“I definitely read [the comics], because at least in the beginning, I didn’t know how closely we’d be sticking to the comic-book stories,” Woll told The Post’s Comic Riffs. “It’s almost like she’s been different people at different points.
“In a way, it kind of freed us up, because there was nothing we were tied to,” Woll continued. “Karen could be anything because she has been everything. It was good to read it and know that we had opportunity and we had space.”
And so from page to screen, crafting their Karen Page became a team effort.
“I’m very happy so far with what the writers have come up with,” the Brooklyn-born actress said. “This Karen can really be mine, it can be ours, it can be [producers] Doug [Petrie] and Marco’s [Ramirez]. It can be our own story.”
Season 2 finds Karen becoming more comfortable as a legal assistant to Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). Their small office has fostered warm bonds — even a romantic one between Page and Cox’s lawyer/superhero. But Karen is haunted by the murder she committed last season. She had to take down a baddie to escape a no-win situation, and she’s yet to share the horrid experience with her two colleagues/friends, despite how close they’ve become.
Woll said that Karen’s secret is slowly taking its toll on the character.
“It is eating away at her. I think with the arrival of Frank Castle [the Punisher], who is essentially on a more conscious, intentional level doing what Karen did,” Woll said. “She gets her identity caught up in [vigilante] Frank Castle and what he represents, and that may be dangerous.
“Foggy and Matt mean more to her to anyone in the world, and I don’t know how you reveal the deepest, darkest, most shameful part of yourself to someone that you care that much about,” she continued. “You should, so that there is nothing between you two, but you risk them leaving you forever. We see Karen and Matt get closer, but there’s always going to be this distance because she’s not being fully honest with him, and he’s not being fully honest with her.”
Honesty and deceit play out significantly in “Daredevil’s” new season. Matt has yet to reveal to Karen that he is Daredevil — probably fearing that such knowledge would endanger her. He also fails to mention when his sexy, martial-artist ex-girlfriend Elektra returns to Hell’s Kitchen.
Karen’s secret even begins tugging at her subconscious when she tries to defend the Punisher’s execution-style methods to Matt.
Matt, despite being a masked vigilante, has one rule: no killing. So Karen’s strong opinions begin to affect a quickly blooming romance. After all, who suspected that if anyone was going to have the most in common with the Punisher, it would be Karen.
“I think the writers hit on something really interesting. In order for Matt to feel good about what he does, he has to believe that Frank Castle is a vicious, murdering psychopath — he has to believe that in order to feel good about his decisions” as Daredevil, said the 31-year-old USC theater grad.
Perhaps Matt can’t see a gray area with Frank. “But Karen can,” Woll said. “Because if Frank Castle is a monster, then maybe that means Karen is a monster. So she has to fight for him. So she has to say: ‘I may not like what you do, I may not agree with it, or maybe I do, but I understand it. I understand that just because you do something that I find distasteful, or despicable or even terrorism, you are a human being with motives. You are not just a monster.’ ”
Woll said that Matt and Karen’s debate over the Punisher is one of her favorite scenes in “Daredevil’s” second season, in part because she sees it as the first time that Karen realizes she’s siding with the Punisher.
“It suddenly just pops out of her mouth that she might think that [the Punisher’s] way works,” Woll said. “That his way is right, and then realize after the fact that that might be an awful thing to think. And then look at the person across from her who she loves, and who she wants to love her back and respect her more than anything, and see his disappointment. See that she has fallen in his esteem, and how heartbreaking that would be.”
Meanwhile, Woll hopes that it comes across on screen how much the actors care about their roles.
“I fell in love with Karen the first season. And I fell in love with Matt and Foggy,” Woll said. “We care about these characters and this story in a very personal way. Maybe I care too much about people’s judgment. But I want people to love this story and these people as much as I do. That’s nerve-wracking.”
Woll is also grateful for her role. She said that the format allows for a focus on each character.
“I sort of had my own storyline last year and my own branch this year,” Woll said. “That’s a real novelty, and I don’t think that the female character would get that in a superhero movie. That would be very hard. It would take away a lot of the time from your leading superhero.
“I like that in this [Netflx] scenario, that we have the time to give each of these characters their due.”