Who’s excited for the next season of the Netflix series, Marvel’s Luke Cage? The first season gave viewers a distinctly unique vision of the Marvel universe unlike its sibling series. The pace was different, the tone was different, the look was different… Show creator Cheo Hodari Coker wanted you to know you were in Harlem and Luke Cage’s part of the story. Recently, Daley Review had the pleasure of interviewing one of the actors from that series, Justin Swain. Justin plays Detective Bailey, one of Misty Knight’s (Simone Missick) colleagues from the NYPD.
Getting To Know Justin
Daley Review: Hi Justin! Your bio says you were born in Stoneham, Mass, but grew up in New Hampshire. Does being from New England have anything to do with the number of cops/investigators you’ve played?
Justin Swain: Hi, Great talking to you guys today! That’s an interesting question, I’ve never been asked that before. I don’t think there is a direct correlation between the investigator roles and New England heritage. But I do think the New England accent is unique and I’ve been asked by people over the years if I was from the UK. I’ve actually played lots roles that are English and Irish characters and I think growing up in New England helps with the accent work that I’ve been able to do over the years.
Daley Review: How did you know you wanted to be an actor? Did it kind of emerge as you got older or have you known since you were a kid?
Justin Swain: I’ve been acting since I was kid. I was in my first play when I was six years old. So I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’d go to drama festivals and meet new people. Which was great because I grew up in a really small town. I think for me it was a way to connect to people and coming from such a small town I really cherished that. It was a way for me to meet new people and then play all kinds of characters. Then when it came time to pick a college, I remember my mom asking me if I wanted to go to school for acting or visual arts, because I grew up painting as well. I think that is when I made the choice. I said, “I want to go for acting.” That was it. But man, its a hard road and it takes a lot of work.
Digging In To Detective Bailey
Daley Review: Let’s chat about Bailey. At the beginning of season 1, Bailey is mostly recording evidence and looking at shell casings at crime scenes. By then end, he’s pretty much right by Misty’s side. Does Bailey get a promotion in the second season of Luke Cage?
Justin Swain: Well, a lot has changed in the world of Marvel’s Luke Cage between the first and second season. Everything that happened in The Defenders to Misty has an effect on the precinct in Harlem. People have been shifted around and while I can’t speak to specifics util the series comes out, I think it’s safe to say different characters have found themselves with different degrees of power and how they deal with the new power, is their struggle for the season.
Daley Review: What do the writers share about Bailey’s origins?
Justin Swain: First of all the writers on the show are amazing. And the scripts for season 2 were incredible. The table reads were really fun and you could tell season 2 is going to be a wild ride. So look out! I never had a “this is where Bailey came from” conversation in season one. They just kept giving me fun things to work with and I accepted it with open arms. The writing is really a gift, it makes my job playing Bailey easy.
Daley Review: Does Bailey originate in the comics? If so, how do they inform the character we see on TV?
Justin Swain: You have to search pretty deep into the comics themselves to find a Bailey character. There is one that exists in the X-Men comics. So I think it’s safe to say my Detective Mark Bailey character is born straight out of Marvel’s Luke Cage on the Netflix shows.
Daley Review: Or do you have to work that out for yourself? If so, how do you see Bailey’s backstory?
Justin Swain: I see Bailey as a very rational guy caught up in a world of people with special abilities. No matter how insane the circumstances, he always brings it back to the evidence at hand and works to a result that is unbiased. That could be why Misty connected with him in Season One.
Daley Review: What do we have to look forward to with Bailey?
Justin Swain: Bailey finds himself in a pretty interesting situation straight out of the gate at the beginning of season two. I think you can look forward to watching him negotiate some awkward situations and play off some amazing new characters and additions to the cast. Of course Simone Missick as Misty, was amazing to work with again. Also people like Antonique Smith joined us, who is incredible. The new villains on the show this year are intense. I mean, just in that new trailer, get ready, cause things real!
Daley Review: With Misty becoming semi-super-powered in the Defenders, her character must go through some serious changes this season. How does Bailey deal with the changes taking place in his colleague? Are they friends?
Justin Swain: There are a lot of changes a the beginning of season two and I think for the audience is going to be watching these characters they thought they knew navigate this new world. Things have changed, you can see it in the trailer. People know who Luke is now. We all have to deal with a New York City that has people with special abilities. I mean, as a detective, how do you do that? When you look at crime scene there are a thousand new sets of variables you have to consider. I think it’s an amazing world to get to be a part of. And again, it’s a testament to the writers and the show’s creator Cheo Hoadri Coker, that they are able to intertwine these heroes with a world that remains grounded and gritty and infused with such soul all at the same time.
Daley Review: Can Bailey crossover into the other Marvel shows? Or is he pretty much Harlem-based?
Justin Swain: I would love to see Bailey show up in the other Marvel shows. I think fans love those little connective threads. So yeah, I’d never rule anything like that out.
Daley Review: You’ve done work on network TV, major feature films, and major cable/streaming networks. Can you describe what’s different about those kinds of gigs?
Justin Swain: Well, this last year I was able to work with Steven Spielberg on the movie The Post. That was a unique experience. I spent a about a day with him and it was really cool because he is so creative but very specific about what he wants at the same time. So I think the gigs aren’t really about whether or not they are film or TV but more about the actual people you get to work with. I mean, the talent on Luke Cage is incredible. Actors like Mike Colter, Theo Rossi, I already mentioned Simone and I mean, Alfre Woodard. Working with people like that is a blessing. Not to mention the fantastic directors as well. So I think each project is about the people. And the people I’ve gotten to work with have been great.
Daley Review: If you had to pick one kind of job for the rest of your career, which would you pick?
Justin Swain: These long running episodic shows, I think, are heaven for actors. You get to take your time and really explore a world and a character for a long time. So I’d say I’d love to continue to find a home working regularly on episodic shows and maybe help on the writing side of things as well some day.
We’d like to thank Justin for taking the time to chat with us and be sure to check out the second season of Luke Cage when it premieres on Netflix on June 22!
Check out The Daleys on their own website: www.DaleyReview.com.
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