Alaqua Cox on Preparing for Marvel Stardom
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye star Alaqua Cox opened up about auditioning for the role of Maya Lopez, getting the news that she would be joining the Marvel universe, and preparing for Marvel stardom.
Marvel Studios casting head Sarah Finn told THR that it was important to the studio to find an actor who was authentic to the part, so they searched far and wide for the role.
“Alaqua is one of a kind, absolutely,” said Finn. “She went through a large audition process. We were all rooting for her, from the beginning.”
For Cox’s audition, Hawkeye head writer Jonathan Igla wrote scenes for Cox to read, and director Rhys Thomas helped her prepare for the part of Maya throughout the process believing in the young talent’s potential.
After auditioning for a few months, Cox received an urgent text from a Marvel casting agent telling her to log on to a Zoom call immediately. “I see about 12 people, including the Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, doing the deaf clap where you wave both your hands,” recalled Cox. “I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ and they said, ‘Welcome to the Marvel family!’ ”
According to the THR article, being cast in a high profile Marvel role was a surprising turn of events for Cox, who grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin and whose only prior acting experience consisted of a background part in a high school play.
“Hawkeye is my first experience of acting. Now I’m going to get my own show in the MCU? It’s wild,” said Cox, whose character is the deaf villain-turned-hero Echo in the comics. Echo was officially announced on November 12th, 2021.
In Hawkeye, Cox is working alongside Academy Award-nominated actors like Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), who she told THR have been incredibly helpful and kind on set.
“They knew I was overwhelmed being on set for the first time and provided me a lot of support,” Cox said.
Cox is part of a long overdue wave of deaf representation in Hollywood, along with fellow Marvel title Eternals, which features Lauren Ridloff as the deaf superhero Makkari. According to THR, while making Hawkeye, Cox met Ridloff, whose husband, Douglas Ridloff, was an American Sign Language consultant on both Eternals and Hawkeye.
Lauren with Alaqua Cox (Maya Lopez/Echo in Hawkeye) recently! pic.twitter.com/AMgDzM7OuT
— daily lauren ridloff (@bestofridloff) April 25, 2021
“I believe kids deserve to see inclusivity and accurate representation,” said Cox. “It will make kids with all types of cultures and disabilities feel like our dreams can break free from limitations.”