Why I Play Danny Rand

 

In my heart, Iron Fist speaks to me.

Iron Fist became my favorite character when I first read the Heroes For Hire Series by John Ostrander and Pascual Ferry

Iron Fist was clearly a leader, but not by being a bully, or the fact he was perfect. In fact, he was far from perfect.

He was too kind.

He was inexperienced.

He was forgiving, given circumstances that would make most men lose their patience, but it was his capacity for forgiveness that made him transcend other characters.

He was able to create rights from the wrongs given him, and he worked through problems rather than falling apart at them.

He was also a bad ass.

He took guys apart like he was Jet Le or the equivalent of Jackie Chan.

He went toe to toe with guys shooting lasers from their hands and eyes and he bested them.

He never gave up. And he was a good friend. No, he was a great friend.

He made promises, and he kept them given the shittiest circumstances and at the loss of money, dignity and pride.

He always did the right thing, and he kept his word.

He was what I hoped I could be.

He was Daniel Rand-Kai, and he was what I dreamed of being.

Sometimes, it takes years for a character to hit his mark. If you look at the Marvel Universe you'll see there are some characters that have always been great, and will continue to be great. The Marvel Universe is also filled with other types of Characters --those forgotten characters that fit a trend at the time and then are abandoned or are too numerous to mention or find space for.

Iron Fist endured

He hung to the sidelines for so long, and remained through much of Marvel history.

Only few writers have breathed life into him.

He endured, despite the cheesy costume, despite the obvious sensitive male persona, despite the yellow ballet slippers, and despite a muddled background and continuity that would change given each writer's prerogative.

Iron Fist has held on, perhaps, because of the way he is designed.

He has the profile of Steve McQueen, the skill of Bruce Lee, the detective capabilities of Philip Marlow, and the sensitivity of any new age thinker. Daniel Rand-Kai is part of two worlds, yet at home in neither.

Perhaps he represents what we like to believe we could be if we were raised between the worlds of the East and the West--a man whom we could be if we could abandon our prejudices and embrace the world.

Even now, I think him of him, embracing the spirit of Shou-Lao, a hideous winged Serpent. The moment Iron Fist is born is when he embraces a huge and hideous winged Serpent. An ancient dragon who is both monsterous and awe inspiring, and although Danny defeats him, he also embraces him. He takes on his spirit and energy. Perhaps this is the ultimate acceptance of his Enemy and his future. His costume is drawn from the Image of Shou-Lao, and his spirit, forever linked with the energies of the creature he slayed and new life too.

I think of his best friend, an abrasive, lawed, man named Luke Cage, whose anger sometimes gets the best of him.

The love of his life, Misty Knight was a strong willed black woman. When most people would stick their bigoted noses up at the idea of their love, Daniel Rand-Kai was not prejudiced nor estranged.

He simply cared and loved her for the whole person she was.

His friends, the people he surrounded himself with were valiantly trained and good people, regardless of their race.

Danny Rand was something more. That's why I play him. I play him for the opportunity to be something more.

John Byrne and Chris Claremont created something great.

For me, Danny Rand is more than just the reflection of our Western eyes looking out on the East, or the East adopting a white man and making him their own.

He is more than two writers creating an Americanized Bruce Lee and more than Bruce Lee had he been born white.

He is what we all are capable of, given infinite patience, and the heart of a dragon--perhaps the heart of the world.

He lives a life that I wish I could live; to be able to live by deeds and emotions far above petty ones.

I play this character like there was no tomorrow, accepting his flaws as strengths, his goodness as the world's, and his word as as the word of all of Mankind's, in its most secret,harbored, and hidden heart.