My very first interview of famous actors was with Ming-Na Wen and Clark Gregg who play Melinda May and Phil Couslon, respectively, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To say I was a little ‘shell shocked’ was putting it mildly, I didn’t ask any questions myself, but luckily was surrounded by some talented bloggers who had plenty of questions to ask.
Ming-Na and Clark walked into our interview area and they were bubbly and so much fun. Ming-Na even took a picture of us and posted it on her twitter account, I’ve embedded it below.
— Ming-Na Wen (@MingNa) April 11, 2015
As they were currently working on filming the season finale, our time was limited, so we got started right away.
We asked if either Ming-Na or Clark had seen the new Avengers movie, which we had previewed the night before. Neither had yet seen it and they proceeded by saying they’d ask us questions on the movie, but don’t worry, we told them NO Spoilers coming from us!! Ming-Na teased Clark, asking if he was definitely NOT in the sequel to the first Avengers movie.
Ming-Na: Is he in it? Seriously because I keep bug– I keep bugging him that he’s in it. And he’s not telling anybody.
Clark: No one believes me. See then now someone can– it’s like you’re secretly in it, and you’re not telling us. I’m not!
What was the most emotional scene to shoot?
Clark : In Season 1, episode 11, I think it was, I get confused. I think it was called A Magical Place or Tahiti. And it was when Coulson was put in the memory machine by Raina. And the people we did not yet know were Hydra and kind of forced to confront the fact that he had been dead that he’d been through this tremendously excruciating, experience.
And also that stuff about the of kind of the things he had lost. That part of the journey of someone who’d been a kind of ‘no questions asked’ company man realizing that he too had been lied to by all kinds of people.
Ming : There was this episode about this kind of ghostly figure that May had to fight with. It really brought back her own personal issues about having to let go. So it had a reference to Bahrain, and I think that particular episode, she was struggling with various things of just not wanting to engage but having to– you know, to take care of a situation and allow herself to. There’s a lot going on over there, isn’t there?
Ming : Then of course, I think the other scene was, when Skye was–
Clark : When Skye was– when Skye was shot. It’s the family. This is a show about a family.
Ming : Yeah that was a big one.
Clark : People who don’t get to have real families ’cause they work too hard. I have– suspect you know what that’s about. And how they become a family. And at the times when the bonds, the trust, is questioned when people are hurt, we lose people on this show.
We lost B.J. Britt. And most of us are still recovering. You know, even some of the bad guys, we end up– we love them so much off screen. This is a really good set. There’s others but this is a really good one. We kind of we have fun, and we take care of each other. And when we have to say goodbye to people it really is painful. And a lot of times you feel it in the scenes. And it’s just dark around here for a little while. We loved B.J. so much. And he was such a kind of discovery and such a buoyant person.
I think we had five different goodbye parties just to keep him coming back around.
Do you ever get to ad lib your lines?
Clark : I have ad libbed a couple of them, but not a lot of them. My god, I’d love to claim more of them. But a lot of them are our terrific writers. They really, from the get go, Joss in the pilot and these writers, you know, one of the reasons they I think brought Coulson back to life is that to their surprise in a super hero movie like the first Avengers and the ones leading up to it there was something that the audience really connected to in the super hero world, someone who was quite vulnerable, who this was kinda their job. Like, oh, God, what does this guy have for a super power? And got to have some kinda snarky lines.
It’s always been something that people really responded to about Coulson. And they give me some great ones. They’ve accepted the fact that at the end of most scenes where that’s appropriate.
Do you have a plane interior where you shoot?
Clark : Great question. It’s very similar to the films only with about a tenth of the time and resources. The short answer is you see Lola, you this plane[referring to the plane we were sitting next to during interviews]. That thing really goes up with those cars on it. That’s a practical hydraulic. And, you know, if it’s gonna be coming out the back of the plane suddenly this will be surrounded by either green or blue. And the sky and the wind machines and everything, it’s a blend of practical and digital. Mark Kolpack and his amazing team.
And I feel like, uh, one of the things that’s been really satisfying is to watch how he’s kind of revolutionizing what’s possible on a TV show that shoots in eight days and does 22 of them in a season, can be accomplished. There’s enough that’s really real. I’ve seen one of these completely filled with snow. Then it’s gone the next day. That really makes our job a lot easier. And then very often we’re suddenly at some– you wouldn’t believe some of the strange underground military looking buildings are within 45 miles of here.
We also got to interview Co-Creator & Executive Producer Jed Whedon and Executive Producer Jeff Bell. Such amazing talent, and we got to shoot off some questions.
We have the Marvel cinematic universe and the TV shows. Are you limited to what you can and can’t do?
Jed: We definitely have free reign but it does limit us in that we can’t kill Captain America like we plan to each week. No, you know, obviously there are guidelines. They have these huge temples and we sort of move between them and there are things that are off limit to us for sure because they have either big plans for them or have already shot stuff that’s gonna use them. But in terms, we don’t feel limited by it. It’s sort of a fun puzzle for us and, you know, we get big toys to play with because of it. So, you know, it’s sort of a privilege to live in that universe and the fact that when something happens on our show it is canned. It is exists and the fact that we have to be respectful to that is also, it also means that if we do something it is canned and so that aspect of it.
Jed: But yeah it’s more of a puzzle for us and we get the privilege of seeing what’s coming down the pipeline and sort of catering our stories to move between it. I think we have more fun with it than they do.
Jeff: The only challenge really was when we first launched we knew that Hydra was the big bad guy in Capt. two and there was one word we were not allowed to say on Shield. We called it the H word and so we knew that was coming and we knew we were building to that and we knew we were gonna reward that way and we knew it was gonna blow apart the team but it might have been helpful to have said the H word earlier for big comic fans. They’re going who are these bad guys.
If we said, well he works for Hydra, he works for Hydra, she’s with Hydra people would have been oh, they’re doing Hydra, that’s cool, but we couldn’t say that. That was really the only limit but the upside was it just exploded in our show and having the word turn like that and letting Brett do that and become that, that was awesome and then it really depends on each movie. Like Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t have much for us to tie in with.
Jed: And you can consider it a limitation to have a film that literally destroys the organization that your show is named after.
Jeff: Cause when we first wrote it it’s like episode seventeen, do we still exist? Agents of hmm???
Jed: We took it and saw it as an opportunity and I think that it, you know, us working around that and finding a way to make that our show came up with some of the best story that we had. It generated things that we never would have thought of and put us in a tight corner that we had to ride our way out.
Describe your writing schedule.
Jeff: We start June first and the writers room broke today(April 10th) and then Jed and Marissa and I will be here until the second week of May finishing the episodes and then for two weeks we go crazy and sleep and then we come back June first should they say hey, let’s do this again. Its 22 (episodes). It’s stupid.
Jed: We’re trying to negotiate that down.
Jeff: It’s too many.
Jed: Let’s do like 20 and by that I mean sixteen.
Jeff: It’s funny because, you know, we talk about internally like god, Games of Thrones was great. They did ten episodes. We’re like ten episodes? We’re just like oh we got 12 to go. We’re already tired.
Jed: So we start on June first and we start prepping six weeks later so we, that’s how much lead time we have so, you know, that buffer …
Jeff: There’s a train track. They say go and you start running down the train track and six weeks later they let a train behind you, all this and you try to stay ahead of that train until, until next week and you’re trying not to get run over by the train.
Jed: Also, you can plan, you can generate all the story you want but there’s always a bump in the road. You know, schedules. There’s a lot of actors. There’s rain. There’s things that you can’t anticipate that when those bumps in the road come you just have to…
Jeff: Evidently every show on TV has a Patton Oswald at least twice a week. Have you noticed this? And so us trying to get a Canning on this show it’s like getting Elijah. You set a chair, you hope he shows up and that’s it.
Jed: We’re like we’ll come to you with a camera. Just tell us where you are.
As our interview concluded Jeff and Jed asked;
Jeff : Was our cast nice to you? We have a terrific cast who are like as you see them here…
Jed : That’s what they’re like.
Jeff : They’re kind of like that which is awesome.
It truly was an honor to be able to interview such talented actors and producers. You really got the feeling that they were all like family on this set. The interviews really showed that in how much they joked with one another, teased each other and generally bantered back and forth. A great experience that I am blessed to be able to share with you all. AND –
Don’t forget –
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Finale airs tonight at 9p|8p cst on ABC.
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “S.O.S.,” Part One and Part Two” – S.H.I.E.L.D. puts everything on the line to survive a war that blurs the line between friend and foe. Coulson and his team will be forced to make shocking sacrifices that will leave their relationships and their world changed forever, on the two-hour season finale of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” TUESDAY, MAY 12 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network
THE INHUMANS’ ENDGAME IS REVEALED, ON THE TWO-HOUR SEASON FINALE OF ABC’S “MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“S.O.S.,” Part One and Part Two” – S.H.I.E.L.D. puts everything on the line to survive a war that blurs the line between friend and foe. Coulson and his team will be forced to make shocking sacrifices that will leave their relationships and their world changed forever, on the two-hour season finale of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” TUESDAY, MAY 12 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” stars Clark Gregg as Director Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Agent Skye, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons, Nick Blood as Lance Hunter and Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse.
Guest starring on “S.O.S.,” Part One are Henry Simmons as Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie, Ruth Negga as Raina, Kyle Maclachlan as Cal, Jamie Harris as Gordon, Christine Adams as Agent Weaver, Mark Allan Stewart as Agent Oliver, Maya Stojan as Kara/Agent 33, Dichen Lachman as Jiaying, Luke Mitchell as Lincoln Campbell, Kyle Mattocks as Agent Harris, Ryan Powers as S.H.I.E.L.D. tech agent and Alicia Vela-Bailey as Alisha.
Guest starring on “S.O.S.,” Part Two are Henry Simmons as Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie, Kyle Maclachlan as Cal, Jamie Harris as Gordon, Christine Adams as Agent Weaver, Mark Allan Stewart as Agent Oliver, Blair Underwood as Andrew Garner, Maya Stojan as Kara/Agent 33, Dichen Lachman as Jiaying, Luke Mitchell as Lincoln Campbell, Brendan Wayne as Jiaying’s assistant, Robert Reinis as bartender, Daz Crawford as Kebo, Alicia Vela-Bailey as Alisha and Anthony D. Washington as TAC agent #3.
”S.O.S.,” Part One was written by Jeffrey Bell and directed by Vincent Misiano.
”S.O.S.,” Part Two was written by Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen and directed by Billy Gierhart.
Follow along for everything MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
You don’t want to miss any updates on the upcoming season of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – yes they’ve been renewed for season three!!!