430 HD captures of the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been uploaded to the gallery.
It’s rare for an American show to have two Scottish actors as regulars both playing Scottish characters. However, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD, now in its fourth season Tuesday nights on ABC, boasts Iain De Caestecker as Dr. Leopold Fitz and John Hannah as Dr. Holden Radcliffe.
De Caestecker has been with SHIELD since its premiere. His Fitz is a tech genius whose adoration of erstwhile classmate, biological whiz Dr. Jemma Simmons, played by Elizabeth Henstridge, is now requited. Hannah joined the series in Season 3 as Dr. Holden Radcliffe, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence.
Until recently, Fitz looked up to Radcliffe and even helped the other scientist conceal the existence of the human-like A.I. Aida, played by Mallory Jansen. However, since it’s been discovered out that Radcliffe was spying for the anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. Senator Ellen Nadeer (Parminder Nagra), made an A.I. duplicate of himself and another A.I. duplicate of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), it can be said that the relationship between Fitz and Radcliffe is now in a cooling phase.
Radcliffe would argue that he’s just trying to help humanity with his A.I. research, and even with his quest for the book of extraterrestrial lore known as the Darkhold.
De Caestecker and Hannah are seated near one another during a set visit arranged by Marvel for the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour. It is thus possible to speak with both actors at once.
As you’re both Scotsmen, do you get caught up culturally or dialectically when you have scenes together?
IAIN DE CAESTECKER: Maybe, probably we do. We don’t think we do, but yeah. It’s definitely a big plus, bonus for me, having another Scot on the show, and someone as cool as John Hannah. So, yeah. We often will talk about stuff back in Scotland people won’t understand. You do need to catch yourself sometimes, so [non-Scottish] people can still understand what you’re saying.
Do you ever make suggestions as to things that your characters can banter about?
DE CAESTECKER: Yeah, sometimes we do, yeah. Right?
JOHN HANNAH: Yeah. Also, within the kind of scientific blah, blah in the background. But then, he’s been doing it for four years, so I just take my lead from him. I let him do it [laughs].
Do you feel there is, or at least has been until recently, a mentor/pupil relationship between your characters, and does it go both ways, because one of them has expertise that the other doesn’t and vice-versa?
DE CAESTECKER: Yeah, I think so. I think probably Fitz looks up to Radcliffe a little bit more than the other way round, but yeah, there’s probably a mutual appreciation there.
HANNAH: Essentially, they get in terms of what [series co-creator/executive producer] Jed [Whedon] was saying there about Radcliffe essentially being a character who wants to be liked – he has worked solo for quite a long time, and the things that we find out about the connections in the scientific community, especially in a country like Scotland, would be quite small, so there are connections there that feed into a relationship beyond two actors meeting and working.
Does Radcliffe ever attribute artificial intelligence motivations to humans, and human motivations to the A.I.?
HANNAH: Well, interestingly, we have a philosophical discussion at one point about what the difference is between A.I which has self-knowledge and humanity, so there is a scene there where we discuss that. The idea of artificial intelligence has been around for such a long time now, and it’s something which is still very much seen as a kind of holy grail, but one that in the real world I think we’re very close to. I think people are talking about a singularity [self-aware artificial intelligence] within the next two decades, so I think it’s been interesting to research around the areas of a show like this, to find yourself involved in a discussion of the ethics of artificial intelligence and what humanity is. I think we’re seeing it. It’s interesting to bring those elements into a show like a Marvel show.
Do either or both of you have strong opinions about artificial intelligence in real life, and if so, how do they resemble the opinions of your characters?
DE CAESTECKER: It’s interesting. I probably don’t know enough about it as my character would. But also I’m quite wary, I’m cautious of it as well.
HANNAH: I think there’s a definite evolution about artificial intelligence. There’s an interesting writer called Ray Kurzweil who I’ve been reading during this period who talks about the singularity, that it’s part of human evolution, that we will at some point cross over into – well, we already have trans-humans, so artificial intelligence is not far off at all. Like anything, it’s about who controls it, who’s got their finger on the buttons.
Fitz experienced brain damage in Season 2 and we saw the effects of that for quite awhile, but he seems to have largely recovered. Are you keeping any of that damage in the performance at all?
DE CAESTECKER: Yeah, we spoke about that a lot. Coming out the other side, Fitz is very different from the character that he was before he had the brain damage. There are still probably moments of it there. He’s able to function much more normally now, but yeah, there are ways that he’s found, different ways around obstacles that he maybe would have handled in a different way before. There are maybe small little bits that are in there if you encounter them, but otherwise, it’s not something that has been carried on too much in the scripts, as big a theme as it was. But yeah, it’s still there, and it’s still something that’s referenced, I think, now and then.
Given that romances on AGENTS OF SHIELD often end tragically, were you worried that once Fitz and Simmons got together, either you or Elizabeth Henstridge would immediately be out of a job?
DE CAESTECKER: Well, maybe we still will be. Who knows?
You were on SPARTACUS for three seasons, where you were dealing with a very particular CGI environment. Is working with the CGI on AGENTS OF SHIELD at all similar to that, or is it a completely different context?
HANNAH: It’s all very similar. It’s all theatre. It’s all this [gestures at set], and this is what we deal with. Like SPARTACUS, the sets that the audience see at the end seem very real, and you take that on board, and you know that it’s fake, and you walk out and have a coffee and stuff, but you deal in that moment of reality. That’s what you try and do.
Fitz has gotten to invent quite a few cool things. Was there something you particularly enjoyed playing the invention of?
DE CAESTECKER: The drones have always been pretty cool, the little droids, they were always a pretty cool tool, but probably Coulson’s hand is a pretty cool one. I don’t get to play with it, but I get a kick out of him using him.
Do you ever go up to Clark Gregg and say, “Give me that back”?
DE CAESTECKER: All the time, every day.
Do you think Radcliffe sees himself as a good guy?
HANNAH: He’s a scientist. I don’t think he judges himself in [that] sense. I think he’d probably think he’s a good guy. He’s not doing anything bad at all. He’s simply pursuing science for its own sake, and as I said, it’s what gets done with that and who’s in control of it, which is the same conversation we’re having. I mean, Trump’s already talking about upping the nuclear arms race again. We’ve spent forty years, fifty years, with that in place, which has made the world in spite of everything a safer place for many, many people. It’s a worry.
Feel free to not answer this, but how do you as Scotsmen feel about being in the U.S. at this extremely bizarre time?
DE CAESTECKER: I didn’t get the opportunity to vote. It’s bizarre, but there are also a lot of bizarre things going on in the U.K. But just in the sense, in a way when you first come over anyway, just the cultures are quite different, so I’m still kind of getting used to the culture. We’re in L.A., which I think is a bit of a bubble in itself. I shouldn’t really comment on it.
HANNAH: Well, it is a bubble, but at the same time, I do worry that Britain as well as America is headed for a slow-motion train wreck with the people who are in charge of the buttons – things that are being said. It’s interesting. I wish it wasn’t quite so interesting, but it is interesting. Who was that Chinese philosopher who said, “May you live through boring times”? [laughs] Not that it was exactly boring before Trump, but it certainly ups the ante a little bit, doesn’t it. A lot of people I think are very, very anxious about what’s going to happen, and that’s a shame.
Does it sort of feel comforting to work on narratives like AGENTS OF SHIELD, where there are powerful villains, but usually some kind of solution for dealing with them?
HANNAH: Unfortunately, no, because the machinations of the story are always more or less worked out for the good guys. As a kid, I used to respond to the films and the TV shows where the bad guys actually got away with it a little bit, because it felt more real. And I think the bad guys get away with it pretty often [in real life].
What would you most like people to know about the rest of Season 4?
DE CAESTECKER: That it’s going to be well worth watching.
HANNAH: It looks phenomenal, it’s amazing. These writers continually surprise and amaze us, the actors, and hopefully that translates for an audience watching it also.
224 HD captures of the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been uploaded to the gallery.
Trying his best not to be specific, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actor John Hannah told a crowd Tuesday night that he would use a Life Model Decoy for a regime change.
He, along with other members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. cast, gathered in Los Angeles to livetweet during the East Coast broadcast of Tuesday night’s episode. Following the screening, the group answered a handful of questions from the crowd of reporters and S.H.I.E.L.D. fans.
When asked how the cast might use a Life Model Decoy, episode director Nina Lopez-Corrado suggested sending one to Washington. Hannah amplified the idea, adding that his LMD could deal with a few problems and at least one specific name he mumbled for laughs. It might’ve rhymed with “Shannon.”
For other cast members, like Mallory Jansen and Ming-Na Wen, the answer was a little less incendiary. “I’d just have my LMD do the cooking and walk the dog so I could watch Netflix,” said Wen.
Jansen echoed the concept, adding “I’d have mine do my errands. That would be nice.”
“I think anytime my wife wants a meaningful talk,” joked Jason O’Mara.
Returning to a more political bent, Natalia Cordova-Buckley said she would send her LMD to Los Pinos – the official residence of the Mexican President – and clean house. The sentiment was echoed by Iain De Caestecker mother Linda De Caestecker, who said her LMD would bring about the cause of Scottish Independence.
In the episode, she appeared briefly when Fitz was looking at a baby picture of himself alongside his mother. “She sent in a number of photos,” he explained. “I said it needed to be a photo of her and me together and I’m quite young.
She sent through a trough of photos, some she knew would be really embarrassing.” One, he admitted, featured him as a boy “in tight Speedos.”
The episode also saw Agents Coulson and May finally kiss – thought not quite, as May was an LMD at that exact moment. Wen thanked Lopez-Corrado and writer Craig Titley for the episode. “If not for them, we’d be sitting here all day long kissing,” she joked.
Star Clark Gregg considered the kiss with LMD May as the “best” moment for him on the series so far. Wen agreed. “It’s the culmination of four years [of story] … but I was really nervous about it.”
Gregg also admitted the toughest scenes in the episode featured the multiple Agent Koenigs. “We had to do them an extra four or five times,” he explained. Though the process of using a single actor as multiple characters – in this case Patton Oswalt – is fairly simple to do, it is time intensive. “He changed his wardrobe and be on for twenty minutes,” Gregg continued. But a scene with three of the Koenig brothers meant three doubles, three costume changes, and three complete run-throughs of the scene.
Recent addition O’Mara added that the toughest moment for him so far was when he read the script revealing his character, Director Jeffrey Mace, is not an Inhuman. “I do get to keep the suit,” he said. “And I got to be a superhero for a few weeks. It was a special moment.” He added that he thought the reveal also gave Mace a greater depth.
Gregg suggested it is always possible for Mace to still become Inhuman.
Continuing the theme of challenges on the set, Hannah admitted nothing in his years of acting prepared him to become a malfunctioning LMD. “When you get into being an LMD who’s possessed … you don’t know what the f*ck you’re doing,” he joked. To him, acting is usually a dialogue between two characters and not an android reciting Latin sayings. Though he may have some misgivings about the performance, he felt he handled it well enough. And despite the technical challenges the role hands him, Hannah said S.H.I.E.L.D. is “an amazing universe to be a part of.”
During the livetweet, Hannah also entertained the crowd with his special brand of observations, including the fact that “shield” is one of the few English words to feature an “I” before “E” without a “C” preceding it. He intended to deliver a lecture on the topic when the show came back from a commercial break.
“He’s the most charismatic guy,” said Mallory of Hannah. “And he’s so flirtatious all the time!”
To prove her point, Hannah responded to a question about which superpower he’d like to have with a naughty smile and the response, “Something sexual …”
Closing the evening, Iain De Caestecker and Gregg reminisced about some the pranks he has pulled on the other actors, including putting Tabasco sauce in a sandwich actor Brett Dalton was using in a scene –“To his credit, he didn’t break,” said De Caestecker. But according to Gregg, the best prank involved De Caestecker and Chloe Bennett.
After she managed to fill his bathroom with fake snow, De Caestecker retaliated by replacing the license plates on her car with ones featuring the phrase “balls deep.” According to De Caestecker, “She didn’t notice … she probably could’ve gotten arrested [with the fake plates.]”
“That was the legendary prank,” added Gregg. “We all kind of retired after that.”
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays on ABC.
The latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a great one for fans of Fitz, as we finally got some backstory on the loveable Scot. As always, Iain knocked it out the park with his performance, showing Fitz going through a range of emotions as he confronted his treacherous mentor and relived his troubled past. 296 caps of the episode have been added to the gallery and be sure to check out Iain’s rave reviews.
192 HD caps of the lastest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been uploaded to the image archive.
We normally avoid posting social media pictures taken from Iain’s (non-AoS related) friends’ accounts, but we think its ok to make an exception in this case because every single person who marched yesterday deserves recognition for it. We at IaindeCaestecker.net want to send our love and gratitude to everyone who stood up to be counted yesterday.
You would be forgiven for thinking Fitz is a free and single ‘agent’ if you have been tuning into this season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But in this week’s episode, at long last, the writers seem to have remembered that he and Jemma are supposed to be in a relationship and they actually had some scenes together. Rejoice! Let’s pray that they keep it up. 230 HD caps of the episode have been uploaded to the gallery.
US viewers, you may or may not be aware of how low the ratings have fallen. The show is in serious danger of cancellation. If you can, please watch live.
216 HD caps of the lastest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been uploaded to the image archive.