SDCC 2017: Sigourney Weaver & Elodie Yung Talk Playing “Villains” in The Defenders

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Sigourney Weaver Elodie Yung Defenders

When it comes to The Defenders, Marvel isn’t pulling any punches. When looking for a villain fearsome enough to bring the four heroes together, they cast iconic actress Sigourney Weaver as the mysterious Alexandra. They also brought back Elodie Yung as Elektra, Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) former love and now the weapon known as Black Sky. We sat down to talk with Weaver and Yung about their character’s intentions and the role New York City plays in the series.

The first thing to note is that Weaver doesn’t consider Alexandra a villain. “I (keep) referring to her as a heroine- which to me is like another word for woman character. But I think she does feel that in her own story she is a heroine because she doesn’t see things as black and white. She sees all the different colors and possibilities because she’s in business. And I don’t think business people, especially on her scale, care about these niceties of things.”

Alexandra is a completely new character created for The Defenders. Little is known about her, although if the new trailer released during Comic Con is any indication, she’s going to be a worthy opponent. Here she’s shown giving instructions to the formidable Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho).

New York State of Mind

Sigourney Weaver Defenders

Weaver has played a number of iconic characters throughout her career, most notably Ripley from the Alien franchise. However, she notes that there is something different about Alexandra. “I was very excited because often when they create an older woman you’re having to deal with the idea that they’re an ice queen… I just thought we all wanted her to be a very believable person in NY,” she says. The New York element of the character was key- especially since Weaver is a New Yorker herself.

“I feel like these stories, as a New Yorker, have portrayed the New York I have lived in. And they portray real New Yorkers and the sort of madness and wonderful diversity of our city, the aliveness of our city. I was thrilled to come in as such an interesting, compelling character, really unlike anything I’ve been asked to play. She’s so intelligent and so cool and practical and for whatever reason I’m not usually asked to play someone like that.”

Weaver also praises Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance as the Wilson Fisk in the Daredevil series siting his character’s grounded motivations as an inspiration. “I found it very touching, what he derived his drive from and a very complex and wonderful portrayal. I think these villains, if you call them that, are people. They’re very complex.”

Back From the Dead

Elodie Yung Defenders

Elektra is another complex character. In Daredevil she was killed only to be resurrected by the Hand as the weapon Black Sky. Therefore, the Elektra we see in The Defenders won’t be the same character we have come to know. Says Yung about her character, “It was really cool and interesting thing for me to have Elektra again, but a completely new character almost. Because she doesn’t remember anything. And so exploring kind of a new character was kind of exciting.”

It will be interesting seeing how Matt reacts to the woman he thought was dead come alive again. As Cox discussed, it’s sure to cause some conflict between him and his new teammates. And is there any of the old Elektra Matt knows left in there? “She’s such a free spirit you wouldn’t think she’d completely disappear,” teases Yung.

One thing is for certain: it’s amazing to have an actor of Weaver’s caliber added to the Marvel Universe. We look forward to seeing what tricks she has in store for our heroes.

The Defenders comes to Netflix August 18th at midnight PST.

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