Clark Gregg talks about the "resurrection" of Agent Coulson in the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series and next phase of Marvel films
Clark Gregg certainly took the Marvel Cinematic Universe by storm, popping up initially in 2008's IRON MAN as the serious but playful S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson, who would return in IRON MAN 2, THOR, the Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor's Hammer, and finally in THE AVENGERS where the character seemingly met his demise, much to the shock and outrage of fans everywhere. Turns out, everyone pretty much loved ol' Phil Coulson and he was anything but a throwaway comic relief character. After a fan movement that included signs, t-shirts, and graffiti, declaring that "Coulson Lives," Marvel and Joss Whedon took note.
Talking to Collider at Wondercon, the actor discussed the evolution of Phil Coulson and what the future has in store for the character, both in the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show and next phase of Marvel films.
On Agent Coulson's death and "resurrection":
I’ve been so happy and living this geek fantasy as they kept adding Agent Coulson to everything including The Avengers and then gave him this magnificent, almost Shakespearean death scene, and I found out on that day how much I loved this guy and had come to identify with him partly because of the way fans responded to him, and also because he had such a great niche in those movies. He got to be funny, he got to be, in this case, heroic. And then I got to say good-bye to him, and it was a very emotional day. And yet I feel what Joss did with that was a fantastic conclusion of the character. And even though my friends at Marvel said, “You know, we spent a lot of time talking about how Coulson lives, and we know that there’s a movement out there, and there are t-shirts and people paint on bridges ‘Coulson Lives’, we’re going to bring you back”, and it’s one of the many things people tell you that never ever happens. And then I get this call from Joss saying, “Well…there’s a script. And here’s what we’re thinking, and it’s after The Avengers, and here’s the concept.” By the time Joss finished telling me, I was in."
On what kind of explanation viewers will get about Coulson's "death" in THE AVENGERS:
After people see the show, they’ll have some clue as to why I’m still there, still breathing. But I don’t think they’ll know everything…
On Coulson's transition from the big screen to the small screen:
I’m not going to lie. It was a little frightening. I’m used to coming in and doing my scene. And letting Robert and Scarlett do their thing, and then going back to the trailer. And now it’s, “Where’s Robert? I need someone really beautiful like Scarlett standing right here!” No one is going to want to look at this mug for that long. Because then I would go on to do the next thing. And luckily, they put together a pretty spectacular ensemble around me, and I don’t know where they found them. I didn’t know many of them. Every day I would just show up and be impressed. I think there’s something people responded to in Coulson’s through-line and who he is. He’s the human factor of S.H.I.E.L.D. The people who’s job it is to keep things running smoothly; the keepers of the secrets, and to kind of be the first line of defense and welcoming. The thing that really works well on a smaller context for that. I’ve never seen anything like we shot on a television screen before, so I’m really excited for people to see that.
On whether or not we'll see Agent Coulson on the big screen:
Joss is right over there. That’s a really good question. I want to go ask him. I don’t know. If my schedule doesn’t conflict, and they need him in one of the movies, will they come calling? My feeling is that there’s no breaks in continuity with this and the Marvel movie universe. It makes sense in that universe, and I certainly feel like his chances of appearing in those movies are far better than when he was far out dead.
I'm a big fan of Agent Coulson and the movement to support the character. It's 100 percent Gregg's character as he's the one that made him as engaging as he is, and I think it's awesome that Marvel and Whedon have given him another life. In the comic world people only stay dead for as long as there's not a story for the deceased to live in. I'm fine with the movies following suit and totally stoked to catch the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show when it debuts later this year.
Aside from the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, Gregg can next be seen in Jason Reitman's LABOR DAY and his second directorial feature, TRUST ME, starring Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet, Allison Janey, and William H. Macy later this year. Oh, and he'll be joining the cast of Dancing With The Stars for its 17th season. When does this guy sleep?
For uber fans of Agent Coulson, click below to check out his very own Hot Toys figure. I'd say he's arrived...
|Extra Tidbit:||Anyone out there wish that Coulson stayed dead?|