The name Clark Gregg may not ring with you at first, but once you see the man who made a minor character into a major S.H.I.E.L.D. fixture you’ll know exactly who he is.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Clark prior to the Blu-ray release of IRON MAN 2 regarding Agent Phil Coulson, THE AVENGERS, THOR, Marvel, and Dancing with the Stars.
Shane: Did you ever expect that Agent Coulson would become such a big fixture in Marvel universe after his small part in the first IRON MAN movie?
Clark Gregg: I could say no, but that would be the understatement of the eon. It was a tiny, it couldn’t have been more than 10-lines in the original Iron Man script they sent over. I said “oh, God. (sigh) I really don’t want to be a walk on”, but I love Jon Favreau and I love the movie, and I love these actors. “Ah what the hell, I’m doing it”.
Usually the 10-lines become two, and it doesn’t become 10 scenes, and as much fun as I had. It certainly doesn’t become 4, 5, 6 movies. I can’t believe my luck on this (small chuckle).
Shane: When you first said the words “I’m with the Strategic Homeland Intervention & Enforcement Division” in IRON MAN I missed the S.H.I.E.L.D. reference, until someone I was with pointed it out. S.H.I.E.L.D plays a large part of the Marvel universe, did you expect the size of the reception it received, or that it would become a fixture in these movies?
Clark Gregg: I loved IRON MAN, I knew a little about S.H.I.E.L.D, not that much. So, when I first showed up I realized, they started to write more and more scenes, I said “I gotta know this man”. I talked to the Marvel guys, who were so SO happy to give me a book that’s as thick as car tire about S.H.I.E.L.D. with amazing pictures. I still have it. Look at it sometimes.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is cool, and S.H.I.E.L.D. is also the connective tissue between all these superheroes and us. People like Phil Coulson, at least as far as it’s been revealed yet in terms of IRON MAN 2 – he doesn’t have any magic powers yet. So, he’s really someone that the audience can relate to, and S.H.I.E.L.D. is too.
I loved to say that [Strategic Homeland Intervention & Enforcement Division], and being at the premiere and hearing the response myself.
Shane: You’re character’s next appearance is in THOR, and judging by the comic footage you play a much larger part in it.
Clark Gregg: Definitely, Agent Coulson has more to do in THOR. He’s the one who is dispatched to figure out what’s going on in New Mexico. I’ve seen exactly as much as you have in that footage. Until I see the movie I won’t know exactly how much of it’s there. Ya, it was really fun to have a bigger job to do.
Shane: I know there is not a lot as far as scripts go for THE AVENGERS or THE NIC FURY film. Are you have any input into your character in these? As you are a writer and director.
Clark Gregg: When they’ve someone like Joss Whedon working on this… they don’t need me. I was thrilled at Comic-con when he told me he wanted to introduce me as part of the cast. That was kind of like winning the lottery to me.
In the past, they’ve been really amazing about kind of, really Ken Branaugh, saying: here’s the new dimensions to Coulson that are going to be revealed here. We kind of feel you are this guy. Any kind of reactions, any kind of moments in character you have you kind of want to go with.. do it. I know that’s how you made IRON MAN 1 & 2. That’s all I can really ask for.
Shane: Having directed CHOKE, did working with any of the directors influence the way you proceeded in directing it.
Clark Gregg: Yes. I’ve been really lucky to work with some great directors. What I noticed about the ones I was most proud of being in is they really created an environment where the actors were part of the process. The kind of was no such thing as failing. Anything you tried could be in the movie.
That in a very silly sense is what I tried to come up with. If you try to keep things silly in a dank mental hospital where people don’t even have trailers and their in padded cells on a cot between takes then you’re ahead of the game.
Shane: With your wife on Dancing with the Stars are we going to see you on it?
Clark Gregg: You won’t see me dancing that’s for damn sure, but I will definitely be in the audience cheering my sweetheart unto glory.
IRON MAN 2 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.