Charlie Cox says doing his new spy series Betrayal (on Netflix from Boxing Day) as the conflict in Ukraine began was “pretty intense” and bolstered by the presence of his Ukrainian co-star, the Quantum of Solace, Olga Kurylenko.
“It was a painful time,” the Daredevil star told Yahoo UK of the atmosphere on set. But he has nothing but praise for Kurylenko and his professionalism: “Everyone was deeply worried, especially for Olga. I really applaud his courage and bravery to continue to show up and do the work that was needed. It was quite an intense period. »
Read more: Charlie Cox on his long-awaited return from Daredevil
Treason sees Cox playing Adam Lawrence, a precocious but low-key spymaster who becomes acting head of MI6 when the Russians appear to have hit on his superior. It’s an old-school Cold War thriller that feels more relevant than ever.
Watch a trailer for Betrayal
But he could never have expected the series to be as prescient as it was when he started filming in early 2022, just as Russian troops lined up along the border. Ukrainian. A few weeks later, war had broken out and thrilling fiction was suddenly punctuated by reality.
“Everything we did was much more poignant and relevant,” Cox confesses.
Unlike many of his characters, including IRA assassin Owen Sleater in Boardwalk Empire, crime boss Michael Kinsella in Kin, and of course violent vigilante Daredevil, Cox is quiet and unassuming, but Treason approaches the Cox. that we meet on Zoom.
It’s impossible not to see real life merge with Betrayal with blatant nods to some of the most memorable news events of the past two decades. There’s a poisoning reminiscent of the death of Alexander Litvinenko, and shortly after, Cox’s character is pulled out of a school as he lectures to children in a moment reminiscent of George W Bush being briefed on the September 11 while reading to a class of seven-year-olds.
Cox admits parallels between the real and the fictional and said it was “reminiscent of that iconic moment”, but also that the scene helped him to really grasp the complexities of his character who, according to him, must “move from the status of family man to become the professional who offered him the job.” Adam does the opposite of Bush in that he abruptly ends his engagement and resolutely goes into spy mode.
Adam Lawrence is not James Bond or George Smiley or really one of the spies that have permeated pop culture over the past half-century. What sets Adam and Betrayal apart is its main character’s focus on family and domestic life.
It’s also what attracted the highly demanded Cox to the role: “What I really admired [about the script] this is how he brought him back to the family home. We spend a lot of time with the spouses and children of the people who do these jobs. We see the impact it has on families and it’s something that I think has never been done before.
Cox particularly enjoyed delving into the gray areas of morality and loyalty that the show explores because without spoiling anything, the show is called Betrayal for a reason. “Life in general is grey,” he says, “It’s rare in this black and white world, when you think about canceling culture and social media, to have a character that felt like this human that has wonderful elements but also a story.”
It has been a whirlwind 12 months for Cox who is back in his native London after spending much of the past decade in the United States. He ushered in 2022 with the revelation that he was returning to play Matt Murdock/Daredevil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe through an appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, a secret he’d had to deny and deny for the better part. one year. He admits it turned out to be a good training exercise to play a spy with a dossier full of secrets.
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Cox is forced to keep the secret a bit longer as he will play The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen again in 2024 in an 18-episode Disney+ series called Born Again.
While revealing nothing and insisting he knows nothing, Cox acknowledges that this won’t be the same show fans (including superhero agnostics) loved on Netflix for its dark tone,… influence on martial arts and the aesthetics of 1970s crime drama: “It’ll be slightly different otherwise there’s no point in doing it again but whether it’s in terms of story or tone I have no idea. ”
Cox, being young, handsome, British and having played a spy and a superhero, there’s a natural tendency to push him towards the currently vacant role of James Bond, but he’s outspoken (if self-deprecating) about the fact that it’s something he doesn’t do. see for himself.
Possibly answering the question for the millionth time in this draw, he says, “No one in their right mind would be fascinated by this work, but I don’t think I’m cut out for it. I had my experience of a similar role now. There are probably better candidates than me and I hope they give it to someone unexpected.
True humility is hard to come by, especially in the land of the superficial in Hollywood, but Cox is one of the good ones.
Betrayal has been on Netflix since December 26.