How Robert Downey Jr. & Hugh Jackman Inspired the MCU's Kingpin

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Marvel, Kingpin, D'Onofrio, Hugh Jackman, Robert Downey Jr

Villains are a big part of what makes superhero films work. As people say, the hero is only as strong as their antagonist. From Tom Hiddleston’s Loki to Josh Brolin’s Thanos and Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger—the MCU has plenty of iconic figures on that front. Recently, another big bad re-entered the spotlight, one who hadn’t been seen since his show’s cancelation in 2018: Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin.

Wilson Fisk showed up in Marvel Studios’ recent streaming series Hawkeye, where it was revealed that he was the big man behind the curtain. Leading the Tracksuit Mafia, the crime boss eventually crossed paths with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop. Fans were over the moon to see both the actor and character back on screen.

D’Onofrio’s performance has been heavily praised since he first debuted in Daredevil, and his dynamic with Charlie Cox is a part of some of the best superhero content out there. With such high regard, it’s easy to wonder: what exactly inspired the actor when it came to his role as the famous comic supervillain?

The Inspiration of Downey and Jackman

Kingpin, Marvel Studios

In an interview with Marvel News Desk!, Kingpin actor Vincent D’Onofrio opened up about he was inspired to play such a big comic book movie villain.

According to the actor, it was “Robert [Downey Jr.’s] performance” that made him think about being in a superhero movie for the first time:

“The only thing that was on my radar at that point when it comes to superhero stuff was Robert [Downey Jr.’s] performance in Iron Man, which I thought was extremely impressive. It made me think [about superhero films] for the first time…”

D’Onofrio recalls that he “was actually with Hugh Jackman” when the actor realized that he “could tear it up” playing one of those villains:

"I think I was actually with Hugh Jackman, [he] was over my house cause our kids went to the same school together. And we were sitting in my patio—I’ve never told this story before actually—and I said, ‘You know this superhero stuff is really turning out to be interesting,’ and he goes ,‘Yeah.’ And I’m like, ‘You know, I think I’m gonna, one day, I’m gonna get the chance to play one of those bad guys, and I think I could tear it up.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I think you could too.”

Vincent D’Onofrio’s Trustworthy Instinct

Obviously, given his character's general reception, the actor called it correctly. He’s gone on to be one of the most highly-rated villains of all time, even landing on some fans' top-ten and top-five lists.

The last time fans saw him, it appeared that Alaqua Cox’s Echo shot and killed him at the end of Hawkeye’s finale. As dire as that circumstance seemed, Marvel Studios isn’t going to bring back such a major character only to kill him after his first appearance.

But when will fans see him next? The most likely possibility is the upcoming Disney+ Echo, which is set to focus on Maya Lopez—seeing as her relationship with her uncle is a reasonably big deal, it would be a good bet Wilson Fisk will be the main component of the show.

Then there is a possible appearance in Tom Holland’s next film as Spider-Man. Fans have wanted the webhead to go up against Kingpin, but the chance has never been possible until now.

Either way, hopefully D’Onofrio returns sooner rather than later.

Spider-Man: No Way Home can be seen playing in theaters worldwide, and Hawkeye is streaming exclusively on Disney+.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.