Cobie Smulders Talks AVENGERS, Stunt Work and Returning for Sequels

     May 7, 2012


S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill was surrounded by superpowered characters in this weekend’s blockbuster, The Avengers, but she managed to hold her own.  Cobie Smulders was likewise surrounded by some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters, but the How I Met Your Mother star was equal to the task.  As one of only three women in the picture dominated by heroes and villains alike, Smulders managed to make her character stand out, if only for a short while.  Of course, this is due in part to the masterful work of writer/director Joss Whedon making each and every character memorable and identifiable in their own way.  That’s not to say that Smulders didn’t bring it; quite the contrary.  In a recent interview, Smulders talked about her character’s presence on screen, the amount of training and stunt work she was expected to do and her enthusiasm for returning in the inevitable sequel(s).  Hit the jump to see what she had to say.

avegners-sequel-cobie-smuldersIn an interview with Hero Complex,  Smulders talked about the place she found for her character, Maria Hill, in The Avengers:

“I feel like I was able to hold my own quite well. That was really important to me, because I was quite intimidated…. Not only is it a different genre for me, but it’s with some of the most talented actors in Hollywood.”

In a movie that could have easily been dominated by the presence of the male heroes, Whedon made sure to grant equal time and quality to the female characters.  Luckily for Smulders, she shared a common co-worker with Whedon in the person of Alyson Hannigan:

“I wanted someone there for [S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick] Fury and [Agent Phil] Coulson to deal with, and I wanted another woman in the movie,” Whedon said. “There’s a lot of boys, and I felt the movie definitely needed another strong female presence just to balance it out, and someone at Marvel suggested that we use Maria Hill…. I was like, ‘That’s perfect! That makes sense, because she’s always had a bit of a beef with Fury, so we’ll have some tension there.’ And then I ran into Aly Hannigan, who just said, ‘You gotta read Cobie! You gotta read Cobie! You gotta read Cobie! You gotta read Cobie!’”

Whedon said that he knew which of the actors would be playing Hill when he had them act opposite Samuel L. Jackson in a fictitious scene:avengers-movie-image-cobie-smulders-1

“In the scene, Fury tells Maria to point her gun at his chest. And when Cobie pulled her gun and pointed it at Sam’s chest, I went, ‘Oh God, she’s gonna shoot him!’ Even though I had seen the same scene four times already, and had written it and directed it. She has enormous authority. She can hold her own against anybody.”

While Smulder’s character got off to a great start in The Avengers with a frantic shoot-out and chase sequence, she was more-or-less forgotten for the rest of the movie.  Understandable as this movie is titled The Avengers and not “The Adventures of Fury and Hill.” But knowing the contentious relationship between Hill and Director Fury, Smulders’ character’s arc in future movies may be one to keep an eye on.  It’s clear she would love to play Hill again:

“I really got into her. She’s like this ballsy chick who comes from this intense, tough background, military background. It’s cool playing a woman who has to be in this really tough world.”

Smulders had to be tough as Whedon wrote a physically demanding role for her, a challenge which she rose to meet:

“She really does all her jumpin’ and flippin’,” Whedon said, noting that she is “extraordinarily physically adept.”

avengers-movie-image-cobie-smulders-maria-hillC0-star Jackson agreed:

“Cobie’s a very smart and capable individual who was ready to be an action hero. She was willing to jump in there and do that tomboy stuff and have a good time. She’s been doing that comedy for a while, and she wanted to be an action girl. And she was great.”

Smulders went to great lengths to prepare for her character and develop a sense of realism, even hiring a black belt martial artist who trains SWAT teams in Los Angeles:

“I wanted my gun to feel like an extension of my person, and I’m not comfortable around guns. So he helped me a lot in terms of officer procedure. You know, how you would enter a building, how you would hold a gun, how you would sort of stalk somebody, how you would take somebody down, how you could roll and draw your gun at the same time, which I got to do in the movie.”

avengers-movie-image-cobie-smuldersShe also seemed to have found a second home in the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier:

“I was able to have a few days in this huge space, and getting grounded in that was really important to me, and to feel like I was in control of it before all of these huge actors and huge characters came in. I felt, on the helicarrier, I ran that whole ship. I was in charge of that.”

With all of this work and preparation Smulders did for her character, it’d be a shame if Maria Hill didn’t return for future installments. Luckily, Smulders confirmed:

“I’ve signed on for a few more. If they’ll have me, I’m in.”


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