The deaf Native American actress discusses the "authentic representation" of her character and proving that "people with a disability like me can do anything."
Video courtesy of Disney+

The sizzle reel of upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe shows that premiered as part of Disney+ Day included a lot of tantalizing familiar names: Ms. Marvel! Moon Knight! She-Hulk! But the slate also included a less-familiar title: Echo.

Who is Echo, you may ask? That's a hard question to answer at this moment, but it has something to do with Maya Lopez, the character who will be played by Alaqua Cox when Hawkeye premieres on the streaming platform next week.

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez on 'Hawkeye'
| Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Cox tells EW that she wasn't much interested in acting before she saw a Hawkeye casting call for a deaf Native American actress to play Maya Lopez. The 24-year-old was delighted to find that Maya's ability to mimic others' movements is not too far removed from Cox's own skill set as a deaf person.

"Deaf people have really good visual skills. I can easily catch things," she says over Zoom via an ASL interpreter. "During training they were like, 'Oh, wow, you're a fast learner.' I was like, 'Well, I just watched you.'"

Cox is the second deaf actress to be cast as a deaf MCU character in short order, following Lauren Ridloff's performance as Makkari in Eternals.

"The deaf community is in huge support of this role because they want to see deaf people represented in these deaf roles," Cox says. "Most of the time it's hearing people that take these roles, but finally authentic representation is here. So I'm excited for that, and so as everybody else."

Cox's right leg is a prosthetic, but don't think for a second that it restricted her fight scenes.

"People with a disability like me can do anything: We can fight, we can flip, we can fall," she says. "I'm excited for people to say, 'Wow, she can do that?'"

Hawkeye premieres Nov. 24 on Disney+.

A version of this story appears in Entertainment Weekly's December issue, on newsstands now and available to order here. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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