'SHIELD' Star: Strap Yourselves In!


There's something to be said for the secrecy that surrounds Marvel's Agents of SHIELD in this age of omnipresent spoilers. It's kind of refreshing that the surprise celeb cameos (Cobie Smulders in the pilot and Samuel L. Jackson in episode two) actually remained surprises until the episodes aired and I go into each new installment completely unaware of what new adventure Coulson's team will undertake.

And it's a good thing I feel that way because according to star Elizabeth Henstridge, SHIELD secrets will become even more heavily protected as the first season continues on. I was able to penetrate that veil of secrecy a bit when it comes to the underlying Fitz-Simmons feelings, what you can expect from tonight's episode and which Marvel alum she'd like to stop by the show next!

ETonline: This is the most secretive show in recent memory. Do the actors feel the weight of that?

Elizabeth Henstridge: Oh, totally. From the very beginning, it's been there. The audition sides were written especially for the audition, we got the pilot script super late; we've only known what they want us to know. In some ways, I love that because it keeps the surprise alive in us and the fans. I think that's kind of missing in TV and movies today since everything gets out ahead of time. Marvel wanted people to sit down every Tuesday without any information and just enjoy it all. So we just have to be very careful with what we say [laughs].

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ETonline: That was my next question: does that make doing press kind of tough?

Henstridge: I know! Sometimes I do feel a bit mean when people ask questions because I want to share, it's all so exciting, but I can't [laughs]. It's definitely been a new discipline for me because sometimes I'm not the best at holding my tongue, so all the actors just talk among themselves to let the excitement out.

ETonline: Once you got to start playing Simmons, what did you like about her?

Henstridge: I love that she’s intelligent and doesn't apologize for it. I love any strong, young woman role. That's what I always aim to be doing. She's funny and brilliant, but she's never really spent time with people so those interpersonal skills aren't as developed. The only person she’s spent time with is Fitz, her partner.

ETonline: Do you see them as partners in more than the professional sense?

Henstridge: People keep saying it's romantic, but I think, certainly for now, that they're best friends. They've got that familial bond where they can be fighting one second and have the other's back the next second. We don't know what could happen in the future, but they have a very special bond. I like that it's not romantic. I like that we're showing a guy and a girl as good friends and nothing more. Although that could just be me being naive [laughs].

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ETonline: What are you excited for the fans to see from this team in coming weeks?

Henstridge: I think the idea is that we're this ragtag team who are brilliant in their own way, but have flaws. There's a reason Coulson put this particular group of people together. Each of the characters informs another ... God, I'm being so terrifyingly vague [laughs], but we all need something from the other, we just don't realize it yet. It's like the best marriages where your strengths compensate for their weaknesses.

ETonline: Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson guest-starred in the first two episodes. Which Marvel universe alum would you like to guest star next?

Henstridge: I would love Anthony Hopkins to come in. He's such a phenomenal actor. But Marvel just seems to employ real class acts; Cobie and Sam were both so lovely. It's humbling to meet actors who are so good at their craft, yet incredibly down to earth. Anyone we'd be lucky enough to have on the show would be a dream, but Anthony Hopkins would be my choice.

ETonline: Lastly, in whatever way you can, how would you tease tonight's episode?

Henstridge: Every week it just gets bigger and the more you find out, the more questions you have. There's a lot of questioning SHIELD as well. We wonder what the purpose of this program is, if their secrets are a good thing; it works on a lot of levels. Just strap yourselves in for a ride bigger than last week -- and a whole new plane. We ruined that last one [laughs].

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD
airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.