By Brandon and Brett Pascall
D’Onofrio talked about being born in Brooklyn but being raised in Hawaii and Colorado, and moving back to New York when he was older. He said he was a major introvert when he was a kid, and on his 6th birthday he hid under his bed with his cake, and his family had to come and say hi to him under his bed. His favorite characters growing up were Daredevil, Captain America, and Punisher, and one DC character he refused to name for obvious reasons. He talked about loving magic and how he did shows for his friends and family. He got magic instructions for free from the owner of his local magic store, who felt bad that his family wasn’t wealthy, but young D’Onofrio xeroxed copies and then returned them because he felt bad getting them for free.
D’Onofrio caught the bug for acting after he lived with his dad in Colorado. His father participated in all the local theaters and he studied Stanislavski, the inventor of method acting and spent a total of 9 years studying in New York. D’Onofrio says he will be a life-long method actor, and he still teaches classes around the area for method acting.
D’Onofrio then talked about his techniques, and how even though every actor has their own process of getting in character, they all end up with the same result and how the energy stays the same. When it came to Fisk he said it was about learning to make choices that match the emotions of the characters in the scene. Wilson’s voice was the most important part of the character, and he created the voice by living through emotional pain that he has experienced in his life. He made sure that Wilson’s voice also had a childishness to it by enunciating each word carefully. D’Onofrio said he was honored to have played the part, and that the fans are his favorite part and he was inspired by the fan’s appreciation of the character, and by the creators who made the character. He wanted to honor the medium and wanted to embrace the history of the character, saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Quesada switched gears to the struggle of making it in acting, and D’Onofrio talked about being a bouncer and bodyguarding. He joked about how he was better at staying out of fights rather than getting into them. Quesada asked him what he considered his big break, and D’Onofrio quickly responded with Full Metal Jacket. During that time he was doing a play that he worked on during the day and bounced clubs at night. He ran into Matthew Modine, who he knew from acting school. Modine told D’Onofrio he was working on a Stanley Kubrick movie, and that he should send in an audition for a part that he thought D’Onofrio could play.
D’Onofrio sent in his audition and a few weeks later got a call from Leon Vitali and Kubrick. When Kubrick spoke D’Onofrio quickly hung up because he thought it was a prank — Kubrick had a New York accent, and D’Onofrio had expected him to have a British accent. Kubrick called back and said that he wanted D’Onofrio to send in some more work. Kubrick sent him just words, not an actual script, which he believes was intentional to test him to make sure he was able to really act. After he got the part he had to put on 80 pounds, which at the time was a record, and which D’Onofrio joked was harder to lose than put on.
Every solider in Full Metal Jacket who didn’t have a line was British, and D’Onofrio recalled a story about one scene that had a row of tires painted yellow, and all the actors were lined up and Kubrick was in a jib (a crane with a seat and a camera). The director would look through the lenses for hours and hours up on the jib, and all the actors ran out of stories to tell each other while waiting on Kubrick. Eventually the actors yelled at Kubrick and said to get off the crane. Terry Needham (The assistant director) and Kubrick walked down and asked who kept screaming and one guy in the back got up and yelled “I am Spartacus.” And another actor responded ”No I’m Spartacus,” and then another actor stood up and said the same thing. Kubrick, who directed Spartacus, sent everyone home after that.
The panel ended with D’Onofrio and Quesada running out of time and quickly answering a fan’s question on whether or not Daredevil would return to Netflix. D’Onofrio responded that he would be the last to find out, but that he would come back in a heartbeat or even play another Marvel character if given the opportunity.