Who could possibly steal Agent Coulson’s heart? The answer, it turns out, is Amy Acker.
Acker, known for her roles in fan favorite series such as “Angel,” “Person of Interest,” and “Dollhouse” as well as director Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” will join “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” for an upcoming episode as Audrey, the “cellist” and love of Coulson’s life first mentioned in “Marvel’s The Avengers.”
With so much about Audrey shrouded in mystery, we spoke with Acker about the role, the character’s importance both to Agent Coulson and actor Clark Gregg, and much more—and to top it all off, we’ve got your first look at Acker as Audrey from “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”!
Marvel.com: Before you were even cast, were you one of those people who was wondering who the Cellist was that was referenced in the movie?
Amy Acker: I was, because I’m also a huge Clark Gregg fan. I’ve always been interested in what his storyline is going to be. It just seems like such a neat little piece to put in there. So when Clark was like, “Joss wrote the thing about the cellist in ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ and [it’s] something that’s been really important to [me] all along,” I was excited.
Marvel.com: You’ve worked with a lot of the producers on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and Clark before, so how did this particular opportunity come up?
Amy Acker: Well, I have been bugging [them] and just saying how I love working with all of them. Jed [Whedon] and Maurissa [Tancharoen produced] “Dollhouse,” and obviously I would kill to do anything with Clark. I think he’s so great. I have been dropping not so subtle hints that I would like to work with them and then they called me and asked if I might be available. It kind of worked out perfectly when I had a couple of days off. It was nice. It didn’t look like it was going to happen and then everything came together.
Marvel.com: Fantastic. When you were first hearing about the character, what sort of drew you toward her?
Amy Acker: Well, I think one of the things that was so interesting about the role is that she has this backstory and she has been talked about in the TV show as well as the movie and you knew that she was someone important to him and, therefore, to everyone and, as an audience member, important to me. I was curious to see who they were going to cast as that person, never actually thinking it was going to be me. [laughs] But [I was] just excited to see how that storyline would play out. So when Clark called me personally and said how important this role was to him, that it [needed to be] cast with the right person, it was very flattering that he thought that I was that person.
Marvel.com: When we meet Audrey at the beginning of this episode, would you say that she started to move on past Coulson or is she still sort of grappling with that?
Amy Acker: I think that she’s starting to try to put her life back together, and there [are] some great scenes about how hard that’s been, but that she’s finally gotten to a good place.
Marvel.com: What do you think it is that Audrey sees in Coulson and vice-versa? What do you think it is that he sees in her that makes their connection so strong?
Amy Acker: There’s a lot of talk [in the episode] about how it was when they were together. I think that one of the biggest things that they keep bringing up when she talks about him is how he made her laugh, and just the trust that she had for him. I [don’t’] think anyone would have a hard time falling in love with Coulson, there’s probably a long line of people with that already. It just seems like they really had a real, honest connection. I know it sounds cheesy, but [they] really [had] a soulmate-type vibe.
Marvel.com: Given that, in this episode, we’ve got Audrey being placed in danger from a threat coming back from her past, how do you think she is able to hold up under that pressure?
Amy Acker: That’s kind of the struggle of the episode, [her] finding the strength to hold up under that pressure. I think probably her relationship with Coulson and with S.H.I.E.L.D., and what they did for her in the past, has made her a stronger person and made her really trust that if she does what they say, that things are going to turn out the way they should and that she’s going to be protected. So I think that when she gets afraid and starts to doubt whether or not the plan is going to actually work, it seems like her love of Coulson is what makes her strong enough to keep with it in the end.
Marvel.com: I know you’re coming on for the episode but if the opportunity came up, would you want to come back again?
Amy Acker: Yeah, definitely. It seems like these two people are meant to be together and their story hasn’t really been told. The way that it ends in this episode, it seems like there’s a glimmer of hope that they may be together again or something like that. I feel like it’s sort of destiny for their paths to cross in some way.
Marvel.com: Very cool. As we’ve talked about, you’ve worked with Clark, with Jed and Maurissa, and Jeff Bell a lot in the past. So whenever you come on to one of these sets, does it ever feel like a sort of family reunion at the same time?
Amy Acker: I was sad I didn’t get to see Jeff or Jed because we weren’t ever shooting at the stages, but luckily Maurissa was there most of the time which was wonderful. Yeah, those people are all my really good friends. I’ve known them for so long, I just think they’re all so super talented that I’m always jealous when they’re doing things [where] I don’t get to say the words they’re writing. I was excited to just be there, and it was interesting because, like in “Dollhouse,” it really felt like there were a lot of people from the “Angel” days there. [Here,] it kind of felt like a new group of people, but everyone was so sweet and it just feels like such a welcoming atmosphere. The cast and the crew, everyone was great.
Whedonverse alum Amy Acker has landed a pivotal role on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.
Acker will appear in at least one episode of the ABC series as Audrey, the famous cellist first mentioned in Marvel’s The Avengers as being the love of Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) life. A talented musician turning heads in Portland, Audrey believes Coulson to be dead and has no idea that he’s guarding her from a distance as a super-powered threat from her past re-emerges.
The cellist, who had remained nameless until now, was mentioned earlier this season when Raina (Ruth Negga) goaded Coulson by saying his former long-distance lover had cried for days after his death.
Acker’s casting marks a reunion between the actress and Gregg, who shared the screen in S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing adaptation. Currently starring on Person of Interest, Acker is also well known for her roles on Whedon’s Angel and Dollhouse, where she worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. bosses Jed Whedonand Maurissa Tancharoen. Her credits also include Once Upon a Time, The Good Wifeand Alias.
Acker will appear in an episode slated to air Tuesday, April 22. Are you excited to see her on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Person of Interest has been dealing with some heavy themes lately — determinism, artificial intelligence, surveillance, posthumanity — and the hacker known as Root has been at the center of all of them. We talked to Amy Acker, who plays Root, and she told us what to expect from Root’s continuing evolution.
Warning: Minor spoilers for upcoming episodes, but major spoilers for ones that already aired.
Root has her own gang
Finch has his Machine Gang, consisting of Reese, Shaw and sometimes Fusco. And now, it looks like Root has a Gang of her own — last night, we met one of them, the Japanese forger who’s been with Root since she saved him from the cops. Acker tells us that there are more members of her team, and “we’re actually shooting some scenes with those guys.” In general, you’ll see more of the numbers that the Machine comes up with turn out to be important later on.
Power doesn’t corrupt Root — it makes her more humane
In this week’s episode, we saw Root in her element, using people as game pieces — until she was confronted with Cyrus, the man whose life she ruined, who was in danger of becoming collateral damage. Acker says that having access to the power of the Machine is making Root less corrupt, rather than more so, because it’s making her see the consequences of her actions.
“I think her moral judgment and the decisions she’s making have actually turned around a lot, and she’s been going further from that point [of playing games with people's lives],” says Acker.
When we first met Root, “she started out thinking she was invincible,” she adds. “And now the Machine is now teaching her more about humanity, now that she’s becoming more Machine-like.”
Speaking of which…
Root has become a cyborg
At the end of the latest episode, “Root Path,” Root gets the Machine directly implanted into her brain, “so I am directly implanted with the Machine,” says Acker. And this is only going to make her closer to the Machine:
“This has been really fun to play with so far, having the Machine able to talk to me, and really getting to speak through her, [and] speak as her. It seems like the right way [for the] character to be developing.”
But she’s not going to be the Machine’s puppet. “It doesn’t feel that way,” says Acker. “The Machine still functions in the same way it did with Harold from the beginning. She doesn’t give all the information, even though I have her with me constantly. She gives pieces of puzzles, and she knows what things I like to figure out. There was a thing a while back where I said, ‘Oh, she gave me these numbers because she knows I like puzzles.’ She’s giving me pieces to fit together, but it’s kind of like having access to Google in my brain.”
But could Root become more of a cyborg, and get other parts of herself replaced with artificial parts?
“I don’t know,” laughs Acker. “I’ve been shot a lot in the arm. I’m going to need a new arm for these missions. I get shot pretty often. It’s an interesting [idea], yeah. We’ll see what happens. I think that would be pretty fascinating. But the most important part of it is already in her, the heart of the Machine. Other parts would be more mechanical.”
That stint in a psychiatric institution didn’t really seem to help
Root spent a few episodes locked in a psych ward at the start of this season — and it didn’t seem to be that helpful in the end. “I don’t know,” Acker laughs. “At the time, I was thinking, ‘Oh, this is nice. She’s learning stuff about herself.’ But it seemed more like she was controlling that situation, [more than] anybody who was supposed to be controlling her, like the doctors or the psychiatrists. So I feel like maybe the other people in the hospital are the ones who walked away learning stuff about themselves after she tore them all down.”
But at the same time, Root’s thinking has changed a lot since she was in the psych ward — when she’s talking to her therapist, we see her espousing a pretty radical worldview in which the Machine is god, and her connection to it makes her superior to regular humans. But recent events have forced her to recognize that the Machine is a tool which can be misused, says Acker — the emergence of a second Machine, Samaritan, has shown her that if the Machine got into the wrong hands, “then it’s not superior to anything, then it’s just destructive toeverything.”
While Root started out as a kind of cyborg supremacist, “she’s realizing there are good and bad points to that,” because even though the Machine she talks to appears to be benevolent, she’s recognizing the awful potential of an evil Machine.
At the same time, “[Root] does seem to trust the Machine, and definitely think of it as godlike, or a god, or what she believes to be a god,” Acker says. When she talks to Cyrus, who believes everything happens for a reason, she clings to the idea that the universe was entirely random and without any logic until Harold created the Machine to make sense of it all.
Shaw and Root are sort of friends
Acker definitely believes that the cynical ex-assassin Shaw and Root have a strange sort of friendship. “There’s always little parts where they end up looking out for each other,” along with “funny moments” where they show affection in weird ways. “It’s been really fun playing with it, as actors, and there’s always little lines where it’s like, ‘Are they meaning it like that?’” She laughs.
She and Sarah Shahi enjoy playing that flirty side of their relationship, too. “We kind of joke about it,” says Acker. “They have such different personalities, and it’s fun to watch them kind of get under each other’s skin. And I think Root kind of flirting with her — you know, she hates it and loves it at the same time.”