Exclusive: JUSTICE LEAGUE Interview with the Cyborg, Ray Fisher

In Warner Bros. latest addition to the DCEU, ‘Justice League,’ Ray Fisher plays Victor Stone, a.k.a. Cyborg. Though he first appeared ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ it was the briefest of cameos. But in ‘Justice League’, Fisher plays Cyborg a complex character; he’s an unwilling creation who accepts his fate in order to become a hero, though he will forever struggle to maintain his humanity.

During the New York press tour for ‘Justice League,’ Fisher spoke with Monkeys Fighting Robots. Listen to (or read) our conversation below:

Listen to the complete interview below:

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MFR: Ray, thank you for taking the time to speak with me tonight.

Ray Fisher: No problem. Thanks for having me, man.

MFR: Ray, you’re going back to your hometown for a special screening of ‘Justice League.’ What are the emotions going to be like in the theater?

Ray Fisher: It’s hard for me to calculate it at this point. I feel like emotions are going to be running high in the best way possible. There’s going to be a lot of family there, a lot of teachers who inspired me, and a lot of people who believed and given me nothing but encouraging words up to this point. So I think it’ll be a feeling of fulfillment given that the wheel is sort of coming full circle because it is also the movie theater I used to work at when I was a teenager. It’s hard for me to predict what it will be, but I’m sure it will be overwhelming.

MFR: It was announced in April 2014, that you were cast as Cyborg. Do you feel like you just completed a marathon?

Ray Fisher: I do. In a strange way, there’s a lot of downside between all of these things but when you up to do this kind of film, particularly one that has the option for sequels. You’re signing up for a marathon even if they happened back to back to back to back. You know it’s been a process, and it’s been about three years now since being cast to this coming to life. I’m a long game player in general. I don’t mind the wait as long as it’s something I’m passionate about.

MFR: Cyborg is a complex character, how did you prepare for this battle between man and machine?

Ray Fisher: Well I think it’s about finding balance and it’s just like any other sort of adverse situation just human beings go through. Cyborg is a true underdog in that he’s had his entire life upended. He’s had his mother taken away. He had his body taken away. He’s had the life he once knew completely removed from him. I think the technology is just a metaphor for that. I think the technology is a metaphor for the human spirit and the ability to overcome. So with the preparation of it all, I was sent all the comic books that ever existed about the character from the 1980s up through the New 52 Justice League where cyborg becomes a founding member. So as far as like material goes and being able to craft the character I had tons, I had plenty of things to go with.

[As for] the physical side of it, obviously Zack Snyder, our directoris known for making sure that his heroes look the part. So I ended up putting on about 30 pounds of muscle to portray Victor Stone prior to his accident when he was still a college football player at Gotham City University. It was a process, but it was one that I actually really liked the discipline of it.

MFR: You get to say Cyborg’s catchphrase ‘Booyah’ at the end of the film. Did you want to say it sooner in the movie?

Ray Fisher: No spoilers here, but the catchphrase in and of itself is only specific to the cartoon show. It’s actually not comic canon. There’s an ongoing conversation of, “How much should you use from the comics? How much you use from the cartoon? How much do you use of the character in general?”

I don’t particularly have as much of an emotional attachment to the catchphrase as other people do. It’s interesting being able to pull those moments where you see Victor come out of the more technical side of himself and we are able to see that growth.

MFR: The Teen Titans show from early 2000 is very iconic and as soon as you said it the theater erupted in applause. There’s a lot of fans that grew up with this character, and it was amazing to see the response in the theater.

Ray Fisher: It’s awesome to hear. And my first interaction with Cyborg was from the Teen Titans cartoon in 2000. It wasn’t until I got the role that I actually was able to delve into the comic book side and his actual origin and see that it was a much different character than what was portrayed in the show. I think they touch a little bit in the show about his particular struggles with being half man half machine. But in the comics, they go much much much deeper, and they ask some pretty hard questions to answer as to what it means to be human.

MFR: Is there a scene in ‘Justice League’ where you’re like, “I nailed that!”

Ray Fisher: Nah, I actually don’t like watching myself, funny enough. I don’t like watching myself in things I get hyper-critical of myself and the work I’m involved in general. So my thing, I’m always looking at it, “OK, well this could have been better. I could do better than this next time.” Like making adjustments and trying to continue to craft. The things that resonate with people and the audience members it varies, and that’s one of the beautiful things. Somebody may say, “Oh I mean I really really love that scene.” And you may go, “Huh, I didn’t think I did particularly well but appreciate you saying so.” It’s art, so it’s all relative.

MFR: When you take a superhero role like Cyborg, do you think about the impact you will have on the younger generations?

Ray Fisher: I don’t think it was something I thought of overtly. I think that was something it was a mix of things. For me, this is something that I just enjoy in general. This is something that I’ve loved as a kid, and it’s something that I love as an adult. So it’s the personal and professional coming together in that way. It just so happens that the character in and of itself can inspire people of color who feel under-represented in film, it can inspire people who are differently abled. Cyborg is an amputee and has these highly advanced cybernetic prosthetics. I think playing the character to the fullest to make sure that he maintains a certain level of dignity and integrity with respect to the portrayal. I think it affects people in a way that I couldn’t even fully comprehend. You hope that people are inspired by the work that you do and that people get the message that you’re trying to put across. I don’t think I could fully iterate the impact.

MFR: Have you had conversations about how the machine part of Cyborg will evolve in future films?

Ray Fisher: Yeah, that’s an ongoing conversation. What I will say is that Cyborg is comprised of the most sophisticated technology in the universe. I mean, the mother box technology, there’s nothing more advanced or more powerful. As you’ve seen in the film, he has powers that are evolving as he’s trying to deal with his particular circumstances. That’s a process that will continue as he becomes more familiar with his technology and more familiar with himself. There are some powers that we express from the comics and some that we don’t touch upon that are really popular that I’m looking forward to exploring in the future. It’s just a matter of how it all fits into the story we’re trying to tell.

MFR: I feel like you just gave one of the nerdiest answers to your superhero character.

Ray Fisher: You think so? I geek out about this stuff, and I’ve been trying to differentiate my geekdoms and all that. I grew up loving these characters; I grew up playing video games more than anyone else I really knew. This to me is like it’s second nature at this point.

MFR: One thing I don’t understand is why the Hollywood media is coming after Ben Affleck when it comes to Batman. No other franchise takes this much abuse. Why do you think that is?

Ray Fisher: I have no idea. I mean it’s really not on me to try to explain what people’s motivations are. I think media, in general, is a specific beast. At the end of the day, I think people have to sell stories. I don’t know if there’s a specific agenda with respect to that. I don’t necessarily; I don’t keep up with those kinds of things. I guess it just depends on who you’re dealing with. For every negative voice that you hear, there are ten positive voices who may not be so loud with respect to that. For me personally, I just try to focus on the positive.

MFR: Let’s end on a positive note. Of the cast and crew, who made you laugh the most during filming?

Ray Fisher: It would probably be a toss-up between Jason and Ezra, but everybody. It’s so strange; we’ve got so many different personalities coming together. Everybody’s got their own sensibilities with respect to comedic sensibilities. I mean, I laughed about at probably everything. It’s just, it’s uncanny. You’re going to work every day, and you’re dressing up and playing make believe that your superhero. That in of itself is a pretty laughable thing. But there’s just a certain amount of joy that Zack and Debbie Snyder has brought to the whole process. They made it very clear from the outset, “Hey, listen we’re making a superhero movie.” It’s a labor of love first and foremost. Hopefully, it inspires people, but it’s fun. It should be fun.

MFR: Ray, thank you for your time and best of luck with ‘Justice League.’

Ray Fisher: I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you.

What did you think of Ray Fisher’s comments? Sound off in the comment section below.

Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.