Ah, Hayley Atwell. Don’t you just adore her? She is yet another classy lady of the silver screen who makes the firearm savvy-femme look fabulous. And btw, could her costumes be any more amazing? Hollywood.com caught an exclusive interview with the lovely Miss Atwell that I thought you would enjoy. Check it out:
Hayley Atwell on ‘Captain America’ and Her Action Heroine, Peggy Carter
With all the testosterone injected into the veins of today’s superhero movies, Captain America: The First Avenger packed a particularly strong punch with the inclusion of the strong-willed, gun-toting female heroine Peggy Carter. She may have fallen for the slab of muscle known as Steve Rogers, but Peggy isn’t a pushover–the government agent will gladly scream orders to underling soldiers or take out a few Nazis when necessary.
Peggy’s empowerment comes courtesy of newcomer Hayley Atwell, who is undeniably stunning but doesn’t let her looks stand in the way of a forceful performance. Atwell’s the real deal and Captain America is proof that she has a lengthy career ahead of her.
I had a chance to chat with Atwell on the making of Captain America (which hits Blu-ray today on a set we very much approve of), and she was more than happy to discuss everything it took to bring Peggy to life:
So I heard you’re currently on vacation.
Hayley Atwell: Yes, I’m freezing. I’m in the Highlands of Scotland, on a mountain and it’s minus six. It’s the only place I can get reception! It’s usually lovely and cozy here when you’re inside by the fire with a glass of wine, but getting reception…impossible.
Well, you’re a tough lady. You can stand the cold, you can fight pseudo-Nazis. Sounds like little you can’t do. And your character Peggy’s similar, a butt-kicking kinda gal from an era where that type wasn’t too common. Were their actresses or characters from the past that you tried to emulate or went to for inspiration?
HA: Yes! I love Lauren Bacall and how strong she is on screen. And I looked to Katherine Hepburn, who had this incredible muscularity to them. Not necessarily in the position where we are today but…back then there weren’t so many great positions women could be in terms of jobs, but within themselves in characters they could still be incredible strong and powerful.
But I really took it from is on the page. She was a strong woman and I really related to that. I could start getting in to the mindset of Peggy Carter quite easily. I loved playing strong roles like that.
But she also has a little romance with Steve Rogers. How were you able to strike a balance between a softer, romantic woman and still leading an army in to battle.
HA: You know, the costumes help quite a bit. She’s a very practical woman, in the sense that she needs to get the job done. And she does that really well. On the other side of it she can put on red lipstick and a red dress and go out to the pub at night. It’s kind of what’s written on for you and as an actor you do what’s on the page and you bring it to life as much as possible. I didn’t put too much thought into it. You do what’s expected for you.
Hopefully you got back to firing guns and making things explode afterward. You end up in a lot of action in this movie–how much prep and training did you go through in order to come out of each day in one piece?
HA: [Laughs] Yes, that’s always a good start. We had two months of training, physically, before we started shooting. That was with an ex-Marine who took me through circuit training and integral training and got me physically very fit, strong. Along side of that I was doing shooting practice, not only so I had good aim but so I could be comfortable with a gun, handling it.
And once the pistol shooting went well, Joe [Johnston, director], who always has a twinkle in his eye and always wants to come with something to try, comes up and says, ‘how do you feel about using a machine gun?’ And I jumped at the chance. ‘Yes, I’ve been promoted! I’m so happy!’ So then the machine gun came out and it was thrilling, so exciting. So it was just a matter of how much I felt capable of doing and having fun with it.