This past December, I had the pleasure of visiting the set of Agent Carter. If you are a fan of the Marvel Universe, you know how big of a deal this was. Agent Peggy Carter is one of the best heroines on television right now. Amazing style, quick wit, high intelligence, and did I mention she can take down anyone in her way? Well, she rocks.
Season 2 of Marvel’s AGENT CARTER premieres Tuesday, January 19th at 9/8c on ABC.
But, before we get into the two hour season premiere, let’s chat with stars Hayley Attwell and James D’Arcy.
These two were a joy to interview, as their rapport with each other was infectious. Hayley and James seemed to be fast friends, which makes sense. When you are filming 2 episodes simultaneously, you have no choice but to get along well with each other. We started the interview by asking the duo where are once AGENT CARTER Season 2 begins.
Well, we’ve moved to Los Angeles…actually no, 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 sort of New Yorky, dark, dingy vibe, now it’s bright sunlight and palm trees and sort of Chinatown type deal.
And glamorous, but D’Arcy, Jarvis doesn’t like L.A., do you?
No. 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 (filming) was complete misery. The writers just came and sort of hooted with laughter all day long. They loved it. They had been looking forward to it since May when they started writing.
We asked Hayley and James how they were like their characters. An amazing question to ask any actor. Of course, these two gave us thought-provoking and somewhat jovial answers.
Stubborn, I think, quite determined, quite single-minded, tenacious. I think it’s all the bad stuff I relate to. All the good stuff, I’m like “she’s amazing, I can’t relate.”
What do I relate to in Jarvis? I think he’s very, um…
Which I am.
Occasionally, but never when Hayley was on Twitter, never on her Twitter feed. I manage to avoid all dignity. I absented myself from dignity for all social media.
I think he’s really kind and I think he’s one of the world’s first feminists. Particularly in season 1, when all the men just dismissed her. They didn’t even bother hating her. She just didn’t even count. And Jarvis was the only person who saw her as a fully rounded three-dimensional human being, and I love that about Jarvis, and I do identify with that actually. He’s, a bit of a Wally, isn’t he? I guess I identify with that. He’s not afraid of his inner Wally, Jarvis. He’s not afraid to be uncool. I am afraid to be uncool, but I am just uncool.
I really like Jarvis. He’s my favorite character I’ve ever played.
We asked Hayley how it feels to be a role model, to play a very empowering woman in the 1940s.
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, because 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 kind of worked away in different things, but she’s very adventurous. And I found that she 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 I love the fact that here we have this superhero franchise which loves to put women in cat suits and look really sexy. I have no problem with that, but (it) can be slightly over-objectified and over-sexualized. And I was like, just as an actor, I have no interest in that.
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 that undermines how far women have come, how committed I am to the work that I do and what drives me. Which is why something like a role like Peggy, I can revisit again and again and again, because I feel like ultimately she’s a force for good in the world.