Tuesday (March 1) finds the second season of “Marvel’s Agent Carter” coming to a close. So many ups and downs were explored through the 10-episode season which not only found the SSR dealing with a new foe in Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) — as well as that pesky Zero Matter — Peggy (Hayley Atwell) also went down a path of self-discovery in her own pursuit of love.
There has been much scrutiny regarding the possible return of the comic book series for a third season. Right now, things are unknown about the show’s fate. With many plot lines tied up in the episode, titled “Hollywood Ending,” fans may already be speculating on where Agent Carter would go if her story continues.
Zap2it had the chance to sit down with Peggy Carter herself, Hayley Atwell, to discuss the themes of feminism, love and respect that have flourished throughout the show’s two season run.
‘Agent Carter’ takes place in another era, but the tone of the series also feels like it’s from another time which helps to tackle important issues in a unique light.
Hayley Atwell: I think setting it in the 1940s, because sexism was so much more on the surface, enables us to explore that in much more unsubtle ways and it means that we can see what we’re fighting against here. It makes her stand out as quite a bold woman ahead of her time. That makes her feel modern and that more relatable.
What has it been like bringing this once unknown character from the big-screen to TV? She’s become quite the iconic hero and role model for many.
The whole experience, really, has been a joy. It’s been a huge learning curve for me as an actor to go on set every day and be in every scene; to understand the stamina that takes and responsibility where you are setting the tone of the piece. If you’re creating an environment where people can relax and feel welcomed, then they tend to do better work. So, the show is better because of it.
There are so many moving parts involved in a production like this, that is definitely a big responsibility.
I’ve got the chance to make some lifelong friends here, and also just to learn what goes into the making of a TV show like this. The commitment and the hard work … knowing that most of the crew get to the set before the actors do and they leave after the actors. That, of course, affects their home life.
We did a half-way party when we were filming — halfway through the shoot — and James [D’Arcy] and I wanted to publicly acknowledge the families of the crew and the cast, who sacrifice their loved ones to do this show, because they just don’t see them through the duration of it. That really is how these people work — with such incredible reserves of energy and commitment.
I find the whole experience very humbling, so it was very easy for me to fall in love with the show and the people in it. I wanted to do the very best that I can and be grateful for what they were putting into it as well.
You can feel it in the way every character interacts. Those bonds are easy for audiences to invest in and helps us root for the characters even more.
James D’Arcy (Edwin Jarvis) and I made a pact to each other the first day of filming Season 1 that we would have the most amount of fun we could possibly have … that was legal and in the world of professionalism, and we did! It was amazing to go through this with him, because we couldn’t get through a lot of the scenes because we were laughing so much.
Then, what was lovely is you have this wave of new actors coming in on Season 2 that were just bringing a different kind of energy; a complete fresh new perspective and passion one couldn’t get tired of. It would inject a bit of power in a scene. I think it was cast really well in that respect and I can’t say anything other than the whole experience has been nothing but a real joy and a gift for me … professionally and personally.
What also sets this apart from most TV series is the lack of any love triangle between Peggy, Jarvis and his wife Ana.
I think it would’ve cheapened it and what happened as a result is it went the opposite way. We saw Peggy as someone who admires other people’s relationships and knows a good thing when she sees it. She sees honor in Jarvis, something solid, real and divine. In that, I think if anything, Peggy takes away hope that might be possible for her one day. That’s great because adding the drama of, you know, “Oh, she’s going to be threatened by her” really cheapens it.
Peggy and Ana (Lotte Verbeek) are both classy and elegant women who know their value, know their independence and know they can support other women without feeling threatened by them. That is a far more realistic experience, in my view, and one that makes for a far more interesting drama.
You know, you keep the drama between the bad, evil forces of the world … and not the petty domestics of, kind of, cross affairs. I think that makes the show stand out and adds more integrity to it, really.
It was a breath of fresh air when ‘Agent Carter’ didn’t take that turn, instead showing a theme of love and respect not often shown in instances like these.
I like that … and I also, I like that Peggy seems to like other women. She loves Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) and there’s a true friendship there, where they don’t have to spend all their time talking about men or competing with each other. There was affection there, as there should be because that’s how the world is.
I have affection for other women who are dear friends of mine and it doesn’t ever have to go into petty competition or anything like that which we see a lot of in film and TV these days. I think it adds an elegance to the show because of that.
James D’Arcy told us previously that he’s never done comedy before joining the show. How about you?
I’ve had moments of it on stage but I can’t say I’ve actually done something that was more comedy than anything else. This has a different kind of tone, this show, because it’s not a straight out comedy but it has comedic elements to it — a tongue-in-cheek aspect to it — which really allows it to be playful and fun and lighthearted.
What you see on screen is James and I having an absolute ball, essentially trying to make each other laugh. There were times when James would do things that were so outrageous that ended up having to be on the blooper reel. We have hours and hours on our blooper reel footage.
Here’s hoping all those hours of footage she refers to gets released. Sure, the finale teased a new story that would follow a mysterious key and put Jack Thompson’s (Chad Michael Murray) fate in the balance, but a series renewal may not be in the cards.
Until that decision is made, a blooper reel could be the best method for fans to deal with “Agent Carter” withdrawals. After-all, laughter is the best medicine.