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It used to be that when an actress was cast in a superhero TV show or movie, their job was to be that ever-so-cliched damsel in distress, just waiting to be saved. Well, the mood has shifted, and now these properties are full of women who are tough as nails and ready for a fight.
One of the highlights of this movement has been Jessica Henwick, who plays the role of Colleen Wing in Netlfix’s Marvel shows, starring in both Iron Fist and The Defenders. We caught up with Henwick recently to talk about how she trained for the show, what Defender she’d love to get a drink with, and her affinity for cursing.
M&F: You reprised your role as Colleen Wing in season two of Iron Fist. How did you prepare?
HENWICK: About three to four months out I started training five days a week in England. I was doing hapkido in addition to my general training—weights, cardio, and a little bit of Kung Fu. So, I did all of that, and then when I got to America, I was told, “Your character is hanging up her katanas, so you’re not going to have to fight after this season.” I was like, “What the f@$&!” Oh my God, I swear too much.
What’s your favorite curse word?
I use “f@$&” the most, but my favorite swear is “apple dick.”
I made that one up. My younger brother and I call each other that all of the time. Also, “minge,” which means vagina, and “wanky”—those are pretty British, though. Is this going in print? My parents are going to be like, “What are you doing on these press tours?”
I think they’ll forgive you. OK, so what did you eat to get into fighting shape?
I ate clean and very protein-heavy. I drank protein shakes every day, and they taste like ass. There’s not a shake in the world that tastes good.
Did you work out on set when the shoot days were long?
Now, no, I’m too lazy. During season one, I did. I’d use my bodyweight, doing pushups and situps, that kind of stuff. I got big during season one, but then, of course, they came back and were like, “We want you leaner,” so they didn’t give me weights. But I got jacked. I wish that were on camera.
What’s your ideal date night?
I like ordering delivery and watching movies on a projector. I’m not a club person. I find them too noisy. I’m a real old woman when it comes to clubs. I’m like, “I can’t hear myself and my voice hurts!”
If you could play any Marvel character other than Wing, who would it be?
Silk. She’s the female Spider-Man. I think Sony is making that film now.
If you could have a drink with any of The Defenders, who would you choose?
Jessica Jones if I’m just in a mood and don’t want to talk. But if I wanted to have a good night out, I’d call Luke Cage.
Season 2 of Marvel’s Iron Fist is streaming now on Netflix.