Dialogue: Clark Gregg on 'The Avengers,' Its Wild Success and His Future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Dialogue: Clark Gregg on 'The Avengers,' Its Wild Success and His Future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Sep 26, 2012

 

 
With The Avengers now out on DVD/Blu-ray, those very few of you who didn't catch it in theaters (as well as those who did) can now enjoy the year's highest-grossing film in the comfort of your own home, ideally surrounded by a group of superhero-crazed kids dressed up as their favorite Marvel character. Of course, you'll also get to witness what is perhaps the movie's most dramatic scene, involving (spoiler warning) the unfortunate fate of one Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg in several of Marvel's Phase One films, like Iron Man, Thor, Iron Man 2 and The Avengers.
 
So what's Clark Gregg up to now that his character has met his demise? Movies.com caught up with Gregg prior to the DVD/Blu-ray release of The Avengers to get his thoughts on the year's biggest film, as well as whether we can expect to see the character -- or Gregg -- pop up in any future Marvel movies.
 
 
Movies.com: So The Avengers has grossed over $1.5 billion so far and it's still climbing. From what I understand, a billion of that is yours, right?
 
Clark Gregg: [laughs] Yes, of course. I'm just waiting for the trucks to roll up with the cash.
 
Movies.com: In all seriousness, did you expect the film to be this big?
 
Gregg: I have had a front-row seat throughout the birth of this Marvel universe, and I knew they were onto something early from the minute I watched Downey Jr. and Gwyneth [Paltrow] and Jeff Bridges interacting [in Iron Man]. I thought this is different from anything I've seen, and I grew up loving these kinds of movies and these comics. Step by step they've pulled some stuff off, and at every step I admit I didn't know how they were going to pull it off -- and I felt that especially about The Avengers because it just didn't seem feasible to bring all these worlds and characters and storylines together into one story that works. So when I read Joss Whedon's script I was like, wow, that's one of my favorites, but I still don't think any of us were prepared for the sort of global phenomenon it would go on to become.
 
Movies.com: With all the money it's made --it's now the third highest grossing movie of all time -- are you a little bummed out that you're the only good guy who dies?
 
Gregg: [Laughs] It was a little sad the day I had to show up and shoot the conclusion to the Phil Coulson arc because I really loved playing the guy. At the same time I had loved so much of what Joss had done with the character. When I got the script and saw all the cool things I got to do and lines I got to say, I was praying some big star wouldn't come along and take all that cool stuff away. [Laughs] It was always mixed feelings, but at the end of the day scenes like that come along once in a lifetime, and for it to turn out to be one of the biggest movies of all time... I would be remiss to just not be grateful.
 
Movies.com: Now does this mean your Marvel duties are over, or is there a chance we'll see you again?
 
Gregg: I don't know that we'll see Agent Coulson again, but I still do his voice in their animated series, The Ultimate Spider-Man, and you never know there may be a flashback at some time. I've certainly pitched the prequel show with Budapest, Clint and Natasha and Coulson, but they seem really focused on looking ahead to the future. The stuff I write and direct tends to be a little small and indie, but I've definitely talked to Marvel lately about ways I can continue working with him, perhaps as a writer or a director.
 
Movies.com: When they introduced this new S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, it seemed like something right in your wheelhouse.
 
Gregg: You know what -- that was the moment where I went, great, now they're doing the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show now that I'm on a slab.
 
Movies.com: There's a character called the Vision, and people have been creating images of Agent Coulson as the Vision. Have you seen these? Do you want to play the Vision?
 
Gregg: I have, they're hilarious. I actually find it really moving. Ya know, the Vision is synthetic, with a soul sort of, and is an amazing character who I used to love when I was reading those comics. I love the idea of Coulson as the Vision, but I don't know if that's in the cards.
 
Movies.com: With the Blu-ray out now, there's a bunch of cool deleted scenes on there. Did you shoot anything that didn't end up in the finished film?
 
Gregg: My memory is not what it once was, but I'm pretty sure everything I shot was in the movie. There was a little bit in the trailer where Agent Maria Hill and I are watching the superheroes squabble and ask them to take a time out, but that's the only scene I'm aware of.
 
Movies.com: In watching these deleted scenes, some of them feel sort of somber and emotional. Was the original script that you read heavier or darker or deeper with some of those scenes in it?
 
Gregg: The framing of the scenes that are there in the DVD -- I haven't seen them, just read them -- but it was a little more like a world at war, and recovering from the aftermath of what's gone on. It was certainly masterfully written that way, but I think however he did it he pulled off the perfect tone in the cut they released. I won't second-guess it.
 
 
Movies.com: As someone who was involved in almost all of the Phase One movies, which of Marvel's Phase Two movies are you now looking forward to the most, as a fan?
 
Gregg: I'm pretty psyched to see what's going to happen in The Avengers 2. I don't know, I have a real connection with all of those guys now. I love what Chris Evans does with Captain America, and can't wait to see what they're going to do next with that. I've read stuff in the blogs that Thor is going to get sort of nasty and primal, and I'm excited about that. I'm a huge Shane Black fan -- I loved Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang -- and I'm really excited to see what they're going to do next with Iron Man 3. Oh, and also Guardians of the Galaxy -- my God, those are my guys. Those are some comics I read -- I was a Warlock fan that connects to some of that stuff. I mean, everything they announce just makes me die a little bit because I'm dead.
 
Movies.com: What's up next for you now that you're, well, dead in the Marvel cinematic universe?
 
Gregg: I've been doing a couple of movies. Ya know, back to what I was normally doing back before I did all of these. Independent films for the most part; I'm in Jason Reitman's new movie with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, and right now I'm in production on something I wrote.
 
Movies.com: Well good luck with that.
 
Gregg: Thanks!
 

Follow along on Twitter @ErikDavis and @Moviesdotcom.

 

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