Iron Man 2′s Clark Gregg connects superhero films as Marvel’s Agent Coulson
Starting with a small role in 2008′s “Iron Man,” Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson has become the connective tissue of the cinematic Marvel Universe.
After being tasked with keeping an eye on Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in the first two “Iron Man” films, he’ll join the cast of Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor” in 2011, then move on to Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” in 2012, which will join Iron Man, Thor and Captain America in one film. “Captain America: The First Avenger” will be set in the European theater of World War II in the 1940s (and thus isn’t expected to feature Agent Coulson); “Thor” explores the alternate realm of the Norse Gods and its intersection with modern New Mexico; and Iron Man is a technologically advanced real-world environment. All of these worlds will collide in “The Avengers,” which is set to begin filming in March.
“I was trying to remember what there could be that was quite like this, because there are very few things you can’t find a precedent for, in life or in movies,” Gregg said in a recent phone interview promoting “Iron Man 2,” out Tuesday on DVD. “There’s just something about this that I don’t feel has been done before. … These are kind of pop culture, American hero legends. And what’s interesting about this is they really span a wide range of styles.”
Coulson is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., which in the films stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. It’s stood for a couple of other things in the comics, but it’s generally been an espionage agency dealing with high-level threats. S.H.I.E.L.D. was likely at least in part inspired by the James Bond films of the early 1960s; Gregg said he was also inspired by 007.
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