Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Hawkeye's Fra Fee Discusses Kazi's Motivation, His Accent Work, And The Show's MCU Impact - Exclusive Interview

When Fra Fee isn't commanding the Tracksuit Mafia on "Hawkeye," fans can probably find him starring in the latest movie musical blockbuster. While MCU fans know him best as the "Hawkeye" villain Kazi, he made a splash during the pandemic for roles like Hench in Amazon Prime Video's "Cinderella" and Geoffrey Phibbs in "The Laureate." Fee also starred in films like "Animals," "Boys From County Hell," and Pixie. Of course, Fee scored his first role in 2012 as Courfeyrac in "Les Misérables." 

However, Fee easily pivoted from his musical background to the action-heavy role of Kazi, crafting a compelling villain who packs more than a few punches. But if Marvel ever decides to make "Rogers: The Musical" a reality, they've got the perfect guy to take on a role.

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Fra Fee opened up about the nuances of his character, what it was like working with Jeremy Renner and Alaqua Cox, and which "Rogers: The Musical" character he's dying to play. Fee also teased what sounds like a pretty epic "Hawkeye" season finale. 

The importance of representation

I'm really loving all of the deaf representation in "Hawkeye" and the MCU as a whole. Did you learn to sign for the show, or did you know beforehand? And what was that process like during some of the more action-heavy scenes?

I regretfully did not know any sign language before. Initially, I was scared when I realized that that was such a big requirement of the role. I was just worried that I would get to Atlanta, where we were shooting, and I would have this massive scene with ASL two days after. But thankfully, we had lots of time to rehearse, which I was very pleased about because I wanted to get it to a level of proficiency that would do Kazi justice — as someone who's learned to sign since he was a kid. 

But the other thing that was wonderful about that, [is] it meant that myself and Alaqua got to spend so much time together rehearsing and hopefully get a sense of history and chemistry that translates on screen. I think it does. I hope it does. And be there for each other in the scenes, be able to make mistakes and not worry about it and pick each other up and look out for one another. That was a real blessing.

Hanging out with Jeremy Renner and Alaqua Cox

You have a bit of a showdown with Hawkeye in Episode 3. Was it at all daunting, duking it up with Jeremy Renner in the show, and have you learned anything from working with him or any of your other co-stars?

It was daunting. Yeah. Big time. I loved Endgame so much, and the scene where Clint's family disappears, his performance in that one, I just thought was so, so heartbreaking. What Jeremy does so brilliantly is the human stuff, the real stuff. He's not a superhuman, he's a real human, and his values of family are so inherent in him. But Jeremy was great. I think he manages to do so much with so little, which is such a wonderful skill as an actor. So yeah, I enjoyed that day in the car. We had a laugh.

You're Maya's right hand man in the show. What has it been like working with Alaqua Cox, and can you think of any funny behind the scene moments with her and the rest of the cast?

It's been a dream working with Alaqua. It really, really has. She's such a beautiful, beautiful young woman, and this is such an important piece of representation. And she is going to inspire so many people in this role, and to be a small part of her journey is something that I'll eternally be grateful for. And yeah, we had a lot of fun together. I'm sort of worried that I said too much, revealed too much about the antics of the TSM [Tracksuit Mafia] because yeah, those lads are, they are fun. We had a really good laugh. It was great.

Tinkering with the Irish accent

You're originally from Ireland. What was the accent work process like in "Hawkeye," and is that something you had ready to go, or did you have to fine-tune it for the show?

Well, initially we explored using a sort of closer Polish accent because Kazi is from Poland originally, but we figured that he moves to the States at such a young age. And we had the wonderful Piotr [Adamczyk], who plays Tomas in the TSM, he's from Warsaw. [The] first thing that he said was, "There's no way that Kazi would still have the accent since moving to the States at such a young age." So we were like, "Okay. Let's settle on the New York accent or the American accent." Yeah, it's not my own.

It can be really fun to perform in different accents because then you really don't feel like yourself. And I love performing in my own accent as well, but it can help, certainly, for distancing yourself from that character and fully realizing somebody else. So yeah, I enjoy a challenge. It was good.

Fee's dream Rogers: The Musical role

You've done a significant amount of musical work in your career. How do big action shows like this one compare to projects like that? Do you have any interest in a real-life version of the Captain America musical from the first episode? Which Avenger would you like to play if you did take something like that on?

Okay. There [are] always similarities with everything that you do. I just think if you're telling a story, it really doesn't matter whether it's a play or a musical or a movie or whatever. It's literally just telling a story. So I always find it quite similar, and certainly, with something like this, there's a lot of choreo in the stunt work. And I had to treat the sign language, initially, just as movements that I coordinated, just like dance. By the way, I'm a terrible dancer [Laughs], so don't ever ask me to [dance]. I sing, but I'm really, really, very bad at dancing. But the Rogers musical, if they were to do an actual musical, I would play Captain America because he's the lead. Is that not the obvious answer? [Laughs.]

So, who is Kazi really?

We haven't gotten much in the way of Kazi's backstory. How would you categorize your character, and what's your favorite part of playing him?

How would I categorize? I think what you mean by that is, is he good or bad?

Motivations, that kind of thing.

What I love about how Marvel [has] treated these stories, [is] they've plucked them from the comic books and given them real humanity. And Kazi, whilst seemingly ... and his actions, he's a criminal, and he shoots people and seems okay with that.

There's a lot of hidden depth, and there's a lot of backstory as to how he found himself there and why he feels loyal to that world. It's all he's ever known is that organization. It's his family, and it would take a lot for him to betray that family. I don't think he knows if he could survive outside of it. And I've loved finding all of this out. I've loved exploring the backstory and figuring out exactly where his motivations are and how he's come to be the person that he is from that cute little kid in the karate class.

Is there an upcoming MCU project, either movie or TV show, that you'd love to reprise your role for?

[Jokingly] Yeah. I think it's called "Kazi."

The explosive season finale

How do you think the direction of the show will impact the rest of the MCU's Phase 4?

Hugely. I would say the finale of this show is just going to knock your socks off. It's extremely exciting. It has huge repercussions for the MCU and its story moving along. Yeah. It's really exciting. It's a big one. That's all I've got on that one. [Laughs.]

Is there something you didn't get to do in this series, either working with a specific actor or partaking in a specific scene, that you would've liked the chance to be a part of?

I'm such a huge fan of all of the actors involved. I actually got to hang out with Simon Callow, who is a real big hero of mine, and he's now become a very dear friend. We were shooting at the same time, but of course, we didn't do any scenes together. And I don't know if there's a magical world in which we see Kazi and Armand meet and have some fine wine in the New York restaurant together. Maybe that's happened before, but that would be cool.

[Jokingly] "Kazi" Season 1, Episode 1.

There you go. Don, get on it! [Laughs.]

New episodes of "Hawkeye" premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.