By Alex Zalben
In our continuing quest to milk every single bit out of “>the half hour we had at New York Comic Con with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s” Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, and Jeph Loeb, we had asked the team whether Coulson’s Commandos were more co-workers, or family. Specifically, when Joss Whedon had been on press tour talking about “Avengers,” he had said the team was more of a “dysfunctional family” than anything else. So how does the S.H.I.E.L.D. team compare?
Iain De Caestecker: Definitely that notion of this dysfunctional family. It’s a strange thing, because they’re living on the Bus. That’s their work, but at the same time it’s their place of residence. They have to live with each other, and they’ve been thrown into this environment which also is a place where you’re in intense situations of danger… It brings people together in situations where you can’t really pay yourself forward well, and see how people react. So they have to very quickly become each other’s support group as well, for different reasons. The different dynamics of each person’s particular character means they’ll react differently.
Elizabeth Henstridge: It also isolates them from anyone not on the plane. Because they’re the only people who can understand what they’ve gone through, and the only people they can talk to about. Whether they like it or not, they’re going to become each other’s everything. There’s no one else you can share it with it. We talk about that a bit, because they are all away from their families for whatever reason.
So if that’s the case, who’s who in the on-set family? Who’s the Mom? Who’s the Dad?
Henstridge: Clark takes on his responsibility very carefully. He makes sure we’re okay, sets the tone on set, he’s very professional. But then he’s also so funny, and such a joker. He has a wonderful balance of getting the work done and making it great. But then he’ll crack a joke, or do something silly, that releases the tension so that everyone can explore and play more creatively.
So he sets the tone, and he’s the everyman. He’s not a diva in any way, so it’s a great trickle down effect that we follow his lead, as we do in the show. We all also feel so lucky to be a part of this, and to be part of a show that’s being well received. And now we get to do it for twenty-two episodes. We’re now all getting on really, really well.
Jeph Loeb: It’s an extraordinary situation where you have two actors in Clark Gregg and in Ming-na Wen. They have the experience and the skills that bring a real gravitas to what it is they’re doing. And in particular tend to be in their roles that way as well. And then you have Ward, and Skye, and Fitz and Simmons. Younger, different attitudes, different ideals, and the actors as well playing those parts fill the same capacity.
We absolutely had a choice to go with better known names. They’re out there. But the truth is, Joss said, “We don’t want anybody playing any of the roles, we want the best people to play those roles. Every single one of our actors won those parts unequivocally. And now we couldn’t see anyone else in those roles.
Fitz/Simmons, in particular, was such a delicate balance of how that was going to work, and being able to work, and find two people who have that kind of chemistry. And to see that happen in our screen test… Which is usually something you need to build, and how is going to work, and what do you do… And Iain and Elizabeth came in – you had never met before you read?
De Caestecker: We still haven’t met each other properly.
Loeb: That’s something we still knock wood every day that it holds up. We keep waiting for one of the two to snap. There’s an explosion in the lab, and one you says:
Henstridge: I CAN’T HAVE THIS MUCH FUN ANYMORE. I can’t take it!
In case it isn’t clear: De Caestecker was joking. We think. Hey, they have very advanced holograms on the show, so who knows?
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC.
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