Exclusive: Peacemaker star Chukwudi Iwuji talks show’s success, Guardians future

Chukwudi Iwuji in Peacemaker Season 1, Episode 5. Photograph by Katie Yu/HBO Max.
Chukwudi Iwuji in Peacemaker Season 1, Episode 5. Photograph by Katie Yu/HBO Max. /

Chukwudi Iwuji catches up with Hidden Remote to talk his critically-acclaimed role as Clemson Murn on HBO Max’s Peacemaker and being cast for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

With The Suicide Squad receiving critical acclaim over the summer, DC fans anxiously awaited the release of Peacemaker on HBO Max with John Cena reprising his role as the titular character. Less than a month in and it’s already delivered in spades.

Cena’s Christopher Smith is joined by a whole cast of colorful characters, including Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn. The classically-trained actor largely did onstage work in the first several years of his career before making the jump to the silver screen with films such as Barry and John Wick: Chapter 2 starting in 2016.

He’s also made many appearances in various television shows and has had a recurring role as Alexander Hale on BBC One’s The Split since 2018.

Chukwudi Iwuji on being part of Peacemaker

Iwuji has proven to be the perfect fit for Clemson Murn on Peacemaker, constantly playing the straight man to everyone else on the show. He’s admitted to cracking up countless times during the filming process and enjoying every second of it.

Peacemaker has been, without a doubt, the most notable thing he’s done in his decorated career to date. He’s received rave reviews for his role as Murn and the many twists and turns his character has taken in the last seven episodes.

PEACEMAKER. Economos (Steve Agee), Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), Adebayo (Danielle Brooks), Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), Peacemaker (John Cena). Photograph by Katie Yu/HBO Max. /

When asked about when he felt the most satisfaction from his work on Peacemaker, whether it was while in the thick of it or afterward seeing the feedback from fans, he revealed that it was actually when he first found out he got the gig.

"“Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been doing this for around 20 years now and a lot of my work has been theater and being very blessed in that sense,” Iwuji told Hidden Remote. “Suddenly, I come to this last three years and I have to remind people that it hasn’t been three years [I’ve been doing this], it’s been 23 years in that sense. The best point for me as an actor for any gig is when you hear you’ve got the gig because that’s when you know you’ve won the race. The rest is having fun and coming to work and enjoying it.”"

He went on to explain that he has a history of not reading reviews and that he’ll never be fully satisfied with what’s written about him, so he stays away from that type of feedback from fans and critics all together.

"“I like to know what’s going on and that people are being positive about it, that’s all I need to know. Because a good review is never good enough and with a bad review, you’ll remember the wording of it specifically for the next 20 years. For me, the best part was getting that call saying, ‘You’ve got it,’ and the rest is having fun and feeling very lucky that this is what I get to do as a living.”"

Chukwudi Iwuji to play the lead villain in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

By this point, it’s been well-documented among DC and Marvel fans that Iwuji has already been confirmed to be cast as the lead villain in 2023’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, also directed by James Gunn.

As Iwuji has said elsewhere, it was while they were filming the iconic opening dance intro to Peacemaker that Gunn approached him about being in the upcoming installment of the Guardians franchise. His unconfirmed character is rumored to be a big one that die-hard comic fans are bound to be happy with.

That was early on in the filming process for Peacemaker, yet Iwuji didn’t let that added pressure affect his performance at all. If anything, he could rest easy knowing Gunn was confident in his abilities and that he had already won him over.

"“It was definitely like, ‘Don’t go and try to do anything else,'” he said. “It’s like in the days of dating when the date’s going well and you think it’s going well and you start talking and you can hear yourself over-talking and you’re telling yourself, ‘Stop talking, you’re good.’ I didn’t want that to be the case with this. It was more of going back and doing more of the same.”"

He related the experience to a musical piece that can be played over and over again to the point where it becomes second nature. He put his full focus into playing Murn for Peacemaker before Guardians ever entered his mind.

"“My whole process is like a piece of music: you learn the notes and you can play that piece after a certain time, but there are pieces that I’ve been playing over and over again for 20 years,” Iwuji said. “It’s not about how you play but rather about going deeper into how you play it and whatever. I just did with the role what I try to do always and thought to myself, ‘Okay, Guardians is not for another [number of months], my focus is Murn and I have this journey to do with Murn, so I’m going to try and keep doing it.’“I didn’t allow any pressure to come on me,” he continued. “The sort of craziness was when I finished that and the conversations started about being in Guardians and my team started going crazy, that was when it dawned on me as to what a massive big deal it was.”"

Peacemaker is streaming now on HBO Max.

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