Peacemaker's Chukwudi Iwuji Created a Backstory for Original Character Clemson Murn

Warning: this story contains spoilers for Peacemaker Episodes 1-3. Christopher Smith's (John Cena) fight for peace continues with a new squad in Peacemaker, the HBO Max Original series teaming the ex-Task Force X member with mercenary Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji). Five months after The Suicide Squad, ARGUS Director Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruits Murn to lead Project Butterfly: a black-ops assignment to locate and assassinate suspected Butterflies, metahumans under the control of butterfly-like alien parasites. On a mission to "save the f*cking world," Murn puts together a peace posse of field handler Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), tech and tactics expert John Economos (Steve Agee), and new recruit Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks). 

An original character developed by Peacemaker series creator and writer James Gunn, Iwuji's mysterious Murn has a reputation for "killing a lot of people, and not always for the right side." Because the mercenary doesn't exist in the DC comic books, Iwuji imagined a backstory to play the character with a sordid — and top-secret — past. 

"It's always cool to play someone with a dark past, sort of working on redemption. That's always such a great arc for an actor because you like to sort of live in the darkness, but redemption is something you look for," Iwuji said on HBO Max's Podly: The Peacemaker Podcast. "I love that. I love the acting challenge of being British-Nigerian and playing American parts...even the name 'Clemson,' which is a very Southern name, just having this deeply steeped American role over the course of a whole series was such a joy for me." 

Iwuji worked with dialect coach Kohli Calhoun to "become someone else" and "find his voice placement, everything," approaching the shadowy character with "forensic detail in preparation for him."

"Whether it was working on vowel substitutions and dialects or sort of working on what is background is, because there's not much known about him," Iwuji said of Murn. "James really created this character. He's not a character in the comic books. I had him, in my head, he came from West Point, he was the best of the best, he goes into black ops — what triggered the slide to make him known as this dangerous character? I loved all that and immersing myself in that." 

In a behind-the-scenes featurette, Iwuji said the super-serious mercenary with a dark past is "extremely focused and most aware of how close to catastrophe we are" as part of Project Butterfly. 

Starring John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Jennifer Holland, Chukwudi Iwuji, Steve Agee, and Robert Patrick, new episodes of DC's Peacemaker premiere Thursdays on HBO Max.