Cobie Smulders gets into the action playing S.H.I.E.L.D.’s tough second-in-command Maria Hill in Marvel’s The Avengers. Best known for her role of Robin in TV’s “How I Met Your Mother,” the Canadian-born actress credits director/writer Joss Whedon for taking her under his wing and helping to make playing Maria Hill, second in command at S.H.I.E.L.D., a great experience.
Smulders says she wishes she could take Whedon with her on every film she makes in the future and comments, “Coming into this project, I felt like there were so many talented actors on this film, and I was really intimidated. Joss was so great and kind and patient with me. And he was really helpful. He has really just been a dream and I’m really sad to see it end.”
As second in command to S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, Smulders’ finds her character Maria Hill constantly butting heads with her boss. Explaining this contentious on-screen vibe, Smulders says, “I think that Maria Hill is a little bit more intuitive than Nick Fury. But throughout the course of the film, she realizes that he is involved and he does care, and he is taking the right steps to protect our country and fight the bad guys. I think at the beginning she’s wary of that and she doesn’t know what side he’s on and throughout the film it’s like an arc of gaining respect for this man.”
This month we go head to head with Maria Hill and find out her thoughts on the film and who her favorite Marvel character is.
How does Agent Hill’s relationship with Nick Fury progress in this film?
Cobie Smulders: They butt heads constantly. I think that Maria Hill is a little bit more intuitive than Nick Fury. But throughout the course of the film, she realizes that he is involved and he does care, and he is taking the right steps to protect our country and fight the bad guys. I think at the beginning she’s wary of that and she doesn’t know what side he’s on and throughout the film it’s like an arc of gaining respect for this man. They sort of become a team by the end of the film.
Your character Maria Hill is involved in a huge action sequence. Have you done a lot of action scenes before?
Cobie Smulders: Never like this. We were shooting in a huge limestone quarry where they used to grow mushrooms. There are like 150 miles of tunnels beneath it. It was so cool. I was in this big military truck with no doors in it. I was leaning out of it and shooting. We’d do a take, and they’d be like “Okay, that’s great.” And I was like, “Can we do it again?” It’s just so much fun. I think it’s a testament to stunt people because it’s really a specific choreographed dance, where they’re like, “Okay, so you’re driving, you look over here to your right.
You see that there’s a car approaching. So what you do is you smash the window out with the butt of your gun, then you shoot twice, but then you’ve got to swerve this way with your hand. And then you’ve got to swerve back.” I’m being pulled the whole time, it’s not like I’m driving, but there are so many things going on. We had just an amazing stunt team. These guys were in these cold, damp tunnels for fourteen hours a day and just like sitting around driving cars.
How has it been working with Joss Whedon, and what does he bring to “The Avengers” as a director?
Cobie Smulders: Well, I plan to bring him along on every other movie I do. That’s going to be in my contract. Joss [Whedon] is so awesome and he’s so nice to me. Coming into this project, I felt like there were so many talented actors on this film, and I was really intimidated. Joss was so great and kind and patient with me. And he was really helpful. I said to him that whatever you want, whatever you want to do is fine with me. It’s his vision and he’s everywhere—he’s helping in makeup decisions and wardrobe decisions and I’m not talking like blue or black pants; I’m talking like how long should the sleeve be. He’s so involved down to the detail and he really cares. It’s a huge project that he’s taken on.
I’m just glad that he’s given me his time because he should be doing so many other things. But Joss has really just been a dream and I’m really sad to see it end.
What is it about Marvel films that audiences connect to?
Cobie Smulders: It’s Marvel’s Super Heroes. I feel like Marvel does an amazing job at keeping them human. For instance, Iron Man is a man, who is highly intelligent but take away his suit and he is still just a man. Thor is different, but still acts and looks human, and Captain America was just a man. You can relate to them on some level.
And they still keep their human qualities in terms of caring for others and wanting to do good. You want to aspire to be like them. It is a really fun, visual movie-going experience, but Joss Whedon is so good at making all of the super heroes true, relatable characters. It’s not just guys hitting things and things blowing up. There’s a story. There’s a through-line and I think that’s really important.
Do you have a favorite Marvel character?
Cobie Smulders: I kind of love Tony Stark/Iron Man. He’s very charming and very witty and also extremely intelligent. And I like the energy of like, ‘you too can have a suit like this.’ But the fact that he’s so intelligent and that he creates it for himself, is really cool. You know it’s not something that was given to him by some sort of spider bite or magical realm. You know he’s a man, but he’s just so intelligent that he’s created this other universe for himself.
Cobie was featured on the cover of Maxim Dec 2010! Nuff said!
Catch Cobie Smulders in Marvel’s The Avengers – opens in cinemas 1 May
Images courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Singapore
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