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We had to chance to sit down with Justice League star Ray Fisher aka Cyborg to talk comics, working with his costars, his solo film, The Justice League and his old team, The Teen Titans.
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Check out our interview after the jump.
The Knockturnal: How much of the comic did you know already before coming into the role?
Ray Fisher: Before coming into the role I didn’t know very much about Cyborg from the comics. I knew about him from the cartoon from back in the early 2000s, the original version of the Teen Titans cartoon show, yeah. And so once I actually booked the role, once I was approached about the role rather, I was able to do research and see who Cyborg was in the comic iteration and I was blown away. I was like, this is not anything that I expected. He’s grounded, he’s deep, he’s going through some real circumstances, right. And knowing Zack and his style from Man of Steel and the portrayal of superheroes with consequence, I was like, you know what, this is something I wanna dig into. You know, it’s gonna give me a place to go, not just with this film, but the future films as well.
The Knockturnal: What is it about Cyborg personally that you identify most with?
Ray Fisher: I identify on a personal level in the relationship that Cyborg has with his father. His father was there physically for them, for Cyborg, but he was never there for him emotionally, right. Papa Stone, yeah. And the thing is, for me growing up, my mother and my grandmother raised us and my father was never in the picture. So, I could identify with that to a certain degree. What was interesting to me is that Cyborg is one of the DC Superheroes who doesn’t completely lose both parents but he has a parent who’s around who just doesn’t connect with him in an emotional way, and I think being able to explore what that is, is super important, because relationships are complicated, and I think he has one of the most complicated relationships I’ve ever seen of any superhero.
The Knockturnal: Yeah, with their parents.
Ray Fisher: Oh, absolutely. And then that complicated relationship with his parent ends up becoming a complicated relationship with himself, once he’s turned into Cyborg and then starts asking questions like, what does it mean to be a human being? Is it my skin color? Is it my body? Is it my mind? What is it that makes me, me? And so him having to juggle the idea of not being able to take off the suit, not being able to say, “Okay, well I wanna be Cyborg now, I’m gonna be Cyborg later,” I was like, that’s a very interesting thing to play ’cause he’s the only superhero that can’t take his suit off. He’s himself 24/7.
The Knockturnal: Yeah. This is true. I didn’t think about that.
Ray Fisher: So it ends up creating a very interesting psychology for the character. You know when he sees these other characters and you see, and they go, “Okay. Nice mission. Good to see you. Well, we’ll see you later,” and they take off the costumes, and take off the suits, and they go on living their life, he’s gotta figure out how to deal. He’s gotta figure out how to rebuild. I think his resilience is the thing that allows him to do that.
The Knockturnal: You’ve got Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Cavill. Was it at all intimidating working with some of your slightly more famous co-stars on such a big project?
Ray Fisher: You know what, no. I could say that wholeheartedly. Because by the time we got to it, I had had Zack, who gave me such a great description of what he was looking for in the character, and I had Chris Terrio who was working and writing the script here in New York while I was staying in this area. I was able to get so acclimated with the pages, I was able to get so acclimated with the character, by the time we actually hit the scene I was ready. I knew what it was going to be.
The Knockturnal: It’s go time.
Ray Fisher: Absolutely. Now, I mean, everybody was super welcoming as well. That was something that sort of takes away that sort of pressure. I think that’s something that trickles down from the top, trickles down from Zack and Debbie. Zack Snyder and Debbie Snyder, his wife and producing partner, that trickles down from them and informs how the entire production goes. It was some of the best, it was probably the best experience I could’ve had as a first go at this kind of thing.
The Knockturnal: Growing up who was your favorite superhero?
Ray Fisher: I was a Batman fanboy. I was Batman and Blade.
The Knockturnal: Blade, though, he doesn’t get enough credit.
Ray Fisher: He does not. If it’s only to talk about the first rated R superhero film and people talk about Deadpool being the first. No, Blade was the first and Blade was dope.
The Knockturnal: Yasss
Ray Fisher: Absolutely, but I think it was such a good film because you didn’t really … I enjoyed Blade before I even knew that he was an actual superhero. It wasn’t until he showed up in Spider-man: The Animated Series. I was like, “Oh, wait.”
The Knockturnal: What do you want to explore further in your solo film? What type of adventures do you wanna go explore?
Ray Fisher: I think making the film a little bit more of a more intimate story where we get to delve into who Cyborg is personally, I think would be a really smart way to go because Justice League is very much a team-up film. You get just enough of each character to get you excited to see where they go next and get you intrigued as to who they are. But I think Cyborg has a lot of growing to do with respect to rebuilding his relationship with his father. He’s got a lot of growing to do with respect to reintegrating himself into society in a much broader sense, and I would love to see him deal with those circumstances.
The Knockturnal: Cyborg is he’s one of the unique members of being also a former Teen Titan member as well. If there was a Teen Titan member you could bring into The League, who would it be?
Ray Fisher: I’d bring Raven. Yeah, cause I feel like her skillset is so different than anything else we have in the Justice League right now with what we’ve established so far. I think she’d be able add, to really round out the team using her magic. We’ve got Flash, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, but we don’t have anybody that uses magic.
The Knockturnal: Do you think his character was ahead of his time in terms of how connected we are digitally to the world, and whatnot?
Ray Fisher: Absolutely. I feel like when and I had the pleasure of meeting Marv Wolfman at the premier, who created Cyborg about three days ago in L.A. I feel like because where we were technologically in 1980, it seemed so far fetched, the idea of Cyborg, because we weren’t as dependent on technology as we are today. The fact is now, if you had anybody that had Cyborg’s powers, they could do whatever they wanted. He could crash the electrical grids. He could set off every nuclear device on the planet if he wanted to. He could literally erase all the information that’s ever existed. His powers extend beyond just Earth. He’s built of Mother Box technology, which is the most sophisticated technology in the universe. I’m not just talking about our understanding of it. His powers are gonna be ever evolving as this technology continues to evolve and adapt to the situations that he needs in order to fight. It’s exciting, man. Because, this is a character who, because we will continue to evolve technologically, this is a character who will never go out of style. He used to just be a guy who could, not just be a guy, but he used to be able to transform his arm into a cannon, he used to be able to jump high, even at that point they didn’t give him the power of flight. So, he used to be able to jump over buildings so here we are now in this place where he’s getting these A-list super hero powers, which there’s no discernible … he doesn’t have a specific Kryptonite, there’s no discernible weakness that he has. A lot of his struggle is internal, you know what I mean? Figuring out ways that he could have interesting villains and people that would challenge him in different ways, that they would be is important for us to be able to explore. It makes me excited about him.
The Knockturnal: Of his abilities, which one you would wanna take with you?
Ray Fisher: Oh yeah, for sure. You know what, I’d what would I want, I’d probably wanna fly. As long as I could stay warm while flying, ’cause as soon as you get up to a certain altitude, you’re freezing up there.
The Knockturnal: There has been a mentioning of a Flashpoint movie?
Ray Fisher: I’ve never heard about that, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
The Knockturnal: Have you read the Flashpoint comic?
Ray Fisher: I’ve read the comic, I’ve seen the animated rendition of it, and it looks good to me.
The Knockturnal: If there was a story to be told, if Flashpoint was hypothetically to come to film, what excites you most about that story?
Ray Fisher: It excites me is being able to find the differences in our film version versus the comic version, right, because for me, to take something that was so beautifully done as Flashpoint, and just do it cell by cell, shade by shade, beat by beat, exactly the same … I mean, the animated version of it was great. It’s like, what could you possibly do in a live action version that would even come close to top that? Finding the different spins as to what the character is, because in the Flashpoint version of him is so different, where we see Cyborg in the Flashpoint version, we don’t really delve into how the rest of his story has been reversed so I’d wanna delve a little bit more into that. It’s more surface, yeah, you see him as a government sort of, the poster boy for the government in this one, as opposed to being able to see how his backstory’s been reversed, so I’d really love to see the relationship with his father reversed, I’d love to see his origin sort of reversed in that way.
The Knockturnal: If you had to pick another member of the League not in the film, to be, who would it be, and why?
Ray Fisher: Another member who is not currently in the League, it would be either Hawkgirl, or Zatanna. I’ve liked Hawkgirl ever since the animated series about, of Justice League. And either that or Zatanna, ’cause Zatanna, very much like Raven, has that sort of magical skillset that we don’t have any sort of member of in our League just yet … Yeah, that, and obviously we need more female representation-
The Knockturnal: Obviously, this is an amazing action film, super duper effects, great fighting, but story-wise, what do you hope people take away from this film?
Ray Fisher: Well, story-wise, from Cyborg’s point of view, because there’s so many, there’s six different stories being told with respect to each of these characters, I think story-wise I hope they take away the idea that no matter what your circumstances are, no matter what your hardship is, there is light, and you can begin to make the steps to get past whatever it is that has befallen you. You look at Victor Stone, everything that’s happened to him, he by all accounts was a nice guy that didn’t deserve any of the terrible things that’s happened in his life, but who he truly is shines through at the end of the day, because he could’ve become a super villain. It’d have been easy for, and understandable for you to say, “You know what, if that would’ve happened to me, yeah I’d wanna take over the world.”
The Knockturnal: Right, you figure you’d be angry.
Ray Fisher: I mean, you’d be angry, you’d be resentful, which we get tastes of in this film, but he doesn’t. His true nature is able to shine through that and he’s able to rebuild. He’s able to do, to be inherently who he is, which is a member of a team, which is someone who, regardless of the circumstances, will do what he considers to be the right thing. And that’s one of the beautiful things that Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio have crafted is this idea that these characters will continue to have room to grow. There’s gonna continue to be … there’s gray area when it comes to where these characters are at psychologically, because if a character’s just doing good things all the time and it’s easy for them to do, quickly, to me at least, it becomes boring very quickly. I wanna see people making hard choices. I wanna see people making decisions and having to deal with the consequences of those decisions. So, and I think it’s important for kids to see that too, because we live in a very complicated time. It’s not, it’s no longer, we’re not in 1930 anymore, where we have this sort of poster boy idea about, Eat your vegetables, kids, and you can be like Superman.
The Knockturnal: Right and wrong. It’s blurry now.
Ray Fisher: It’s blurry. It’s blurry, and it always has been, it’s just now that we’re in this place where we’re able to connect with one another and see that no matter what lifestyle you’re living there is gray area, it’s not binary, it’s not right or wrong, black or white, it’s all been gray. I feel like our superheroes need to reflect that … ’cause these are the stories that kids are gonna be looking to when they have a complicated situation in their life that didn’t, that they’re trying to find some sort of answer to, and for them to see that their superheroes are struggling with the same thing makes it seem like it’s okay to not know what the answer was. It’s okay to try to figure that out. And eventually you will. Hopefully you will, and hopefully it’ll be something that is for the positive, but it’s okay not to feel like a superhero all the time, because these are people at the end of the day, and the minute they stop being people and stop being relatable, I mean that’s when you lose what actually makes these superheroes special.
The Knockturnal: Titans. We have Hawk and Dove, we have Nightwing, we have your favorite Raven, Starfire, and Beast Boy, would you be open to making a cameo on that show?
Ray Fisher: It would depend. It would depend, I think it depends on whether or not my interpretation of Cyborg fits in that universe. I’m not sure, I’m not really privy to information outside of what’s going on in our movie universe.
The Knockturnal: Zack Snyder, who we love and adore and we owe so much for kicking down the door for this universe for us, what was it like working with him, and what did you learn from him?
Ray Fisher: Well, the first thing I can say that I learned from him, well it was great working with him, period. To work with somebody who’s as passionate as he is, and is as big of a fan of the comics as he is, it was inspiring above all else because you talk to him and you feel like, it feels like we’re having the kind of conversation we’re having right now. Two fans of the material. It just so happens that we just are making a multi-million dollar movie.
The Knockurnal: Everything’s on the line, it’s no big deal.
Ray Fisher: Absolutely. And the fact that he’s able to take these characters and lift them off the page in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen in a very long time in respect to the film and the comic iterations, to me it was brave, it was very brave …
The Knockturnal: What did you learn from him?
Ray Fisher: I learned that you can make these kinds of films, you can do what you’re passionate about, do it with as much joy as you want, and still be kind to people, and still do it with integrity and with your artistic integrity. Love him or hate him, it’s one of those things where … the man comes to work every day, and he does what he loves and he’s doing it with people that he loves and you cannot beat that.
The Knockturnal: So now, you will forever be the Cyborg, you’ll be him in forever. What kind of role do you see yourself doing in the future, or what do you wanna do? Do you wanna do comedy, do you wanna do drama?
Ray Fisher: You know, I’m trying to figure it out right now. I think I’ve put myself up to the task of doing one film of every genre. So I wanna hit a horror film at some point, I wanna hit a mystery at some point, I wanna hit a, well, this could be classified as sci-fi, a sci-fi superhero. I’d love to just expand and do one of each if possible, if I’m blessed to do that over the course of my career.
The Knockturnal: Show that range.
Ray Fisher: Not just show the acting range, but just say, look, I did one of every one. But for me I also want to make sure that whatever I’m getting involved in is something I can put my whole heart into, put my whole, put my everything into. I don’t wanna just go ahead and do something because it’s a cash grab, or go do it because it’s just available, I wanna actually make sure I care about it, ’cause that’s when I get the best work, and that’s when I can go out and talk about it as passionately as I’m talking about this with you now is because I actually care about what I’m doing … It’s tough because some people do end up taking jobs just because of the visibility or because of the money. This was just a perfect blend of all of those things, and it just happened to be things that I was passionate about from the beginning so I’m winning, man. I feel like I’m winning.
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