about her backstory or anything? Or do you have absolutely no idea?

AR: I can’t say a thing [laughter].

BS: Yeah, that’s kind of what I figured.

AR: I’m sorry, I can’t say a thing. I wish I could, but I can’t. I hope we do! I mean, that would be great, wouldn’t it? I love playing Marci, so I’m hoping we’ll see more of her and all sorts of interesting things! But, you know, I can’t say a thing.

BS: That’s totally fine, but I hope we see more of her too! So then switching over to The Defenders, what was the process of moving to that like? Was it kind of the same as Daredevil or was it different working with so many characters coming together?

AR: Yeah, listen, The Defenders was a super exciting project and there were so many characters to service that I was just thrilled that they included Marci even in a small way. I was very pleased about that. It was great to work with Carrie Anne Moss — I’m such a big fan of hers. I knew that Marci worked for her and I was always wondering if I’d ever get to actually work with her and do a little Jessica Jones crossover, and so that was really exciting opportunity to get to work with her. And I don’t know, have they said if they’re doing another season of The Defenders or it just a one-off?

BS: I don’t think it’s been confirmed yet. Yeah, I don’t know.

AR: I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything, that was an honest question and I have no idea if there’s more Defenders coming. But that would be cool, wouldn’t it?

BS: Yeah, that’d be awesome.

AR: It would be awesome.

BS: You’ve slightly touched on this already, but now that Marci has been in The Defenders is there a show or a character that you really hopes she moves towards — something like Carrie Anne Moss or Jessica Jones? Are you hoping that Marci will show up in season two or three of Jessica Jones someday?

AR: That is my fantasy — my fantasy is that Marci will continue to work for Carrie Anne Moss and that she’ll show up in Jessica Jones. And that is just a fantasy, no one has mentioned to me that that is going to happen. But I think it’d be really neat to see Marci take on a life outside of Foggy. Or should I say, in addition to Foggy, how about that?

BS: Yeah of course. I think interactions between her and Jessica Jones could be really interesting to watch play out.

AR: Well it’d just be cool if she was part of the team. You know, because Marci introduced Jessica Jones into Daredevil — she mentions Jessica Jones for the first time. I think that’d be neat if that paid off in the future.

[phone buzzes]

AR: Sorry, I’m in New York City and I just got food delivered. That’s the thing, in New York we press a button and food magically appears at our apartments and it’s awesome.

BS: Just like that?

AR: Yeah it actually is, just like that. It’s great.

BS: And suddenly I’m jealous. Last question then: the Marvel Cinematic Universe is huge — there’s all kinds of shows, heroes, movies and everything like this. Besides Marci and Daredevil, is there another character, property, storyline or film in the MCU that you’re interested in?

AR: Well, only as a fan. Now that I’m Marci in Daredevil, I don’t think I could play anything else. I think they rarely do that, and definitely wouldn’t be anytime soon. But didn’t they just announce..what’s the one they just announced with Brie Larson?

BS: Captain Marvel?

AR: Captain Marvel! Oh, I’m so excited about that. That’s going to be awesome. I love her. I’ve also always been an Iron Man fan. I’ve always seen the movies and had a soft spot for Tony Stark, so that’s always been something I’ve been into. But I’m just happy to be in the MCU. I just hope they keep Marci alive and going in as many of the shows as possible.

BS: That’s definitely my hope too.

AR: Oh, that’s sweet of you.

BS: Do you have anything upcoming that you want people to know about?

AR: Yeah! I’m also in this show called Taken. It’s on NBC and it’s based on Bryan Mills — the Liam Neeson character from those movies where his daughter always gets taken. My episode is airing either this Friday or next Friday. So that’s really cool. I also just did a stint on NCIS: New Orleans. And I’ve got some other secret stuff that I can’t really talk about, but hopefully, as the year progresses we can do another one of these and we can do more.

BS: Definitely! I’d love to talk to you again, and we’re all definitely looking forward to all those secretive things in the future. Is there somewhere people can follow you on social media?

AR: Absolutely! I’m pretty active on Twitter and Instagram at @AmyRutberg

BS: Awesome, that was my last question then. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me.

AR: Alright, thanks a lot Brandon, have a great day.

BS: You too! And good luck with your thing tonight!

AR: Oh thank you! It’s going to be a really cool show, it’s called Gravid Water and I’m doing it with Vanessa Bayer and Cristin Milioti. Have you been watching Black Mirror?

BS: Yes I have.

AR: Okay, so then you know who Cristin Milioti is, right?

BS: Oh yes, of course (She plays one of the leads in the opening episode to season 4, “USS Callister”).

AR: Yeah, so we’re all doing a live show tonight in New York at Amy Poehler’s theater, they just re-opened it in Midtown.

BS: That sounds awesome.

AR: Alright man, I’ll talk to you later.

BS: Yeah you too, thanks so much!

AR: Bye!

Be sure to check out Amy Rutberg in Daredevil and The Defenders, and be on the lookout for her to (hopefully!) return to the Marvel Netflix Universe soon!

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Brandon Schreur

The fella over there with the hella good hair. Movies and TV are my jam, and the fact that I get to write about them on a regular basis is the bees knees.