Hayley Atwell Featured In Evening Standard

Hayley AtwellHayley Atwell is featured in Evening Standard, where she talks about her role as Agent Peggy Carter in a world of male superheroes.

On performing stunts on set: [At the bar at Somerset House, the waiter has absolutely no idea who he’s dealing with. He serves the bill both prematurely and unceremoniously to Hayley Atwell just as she is declaring] “I’ve kicked six stuntmen in the bollocks, hit someone over theback with a lead pipe and launched an iron chair at an assistant director. All completely by accident. When it comes to stunts I have a lot of confidence and little skill.”

On doing a university course while filming the first Captain America: “That’s when I was taking myself a lot more seriously. I’ve lightened up since then. I go to places and think, ‘Why can’t I be more mysterious and enigmatic and cold? Why can’t I be more intimidating, like some actresses are? But it’s just not who I am.’”

On British actors being cast as American super heroes: “I think it has something to do with the British work ethic, and especially actors that do theatre. It talks to the power of the ensemble. There isn’t so much of a hierarchy. We’re hard workers because we strive to learn a craft [in a classical acting training]. And maybe we are less high-maintenance.”
Hayley Atwell
On Agent Carter‘s international appeal: “It’s nice to play a role that has a positive influence. I was in Dubai a month ago at Comic Con and I met so many women who said, ‘Because of Peggy Carter, I know my value and that women can be heroes, too.'”

On how Peggy Carter has influenced her own life: “[She has become] a bit of an alter ego. She’s given me a new fearlessness. I was always a people-pleaser — less so now — and I think it became detrimental to me. At Guildhall [drama school], they used to say, ‘You’re overthinking it.’ Peggy is very in the moment.”

On growing up: “I used to write letters to my future self. One that I wrote at eight for my 18-year-old self said. ‘Have you written your first novel yet? Won an Oscar?’ The last one was written when I was 13 and it’s to open on my 40th birthday.”
Hayley Atwell
On her Native American descent: “I had that Sacred Spirit album [Native American chants and dances]. When everyone else was listening to garage, I was listening to that and Enya.”

On her parents divorce: “I don’t remember them being together. If I’d been going through puberty, it would have shaken my whole foundation.”

On spending time in Kansas City with her father: “The smell of the air, the hummingbirds, lightning bugs, eating hot dogs, fancying Todd, the local totty.”
Hayley Atwell
On being bullied as a kid: “I still have [this one girl’s] face in my mind. Sometimes I play in my head what I’d like to say to her. She tried to Facebook me a year ago. I ignored her. ‘Are you kidding me? You made my life hell.’ It’s like psychological warfare, the playground. She’d say, ‘Your trainers are shit.’ And I’d be empathetic and say, ‘I’m sensing hostilities. Is everything OK at home?’”

On moving to London Oratory School: “I started to get attention from boys. I got boobs, basically. They’re a great gift. They called me Hulk Hayley back then. I used to wrestle with the boys. I’ve always felt quite genderless. Which is odd, because I have big boobs. My parents would never say, ‘You’re so pretty.’ They’d say I was smart and strong, and had something to say. They said I should speak up and out.”

On being told to lose weight for Brideshead Revisited: “I thought, ‘OK, I suppose I should.’ Then Emma Thompson [who co-starred] said to me, ‘You’re not a model. You’re an actor.’ In the end, they accepted me for who I was. If I’ve ever had an insecurity about myself in this industry, Emma always has an amazing ability to say something to put it all into perspective, so that you don’t hate yourself.”
Hayley Atwell
On Photoshop: “It’s important that young girls understand what Photoshop is. I do feel a certain amount of responsibility now that I’m playing Peggy.”

On her impending move to Los Angeles: “I like Los Feliz, Beachwood Canyon. I know how to avoid scenes or groups of people that I feel don’t really appeal to me.”

On the California healthy lifestyle: “I’m an English pub girl. I like my beer.”

On training for season 2: “I hate it. It makes me feel sick. I have a 6ft 9in personal trainer called Serbo — ‘Turbo’ Serbo.”

On her relationships: “I’ve always been in relationships. They tend to be back-to-back and last around two years. I’m single and dating until the next two-year relationship comes along.”

On feeling settled on her own: “Peggy gives me the variety I crave but also the grounding to live a relatively normal, stable life. The rest of the time, I can do plays, or lie on a beach in India and make carpets or have babies if I want to.”

On pranking on set: “Dominic and I have become like naughty children. I’m surprised we get any work done. For Halloween, I put cling film over James D’Arcy’s toilet. I’m going to have to up my game in season two.”

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