In the latest episode of the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., entitled “All the Comforts of Home,” viewers will be introduced to Dove Cameron (Mal in the Descendants franchise), who’s playing the daughter of General Hale (Catherine Dent). On the surface, Ruby is a typical teenager – she fights with her mom, loves her phone and has an unhealthy obsession with Quake, aka Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet). But being Marvel, things are never what they seem on the surface.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Dove Cameron talked about the audition process for this role, what she was told about Ruby when she signed on, how being the daughter of General Hale has shaped her character, having Catherine Dent play her mother, and what it was like to walk onto the set of a show and world that she’s such a fan of. And stay tuned for Part 2 of the interview, following the episode, where we talked about what’s still to come for her character.
Collider: When the possibility of this role came your way, what were you told about Ruby?
DOVE CAMERON: Very, very little. In the character breakdown, they said she was a young, 17-year-old normal girl, who has a mysterious and deep obsession with Quake, or Daisy Johnson. I don’t think they even said she was the daughter of a General. They said that she was really intelligent and cunning. I just don’t ever really want to play a character unless it’s the kind of character I’m gonna have fun playing. If I go into an audition and I don’t really know what they want, I’ve learned, over the years, that instead of trying to bend myself into a hundred different positions to give them whatever they want, I play it how I would want to play it. That way, when we’re actually filming it, if I get the role, my instincts are gonna be correct. I’m not gonna be guessing what they want and I’m gonna have fun doing it. So, I came in and played this girl [the way that I saw her] . . . and it worked. It ended up being what they wanted.
What does being the daughter of General Hale mean to Ruby?
CAMERON: In the first episode, you see that Ruby is a normal girl. She wears her jeans, she paints her nails red, she like David Bowie, she fights with her mom and she loves her phone. Being the daughter of any sort of strict mom, that’s all she is to Ruby, in the beginning. She’s the daughter of a strict mother. You’ll see, later on, how that begins to affect Ruby. She is exactly a recipe of her surroundings and her childhood.
What’s it like to have Catherine Dent playing your mother?
CAMERON: Playing off of Catherine Dent is great. I love Catherine! I love her so much! I got really close with the whole cast, but Catherine and I really hit it off. She’s a strict mother, in real life. She’ll walk around set and I’ll have my phone next to my face, and she’ll tell me to put it down because the rays are going to melt my brain. She’ll be like, “Are you eating organic carrots? You know, if it’s not organic, you’re basically signing on to die an early death.” She’s so funny. She’s my favorite person. She and I get along, famously. She’s an incredible actress.
What was it like to walk onto this set, five seasons into this show and this cast working with each other, on your first day? Were you nervous, at all, or were you too excited to be nervous about it?
CAMERON: The reality of it is that, if I’ve ever seen the show that I’m going to be working on and I know I’m going to get cast in it, I turn it off immediately and don’t watch it. The fact that it is such a big deal can be intimidating. When I first came on, I was actually intimidated, especially with Clark [Gregg] because I grew up watching all of the films, and he first showed up in all of the films. I saw him and I was like, “Oh, my god, there’s Coulson!,” and I freaked out. I knew that they were a very well-oiled machine, so I was intimidated, but it didn’t last long. I know it’s every actor’s job to be like, “Everybody was so nice! They’re the best!” But it really, really, really was like that. Everybody was so kind and made an effort to come and talk to me, and not just initially. They were like, “Welcome to the family. This is the chair where you sit. Let’s talk about you!” They know each other and they love each other, and they want to know and love everybody who comes in. It really felt that way. Chloe [Bennet] and I got so close. Clark and I got so close. I felt very welcomed. My favorite part was coming in and seeing the sets, like the airplane hanger. I saw that and I freaked out. They were like, “No pictures!” I was like, “It’s fine, I’ll just have this moment to myself.” I actually snuck into it and walked out in slow motion like, “Wow, this is what this feels like!”
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Friday nights on ABC.