GOTHAM MAGAZINE – After starring in HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, Finn Jones was cast in not one, but two Marvel-Netflix series, which both premiered on the hit streaming service this year. In Iron Fist and The Defenders, Jones plays Danny Rand/Iron Fist, a superhero skilled in martial arts and protecting New York City.
Here, he talks to us about his grueling filming schedule and his favorite spots to eat around the city.
Tell me a little more about what attracted you to the project.
Finn Jones: I think the first thing that got me excited about playing Danny Rand was that there are so many layers to Danny. On one side, he’s this very centered, spiritual, considerate, capable warrior. And on the other side he’s this hothead mess, very reckless, has a lot of trauma in his life, very naive. He’s in the middle of those two opposing forces and trying to find his way. And I love his optimism. I love the fact that at the center of it all, he is deeply compassionate, cares, and wants to do the right thing. But, because he’s young and reckless, he constantly finds himself messing up. And I love that struggle. It’s brilliant.
What kind of physical training did you have to do?
FJ: It’s kind of been an ongoing process. There’s been a lot of physical training. I was cast in March last year and then we started filming in April. So it was a very short amount of time before I had to be camera-ready. But, now that I’m not shooting and in the lead up to season two of Iron Fist, I may want to train in a more cohesive and economical way. Really, the training is just a part of my life now. It’s a lifestyle that I’ve had to pick up. Lots of yoga, tai chi, martial arts, and very little alcohol and burgers.
Did you do these things before getting cast?
FJ: I’ve always done yoga and I’ve always been into meditation, long before I got this role. Martial arts is definitely a new thing for me. But meditation, the spiritual side of things, that’s been with me for a long time.
Was there any moment during shooting that was particularly harrowing for you?
FJ: It was all pretty relentless, to be honest. You’d work 14 hours a day, five days a week. You’d go from days into nights, nights into days. On top of that you had to train, you had to learn choreography, it was a very physically demanding show. There’s something really rewarding about pushing yourself that hard and I think you get a really raw and different performance from working at that pace and intensity.
What was it like working with such a great cast?
FJ: It was awesome. We all had a very, very good dynamic from day one, both as actors and as characters. I think it really shows in the show; the chemistry between all of us is just fantastic. And that starts from us as actors.
You’re in the middle of Comic Con traveling.
FJ: They’re great spaces for fans to come and share their love and be themselves. It’s a place for people to come and be weird. It’s a really supportive and friendly space of no judgment. I really admire that there’s a space for that all around the world.
Did you see Iron Fists?
FJ: Yes. And I dressed up myself. I went around for a little bit. I love seeing the cosplays. There’s some really fantastic ones, really creative. There were a couple of kids this weekend that came dressed up as Iron Fist. That is probably the best feeling in the world, when you’re at these Comic Cons and you have a kid who’s maybe eight, and they’re just completed enraptured by the character. To be on the other side of that and give that energy back, it’s a really amazing thing. I think one of my most favorite things about being a superhero.
What’s the biggest difference between your Game of Thrones and Marvel fans?
FJ: You know what? They cross over. Usually the fans that come and meet me, they’re fans of both shows and they’re pretty indistinguishable. It’s not like one tribe for one and one tribe for the other.
Are you still watching Game of Thrones?
FJ: I actually haven’t had any time to catch up on it this season because I’ve been so busy. I think I’m going to wait until it’s all finished. I like to watch it at my own pace, but it’s very difficult to avoid spoilers, especially when your friends are in the show. You say, “Oh dude, are you going to be in the next season as well?” And they say no, and you say, “Oh, that must mean you’re dead.” I gave up on trying to avoid spoilers a long time ago. I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
You shot in the New York. What was it like to be living in the city?
FJ: It’s amazing. I still live here now. I actually moved here a year and a half ago and I love it so much. I live in Brooklyn, and we film in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and Jersey. It’s such a rich, diverse, amazing city to both film and live in. I feel blessed to be able to work on a show in this city. It’s incredible.
Favorite places to eat?
FJ: There are a lot of really good restaurants in Brooklyn. There’s actually this one place on Berry St. in Williamsburg called Juniper. It’s a little rundown, family-style restaurant. From the outside, it looks like a beat-up restaurant, but go inside and it has the best, best food. It’s super low key; bring-your-own-booze kind of vibe. Very authentic and very relaxed.
Are you taking a bit of a break right now?
FJ: Oh, there is no break. Straight off The Defenders I went on a world tour for Iron Fist. And I just completed that and now I’m on a press tour for The Defenders. And straight after that, I go into Iron Fist. I’m just on this train. Which is a fun train, but it’s a big lifestyle change. It’s fun, but it’s hard.