I am excited to share Marvel’s Agent Carter Interviews with Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, producers Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas as #ABCTVEvent press coverage for Disney. All opinions are my own
Marvel’s Agent Carter Interviews | Why Watch Season 2
If there are 2 words that would convince me to watch Marvel’s Agent Carter Season 2, it would be that they are adding MORE Marvel. More action, more character development, more plot, more flamingos?? Yes, Agent Peggy Carter and Jarvis are ready to take on the Marvel universe with a whole new twist this season. And in this exclusive Marvel’s Agent Carter Interviews with stars Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy, as well as executive producers Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas we get an insider’s look in Agent Carter Season 2. Why should you watch Agent Carter Season 2? I have 4 “new” reasons to fall in love with Marvel.
So you have to imagine sitting on-set at Marvel’s Agent Carter during this interview. Literally inside of the SSR L.A. location (post on that coming later), we gathered chairs (yes, from the set as well!) and took in the atmosphere of one of the best Marvel shows on T.V. today.
We’re not in Kansas….or in this case New York for Season 2. It’s a big change from the dark, dank and otherwise drab city that was portrayed last year. The show promises bright colors, bright atmosphere and of course, a little mystery.
Michele Fazekas: The show story moves to Los Angeles where Sousa is running the West Coast SSR, and he catches a case. Peggy comes out to help investigate and Howard Stark [too]. The nice thing about Los Angeles is we really wanted a way to organically include Jarvis because their relationship was so great. And L.A. really provides a nice way to do it. Howard has moved his base of operations to L.A. because you have sort of the burgeoning scientific field. He’s doing some government contract work and he’s also opened up a movie studio on the side. So Jarvis is setting up his Beverly Hills estate out here.
James D’Arcy: I’ve moved to Los Angeles. Things happen, which are terribly exciting, but they all take place in L.A. So instead of being a New York-y dark, dingy vibe, now it’s bright sunlight and palm trees and a Chinatown type deal.
Hayley Atwell: Very glamorous, but Jarvis doesn’t like L.A., do you?
HA: You think the palm trees are preposterous and everyone eats avocados with everything. He’s very angry about that.
JD: They have I think particular fun with my character in terms of the Los Angeles-ness of it all because they didn’t want to make me any more costumes. So I’m wearing three-piece woolen suits, which is alright now, but in August when we started was complete misery. And the writers just came and sort of hooted with laughter all day long. They loved it. [LAUGHTER]
JD: I did have to chase a flamingo around for a bit because Howard has obviously decided to open a zoo. So they brought some flamingos onto the set and they brought 4 flamingos in various grades of rage. This one was very nice. The nice one was called Simon and there’s two in the middle and then there’s on at the end called Cannibal. And Cannibal was the one they used. And I was like I thought it was very funny when I read it. “Oh, this is great. He takes the flamingo and the flamingo chases him, blah, blah, blah.” And then when we got to shoot it, for some reason the flamingo wrangler insisted on calling me cowboy. Don’t know why. And I said, “Tell me, is this flamingo is it dangerous?” And he goes, “Oh, yeah, Cowboy, that one will pluck your eyes out.”
A New Season for Love
With your favorite characters getting more screen time this year, the evolution of the characters is vital to the development of Season 2. No longer in it’s novice season, the writers have been busy weaving in a brand new story. Will there be love for Agent Carter?
Tara Butters: What I love so much of what happened in the second season is [that] it’s an evolution of the show. You see these characters not treading water [but] moving into new parts of their lives, because obviously we left Peggy at the end of season one in sort of an emotional place where she realized in order to really move on with her life, she had to let Cap go. So we move on. And I think that it means that she’s open to new relationships. So we explore that with Peggy throughout the season. And it also means she’s seeing where she works in a different light and realizing that she has a very similar moral compass as Cap, where it’s being challenged. Because she’s seen that not everybody is like her. And so she faces all these new things, which I think are really fun and have been really fun to explore.
MF: And on a personal level, we get to see a little romance for Peggy. Because she’s sort of put Cap’s memory to rest, she has a couple of different options. And one of them is played by Reggie Austin, Dr. Wilkes. It’s funny. When we were pitching it to the network, we didn’t know who he was, we were like he’s “Dr. Handsome.” And then we found out who he is and we were like, oh he IS Dr. Handsome [LAUGHTER]. He is lovely and charming and he plays a scientist. We also get to explore what it’s like for an African-American man in 1947. He’s a scientist and he sort of explains why- how he got there, through the Navy he sort of got the experience. And then he says, “I came back and applied to sixteen different companies and Isodyne was the only one that hired me.” We see how Peggy reacts to like sort of blatant racism. Spoiler alert, not well. [LAUGHS] [She] doesn’t like it.
JD: Too much really, ’cause she gets out and about this season, doesn’t she? She does. There are a few gentlemen callers. There are not just one but multi, would-be Mr. Carters.
The producers hint at a Love Triangle. Remember that drink offer from Agent Sousa at the end of Season 1?
HA: When you see them reunite after season 1, they’re so awkward around each other that they just ruin it the minute they see each other because they want it so bad.
JD: Six months or a year or something from the end of season 1 to season 2, so stuff’s happened. They’re a bit of in the middle.
HA: So the first time they meet is a misconception, because Peggy has been told that he’s asked her to come out. So she’s like, “Oh, oh my God!” And she gets out there and she’s like, “I’m here.” And he goes, “What are you doing here? I asked [for] anyone, and not a woman.” So that immediately makes her feel kind of a little bit rejected and, and backfooted again. So they’re kind of back to their awkward stage, really, so they have again this kind of long way to go. And in the mean time, this sexy, hunky scientist comes along, so she’s like well, you know…
JD: Howdy Doody. [LAUGHTER]
While you’ll definitely see some familiar faces in the new season, Season 2 of Agent Carter also brings in some new faces and new villains for Peggy.
TB: You’ll see Agent Thompson and Agent Sousa and but then there’s a whole bunch of new characters that we bring which are really, really fun. I love Kurtwood Smith who comes and plays a new like mentor for Thompson and potentially a little bit of a foil for Peggy- And then we have a wonderful actress Wynn Everett who plays Whitney Frost. She’s sort of our main antagonist for the season. And what I love about her character is her arc and where you kind of see her start and where she ends up. And I think that’s really a fun foil for Peggy.
MF: And Currie Graham plays her husband. But the way we sort of designed that relationship, Whitney Frost from the comic books is Madame Masque. We sort of designed our own character, the way we designed their sort of relationship was that it was a bit of a Macbeth thing. So Whitney Frost is a sort of scientific genius, but to the public she’s an actress. If you know anything about Hedy Lamarr, she was this beautiful actress who was also an inventor. And [she] invented a thing called Frequency Hopping, which basically is a way to control torpedoes with radio waves, which are very easy to block. And so basically she designed it with a composer and they used a mechanism from a player piano which in, and a piano is eighty eight keys. So basically randomly jumps between the eighty eight different frequencies. And so you can’t block it, because you can never hone in on that signal. So we based Whitney on that, where she to the public is this sort of very glamorous actress, but she’s really sort of the brains behind her husband’s corporation which is a scientist. They design bombs and stuff like that. They [have] this Macbeth relationship, where she sort of manipulates from behind the scenes. But he’s the public face to it. And their relationship, I would watch that show too. They’re so great together.
The producers promise “More Marvel” for 2016, including a whole new way of producing the show. Check out how Agent Carter uses cross boarding and visual effects to bring you Season 2.
TB: You’ll see a lot more Marvel this year. There’s a lot more of the visual effects that you associate with Marvel, even more so than in the first season. That was really fun for us to play with.
MF: But it’s all science based which I think is what Marvel does very well too. It’s not just a “magic” thing. There’s a scientific explanation to it. And this year we’re doing a thing called Cross Boarding, which basically you shoot two episodes at the same time. So usually if you’re doing just a straight production, you have seven days of pre-production, eight days of production, for each episode. So for [cross boarding] you have fifteen days of production for two episodes, so essentially every episode is like seven and a half days. But it’s a way to save some money. We really wanted to tell a story in L.A.
TB: It also gives you big production things because you’re able to say I get two days shooting at a really great location. So it actually makes the episodes a lot of times look bigger.
MF: But the hard part is every production you have two scripts, which is why having the lead time to do it is really important. It’s hard on makeup and hair, because within one day you can have two different hair styles and you’re switching back and forth. And it’s hard on wardrobe because you’re constantly having to have numerous outfits available.
TB: It means everybody has to be on their toes.
Being a Modern Day Hero in a 1940s World
How does Hayley Atwell handle being this new female “super hero” role model for young girls of today? What does she hope that Peggy Carter leaves for us today? She had quite a bit of passion on the subject.
I love it. I love it so much. It’s a very humbling experience. I’ve been doing lots of conventions, and the great thing about that is I get to meet the fans of the show face-to-face. I get to see the faces of the audiences, and that comes up all the time. Young people and parents of young people going, “It’s so nice to see a woman represented.” And it’s always a shock to me, ’cause I’m like, “Well, women are strong. They’ve just been underrepresented.” For example, my grandmother was a telephone operator back in England. And my mum went to a school where everyone became housewives or hairdressers or secretaries, but she was like, “No, there’s got to be something, there’s always something else.” And she at age 17 moved to London and she became a nanny and then she worked away in different things, but she’s very adventurous. And I found that she’s a, has a natural leadership quality about her, although she didn’t become a politician or a high-powered businesswoman, in her own way, she was a leader. And this is someone who came from a working-class background, and I see my mom as I see many people her situation given the resources that she had of forging her own way and her own path as an everyday hero. With natural qualities of what a hero was. And I also found that the one thing that I think is great that people can relate to is that Peggy doesn’t have these superheroes, and she’s at fault, and she makes mistakes, and she’s terrible in love, and she’s trying to sort things out.
But she has this drive and she has a determination and she has this tenacious desire and purpose to get things done and to endure and despite the situations that she finds herself, to get up every morning and put her curlers in and put her red lipstick on and get out there and get, be a part of the world and to engage in the world. And I think that’s something that’s a very appealing quality for especially young girls, to see that despite whatever circumstance or situation or position that you’re in your life, whatever your background, whatever your socio-economic position in society, that heroic quality of just getting up in the morning and doing what needs to be done is very appealing and is very appealing to me, and completely underrepresented in this industry.
And I love the fact that here we have this superhero franchise, which loves to put women in cat suits and look really sexy, great, and fabulous, I have no problem with that, but can be slightly over-objectified and over-sexualized. And I was like why, just as an actor, I have no interest in that. And I remember from a young age as going “No.” I had no authority to say, yes or no. I didn’t have the power of choice. I still don’t to a large extent, but I know what I won’t do.
And that’s something that I feel undermines how far women have come. How committed I am to the work that I do and what drives me, which is why something a role like Peggy, I can revisit again and again, because I feel like ultimately she’s a force for good in the world.
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Be sure to follow Agent Carter for the latest new episodes, character updates, and more!
Marvel’s Agent Carter Season 2 Premieres Tonight (Tuesday, January 19th) at 9 PM ET on ABC! Will you be watching?
I was invited to attend an all-inclusive Disney press trip in exchange for this posting. All opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for entertainment news, Disney movie updates and more!