In Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Ward (Brett Dalton) has a new right-hand man who is seemingly made of steel. Kebo, the quasi-henchman, is played by a real-life gladiator, actor Daz Crawford. Crawford and I chatted about the rise of his role and he revealed his fascinating past.
“I came in at the end of the last season — it was only meant to be for one episode,” the actor shares. “But I heard through the grapevine that they liked what I did in that particular scene, so they decided to write me back in for the new season.”
Crawford’s other credits include roles in The World Is Not Enough, Blade II and guest-starring roles on Covert Affairs, NCIS and The Unit, but the actor is thrilled for the chance to further explore Kebo and the S.H.I.E.L.D. universe. “It’s given me a chance to develop a character. In television, when you’re doing a guest-star role, you don’t have a lot of time to grow anything because you’re not going to be in it again. I feel like I’ve got a proper job now — I’m working every week.”
And since he’s a part of a major franchise with legions of fans, I asked what the reaction has been to his character. Surprisingly, Crawford shares that some fans feel a little bad for Kebo because he gets kicked around. “People says to me, “when are you going to get your revenge?’” he laughs. And Crawford reveals that he loves hearing from fans who love him and from those who hate him. He explains, “As an actor, I try to create a relationship with an audience that I don’t get to meet, and if they hate me, or love me, or are angry or whatever, then I’ve done my job, because they’re connected. If people are making comments about the character, then I know I’ve connected with them, and that’s my goal.”
One of the best parts of playing Kebo, reveals Crawford, is the physicality of the role. But considering his background, a mastery of all-things physical shouldn’t come as a surprise. “There used to be a television show in America called American Gladiators and it was a hugely popular show across the world. It came to the UK, and I was a gladiator on it for a couple of years. When you’re a gladiator, you’re doing all of your own stunts … Now, I’m meeting with stunt guys and I have a stunt double, but I like to be able to do what they’ve written. It gives me some fulfillment, rather than delivering the lines and somebody stepping in and doing the action for me, and me stepping back in at the end. I understand productions need to protect the actors, but at the same time, it’s rewarding to be able to do everything. I was an Olympic boxer so I’m a bit of an action guy and I like to get my hands dirty. So if somebody says, ‘Go jump 100 feet,’ I’ll give it a go.” Crawford reveals that he never knows which shots the production will use — his or the stunt performer’s. “I don’t see a lot of the end results until you see it on TV. I don’t get pre-screenings, so I won’t know until you know, if a shot of me is used.” He admits that seeing himself perform in an action sequence is very satisfying.
Crawford hinted that he has some major action sequences coming up in the next few episodes. “The writers are great and they throw curve balls in all of the time,” he shares, promising a few moments where fans of the series are going to say (In his own words) “Whoah! I didn’t see that coming! I didn’t see this coming!” Of course, I pressed for more info, but he slyly reported, “I can’t give anything away, but I can say that its really, really exciting. Some really, really good scenes.”
In case you’re keeping track, Crawford has shared that he was on World Gladiator and an Olympic boxer; he also practices Kung Fu, and was also a member of the British military. So while he may have captured the title of “The world’s most interesting man” from the Dos XX guy, he showed there’s far more than a buff bod when he answered our 5 Questions.
1. If your TV had only three shows or networks, what would they be?
I like documentaries, so BBC Earth is a great channel and has some great, interesting topics. SyFy is interesting, it’s a bit cheesy, but it’s fun. I did a movie for them and they have a great following. I also like comedy on Comedy Central.
2. What has been your strangest fan encounter?
I had a male fan contact me on Facebook and he sent me a rude picture of himself.
3. Tell us about a time when you were starstruck.
I’ve never been starstruck … who have I met? I really respect Ron Perlman and when I worked with him it was amazing. He’s done a million jobs and when he gave me a compliment, I’ll never forget it. When someone you admire gives you a compliment without you for asking for it, it’s very satisfying.
4. You have an amazing background as a member of the RAF, an Olympic Boxer and a World Gladiator. If you weren’t an actor, what would you do for a living?
I know it’s a cliché, but when people ask what I want, I just want to be happy. We have roughly 80 or 90 Christmases on Earth and then we die. You should use every year to be happy. If you’re not doing something that makes you happy, you may as well be dead.
I was quite successful in the U.K. at buying, renovating and selling properties. I found it extremely easy and I was making good money out of it, but it didn’t interest me. So finding something else that I enjoy that I’d want to do … hmmm … phew! … I guess a normal job. I wouldn’t mind being a journalist. I love traveling. It’s definitely my hobby and I travel any chance I get, so perhaps I’d be a journalist.
5. What is your favorite sports team?
Liverpool! I was born in Liverpool. I believe that every person should support the team where they’re born and stay with them through thick and thin, and don’t change because another team is doing really well. You stick with your own team through good days and bad days; that is a loyal supporter.
It’s funny. Growing up, my best school friend was a Manchester United supporter. Manchester and Liverpool are only about 40 miles apart, but they are rivals. It was hilarious because we were best friends but there were two games every season and we’d argue.
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