Agent Carter’s Hayley Atwell reflects on “frustrating” experience in US TV

Agent Carter star Hayley Atwell has been reflecting on her “frustrating” experience of working in American network television.

Although Atwell isn’t ruling out the possibility of Peggy Carter returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some way, her fans remain disappointed that ABC cancelled Agent Carter after two seasons, and failed to resolve a huge cliff-hanger ending. Atwell continued to work with ABC by starring in a legal drama called Conviction, which also ended up being cancelled very early.

In a new interview, Atwell has looked back on both experiences. This is what she said:

Conviction was a baptism of fire about how network television is. Agent Carter had come from the film [Atwell’s Peggy originated on the big screen, in Captain America: The First Avenger], so I had a little bit more of the feeling of that. The second season tended to feel like you were following the orders of the network; they were very concerned with ratings. We don’t do that in England, unless it’s episodical like EastEnders and soap operas. The machine system of that, it’s frustrating from my background.”

Atwell added this, touching on some of the specific differences between British and American TV work:

“In Britain, when we do an adaptation, you have the script in its completion before you begin filming. You get to make choices, where you’re going to pitch emotionally the arcs in the character. You can better own it. I remember doing one job once, and towards the end of filming, they ended up changing a whole ton of it. You suddenly get a backstory to a character and you think, ‘God, if I’d known that before I might be able to have done something with it.’”

You can read the full interview by heading over to Vulture. It’s well worth a look.

Atwell has since gone on to star in Howard’s End for the BBC.