Iron Fist’s Sacha Dhawan on playing Davos and keeping the secret

The Iron Fist actor talks playing Davos and attempting to learn to fight

Seeing as Iron Fist has now been out in the wild (on Netflix) for almost a week, we reckon is finally okay to talk about Davos. If you don’t want to know about Davos, look away now.

To mark the series’ release, we spoke to Davos actor Sacha Dhawan, whose role in the film was kept super secret until he finally appeared out of nowhere in episode nine, ‘The Mistress Of All Agonies‘, about playing Iron Fist’s friend-turned-foe and trying to keep it under wraps…

SciFiNow: How does your version of Davos differ from the one we know from the comics?

Sacha Dhawan: He’s more complex. In the Netflix series, he’s not an outright villain. He’s Danny’s best friend and brother. He trained with Danny in K’un Lun, but unfortunately Danny was chosen to fight Shou-Lao the dragon and went on to become Iron Fist. In the comics, it’s pretty clear that Davos was really upset about that. In the series, Davos is actually proud that Danny is the Iron Fist because he’s his best friend. What he’s upset about is the fact that Danny has abandoned K’un Lun and just gone to New York. Davos goes to New York to bring Danny home, really. His loyalty lies with K’un Lun.

It’s more interesting for me too in terms of him being Danny’s best friend and brother. There wasn’t any animosity or hatred there. But what you have in a very thin, underlying layer is the fact that Davos feels that he would make a better Iron Fist because he’s more loyal to K’un Lun. There’s also an underlying hint that maybe his father, Lei-Kung, who trained Davos and Danny, possibly favoured Danny more. There’s a really complex journey that Davos and Danny go on. It’s only really at the end of Season One where you go, wow, their relationship has changed forever.

Did you get to learn to fight?

Yes! Firstly, Marvel was looking for actors; they didn’t necessarily want people who just did fighting. There’s a hell of a lot of fighting in the show, but they wanted people to be able to play the drama of it as well. I think that’s what hooked people in, as well as being what sells the fights. In your audition, they do ask how your fighting skills are. I was like, ‘Oh, yeah! Yeah! Great, really, really good!’ And then I had to go to a separate room for my screen test with the stunt co-ordinator. There were all these stunt guys who were really fit and amazingly skilled, and they stood in a circle and said, ‘Okay, show us a roundhouse kick.’ I won’t lie, it was then that I went, ‘Oh my god, I’ve got two left feet! I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do this!’

Sacha Dhawan as Davos

How did you get involved with the show to start with?

I think what Marvel wanted to do, especially with Davos, was to think outside of the box a little bit. People were going to have their own ideas of what Davos is, and so they looked further afield for this character. The audition just came about, and the character was under a different name to keep it secret, but I could gather it was Davos. When I was auditioning for it, I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to get this. They’re not going to cast a British Indian from Manchester for this part!’ But as we were doing the audition process, they started stripping away all the connotations that you have for this character, you know, the American accent or trying to play the tough guy. They just got me to be me.

Has it been difficult keeping your role in the show a secret?

It has, actually, mainly because I’m so proud to be part of it. In terms of the whole casting element, I don’t think I’ve seen Marvel do something like this, and I really wanted to share that with people and celebrate it, and I’ve not been able to. Even from the moment I first bought the comics in London to do research, the people behind the counter, obviously comic book fans, were wondering why I was buying the whole collection and why I was asking so many questions! I just wanted to say, ‘I’m Davos! I’m going to be Davos!’ Even doing Wing Chun classes before I started filming and doing private lessons, they were intrigued as to why I wanted to do it and why I was so particular about learning certain fighting styles. Now, hopefully they’re going to see it and think, oh, that’s the guy! It makes sense! And my friends had also been wondering why I’d been in New York all these months!

It’s kind of like when they cast a new Doctor for Doctor Who and no one’s allowed to know anything!

Yeah! I’ve no idea why, but they’ve kept this particular character under wraps for ages. I went to the premiere [two days before the series was released on Netflix] and I had to slip through the back door anonymously! It was frustrating and exciting because I just wanted people to see the character!

Iron Fist is now available to stream on Netflix in all territories. Get all the latest superhero news with every issue of SciFiNow.