Of all the things that Netflix's quasi-MCU TV shows gave to audiences during its existence, I think Jon Bernthal's take on The Punisher is my favorite. But I'd bet that a large swath of the fandom would place Vincent D'Onofrio's performance as the more classy (but no less savage) Wilson "Kingpin" Fisk at the top of their lists. D'Onofrio commanded most scenes he was in throughout Daredevil's three-season run, from the most brutal to the most bashful, and he recently looked back at what drew him into the superhero drama.
While some actors might not want to see their characters get mixed up in murder scenes that wouldn't be out of place in horror movies, Vincent D'Onofrio was gung-ho when he realized Daredevil was sincerely pushing the limit in terms of Marvel's mature content. As he put it to ComicBook.com, the scene that truly convinced him he was joining the right show was the car-door decapitation. In D'Onofrio's words:
My first reaction was, 'Okay, this is the show I thought it was gonna be. We really are gonna go for it.' And I checked with everybody to make sure that I wasn't gonna show up and then they were gonna like soften it up. And everybody's like, 'Hell no, this is it. We're going all the way.'
For those who need a quick refresher, Vincent D'Onofrio is referring to the scene in Daredevil Season 1, Episode 4, when Wilson Fisk murders the shit out of Gideon Emery's Anatoly Ranskahov. The former Russian Mafia leader showed fatal indiscretion by loudly interrupting Fisk's dinner date with Vanessa to accept a previously discussed deal, and later that night, Fisk repeatedly slammed a car door on Anatoly's head and neck to the point where it decapitated him. To be sure, the scene wasn't nearly as bloody as it could have been, and made much of its impact with sound effects and the strain in D'Onofrio's performance, but it was still a major step up for Marvel finding its darker side.
You have to give Vincent D'Onofrio credit, too. As impressed as he was with seeing the scene in question written out in the script, the actor wanted to make damned sure that the words weren't going to be a far cry from what the episode was actually going to look like when filming started. For all he knew, someone involved could have been capable of getting cold feet, leading to that scene getting edited down to something much less severe. After all, for as violent as the CGI brawls got in early MCU movies, there was nothing on par with Daredevil's first season as far as bloodshed goes.
In the end, Vincent D'Onofrio didn't have anything to worry about. I mean, unless he was worried about being able to star in the majority of Season 2, which didn't happen. But as far as gritty violence goes, Daredevil largely held up its end of that bargain. Here's what else the actor said about that scene tapping into what he hoped Wilson Fisk was all about.
That made me feel really confident 'cause that kind of matched my approach to the character in a kind of real kind of emotional way. That scene to me, even though it's this horrific event and I wouldn't wish it on anybody, it matches the horror inside Fisk, his emotional life, so it was well-suited for this character. I thought it was amazing and well-acted by everybody in the scene and the stunts guys are amazing. I mean, I reacted that my reaction was, 'Oh, this is good. This is what really what I thought that it was gonna be. It made me maybe happy, actually.'
Though Daredevil ended its run back in 2018 before that brutal cancellation, that hasn't stopped tons of fans from petitioning to get the characters back up and at 'em either on a new TV show or with a film. In fact, Vincent D'Onofrio himself is one of the stars who has been regularly fighting for the show to get a future in some way, shape or form. Here's hoping Kevin Feige & Co. figure out a way to make that happen without having to recast everyone.