Marvel Hawkeye series on Disney + stars Menominee actress Alaqua Cox
KESHENA – Alaqua cox initially hesitated to audition for a role in a new Marvel series on Disney +, according to her relative, Lindsay Besaw.
The studio was looking for a young Deaf Native American actress to play the opposition to former Avenger Hawkeye (Clint Barton), played by Jeremy Renner.
Cox, 24, is a citizen of the Menominee Nation and has many friends in the Deaf community who have told her that she fits the role perfectly, Besaw said.
Without any acting experience, she took her chance and landed the role in the Hawkeye series currently airing on Disney +.
âAlaqua is an adventurer,â Besaw said. “She traveled the world for her young age.”
The studio was also looking for an actor to play the child version of Cox’s character for flashback scenes, and the casting director asked Cox if she had any family children who look like him.
Besaw got a call from Cox’s mother asking if her daughter, Darnell, now 8, would be ready to audition.
âI never thought she would have this opportunity,â Besaw said. âShe is very calm and introverted. â¦ I first said ‘No, I don’t see her doing that.’ “
She thought it would be too much stress for her young daughter.
A few days went by and Cox’s mother called back, and this time Besaw said they were going to “do a whirlwind.”
Cox sent videos to Darnell showing him how to use sign language like his character should.
Darnell passed the audition and was chosen to play young Maya, alongside fellow Indigenous actor Zahn McClarnon, who plays Maya’s father on the show.
âIt was definitely an adventure,â Besaw said. “It took her out of her little shell.”
Filming for Darnell took place last spring in Atlanta, and the first episode aired on November 24.
âThere’s no way to describe it,â Besaw said. âThere is a tremendous sense of pride. “
Back on the reserve, Besaw said Darnell liked his new celebrity because everyone wants to take pictures with her.
âShe’s a little star in her community now,â said Besaw, describing how proud everyone is to see a little girl from Menominee succeed. âA lot of people get pretty emotional about it. People are suffocating and have tears in their eyes.
And she said that not only is Cox an inspiration to Indigenous people, but also to those in the Deaf community.
Cox also has a leg impairment and is an amputee with a prosthetic leg, which comes in handy during a fight scene in the series.
Cox’s great-uncle, Douglas Cox, is the vice president of the Menominee Nation. He said the two Menominee actors are an inspiration and a source of pride for indigenous people across the country of India, not just in the Menominee reserve.
He said their fame helps the Menominee tribe and all indigenous tribes to be recognized and represented.
Cox’s father, with whom she was very close, recently passed away and she is in mourning. But Besaw said Cox plans to move to Atlanta in a few months to begin filming a spinoff series called “Echo,” with Cox as the lead star.
Frank Vaisvilas is a Report for America member of the body based at the Green Bay Press-Gazette covering Native American issues in Wisconsin. He can be reached at 920-228-0437 or [email protected], or on Twitter at @vaisvilas_frank. Please consider supporting the journalism that informs our democracy with a tax-deductible giveaway to this reporting effort at GreenBayPressGazette.com/RFA.