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8 Things You Didn't Know About Filming 'Daredevil' in New York City

By Radhika Marya | April 14, 2016 8:04pm | Updated on April 15, 2016 9:45am
 "Daredevil" season two location manager Rafael Lima talked to DNAinfo New York about what filming the show in New York City entails.
'Daredevil' Behind the Scenes
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The second season of Marvel’s “Daredevil” recently launched on Netflix, and just like the first season, the new episodes were filmed in New York City.

The series, which focuses on its eponymous blind superhero (a.k.a. lawyer Matt Murdock), has shot scenes throughout the five boroughs, according to Rafael Lima, season two’s location manager.

Even though the show takes place in Hell’s Kitchen (or as they say on the show, "The Kitchen"), filming outside the neighborhood was necessary to match the “rough and crime-ridden” reputation it has in the Marvel comic books, Lima said.

“Most people know now that Hell’s Kitchen in 2016 has been sanitized… so we strove to find gritty New York City places that could with the right editing and lighting… speak to what Hell’s Kitchen used to be like,” Lima said.

In the second season, the show returned to familiar locations — such as Williamsburg’s Turkey’s Nest Tavern, which stands in as Josie’s Bar, as well as The Bronx County Clerks Office building — while also branching out to other spots. Lima estimated 75 or 80 days out of about 130 were spent filming on location.

Lima talked to DNAinfo New York about what filming “Daredevil” in the city entails:

1. Filming a show packed with fight scenes and stunts requires figuring out some atypical logistics.

Lima: “Everywhere that we went, the first question I would get from my stunt coordinator was, ‘What can we drill into, what can we attach to? … we’d absolutely need to ask questions I’m not used to asking, as most people are not super comfortable with large structural changes to their residence or place of business. But luckily we had a really experienced team with a lot of know-how.”

2. The house used as The Punisher/Frank Castle’s former home was in Bayside. The first time the crew shot there, the scene was relatively simple, but then things got a little explosive…

Lima: “I joked with the homeowner that, ‘Don’t worry, the next time when I call back we’ll probably want to blow it up,’ and he laughed and he said, ‘Sure, you know as long as you buy me a new house, I don’t care.’…. [About nine episodes later] he let us build all the technical things we needed to … practically have an explosion, a controlled explosion in his home. And we were able to restore it to where it needed to be ... when we were done with our filming.”

3. The location crew had a running joke about the rooftop count in each episode. There was usually a minimum of one, but there were many more sometimes. And there were some special considerations involved with those scenes:

Lima: “Every rooftop that we get … needs to be examined by a structural engineer ahead of time to make it safe and every time we get on a rooftop with a crew, you need to think about whether the elevator works or not, if there’s an elevator operator that we need to pay for or an elevator technician that needs to fix it if it breaks …. ultimately the biggest challenge is finding building landlords that are comfortable with letting 100 people on their roof to do stunt fighting and machine gun fire and ninjas leaping over buildings.”

4. A scene shot inside a brightly lit Indian restaurant was shot at Panna II, part of a cluster of similarly decorated restaurants on First Avenue in the East Village.

Lima: “Blessedly that is one of the few things that did not require interpretation... That scene came to us and it seemed clear to me that either the writer had eaten at this exact restaurant or had seen reference material because pretty much everybody on the production was like, ‘Oh, I know exactly where we’re going to go. ‘”

5. Because “Daredevil” is one of multiple Marvel series being developed for Netflix, locations on the show can’t be reused as different sets on the other shows.

Lima: “Everybody on Netflix can basically see, ‘Wait, hold on a minute, Jo’s Bar was in ‘Daredevil’ and now they’re calling it Sally’s Bar in [the upcoming] ‘Luke Cage’.’ So that’s a wrinkle that I’ve never really encountered before.”

READ MORE: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Filming 'Jessica Jones' in New York City

6. Toward the end of the second season, a scene that had Daredevil navigating through a series of tunnels was shot in two separate locations — an old fort battery in Queens’ Fort Totten Park and in Staten Island’s Bayley Seton Hospital.

Lima: “[The battery] is slowly decaying but still safe and accessible…. Almost a relic of a time gone by. And it worked perfectly though we needed to augment what’s there with some visual effects and then we connected those tunnels to a former boiler plant for that no longer functions but still exists in Staten Island, in a hospital.”

7. There were times where the “Daredevil” crew needed to make its gritty locations even grittier than they are in real life.

Lima: “[There was] a warehouse space that while not spotless, was not as gritty as it ended up in the final product. We needed to darken it up and dirty it up a bit to fit the vision of what was scripted.”

8. There was at least one occasion where passersby were confused by a crime scene created for the series.

Lima: “There was quite a large exterior sort of aftermath crime scene on the steps of the courthouse where we had helicopters filming from up above…. And people would approach as if it really was what we were simulating and with both concern and awe… since our camera was several hundred feet high up in the air, we needed to keep them away and most people like moths to a flame are attracted to such situations.”