Interview Conducted By: Mark Julian
Back in December I had the chance to catchup with actor Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson) to discuss The Avengers and we talked about the importance of his character and what the future holds for the fan-favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Here's the remaining balance of that conversation where I ask about the different directorial styles of Jon Favreau, Kenneth Branagh and Joss Whedon, whether we'll get more "One-Shots" and if he's talked to Marvel about stepping behind the camera for one of their features.
CLARK GREGG FILMOGRAPHY
2012 Ultimate Spider-Man as Agent/Principal Phil Coulson
2012 The Avengers as Agent Phil Coulson
2011 Mr. Popper's Penguins as Nat Jones
2011 Thor as Agent Phil Coulson
2011 The New Adventures of Old Christine (TV) as Richard Campbell Sr.
2010 Iron Man 2 as Agent Phil Coulson
2009 (500) Days of Summer as Vance
2008 Iron Man as Agent Phil Coulson
2006–2010 The New Adventures of Old Christine (TV series) as Richard Campbell (88 episodes)
2007 Choke as Lord High Charlie
2007 The Air I Breathe as Henry
2007 In the Land of Women as Nelson Hardwicke
2006 Road to Christmas (TV) as Tom Pullman
2006 Hoot as Chuck Muckle
2006 Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas as Publisher
2006 When a Stranger Calls as Ben Johnson
2005 CSI: NY (TV series) as D.A. Allen McShane (1 episode)
2004 In Good Company as Mark Steckle
2004 The Shield (TV series) as William Faulks (2 episodes)
2001–2004The West Wing (TV series) as FBI Special Agent Michael Casper (8 episodes)
2004 In Enemy Hands as U.S.S. Swordfish: Executive Officer Teddy Goodman
2004 Spartan as Miller
2003 The Human Stain as Nelson Primus
2003 11:14 as Officer Hannagan
2003 Will & Grace (TV series) as Cameron (1 episode)
2003 Northfork (uncredited) as Mr. Hadfield
2002 Live from Baghdad (TV) as Eason Jordan
2002 We Were Soldiers as Captain Tom Metsker
2002 My Sister's Keeper (TV) as Harvey
2002 One Hour Photo as Detective Paul Outerbridge
2001 Lovely & Amazing as Bill
2001 Artificial Intelligence: AI as Supernerd
2000 The Practice (TV series) as Julie McGrath's Brother (1 episode)
2000 Sex and the City (TV series) as Harris Bragen (1 episode)
2000 State and Main as Doug Mackenzie
2000 Sports Night as The Stranger (2 episodes)
1999 Magnolia as WDKK Floor Director
1998 The Adventures of Sebastian Cole as Hank/Henrietta Rossi
1997 Six Ways to Sunday as Benjamin Taft
1997 The Spanish Prisoner as FBI Sniper
1997 The Last Time I Committed Suicide as Cop #1
1996 Touched by an Angel as Don Dudey (1 episode)
1995 Central Park West (1 episode)
1995 Above Suspicion as Randy
1995 The Commish as Tom Cannon (2 episodes)
1995 Tyson (TV) as Kevin Rooney
1995 The Usual Suspects as Dr. Walters
1994 The George Carlin Show (1 episode)
1994 Clear and Present Danger (1994) as Staff Sergeant
1994 I Love Trouble as Darryl Beekman, Jr.
1994 Ride Me as Jake Shank
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles as Dickinson (1 episode)
1992 Lana in Love as Marty
1991 A Woman Named Jackie (TV mini-series) as Ken O'Donnell
1991 Shannon's Deal (1 episode)
1991 Law & Order (TV series) as Patrick Dunne (1 episode)
1989 Fat Man and Little Boy as Douglas Panton
1988 Things Change as Stage Manager
1988 Lip Service (TV) as Stage Manager
2008 Choke adapted screenplay)
2000 What Lies Beneath (screenplay and story)
And here's a transcript for those who prefer to read:
MARK JULIAN: Just recently we got those awesome shorts that were all about you. Can you talk about who directed those where it was just you, taking out the bad guys?
CLARK GREGG: You, know….it didn’t suck to have Coulson [of] S.H.I.E.L.D. front and center and not behind a bunch of superheroes . It was this really cool guy named Abdelkareem Abonamous [of Leythum], terrific director from a number of countries. He’s a terrific, talented guy, really enjoyed working with him. Marvel had this idea that they wanted to fill in some of the gaps and for my money, it felt like a warm-up for The Coulson film.
MARK JULIAN: Oh really?
CLARK GREGG: That’s how I was pitching it [laughs]. They were like, ‘You mean the S.H.I.E.L.D. movie’ and I said ‘I think I mean the Coulson movie.’ [laughs]
MARK JULIAN: Have you filmed anymore ‘Shorts’ while on The Avengers or will those two be the only ones that we’ll be getting?
CLARK GREGG: Those are the only two that I have filmed so far.
MARK JULIAN: You've worked with Jon Favreau, Kenneth Branagh and now Joss Whedon. Can you compare their directorial styles?
CLARK GREGG: It’s funny, because they all seem so completely different in a lot of ways and yet to me, they were really similar in some core ways. The three of them are really, really funny and I love working with funny directors because it makes your day fun even when it’s kind of long and arduous. They’re each really brilliant guys. John and Kenneth are also actors, who [happen to] direct so they really understand an actor’s process but then I was working on this top-secret Shakespeare project with Joss a couple of weeks after [The Avengers] and he read one of the parts for a minute and he’s a really good actor. So every time I think I understand what’s different about them, they seem really similar. They all really love comics and they all really love the stories and really take them seriously and get what needs to be humorous. Luckily for me, they all seemed to get what was cool about Coulson and his role and his snide sense of humor. It was really a treat to see how different each experience was going to be and I had a truly amazing experience on The Avengers with Joss.
MARK JULIAN: You're also a talented director in your own right, having directed Choke which received the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Any chance we'll see Clark Gregg directing a Marvel film or short?
CLARK GREGG: Yeah, I’ve definitely been talking to [Marvel] about working with them and hopefully directing something. I’d love to direct one of the ‘Shorts’. I’m about to make another Indie feature of my own, actually it’s starting right after the New Year but after that, yeah.
MARK JULIAN: Were you given any specific comics to read in preparation for The Avengers?
CLARK GREGG: No. Definitely, I was rusty on my comics but I’ve been a comic book fan so I knew some stuff about Tony Stark and Iron Man and a little bit about S.H.I.E.L.D. but not much. There’s this amazing guy at Marvel named Jeremy Latcham whose been on most of the movies with me, and about the third day of [filming] Iron Man, when I started saying ‘Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division’ and I realized what that was, I went to Jeremy and said you know, ‘I know a little bit about S.H.I.E.L.D. but perhaps I need to know more’ and he beautifully, showed up the next day with just a comic book fans wet-dream of this 500-page encyclopedia of comic excerpts and background information on the Marvel Universe and S.H.I.E.l.D. and it’s a treasured possession in a vault in my house right now.
MARK JULIAN: At the end of Iron Man we knew that all the movies would eventually lead up to The Avengers. Is there a similar scene at the end of The Avengers that let's us know where the MCU is headed next?
CLARK GREGG: That,I don’t know. That, I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that. There was some talk about what that might be but I will be like everyone else ,very excited to see what’s at the end of this movie.
MARK JULIAN: Last question, you have a daughter. Do you get cool points with her for starring in all these superhero movies?
CLARK GREGG: Just barely. If I had a son I really would but she’s like ‘I don’t want to watch this’ [laughs]. She hasn’t seen Thor but she likes when the kids her age, like some of the boys in her class are excited about the Agent Coulson stuff and she likes that. But she, herself…maybe someday it’ll turn around but right now, she could care less about Agent Coulson. I don’t get a lot of Agent Coulson love at my house [laughs].
[Click on images to enlarge.]
Robert Clark Gregg (born June 29 1962) is an American actor, screenwriter and director. He co-starred as Christine Campbell's ex-husband Richard in the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, which debuted in March 2006 and concluded in May 2010. He is also known for playing Agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and The Avengers).
Agent Phil Coulson is a fictional character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which crosses over several Marvel Studios superhero films. Coulson first appeared as a member of the fictional agency S.H.I.E.L.D. in Jon Favreau's 2008 film Iron Man, where he was portrayed by American actor Clark Gregg. Gregg then signed a multi-film deal with Marvel Studios and reprised the role in Favreau's 2010 film Iron Man 2 and Kenneth Branagh's 2011 film Thor. Gregg is also reported to star as Coulson in Joss Whedon's 2012 film The Avengers and be the subject of a series of short films and "digicomics". Gregg will voice the character in the upcoming cartoon series Ultimate Spider-Man, where he is undercover as Peter Parker's school principal.
In the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agent Coulson is generally used to represent S.H.I.E.L.D.'s presence in the plots of the films, to the point that Clark Gregg has described Coulson as "the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent". However, in the "Marvel One-Shots", Coulson is given "a chance to stand in his own spotlight for once", when the character is put in a position where there is an imminent threat and no superheroes around. The decision to give more focus to Coulson was "a natural" one said "Marvel One-Shot" co-producer Brad Winderbaum.