We all know what Steven DeKnight was up to during the months leading up to the premiere of Daredevil, but what has the showrunner been doing since?
He confirmed that he would not return for season 2 of Daredevil last year, so what has kept him away from the man with no fear?
“A lot of things,” said Steven DeKnight in our exclusive interview with him.
Though he made his bearings as a writer of episodic stories, his eye is starting to focus on something a little more cinematic.
“I have a couple of feature projects that I’ve signed on for, but unfortunately I’m in a cone of silence. I’m not allowed to say anything about those projects. I’m not allowed to say anything about anything.”
Suspending the suspense
Among those feature projects is a passion project written by DeKnight himself. Although he couldn’t spill any specific details about it, he was able to give us an exclusive hint of what to expect.
“I can say nothing except that it’s a psychological thriller-ish kind of movie,” said DeKnight. “It’s definitely not an action movie, definitely more in the old Hitchcockian style of suspense, and shockingly PG-13, because I really wanted to try to write something in the PG-13 realm as an exercise just to see if I could do it, and I really enjoyed the restraint.”
Film is a dazzling but flighty mistress, so while DeKnight waits for everything to come together for his film, he can exercise his freedom to revisit his first love.
“I will say that it’s strongly looking like I’ll make a return to television next year with a couple of different projects that are percolating,” said DeKnight. “I’m dying to talk about all of them because they’re really cool, but I’m in the cone of silence for another six months.”
His on-screen debut
While his official projects all look to be on the horizon, die-hard DeKnight fans can look forward to his on-screen debut in Travel Boobs, an upcoming web series about three girls on the road and on the run.
“I was talking to Jaime Slater — executive producer, writer, and star — and she asked me if I wanted to pop in for the bar episode, and I immediately said, ‘Yes! I must grow a beard for this!’ So when you see the show and see my shaggy beard, I specifically grew this beard for that episode, which she immediately regretted because she hates it.
With a secret cameo that we won’t spoil here, DeKnight reveals that the shoot was an exciting and unique experience.
“I had a real blast that day,” said DeKnight. “I was on set all day. I came with Jaime in the morning. It’s a weird experience, after running shows, to be on set and not have anything to do.”
Luckily, DeKnight has already discussed popping up again in a more significant way if the first season gets off the ground.
“I’m very excited,” said DeKnight. “I feel like I’ve got the acting bug again.”
Slater, the show’s leading lady and lead writer, got the opportunity to learn the art of showrunning from Steven, her fiancé, who in turn got his skills from one of the best in the business, Joss Whedon.
“I always consider working on Buffy to be my post-doc degree,” said DeKnight, who worked alongside Whedon for couple of seasons in the show’s latter half.
“One of the most fantastic things about working with Joss is that he really wanted to train showrunners. He wanted you to learn every aspect of what it took to put together a show. So not only were we writing scripts, we were always on set, we were always editing and casting, we had visual effects meetings, everything. It’s a thousand questions a day you have to answer just to keep the train on the tracks. He really wanted you to learn how to make your own show, which a lot of time you don’t get.”
According to DeKnight, Slater is already flexing her muscles as creative force in the showrunning world.
“She has a real showrunner vision. She knows exactly what she wants, and she really just cranks it out. She would pitch me ideas all the time, and they were all hysterical.”
DeKnight was fortunate enough to see the idea evolve from the very beginning. The first season was written and rewritten by Slater, co-director Lydelle Jackson, and writer James Bean over the course of a year, but Steven remembers the first time that Jaime came to him with the idea.
“I believe it was after her own slightly hellacious road trip to a wedding with some of her friends,” said DeKnight.
“She started telling me about her idea: a show revolving around three female friends, but not about their relationships. Just about the odd troubles they get into, very much in an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia kind of way, just bawdy and irreverent,” recalls DeKnight. “I told her it was a great idea!”
Travel Boobs is still seeking funding to produce season 1, and DeKnight has even offered official signed memorabilia from Daredevil and Spartacus to those who donate.
As for DeKnight, dipping his toe into film may be the best way for him to forge a path into the film-history books. The only question is if he’ll go more toward the quiet, indie route, or the big blockbuster route.
One thing’s for sure. He certainly didn’t disappoint when we asked what he would do if he could do anything.
“Batman versus Superman,” answered DeKnight. “But I heard they have that under control.”
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