Interview: Tom Pelphrey & David Wenham on ‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’, Meachum Family Dynamics & More


Before ‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’ comes smashing into our living rooms, join stars Tom Pelphrey and David Wenham as they offer up an inside look into the minds of Ward and Harold Meachum!

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If there is one thing that the first three Netflix Marvel dramas have taught us, it’s that every hero needs an equally intriguing villain. Daredevil had Wilson Fisk, Jessica Jones had Killjoy, Luke Cage had Cottonmouth, Black Mariah, Shades and Diamondback and Iron Fist has The Meachums.

For years, the Meachum family have served as a foil to Danny Rand and his alter ego Iron Fist. Now through Marvel’s Iron Fist, viewers will get the chance to see Ward, Harold and Joy Meachum in a new light as the Marvel and Netflix team work to put a new spin on the iconic characters but don’t expect the family to stray too far away from their disdain for young Danny Rand when he returns from the dead to reclaim his birthright as the head of his father’s corporation, Rand!

During NYCC, Hidden Remote caught up Marvel’s Iron Fist stars Tom Pelphrey and David Wenham to get to know a little more about their characters Ward and Harold Meachum, how the duo reacts to Danny’s sudden return and more!

Can you talk about your characters and how you got involved in the project?

Tom Pelphrey: Yeah, I play Ward Meachum. I got some sides that were sort of nondescript, and I didn’t even know what project they were attached to. Sent in a tape, went good. Then, went in to test for the part, at which point, I got to read the first two scripts for the show.

As I was sitting in some back closet on Marvel’s LA lot, after I had surrendered all of my personal belongings and signed away my life, in walked Jeph Loeb before I was about to read the script. I got to meet him and he told me about the story, and kind of pitched me the character. Very exciting. Then, you know, got the job, and here we are.

David Wenham: I was in Sweden, and it got a phone call from Jeph Loeb telling me about and asking me if I’d like to be involved in this particular project. It was about a half-hour conversation where Jeph basically talked about the world of Marvel, the Marvel Universe. Then, the story of Iron Fist, which I wasn’t familiar at the time.

His conversation for half an hour had me sort of floating in air in Sweden. He said, “would you like to be involved.” He couldn’t tell me exactly what my character did. He said, “But, trust me. You’ll have an amazing time.” Then I agreed. I flew from Sweden back to Australia, packed a bag, and then flew out to New York. Began an adventure, not even knowing what I was diving in to. The world of Marvel is more secret than Donald Trump’s tax returns. (laughs) It’s like, you just have to trust him.

[As for my character], I play Harold Meachum, Ward’s father. Harold was a business partner with Danny Rand’s father. They have a corporation called Rand. He’s a very wealthy, powerful individual. That was fun to play, because I’m not.

Photo Credit: Iron Fist/Netflix Image Acquired from Netflix Media Center

What can you say about their reaction when Danny comes back to New York. Is there much you can say about how your characters react?

Wenham: Well, I think the thing is more from Danny’s perspective. The fact that, obviously, things have changed in that period of time since Danny, however many years prior and the world is different. Things have changed, people have changed. The scene in New York and specifically the criminal elements of the city have changed. It’s probably through Danny’s eyes …It’s probably better to ask [Finn Jones], actually. It’s his character who has noticed the changes.

What can you say about Ward? Is he somebody from the comic books, and if he’s not, how are you portraying him?

Pelphrey: Well, Ward is a character in the comic books, but, you know I can’t say too much. I would say that we’re not necessarily beholden to representing him exactly as he appears in the comic book. It’s been a lot of fun. I have really dynamic material; a lot of good stuff to explore; good partners. Yeah, Scott Buck did a great job staffing the writers’ room, and getting us good scripts.

Photo Credit: Iron Fist/Netflix Image Acquired from Netflix Media Center

We’ve seen a lot of Marvel characters on film and now on TV. How much of a fan were you of the comic books, now as it’s been transcending on screen?

Pelphrey: Yeah, I still have, probably the first 30 issues of the X-Men reboot from the mid-90s, right? About then? Yeah, I loved comic books as a kid. I mean, I guess most kids do. It’s been impressive to see what Marvel’s done with Netflix. I remember when Daredevil first came out, and the buzz around that. Then, watching the show later when I got this job. It’s just impressive, you know.

It’s also nice to see that you can make a comic book-type show that isn’t necessarily just for kids. What Deadpool did with the movies, these Marvel/Netflix shows are doing for television. There are those of us who are older who appreciate that because there’re a lot of fans, obviously, that aren’t just the younger generations.

Photo Credit: Iron Fist/Netflix Image Acquired from Netflix Media Center

Now, in the comics, Harold Meachum plays a small role before he dies and Joy spends a lot of time trying to get revenge for her father’s death. Can you describe Harold’s relationship to his children now that we’re going to see a little bit more of that.

Wenham: I think it’s pretty clear that the narrative, and I can’t talk about the previous [Marvel series, has] some similarities from the comic book and other points are particularly new.

In terms of the family dynamic, I think it’s fine to say that the relationship between the three of them, Harold, Ward, and Joy, is complex to say the least. It’s multi-layered, it’s multi-dimensional. It’s surprising and it’s forever changing, depending on circumstances. It’s forever evolving. You know, it’s a strange relationship.

Next: Interview: ‘Iron Fist’ Stars Finn Jones & Jessica Stroup Tease Danny’s Unique Journey

This is the last of the four Marvel series that Netflix is introducing. What are you most excited for the fans to see as we get into this last chapter, setting up for The Defenders?

Wenham: I think the fact that there’s three so far. Iron Fist has an opportunity to just differentiate itself from the other three as well. Just to show a different facet from the other three stories. I suppose to surprise audiences as well. The combination of the martial arts, and the mystical element in this one sets it apart from the other three as well. Each one of them is slightly different and I think that’s what will probably interest fans. These things that sort of differentiates it from the others.

Pelphrey: Me, personally, the kung fu. I love kung fu movies and we have a kung fu TV show.

Did you get the chance to do any of your stunt work? 

Wenham: I did basically everything; I did most of my walking and talking myself. (laughs)

Marvel’s Iron Fist debuts Friday, March 17 only on Netflix!