Mike Colter Talks About What It’s Like To Be Luke Cage, Gets Pumped For All The Grittiness
Spoiler alert: it sounds neat.
You ever notice how when people complain about traditionally white superhero characters being played by POC actors and they start bringing up traditionally black roles to whitewash in retaliation, it’s usually either Shaft or Black Panther? Luke Cage tends to stay mostly below the radar—which is honestly surprising, especially considering that he’ll soon be a very important part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In an interview with IGN, Mike Colter, who will play Cage in Netflix’s four Marvel shows, says that thinking about race hasn’t really factored into his performance all that much despite the fact that the character was inspired by ’70s Blaxploitation movies—he’s more content to just play the character using his own individual experiences to draw on as a person:
“I’m one of those people who is color blind to a certain degree. And that doesn’t mean I’m not acutely aware of race in our country and abroad and in the world. I know what’s going on and I’m very aware of it. If you are a certain race, you know that. It’s not a big thing with me.
I’m a black male who’s playing a character who has historically been black. The approach with the character for me is more about the human qualities and the things that make Luke Cage tick. And the writers have to then decide to bring in the race of the character, if there’s an angle there. But I don’t look at it as something I have to prep differently for, because I am what I am and I approach the characters as they have to then be played by me, Mike Colter – the actor who happens to be black. It’s more of an aside, rather than something I take on by the horns. It doesn’t really factor for me at all.
I’m not so sure I like the idea of Colter using the outdated term “color blindness” to describe his own experiences with race, but I absolutely get what he means. After all, despite how important positive and diverse representation in media can be for racial minorities, being black isn’t exactly Luke Cage’s defining personality trait, you know? Which isn’t to say that it’s not something that factors in at all, just that there’s more to him as a character.
Speaking of which, what does factor in to how Colter thinks of Cage and of the shows he’ll be featured in?
What I’m most excited about is touching on what makes him tick. It feels good to get a character that has such a story, background, and history. And when I look at the scripts, I’m really pleased with it because it’s a slow-burn; there’s nothing happening really fast that gets ahead of itself. We have a more gritty, focused story on our heroes and characters that live in New York City.
Okay, agreed. That sounds pretty cool.
Luke Cage won’t get his own series to lead for a while but in the meantime he’ll appear in Netflix’s upcoming Marvel series, A.K.A Jessica Jones, and will definitely play a major role in the Iron Fist show was well. We can’t wait to see Colter does with the role, how about you?