Ming-Na Wen on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: "It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This"
IGN's Eric Goldman recently spoke to one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s stars, Ming-Na Wen, about playing Agent Melinda May on the series, the show’s scope and more.
IGN: You shot the pilot at the very beginning of the year and then there were several months before you began filming the second episode. Everyone assumed the show would be picked up to series, but was it great to actually finally get to jump back into it?
Ming-Na Wen: Well, it was pure torture just waiting and waiting and waiting for months on end. And now that we're in the thick of it and all this great buzz that we're getting, it's just… I’m living the dream, man! This is great. It doesn't get any better than this, Eric! It really doesn’t.
IGN: As you mentioned, the buzz is huge for this show. Is it all just exciting or does any trepidation come with that?
Ming-Na Wen: It reminds me of the moment right before I have to get onstage for a performance. Those butterflies that you get and the nervousness… It’s that anticipation. That feeling of, “Okay, how are they going to respond?” But now that we've been getting so much positive feedback, I just can’t wait for everybody to see it, you know? Because we have a really good show and I am so proud of it and I just want everybody to have that chance to share and be entertained by it.
IGN: When Coulson brings Melinda back, it’s clear something happened that made her stop being a field agent. Now that you've filmed a few episodes, have you been learning a bit more about her?
Ming-Na Wen: Oh, absolutely. I don't think I've ever loved a character more, because she’s complex and she’s mysterious, but at the same time, I think she compartmentalized whatever it was that took her out of the field – and now that she’s back in the game, she’s back in the game. There’s definitely going to be opportunities when the audience get to see those small moments or that moment when you really see her become vulnerable. And that’s what’s so great about doing a television show is that we have the luxury of time to explore it. It’s a good novel, a page-turner.
IGN: Melinda and Coulson already know each other, but the rest of the team are all new to both of you. Do you get to touch upon that more?
Ming-Na Wen: Very much so. The relationship between each character, it gets intense at times, because you have to develop trust. You have to develop a sense of belonging with each other. Coulson has, what seems like, this haphazard group of people he’s brought together. It’s like, “Really? They've never worked together before.” There’s an age difference and there’s skill level experience differences and then he brings on this other character we don’t trust, Skye. Who is she? She’s a complete outsider! We question it, but at the same time we have to respect that these are the choices he’s made. So I think that inherently brings in a great deal of conflict as well as finding ways where we get to explore how they end up being able to work together.
IGN: There have been some photos out there of your show filing in Stockholm, Sweden. You don't normally see a US TV show get to do something like that…
Ming-Na Wen: I know! [Laughs] Yeah, that’s what makes our show really special, I think. It’s on a movie level, but we only still have eight days to shoot it. It’s pretty insane.
IGN: So suffice to say, you've been pretty impressed by how big they’re going with this show?
Ming-Na Wen: Beyond impressed, seriously. I've been on a lot of series and I've been on a couple of really big budget or good, hit series, and this one takes the cake. It’s very, very impressive, but I’m so thankful that ABC and Marvel are backing it up and going us that opportunity to be able to put out the best show possible, because we have a fanbase who is expecting that.
IGN: The fans are excited to see how this show might intersect with the films once in awhile. Do you wonder what it might be like if, say, Melinda May got to fight alongside Captain America one day?
Ming-Na Wen: [Laughs] It would be nice! But if it never happens, that’s okay too. I think maybe ultimately, Captain America is going to want to play in our sandbox. I think ultimately he'll be like, “Oh, they've got the coolest stuff! Can I go over there and play? They've got really cool toys!”
IGN: What is the show’s balance between the procedural aspect and the ongoing storylines?
Ming-Na Wen: I think that what’s so great is that writers are amazing in that they were able to find a great balance between making each episode stand alone – like you could just pop in on episode three and four and still be able to enjoy that episode. But I have a feeling you'll then want to watch one and two and all the ones you've missed before. You can just watch that episode and enjoy it and know what’s going on, but at the same time, there is a through line of these characters working together and the story that develops as time goes on.
IGN: How much do your writers tell you about what’s to come?
Ming-Na Wen: Some of their backstories. And they will let us know if there’s something in particular that they're going to require. Like let’s say, “Oh you, better shave, because you're going to be in a miniskirt.” [Laughs] That’s about all they'll tell us. We have to wait for each script like you guys have to wait for each new episode!
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuts Tuesday, September 24th on ABC.
: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct
. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE