By EW Staff
Updated February 07, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Back in the mid-1990s, future ”Harry Potter” director Chris Columbus considered making a movie about the Marvel Comics crime fighter, a blind lawyer by day who kicks criminal butt in a Beelzebubbish costume by night. It fell apart, and not until Marvel came through bankruptcy proceedings a few years later did the project get a green light, with ”Simon Birch”’s Mark Steven Johnson in charge. ”He doesn’t have a Batcave,” says Johnson of the title character. ”He’s not a playboy, he doesn’t have a billion dollars. He just lives in this s—ty brownstone by himself, and he’s lonely and sad.” Until he meets his star-crossed soul mate Elektra (Jennifer Garner), whose nighttime ninja costume in the movie bears little resemblance to her revealing red getup in the comics. Garner prefers her black-leather look, since in the comic-book adventures, ”I don’t think that girl wears panties,” she says. Garner and star Ben Affleck did much of their own stunt work for a kick-fight courtship scene, and in general, the movie’s combat is more about martial arts than superpowers. ”Daredevil has the radar sense and stuff, but he’s kind of a normal person,” says Affleck. ”And [his enemies] are powerful guys, but they don’t have wings or shoot fire.” (Feb. 14)