As a Strategic Scientific Reserve agent in the 1940s Peggy Carter has a lot on her plate, fighting both the world’s most dangerous criminals and the 20th century patriarchy. Admittedly, the latter is more of an intellectual struggle, but actress Hayley Atwell still had her hands full practicing stunts for Agent Carter Season 1.
“It has been challenging but I did a bit of unarmed combat at drama school, so I have the muscle memory. It’s kind of in my body,” Atwell tells us. “But I love the physical aspect of it and I discovered that in terms of stunts I’m someone who has a lot of confidence and very little skill, which is a really deadly combination and a lot of stunt people were hurt. I just throw myself into something. But you learn over time how to get better at it, and I know how to swing a couple of punches.
“It’s really good fun. I kicked six stuntmen in the balls. I think that was the total. I have that on Twitter (here, here, and here) and Instagram as well, slow-motion video of a man going ‘nooooooo!’ and me going, ‘not agaaaain!’ I hit a crew member over the back with a lead pipe and I kicked an iron chair at the assistant director. But I’m so British about it! I’m like, ‘Oh, god, I’m so sorry! Terribly, terribly sorry!’ But it’s a great way of relieving tension. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Peggy has been know to kit up properly when going into the field, but more often than not she’s caught out in her civvies and has to throw punches in a skirt suit and a pair of sensible heels. Thankfully for Atwell, her costumes are subjected to alterations when it comes to filming stunt sequences.
“I have different sizes of heels. They knock off an inch when I have to fight, which is very nice. Stunt heels. They also add a panel of extra material to my skirt so it’s stretchier, which is great! It’s all these tiny little attentions to details to make my life a little bit easier. Every little bit helps!”
Agent Carter Season 1 premieres in the UK on Sunday 12 July at 9pm on FOX. Read more about the series in the latest issue of SciFiNow.