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Fra Fee Discusses The Importance Of Deaf Representation And Working With Alaqua Cox - Exclusive

The Disney+ series "Hawkeye" may have many brilliant moments, but it's hard to argue that the show's deaf representation is the show's greatest strength. Fans have waited years to see Clint Barton embrace his deaf comics roots, and while he's not entirely deaf in the show, this new arc certainly honors Clint's comic book origins.

Even more, we meet Maya (Alaqua Cox): a deaf villain(ish) who rejects hearing aids and prefers to communicate only through sign language. So not only do we have deaf representation as a whole in "Hawkeye," but we have varied representation, which is a nice change of pace. Of course, that brings us to Kazi (Fra Fee), who stands in as her interpreter when she communicates with anyone who doesn't know how to sign.

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Fra Fee opened up about what it was like working with Alaqua Cox, what he thinks of the show's deaf representation, and his journey to learn sign language for the series.

The Kazi and Maya show

Out of everyone on "Hawkeye," Fra Fee had the most screen-time with Alaqua Cox, and he only had lovely things to say about the actress. "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," Fee said. "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." That seems to be the consensus with everyone who worked with Cox on the series.

He added, "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."

Hanging out with Alaqua Cox

Fee continued to discuss his sign language journey, saying, "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." Luckily for Fee, he had a good chunk of time to prepare for his ASL debut. He explained, "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."

With Kazi being Maya's interpreter, the actors had plenty of time together. "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," Fee noted. "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." Most fans would agree that the chemistry between Kazi and Maya is palpable. 

All six episodes of "Hawkeye" are now streaming on Disney+.