Hayley Atwell Talks ‘Agent Carter’

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[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]he premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter is just around the corner, and the series star, Hayley Atwell, is giving fans a tease of what the can expect throughout the course of the the first season’s 8-episode run.

The two-hour premiere picks up some time after the arctic plunge that was presumed to have killed Steve Rogers in the third act of Captain America: The First Avenger. Now with WWII over, Peggy Carter, must continue to fight battles on all fronts, both internal and external, while dealing with colleagues who marginalize her potential within the SSR .

This domestic conflict is what ultimately drives the character. Atwell describes one of her favorite aspects about playing Agent Carter:

[dropcap size=small][/dropcap]…she doesn’t sacrifice her integrity, her morals or her femininity when she’s up against tremendous personal and external obstacles. She is a fighter and a survivor, but she doesn’t have any superpowers. She has to rely on her wits and intelligence and determination to navigate what comes her way.”

The clever thing about Agent Carter is that the male/female conflicts typical of the time period aren’t just dismissed with some quick quips or witty zingers from Carter as to demand her colleagues’ respect with a hefty dose of confident sass. Instead, Carter adapts, and plays into her male colleagues’ assumptions to gain the upper hand. Atwell observes:

[dropcap size=small][/dropcap]She’s highly skilled in being a chameleon and using what she can in any given situation to get what she wants, and sometimes that means using her sexuality, sometimes that means outwitting the men.”

HAYLEY ATWELL
Agent Carter goes undercover

Agent Carter also won’t ignore the effects of the loss of Steve Rogers on Peggy. Much of who the character is stems from the love she has for Rogers, and through his values, Peggy is able to find the strength to deal with her own personal struggles, yet still experiences a great deal of grief:

[dropcap size=small][/dropcap]You’re seeing someone who has her own demons and her own character flaws, and she’s having to struggle with that while keeping up this facade of a put-together, perfect agent who can cope with everything. But there’s a cost to that. Everyone on the planet is only strong until a certain point, everyone has a trigger, and this season really shows that. [In Peggy] we don’t have someone who is superhuman in her abilities. We see her cry, we see her private moments, we see her loneliness. We see the emotional and psychological costs of the position that she’s in and the loss that she’s had of Steve.”

As far as the plot of the new series, much of the two-hour premiere revolves around the search for a highly volatile “bad baby” invention concocted by Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), that will have dangerous implications if fallen into the wrong hands. Still, Atwell makes it clear that this is not a “case of the week” type show:

[dropcap size=small][/dropcap]It’s not like, ‘Let’s find this ‘bad baby,’ now let’s find that ‘bad baby.’ It goes to a much deeper, darker place. I was absolutely shocked and delighted when I started to read the later episodes and see the direction we’re going in. That’s one of the advantages of having only eight episodes, is that it’s not diluted over 22. This has a very strong story and is essentially four films.”

Will you be tuning in to Agent Carter? What are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy these stills from the series premiere while you wait!

Agent Carter premieres Tuesday at 8/7c, before moving to Tuesdays-at-9 time slot starting January 13.

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