On Tuesday (November 19) night, ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will attempt to tap into the blockbuster momentum of “Thor: The Dark World” with an episode titled “The Well.” ABC cryptically hints that in the aftermath of the hit feature, “Coulson and The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pick up the pieces — one of which threatens to destroy a member of the team.”
Last week, I got on the phone with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” star Chloe Bennet to discuss how essential, exactly, “Thor: The Dark World” is to Tuesday’s hour.
“I think either way, it’s important to see ‘Thor 2,’ because it’s a Marvel film and because it’s a great movie,” says Bennet, who is nothing if not a team player. “So I’m gonna say it’s important. It’s definitely not absolutely necessary, but it’s absolutely necessary in my mind because it’s such a great movie.”
In our brief chat, Bennet talks about how trustworthy she thinks super-hacker Skye truly is at this point and the “Nashville” veteran discusses her own not-so-stealthy attempts to glean knowledge about her character and her mysterious past.
Finally, Bennet shares the secret to looking like a hacker on-screen even if you aren’t a hacker in real life. Hint: It’s another corporate plug, albeit not within the Marvel Universe.
Click through for the full conversation.
HitFix: So next Tuesday’s big episode with the Thor 2 tie-in, how important would you say that seeing “Thor 2” is to the enjoyment of the episode?
Chloe Bennet: I think either way, it’s important to see “Thor 2,” because it’s a Marvel film and because it’s a great movie. So I’m gonna say it’s important. It’s definitely not absolutely necessary, but it’s absolutely necessary in my mind because it’s such a great movie. Brett [Dalton], Iain [De Caestecker] and I actually saw it last Saturday, together. We got to go to the “Thor” premiere, but we didn’t get to see the movie at the premiere, so we got to see it and it’s awesome and it’s hilarious and it’s a really, really great film. I think everyone should see it anyway. Hurry up! You have the weekend.
HitFix: Did it feel different watching “Thor 2” knowing that you’re part of this universe now, so to speak?
Chloe Bennet: Absolutely. 100 percent. It was weird, actually, because this is the first Marvel movie that’s come out since we’ve started the show and yeah, it feels really exciting and I actually understood the episode a lot more, to be honest. Some of it’s tied in and we didn’t really get to know it because we obviously haven’t seen it, so yeah, it was great to get to see it and feel like I’m a part of it and be like, “Oh, Coulson and his team are gonna be there and they’re gonna be doing this stuff in a few weeks.” So it was really exciting to watch.
HitFix: Skye is a character is a character whose motivations and allegiances are supposed to be pretty questionable for the audience. For you as an actor, how important has it been for you as an actor to know things that the audience hasn’t learned yet, but that your character would know?
Chloe Bennet: That a good question, Dan. How important? What people don’t understand is that I’m kept in the dark almost as much as the audience is in terms of my backstory. I really don’t know. I really know as much as Skye knows. It’s a little difficult sometimes, but it’s also nice, because I’m able to kinda make things up in my mind. Also, Skye doesn’t know much and I want to know just as much as she does, so it’s pretty organic in that sense and it’s fun. It keeps me on my toes. Every time I get a new episode, I’m just dying to learn more about it and that desperation of me as an actor wanting to know more is kinda able to translate to Skye.
HitFix: We saw last week some of the things that Skye is willing to do to try to get the information that she wants. What are some of the things that Chloe has been willing to do to try to get the information that *she* wants?
Chloe Bennet: I’m notorious for just going around and being like, “Yeah. Yeah. I read Episode 15. What was that part again that happened at the end?” And they’re like, “Oh yeah? You read it?” And I’m like, “Yeah, yeah. I’ve read it.” And I haven’t. And some people will tell me secrets on accident sometimes. Yeah, I kinda will get sneaky and try to find some stuff out, but for the most part, I just have to wait to get the scripts to find more out.
HitFix: On the show, do different actors know different things or have different levels of knowledge regarding what’s happening going forward?
Chloe Bennet: I don’t think it’s drastically different, because we all are so close and we all spend so much time together on set that even if maybe one of us knew more, the beans would be spilled by the time we were done shooting, because we spend so much time together. Clark might know more than the rest of us, but I think maybe we all know our own character things maybe because we made them up in our minds or maybe because we had intimate conversations with the writers and the producers on our own, but we’d like to keep that for ourselves to bring something different to the scene. Everyone, in real life, has things that other people don’t know, so it’s good. I definitely have things that I feel that I bring to the character that I wouldn’t tell the other people, but that’s just because everyone has secrets and everyone has a bit of agenda, so it just brings something different to the scenes.
HitFix: At the point we’re at in the season, how trustworthy would you say that Skye really is? How much should we be believing the things she’s telling other characters?
Chloe Bennet: I would believe everything. She’s made it pretty clear that what she wants is to find out more about her parents and she’s gonna do what she needs to do to find that information out. Skye isn’t a liar. She’s not someone who will lie to be an asshole. Coulson knows, deep down, I think he has a good intuition about her, so I think he’s aware of what she’s doing. She’ll do anything to find out more about her parents, so if someone says, “No,” she’ll still just do it. I don’t think that’s lying. She just has this determination that cannot be beat. At the beginning, she definitely had her mishaps, but she was kinda just thrown into this plane and she was kinda forced to be there. And the text that she sent in Episode 2 that lots of the fans were like, “Well maybe we can’t trust her!” was just to let Miles, her boyfriend, know that she’s OK. Which seems pretty reasonable to me! If you’re gonna go away to summer camp or something, you’re gonna let that person know you got there alright. So this is me validating it as an actor, because if I’m playing Skye, I definitely need to agree with all of her choices, in my mind.
HitFix: You are not, I suspect, a master hacker yourself [She laughs.]. Is there an acting secret to performing with a computer and not just making it look like you’re whacking away at a prop?
Chloe Bennet: I need to Google everything that I say like five times before I type it or I do the scene. If I have a bunch of computer lingo that I have no idea what I’m speaking about, I really need to know what I’m talking about. We have consultants who are actual master computer hackers who we get to speak with and that’s awesome, but it’s also about changing the words in your mind to pretend you know what you’re talking about. So if it’s something like an “AES-Twofish-Serpent” whatever, I have to just try and understand what that means before I do it. There’s not really much of a secret. Google. Google is the secret. I just Google all the information so I know what I’m talking about.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs Tuesday nights on ABC.