Life Model Decoys, Kissing, and Pranks: A Talk with the Cast of Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

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.

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