Mike Colter Talks His “Luke Cage” Role

The other month came word that “The Good Wife” recurring guest star Mike Colter had won the role of Luke Cage in the forthcoming Netflix series based on the Marvel Comics title.

Speaking to IGN this week about the release of “Halo: Nightfall” on DVD and Blu-ray, the actor says the “Luke Cage” series is targeting adults and offers something quite different to the big screen Marvel films. He’s also keen to get to work on it:

“I’m excited about playing the character because I’ve read the comic books. They’re very detailed, gritty; the world they’ve written in the comic books is very clear. Marvel does a fantastic job about bringing human stories – because you’re telling big stories with a heart at the centre of it – and that’s what connects all of the characters to our audience members. Audience members have to feel connected with these characters, to make them relate to the character’s situations and that’s what you see with all of the Marvel characters.”

Filming has yet to begin on the show, though Colter is expected to first play the character in numerous episodes of “Marvel’s AKA Jessica Jones” which is currently filming. Talking about how he and the writers are approaching the character, he says:

“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.

I’m really with where they’re taking it and how they’re developing the characters, because it’s really cool and it’s geared towards an adult audience, which is something that will be different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe you’ve seen before on the big screen. We have a more gritty, focused story on our heroes and characters that live in New York City.”

Back when he debuted in the 1970s, the character of Luke Cage was one of the first African-American title characters in an arena dominated by white superheroes. Colter admits that the racial angle doesn’t play a big part of the upcoming series:

The approach with the character for me is more about the human qualities and the things that make Luke Cage tick. I’m one of those people who is colour 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.”

The first of the four Marvel Netflix series in the works, “Daredevil,” is set to debut on the streaming service on April 10th.