By Zack Zeigler
When Clark Gregg landed a tiny role as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson in 2008's "Iron Man," he never anticipated the character would turn into such an intricate part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, news about Coulson appearing in upcoming Marvel Studios films usually came as a surprise.
|Clark Gregg and Chris Hemsworth star as Phil Coulson and Thor in "Marvel's The Avengers"|
"[Marvel Studios] called me and said, we want this guy in 'Iron Man 2,'" explained Gregg. “And [then it was], 'Didn’t anyone tell you? You’re in 'Thor.' Then as I was at Comic-Con [in 2010]…[director] Joss Whedon comes over and says, 'You have a big part in the Avengers, can we introduce you as part of the cast?' And I was like, 'Dude, yes!'"
As hush-hush as Marvel Studios was with Gregg about the role, they were equally as tightlipped about Coulson’s backstory.
"Every time I get a new script, I get to find out more about [Coulson's] day-to-day life, and what goes on, and what his relationships are," he revealed. "I think in ['Marvel's] The Avengers,' and to a certain extent in 'Thor' [in] the way that we see him deal with the arrival of the Destroyer, it doesn’t seem like his first clambake."
Gregg refers to Coulson as "the world's most persistent bureaucrat." As an agent, he carries himself with a cool, calm, and collected demeanor, and often displays a wry and witty sense of humor. Yet so far, his actual position within the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization has remained a mystery.
|"Marvel's The Avengers" one-sheet poster featuring Agent Coulson and Nick Fury|
“There are differing opinions about who’s where in the [S.H.I.E.L.D.] hierarchy,” he said. “[But] having done 'Iron Man' one and two, and 'Thor,' I already have…a relationship with those two characters, so I'm a logical choice to help integrate some of the other [Avengers]."
Coulson was not part of “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “The Incredible Hulk,” but Gregg says we shouldn’t assume that means he’s unaware of their identities.
"Both [Captain America] and Bruce Banner are relationships that evolve,” he said. “Everybody, even Coulson, grew up idolizing [Captain America]. So it’s quite a big day in Coulson’s life when Captain America shows up."
Marvel Studios presents in association with Paramount Pictures “Marvel’s The Avengers”--the super hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, and directed by Joss Whedon from a screenplay by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble in summer 2012.
In addition to "Marvel's The Avengers," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Iron Man 3" on May 3, 2013; "Thor 2" on November 15, 2013; and the sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger" on April 4, 2014.