Alaqua Cox will soon make her MCU debut as Echo in Hawkeye and her spin-off show is looking like it will go into production early next year. The first-time actress will also be making her on-screen debut, so we are just beginning to learn a bit more about her. She was recently selected as one of People magazine’s One to Watch 2021 feature indicating what a special talent Marvel Studios have found themselves. In the interview she not only mentions how serendipitously she came across the casting call but also how important the role is for diverse representation on-screen:
I had no acting experience, I was only involved in one school play in high school, but I was a background actor. [My friends] saw the casting call looking for a Native American actress and female deaf actress. It just matched so perfectly, so I decided to go for it. I had never seen anybody on the screen that maybe looked like me … deaf, an amputee.
Cox who is Native American and grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin has been deaf her whole life, has had a right lower leg amputation and was working at a factory before applying for the role. It’s clear that there aren’t many on-screen characters with those kinds of backgrounds, especially in big-budget studio projects, so she also spoke about the impact of playing Echo has had even before she has debuted:
My dad actually cried, and it is rare to see my dad cry. My mom got the champagne — everybody was so excited. I just feel so overwhelmed by support and love. It’s crazy how much my life has already changed because I was a college dropout. I worked at a factory. I’m so excited to show people who I am and what I can do, what anybody can do.
As a first-time actress, and like her character Cox is also learning a lot as she goes. She makes reference to this when talking about enjoying working with Hawkeye himself Jeremy Renner:
I think he’s one of the coolest guys. I learned a lot from him.
Echo is expected to have Native American representation in the writers’ room, potentially including Bobby Wilson, who has worked on Rutherford Falls and Reservation Dogs, both shows with Native American representation in cast and crew. It’s exciting, too, for deaf representation that the casting call Cox shared on Instagram suggested that some of the cast will be deaf with fluency in ASL being a requirement. All in all, Cox’s debut in Hawkeye and the spin-off Echo look set to be boundary-pushing moments for representation in the MCU.
Sources: People via Twitter