Cobie Smulders is probably best known for her role as Robin in the TV series “How I Met Your Mother”. So how did she make the transition from the world of comedy to bad a$$ S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill in Marvel’s Avengers? I had the opportunity to interview Cobie just before the Tribeca Film Festival final night screening in New York City last week. She walked in an intimidating, jaw dropping stunner in her Red Carpet Premiere dress and walked out as just another giddy girl, excited to share a fun evening with her “dude”. I was truly taken aside by her sincerity and ability to make everyone in the room laugh.
Smulders is a Canadian actress and former model, born in Vancouver, who started modeling in her teens. She didn’t really enjoy modelling and was reluctant to pursue a career in acting until she realized that it was a different ballgame – with performance being just as important as her physical traits.
Smulders plays Agent Maria Hill, a high ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent second in command to Director Nick Fury. Smulders was so interested in working with Director Joss Whedon that when she landed the role, she hadn’t even read the script and just assumed she’d be making coffee or filing papers onscreen. But Whedon had a more active role in mind and Smulders actually opens the film with an exciting a car chase and actually performs several of her own stunts in the film.
How does a television actress that spends most of her time sitting in an apartment prepare for the role of a female bad ass? She spent a lot of time training with sharp shooters, S.W.A.T. units and martial arts experts. She spent an evening in her Los Angeles home working with a S.W.A.T. trainer learning to load a gun, break it down and fire with accuracy. There’s an action scene where she shoulder rolls, and comes up firing that she practiced so much she was covered in bruises.
“I came into this part and I wanted to do so much, so I did all this training. I was boxing three times a week, and I was training in Martial Arts, doing some Tai Kwon Do and Jujitsu and hired a guy out of L.A. who actually trains SWAT teams to get more familiar with weapons and to feel comfortable holding them.”
It was interesting to hear Smulders say she’s been uncomfortable around guns her entire life so she spent time working with an expert. He brought several guns to her home and she learned how to take them apart and load them. She also spent time at the shooting range learning how to shoot which helped in becoming more comfortable with weapons. While she thought that this would help her assuage her fears, she admits that it really only gave her even more respect for the weapons.
She said she thinks everyone that sees the film will at the very least be entertained. “Joss Whedon is a genius” and that when Cobie saw the movie, she was stunned by what they were able to capture. Most of her scenes take place on the heli-carrier and said it often felt so real and she loved doing the stunts herself.
What did she think was the coolest part of her role?
“She (Agent Hill) works with S.H.I.E.L.D. and she’s very intelligent, highly trained and very capable and I kinda like the idea that she’s like this woman in a mans world…I think that she’s extremely by the book and I think that’s hurting her because she’s working with a man who sort of works outside the rules and I feel like that dynamic is in this movie a lot.”
Whedon praised Smulders’ dedication to her role and said she performed all of her stunts and was one of the best stunt performers on the Avengers team.
Cobie recently joined Twitter and was kind of anxious, wanting to avoid bad news which she associated with Twitter. She’s still learning the abbreviations and feels a bit behind the times but has really enjoyed the feedback and interaction with fans. So if you want to follow her and let her know how you think she did as Agent Maria Hill in the Avengers you can find her @CobieSmulders on Twitter.
Avengers opens in theaters everywhere this Friday, May 4.
Thank you to Marvel for treating me to such an amazing opportunity with an all expense paid trip to New York City to attend the Tribeca Film Festival closing night festivities in speak with the Talented Cobie Smulders in person.