Clark Gregg has had many wonderful roles on stage, and while he has graced the stage in New York, Chicago, and is a founding member and former artistic director of the Off – Broadway Atlantic Theatre Company, you probably know him better as Agent Coulson. Currently as Agent Coulson on the television show MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD, his character is a key player in the Marvel universe on both the movie and tv screens. I had a chance to ask him a few questions, about the new season when he wasn’t too busy trying to save the world.
SPOILERS: If you haven’t seen the show and don’t want to know anything then stop reading now!
Seriously, you can’t complain later if you didn’t know any of this.
You’ve been warned……
When the audience last saw the show, HYDRA had become the big clear enemy, SHEILD has crumbled, and he and his agents were now being hunted. The silver lining to all of this? Agent Coulson has now been promoted to Director of SHIELD by the former Director Nick Fury and is tasked with rebuilding SHIELD. How was the process of going filming all of the plot twists and turns?
“I read it 5 days before we shot that and it was intense. We found out that people we had been working with everyday were traitors, and Bill Paxton is the ultimate evil! Every episode and every script that we got was a mind blower. So every step of the way with this guy (Coulson), from my neighbor down the street Jon Favreau has a couple of lines in IRON MAN for me, and he knows I’m a fan, to Joss Whedon pulling me into a room right before the THOR panel at Comic Con saying ‘You have a big part in the AVENGERS.’ Any one of those moments could have killed me. But the scene I read, where Nick Fury explains that the reason this Avengers initiative procedure was used to resurrect Coulson is because he technically is an Avenger and now he’s the Director of Shield. I was speechless. I was a mess that day. ”
What is it like to have someone as intense as Samuel L Jackson on set? “It was fun to have someone Sam’s caliber show up and just nail it in that episode, it’s just moving.”
Since this character is many movies, and years in the making, how has playing Agent Coulson for so long helped him develop this character? “As an actor I’ve never been able to play somebody this long, this much, and the days when there would be terrible days for Coulson. The producers would realize, ‘Clarks a mess,'” he says with a laugh. ” There’s a membrane that’s getting thinner and thinner between us.”
Now Agent Coulson is Director Coulson, he is in a position where he has to make the hard decisions. How will this potentially change the Coulson the audience knows and loves?
“He went from a guy who was someone having a lot of secrets kept from him last season, in a way that made him suddenly hate secrets, though he had been keeping them his whole adult professional life. He didn’t feel comfortable keeping them from the people he cared about from the people on his own team. The Director of Shield has no choice but to keep secrets or he’s going to cost people their lives. The job he’s got is bigger than any personal loyalties, so it will be very interesting to see how much of the bigger hearted Coulson who came back to life, is allowed to function within that job. The job he’s got, putting together an outlawed organization that everyone wants to annihilate, indict, and arrest with very small resources, is a formidable task. What I think is going to be exciting about it is that it’s going to be brass knuckles, old school, like cold war era espionage. The people he has come to trust, Agent Skye, Agent May, Agents Fitz and Agent Simmons, are going to really be challenged. ”
How does he feel about his newest agent coming on board? “Lucy Lawless is such a badass, coming to our team!”
How is he responding to the title of Director? “Director Coulson never gets old.”
Check out what Clark Gregg and his team have coming up, in the premier episode of the second season of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD on Tuesday, September 23rd. Check your local listings for times or go to www.ABC.com