Tonight at 8/7c, ABC will air the series premiere of the highly anticipated Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show follows Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel’s feature films as he gathers the world’s top agents to investigate strange and extraordinary happenings across the globe.
We spoke with star Clark Gregg about his experience working on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., how it relates to The Avengers film, and his favorite Disney movie memories.
The Disney Insider: After the overwhelming fan reactions to Agent Coulson in The Avengers and the announcement of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., how does it feel to know that this project is finally being shared with an audience?
Clark Gregg: It’s pretty fantastic. The fun thing and the frustrating thing with Marvel is that you’re really creating something in secret and nobody gets to see it. You get excited about it, you really want to share it with people, especially the fans. When you finally get to, and it’s as good as all the stuff that Marvel has been putting out, it’s a big exciting day and it’s really fun to see it connect with the people it was made for.
How different does making Marvel’s Agents S.H.I.E.L.D. feel to shooting an Avengers movie?
You know, it’s pretty similar. There are a few less superheroes around but the amount of action, stunts and visual effects is very much like one of the movies. I guess the difference is nobody is bossing me around. This time I’m bossing a bunch of other young elite S.H.I.E.L.D. agents around. So far I like that pretty good.
What would someone be the most surprised to hear about your job as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
The one thing that people seem most surprised about is that I’m alive and doing the job at all. After seeing me so… impaled by Loki in The Avengers. Other than that, a lot of surprises are coming our way in terms of our mobile command unit and first-response space plane with all its special toys. That, and the amazing new crop of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that they’re going to meet in this show.
What would someone be the most surprised to hear about your job as an actor on the show?
Sometimes I just wish I could just put on a GoPro, one of those cameras that mounts on your head, and just share one of my days on the set of S.H.I.E.L.D., because it’s so fun. It’s so ridiculously fun, the stuff I get to do and the exciting kind of action scenes and the fantastic sets and locations we get to travel around the globe to work in. It’s the greatest job that anybody could ever have and I think most guys would be really jealous if they got to see the stuff that I do on a daily basis. And I think that their wives and girlfriends would be pretty into watching the video as well because of my tremendously attractive and charismatic young co-stars.
Will we get to learn more about Agent Coulson’s past and how he has changed since his last appearances?
That’s a big part of what we see. When you see Phil Coulson in the pilot, he feels like he’s had a close call and now he’s doing OK. He’s not really sure there’s anything much more to the story than that, and he doesn’t want drama. He kind of wishes people would forget about it. But with every passing moment on the show he starts to realize that there’s more that happened to him than he’s aware of and that the residual effects are rendering, which I think is important and timely.
Agent Coulson is known for his sarcastic sense of humor. Does this come through in the show, and will there be funny moments amidst the dramatic ones?
When I first spoke to Joss [Whedon, director] about the show, I really only had two questions. First, what am I doing alive? And when he told me the rough idea of what that was supposed to be like, I was signed in. But the other question I had was, is it going to get to be funny like The Avengers and keep that tone? And so far that’s the tone of the show. Really intense action and drama, and everything you expect from the S.H.I.E.L.D. world and the Marvel universe, but also really tongue in cheek, never taking itself too seriously, and really funny stuff. I’d be a little bored otherwise.
You play Agent Coulson, but which character in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the most like Clark Gregg the person?
I would have to say, if we’re ruling out Agent Coulson–because certainly his kind of driven mindset and snarky sense of humor is not something that’s difficult for me to manifest–I think I would say the salty, rebellious Skye, the computer hacktivist whom Coulson embraces. She’s got a little bit more of the attitude that I would say people who know Clark would relate to.
Not all Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. viewers will be comic book fans. What will these people enjoy about most about the show?
I think it’s got all the best parts of some of my favorite shows and movies. It’s got dealing with a world where there are secrets like Men In Black. It’s got global conspiracy theories in a world after The Avengers that kind of reminds me of X-Files. And it’s got a core team who love what they do, that reminds me a lot of my favorite Aaron Sorkin shows; it’s people who love what they do and who are very intelligent and funny about their work.
Are you a Disney fan? What Disney movies do you like best?
My family was really into The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. I remember the movies that Disney did. We loved them all. Herbie the Love Bug, The World’s Greatest Athlete. I grew up watching those movies. I also used to love the nature movies and the True Life Adventures like Bear Country. And nowadays we watch a lot of the Disney Channel at our house. I’m very familiar with Jessie and all of the shows. And I loved Tangled, which I watched with my daughter. She has grown out of it a little, but I can name all of the Disney Princesses and I can certainly pick them out just by their dresses.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on ABC. Don’t miss the season premiere episode tonight, which will include an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming film Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World.