Agent Carter Season 2: Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy Interview

The Marvel Universe. It’s so big that sometimes I can’t keep up. I made that mistake last season when I missed out on watching Marvel’s Agent Carter Season 1. Luckily I was able to play catch up and watch all of season 1, and well, I am hooked.



The back story – 

Years before Phil Coulson and his S.H.I.E.L.D. team swore to protect those who cannot protect themselves from threats they cannot conceive, there was Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell, Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier) who pledged the same oath but lived in a different time when women weren’t recognized as being as smart or as tough as their male counterparts. But no one should ever underestimate Peggy.

Dedicated to the fight against new Atomic Age threats in the wake of World War II, Peggy must now journey from New York City to Los Angeles for her most dangerous assignment yet. But even as she discovers new friends, a new home – perhaps even a new love – she’s about to find out that the bright lights of the post-war Hollywood mask a more sinister threat to everyone she is sworn to protect.

Now that I am all caught up on Marvel’s Agent Carter season one, what should I expect of season 2? Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwellis embarking on a new mission in a place, sunny LA. Wonder what’s in store for her on the other side of the map. And what about Jarvis (James D’Arcy)? They are quite the pair, and who else wants to know more about Chief Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj)? 

Agent Carter Season 2: Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy Interview

(ABC/Patrick Wymore)

Visiting the set of Marvel’s Agent Carter was quite a treat, but to sit down with Agent Carter and Jarvis for a little chat, now that was quite an entertaining treat.

Season 2, where are we at and what’s going on?

James: Well, ah, we’ve moved to Los Angeles, ah, or actually no, I’ve moved to Los Angeles, but then for reason, ah, I can’t ever remember how, we can’t ever tell you anything, so it’s terrible. These (kind of interviews) are always very frustrating. Things happen, which are terribly exciting, but they all take place in L.A., so it’s, 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.

Hayley: And glamorous, but D’Arcy, Jarvis doesn’t like L.A., do you?

James: No.

Hayley: With palm trees and everyone eats avocados with everything.

James: Yes, they do, and now they eat brussel sprouts with everything, which I hate…

Hayley: Which you hate. I like.

James: Personally, I don’t what Jarvis thinks about it.

Hayley: You like avocado though.

James: I do.

Hayley: You’re funny like that.

James: But Jarvis doesn’t.

Hayley: Jarvis doesn’t. It makes for a quite iconic moment.

James: 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. 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. They send me texts going  (Laughing as he pretends to text)

(ABC/Patrick Wymore)
(ABC/Patrick Wymore)

In what ways are you like your character?

Hayley: Ah, 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.

James: I relate to that in you, though.

Hayley: In what?

James: Even if you don’t see it, all the good stuff.

Hayley: Alright, you can come back for season 3.

James: What do I relate to in Jarvis? I think he’s very, um…

Hayley: Dignified.

James: Which I am.

Hayley: Not!

James: Occasionally, but never when, 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. Ah, well, I think he’s really kind and, and I think he’s like one of the world’s first feminists, ah, particularly in season 1 when, you know, all the men just dismissed her. They didn’t even bother hating her. They just, she just didn’t eve count. And Jarvis was like 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. Ah, I don’t know. He’s, a bit of a Wally, isn’t he? I guess I identify with that. He’s not afraid if his inner Wally, Jarvis. He’s not afraid to be uncool. I am afraid to be uncool, but I am just uncool.

Hayley: and very lovable.

James: I really like Jarvis. He’s my favorite character I’ve ever played.

(ABC/Bob D'Amico)
(ABC/Bob D’Amico)

Why is that? What is it about Jarvis?

James: Oh, because he just plows his own furrow. He really doesn’t care if people don’t like him. He has his way of doing things, and he’s totally at peace with that. And I personally, I don’t know about you guys, but I respond really well to anybody who is just very comfortable being themselves, you know, even if they’re nothing like, I like people that are nothing like me, but they’re really comfortable in their eccentricities. I’m really good at that. I’m like, oh yeah, great. Actually, I think I should have a mustache like that, too. That would look really good on me. You know, I’ve become very susceptible to that. I sort of fall in with it.

Hayley: You get a sense he’s very happy in his home life, too, I think.

James: You do.

Hayley: That you just got very strong marriage, which is I think quite, quite exciting for Peggy in a way, ’cause she’s had such bad luck with men that to see it demonstrated a loving relationship between two people who respect each other. I think it makes it possible for in her imagination. So I think she admires Jarvis’ home life.

James: Too much really, ’cause she gets out and about this season, doesn’t she? She does. There are a few gentlemen callers. No, there are. That’s not a spoiler!  There is, that’s been announced. There are not just one but multi, would- be Mr. Carters

Hayley: Any guy with three-and-a-half legs.

James: What?

Hayley: Three-and-a-half legs.

Three-and-a-half legs?

Hayley: Or five legs. Yeah.

James: Depending on how you look at it. No, that’s, that’s too much of a spoiler.

So will you take him up Agent Sousa offer of dinner and a drink?


Hayley: Well, the thing is when you first, without giving too much away, when you see them reunite, I guess, 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.

James: Six months from the last, right, six months or a year or something from the end of season 1 to season 2, so stuff’s happened.

Hayley: Yeah, stuff happened.

James: They’re a bit of in the middle.

Hayley: And it’s also the first time they meet is a misconception, because Peg has been told that he’s asked her to come out. So she’s out 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 this, anyone, anyone, and then not a woman. So that immediately makes her feel kind of a little bit rejected  and back-footed 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…

James: Howdy Doody.

Hayley : A Howdy Doody.(both laughing)

Agent Carter ties in to this larger Marvel universe. Do you find yourselves exploring that as a fan of watching it and wondering where different pieces will hook together?

James: We took an executive decision, I haven’t watched any TV at all, because in 1947, no TV was invented. I only watch film. I can only watch films up until 1947, the last year-and-a-half, so no spoilers about anything that happened at the Oscars this year. We’re really deep in character, here. So that, the Marvel universe, we don’t know anything about that.

Hayley: It’s like the biggest load of b.s.

James: Okay, Hayley’s gonna tell you about how we fit into the Marvel universe. Go. (laughing – perfect set up!)

(ABC/Bob D'Amico)
(ABC/Bob D’Amico)

Hayley: I do feel that because it’s 1940’s, and because we do exist in our own world, really. And that’s, that’s kind of why it feels unrelated. It feels like this show has it’s own tones, very different from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., for example. And because of that, there’s a freedom, you know, and I like kind of signed up for Peggy, I didn’t know she’d end up here. And I don’t think anyone did. There was no expectation. You see the reaction of the fans, and we were interested in that. And me feeling that I could find different things to explore in her, but it felt like kind of, against my stubborn single mindedness, that it had to be more on my own terms as an actor of what I feel like I could do, I could bring to it, that was outside of the fandom because I wasn’t familiar with Marvel and I wasn’t familiar with the comic book world. So I thought, well, if I’m not and I’m not in the center of my own little microcosm of that, then it’s got to feel relatable to people who are outside the fandom. And so I approached the characters as I would any other job, which is: commit to finding some kind of depth or some kind of psychological story behind what drives her, and then commit to it in the best way that I possibly could so that,  from the biggest, avid fan of comic books to my granny could be, there’d be something in it. It turns out, it was the costume.

James: But I think it’s one of the things that’s so great about this show, I mean, look, I haven’t seen all of the movies and honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed by how big that universe is now. And if you miss one of the films, you feel like, ah, now I’ve screwed it up. Now I have to watch, I need to see everything in order to understand. What’s great about this is you really don’t need to know anything else. We do pre-date all the other stuff that comes along, with the exception of the first Captain America film, so you can watch it kind of in it’s own…

How do you feel being a female role model? In the 1940’s, there aren’t many women doing that kind of job.


Hayley: 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 and I feel…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 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’s 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, this kind of superhero franchise which loves to put women in cat suits and look really sexy, great, 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. 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.

What is it like on set?

via ABC
via ABC

James: It’s a nightmare. Work work work! They’re slave drivers!

Hayley: Alright, so at any given time, you don’t know what’s gonna happen. You know, my trailer is still, because I can’t really take it down, but it’s covered in pictures of James. He, went on to Google and got the art department to print every possible online picture and they plastered it all over my trailer. I was like, oh for God’s sake.

James: I was going to say, but like no one has ever seen the picture. There’s only one copy of it in existence. I also got her hat, her red, iconic hat and struck the Burt Reynolds 1970’s pose complete with mustache, with the hat. You’ll never see that picture, but you are, I permit you to know that it exists. It was my Halloween gift to her.

Hayley: It greets me every morning. I even found a picture of you in the toilet.

James: Yes, if you open up the loo, there’s a little picture of me staring up at her. Happy Halloween.

How long does it take you to film an episode?

via ABC/Marvel

James: We shoot two episodes at once, so we get 15 days for 2 episodes, so 3 weeks, but actually it’s not 15. We get his sort of sneaky half-day as well.

Hayley: 15 days, 14, 15 day, 2 episodes. 

James: 14, 15, 16, whatever it takes, really.

Hayley: Whatever it takes, depending on the, the level of naughtiness.

It’s obvious that the naughtiness must be happening often. However, I don’t think long shoot days phase these two.

“Marvel’s Agent Carter” returns for a second season TONIGHT, TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, with a two-hour season premiere (9:00-11:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network.

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*I was invited by Disney, ABC and Marvel to take part of a special press junket that gave me the opportunity to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.
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