Home TV+Series Agents of SHIELD Season 7 Episode 9: Elizabeth Henstridge on Directing

Agents of SHIELD Season 7 Episode 9: Elizabeth Henstridge on Directing


With the episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. titled “As I Have Always Been,” actress Elizabeth Henstridge, a.ok.a. Jemma Simmons, makes her directorial debut, as a time hurricane is propelling the Zephyr and her S.H.I.E.L.D. teammates towards impending doom. At the similar time, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Coulson (Clark Gregg) are caught in a loop the place they’re pressured to try to save the staff time and again, till they in the end get it proper or are sucked into the raging hurricane, whilst all they wish to do is whole their project.

During this 1-on-1 telephone interview with Collider, Elizabeth Henstridge mentioned her herbal interest for steering, shadowing other episode administrators previous to in the end taking it on herself, what she discovered from observing how co-star Clark Gregg approaches it, what she concept when she learn the script for her episode, what she was once maximum worried about, the time loop narratives that she watched for inspiration, the ache of looking ahead to Jemma to reunite with Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), what she loves concerning the Daisy and Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) dynamic, hoping the episode gets a blooper reel, and short of to direct a characteristic movie that’s targeted round a feminine superhero.


Image by way of ABC

Collider: Congratulations on directing an episode of the display! At what level, for your occupation, did you recognize that that was once one thing you had been additionally eager about and that you just actively sought after to pursue stepping in the back of the digicam?

ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE: I educated in theater, so once I booked movie roles and TV stuff, it was once my first time being on set, and I used to be simply completely eager about the entire processes and the other people who labored on it. And I used to be all the time mining data and tales from other folks. It was once only a herbal interest, I feel. And then, with with the ability to be on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for see you later, you get to speak to other administrators, and proportion their tale and their method of doing issues. An actor-director dating is this sort of shut one. So, as we were given additional alongside within the seasons, I felt like I sought after to push myself. I asked short of to shadow, and the extra I shadowed, the extra I simply completely fell in love with it. I used to be so eager about the other strategies and the way in which that you’ll inform a tale via a digicam lens. I didn’t truly essentially admit it to somebody, however once I began shadowing I knew that need I sought after to do was once directing. Then, it was once only a case of me gaining self belief and striking my title ahead to mention, “Yeah, throw my hat in the ring.”

Did you will have a second whilst you had been like, “Okay, I’ve shadowed enough. I feel like I’ve got this. I’m ready to do this now.” Or does it no longer occur that method?

HENSTRIDGE: It’s arduous to keep in mind now, however there’s a factor the place you by no means truly really feel able for the rest, and that’s a excellent factor. I may just shadow for the remainder of eternity and almost certainly nonetheless wouldn’t really feel able to in reality do it. But I shadowed for a season and mentioned, “I would love to be able to do this.” I saved shadowing and saved striking my title ahead, and in Season 7, they had been wonderful and mentioned, “All right, you’ve asked for this. Here it is.” And then, I learn the script and I went, “I don’t know. This feels very hard!”


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You additionally had the good thing about observing Clark Gregg direct at the display. Was there the rest particular that you just took from seeing how he approached directing?

HENSTRIDGE: So a lot. He is so beneficiant along with his wisdom and his many years of running on this trade. I feel the primary factor is how good a pace-setter he’s. He listens to everyone, he respects everyone, he has nice pleasure and humor, and he’s a filmmaker. He’s all about making, no matter it’s that he’s doing, the most efficient it may be and as inclusive as it may be. So, I attempted to emulate that conduct, in simply making it a good, glad enjoy, the place everyone feels heard and everyone seems like we’re running in combination to make this the most efficient it may be.

How does the verdict come about, so far as which episode you’ll direct? Is that one thing that you’ve any say in, or do you simply get advised which episode it’s?

HENSTRIDGE: Yeah, they simply mentioned, “This is the episode.” I feel I knew the quantity, however I didn’t know the rest concerning the episode. Some of it comes all the way down to having to be moderately gentle within the episode sooner than as a result of that’s when the director preps. So, it was once them making an attempt to determine the scheduling and the way that will paintings, however a few of it’s logistics. And then, I believe Chloe Bennet being a large a part of the episode had so much to do with it, and Clark Gregg, as smartly. They’ve been specifically supportive, and I feel they’d know that I’d freak out if were given some truly excellent Coulson-Daisy stuff, so I feel they gave me that, as a present.

Because it is a very other more or less episode of the display, had been there issues that you just had been maximum worried about pulling off with this episode?

HENSTRIDGE: We did block taking pictures as a result of there was once such a lot of repeating scenes at the identical set. You shoot the entire scenes on that one set from one attitude, and then you definitely flip the digicam round and do all of it from the opposite attitude. There had been simply a variety of other tiny items and a large number of digicam strikes had been repeated, to get that vibe of a repeating day. We repeated a variety of motifs of the digicam paintings. So, I feel the primary day, I used to be maximum worried, truthfully, as a result of as a display, we’d by no means carried out block taking pictures and, as an actor, I had by no means carried out it. We needed to get at the identical web page, with the entire other timing. We had to get into the rhythm of it and create a technique of, how do you rehearse that? How do you shoot that? How does that each one paintings, with out us all going loopy? There was once a large number of colour coordination happening, and a large number of highlighting. Once we were given via that first day, which additionally incorporated an influence minimize for a few hours and the hyperbaric chamber breaking, it felt like, “Okay, we can do anything now.”


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Were there any prior time loop narratives that you just checked out, as reference issues, for doing this?

HENSTRIDGE: Yeah, I watched a host of stuff. I watched Groundhog Day, after all, The Day After Tomorrow, Russian Doll on Netflix, and Run Lola Run. The creator, Drew Greenberg, and I talked so much about that, and we watched the films in combination. That was once truly excellent a laugh, to peer the way it’s been carried out. It’s this sort of vintage tale thought. That was once truly a laugh analysis, to peer how other other folks have carried out it. It was once an excessively pleasant factor, while you’ve were given your head round it. It was once for sure element -oriented.

How did you to find the side of directing an episode that you just had been additionally in? Was is it like to take a look at to be in scenes and be within the second, as an actor, when you’re additionally enthusiastic about the entire photographs, as a director?

HENSTRIDGE: It was once a pleasure, truthfully, to do one of the most appearing. I’m so fortunate, in that I’ve performed this personality for see you later as it’s simple to click on again out and in of her. It was once a pleasant emotional liberate to get to let loose some emotion all over what was once every now and then top force days. Some recommendation that I were given from different actors that had carried out an identical issues was once, “Don’t leave the acting for last. Make sure you prepare those scenes as you would, so that when you get to them, you can enjoy them and not feel like you’re not really doing great acting ‘cause your mind is in other places.” So, I used to be truly thankful that I had that recommendation. And then, the opposite actors within the scene had been simply wonderful. It’s a difficult factor to really be directed via an actor within the scene with them, after which, when “Cut” was once yelled, I used to be directing. I used to be very fortunate that everyone was once truly supportive of that ‘motive that will have been a bit of jarring.

It’s been too lengthy since we’ve gotten to peer Fitz. Jemma has clearly been addressing his absence a bit of extra, within the fresh episodes, however we nonetheless haven’t gotten a possibility to peer him. What are you able to say about that? Will we be getting some solutions quickly? Will we in the end be getting increasingly more data now, in the course of the finish of the season?

HENSTRIDGE: Yes. I proportion for your ache. It has been too lengthy since we’ve noticed him. We’ll for sure get solutions. We’ll get to grasp the place he’s and why he’s there, and what’s going down. We’ll get to grasp a few of that from Jemma. In Episode 709, you do get some glimpses into what may well be happening there. And quickly, you’ll pay attention immediately from Fitz, what’s going on, which I’m certain might be a aid to a large number of other folks.


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Enoch has additionally performed a very powerful function, on this season and on this episode. We learn the way a very powerful he’s, on this episode, to what’s in reality happening. What’s it been love to paintings with and direct Joel Stoffer?

HENSTRIDGE: Joel and Enoch are only a true Marvel/Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tale. He mentioned, “Phillip J. Coulson,” on the finish of Season 4, after which he got here again for probably the most improbable arc. Joel is simply probably the most terrific actor. He’s captured this personality and made us care a few robotic. That’s an unbelievable factor as a way to do, and to do it in such an unique method, and truly breathe existence right into a robotic. He’s develop into such an integral a part of the display and our circle of relatives. His appearing is improbable, and I’m so excited for other folks to peer him on this episode, with the adventure that he is taking on. He’s an excellent actor and it was once an absolute pleasure to direct him. I’m so thankful that he were given to be this sort of giant a part of this display.

Along with Daisy being on the heart of the tale, we additionally get to peer a bit of extra of the Daisy and Sousa dynamic. What are you able to say to tease that, for this episode, and what you spot, as the joys of that dating?

HENSTRIDGE: Daisy and Sousa make a really perfect staff. He has been round Agent Carter, so he’s used to a girl who is aware of her thoughts, is very gifted, and may be very robust and clever. There are similarities there, with Daisy. I feel other folks will fall in love with Sousa, all over this episode. I’m Sousa-obsessed. We get to be informed much more about him. Both the fanatics of Agent Carter and those who haven’t noticed Agent Carter are simply gonna completely love Sousa on this episode. He has an integral function to play, and a few truly thrilling stuff occurs on this episode with him.

Were there any specifically memorable bloopers that took place, with this episode?

HENSTRIDGE: Yeah, for sure. There was once almost certainly a large number of bleeping out. One of my favourite issues about this episode is that we get slightly a large number of workforce comedy moments, and to get to peer those characters on display, all being comedic, is simply good. I’m certain there’s a ton of outtakes from positive scenes that I don’t wanna damage, however they had been very humorous. We had a host of various variations and, within the enhancing room, I used to be like, “Oh my gosh, I just wanna show all of these in the series,” however we picked the precise ones. There had been for sure a variety of alts, as we’d say that, with a bit of luck will both be on a blooper reel, or some comedy “best of” reel.


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How did you to find the entire post-production procedure in this episode, running with the editor? What was once it love to must in reality pick out the photographs that you just sought after for the episode?

HENSTRIDGE: Honestly, that was once considered one of my favourite portions of it. This episode was once edited via Kelly Stuyvesant, and she or he’s improbable. This episode relied so closely on an incredible editor. So a lot of it comes in combination within the edit. We had been in a position so as to add little bits to assist pick out the tempo up. She’s collaborative and clever and simply the most efficient. I couldn’t have requested for a greater editor for it. We’ve in reality labored in combination since, and I’m all the time gonna attempt to paintings along with her, someday. She had an actual hobby for the display and she or he’s simply so gifted. It was once good how, to have her in this episode, simply made it. She’s improbable.

Have you considered what you’d love to do subsequent, as a director?

HENSTRIDGE: Yeah, I directed a brief movie, once we wrapped the season, that I wrote and acted in, and I’m now growing that right into a characteristic. We have a creator on board and manufacturers, and the entirety. It’s within the sci-fi style nonetheless, targeted round a feminine superhero. I like this style, with what you’re in a position to mention within the superhero realm, what Marvel has been in a position to do, the tales that you’ll inform, and the way cool it’s to direct the ones battle sequences and particular results, simply that global, I’m eager about. It’s one thing that I’ve been fortunate sufficient as a way to paintings in, for such a lot of years, so I’m for sure gonna proceed on this global. I’ve a variety of aspirations, directing sensible, that I wanna see learned.

When you come back from the Marvel global, and then you definitely step into seeking to inform your individual superhero tale, does it really feel like there’s additional force to take a look at to do it in a brand new and other method?

HENSTRIDGE: Whatever venture you means, I’ll attempt to put my very own tackle it. I don’t know that it’s such a lot force, quite than reinforce. I’ve such a lot of people who I will be able to name to mention, “Hey, how would you do this? What do you think? How much would this cost? Is it possible?” There’s a breadth of data, from the folk that I’ve connections with now. The factor about running inside Marvel is that, on the heart of it, is a zeal for storytelling, and characters which can be strange and odd, in a variety of other ways. There’s an actual tradition inside Marvel, of everyone being a fangirl or a fanboy. I feel Marvel is its personal beast. I don’t suppose I’d make a film that will rival Captain Marvel, however who is aware of? I assume you intention top, proper?


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You’ve been an actor for awhile and also you’ve labored with a host of various administrators, however had been there issues that you just discovered about appearing, in reality stepping into there and directing, or issues that you just couldn’t have recognized about directing, till you in reality did it?

HENSTRIDGE: Oh, for sure. Shadowing can handiest get you so on the subject of what it in reality seems like. There’s not anything slightly just like the force. Honestly, you do have the entire weight of the episode, in your shoulders. You make each determination. You get 1000 questions, an afternoon. There’s an enormous duty that includes that, and that’s why the force is. Everybody may also be very supportive, however the dollar nonetheless stops with you. So, that force was once one thing new to get used to. I haven’t been that uncomfortable for awhile. I’ve been fortunate sufficient to be appearing within the display for see you later, and the ones worried go away, after awhile. It was once good to really feel that worry once more, and take a look at to digest that and stay transferring, and get in the course of the day. That’s what was once so wonderful concerning the bosses and ABC giving me this chance. Until any individual will give you the chance, there’s no longer as a lot room to develop. You have to only get started doing it. That’s the one strategy to truly, in point of fact be informed and get well. Every day, I discovered one thing new and felt like I got here in the following day with renewed self belief that you’ll handiest truly get from doing it. And when it comes to appearing, it for sure is helping to tell issues. It helped me understand how a lot paintings is going into atmosphere the entirety up, sooner than you step onto the level, as an actor. I unquestionably loved the act of filming the episode after mine. I simply floated onto set and, abruptly, wasn’t enthusiastic about 10000 issues. I used to be simply enthusiastic about something, which was once happy, in some way.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Wednesday nights on ABC.

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Vishal Singh
Vishal is The Flick's editor. His interests include product UX designing and search marketing. He can be followed on Twitter at @Vishal7Singh.

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