Hayley Atwell, the star of Marvel’s new series Agent Carter, reveals that when she heard super sleuth Peggy Carter was getting her own series it ‘blew my mind!’
London-born Hayley, 33, has already appeared as kickass Agent Carter in three Marvel’s movie franchises, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, and says:
“It just blew my mind. It’s such a huge privilege. It was actually in the back of the car on the way to a Chinese meal with the co-president of Marvel, Louis D’Esposito, who’s really championed the show.”
“When he turned to me and said ‘do you fancy making a show?’ I jumped at the chance because I thought there were so many more stories that Peggy could tell. She’s such an interesting and enigmatic character. I wanted to get under her skin a little bit more.”
Hayley, who’s best known for her roles in The Prisoner remake, The Pillars of the Earth and Any Human Heart, soon realised what a huge undertaking it was to play Peggy long-term in the Agent Carter TV series, which has already been recommissioned for a second season.
Speaking to What’s on TV Hayley explains: “It takes stamina to lead a show. You’re pretty much in every scene and setting the atmosphere and the tone for the whole set. There’s a responsibility to lead and to make sure everybody feels validated in the jobs they’re doing, and that it’s a fun relaxed environment to work in so people do their best work.”
She adds: “You [also] inherit a huge fan base. The Marvel fans.
“I’ve met quite a few superfans. People who’ve dressed up as Peggy, including a couple of guys! With the red hats and the blue jackets they look a little bit like Paddington Bear! But they are wonderful. I’ve met a lot of young kids who quote the line Peggy has at the end of the season where she says ‘I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter’. It’s been lovely to hear back from people who have taken Peggy into their hearts and they get to tell me she’s become a role model and positive influence in their lives and that’s a lovely by-product of doing a show like this.”
Hayley reveals: “I’ve known James D’Arcy and Dominic Cooper for the last ten years so they’re old friends. I worked with Dominic on The Duchess and with James on a BBC adaptation of Mansfield Park. They’re pranksters and know how to have a good time! And they get my kooky, goofball sense of humour!”
For the full interview please watch the video above.
The UK release of series one of Agent Carter airs on Sunday July 12th at 9pm on FOX