Hayley Atwell: I Groped Chris Evans For You!
No screaming, no crying, no saving.
In short, Hayley Atwell's Captain America character Peggy Carter barely resembled the typical female you'd find in a superhero movie -- and that is exactly why the esteemed British actress braved her first American blockbuster. With the action-packed, retro adventure landing on DVD today, I caught up with Hayley to find out about the vomit-inducing workouts she braved for this part, why groping Chris Evans is all in a day's work and how she believes Peggy could factor into The Avengers!
Insider.com: Peggy isn't your typical superhero heroine, that needs constant saving -- which I thought was refreshing.
Hayley Atwell: That's why I loved the script and what Joe [Johnston, director] was looking for in the actress. I'm quite a strong person and don't see myself as someone who needs saving, so I just felt like Peggy was someone I could inhabit quite easily. And I grew to love her. As strong as she is, she's not without her insecurities and own complicated life. That to me is always fascinating when I play a part.
Insider: This was your first big action role, how physically intensive was it?
Hayley: Oh god, I was training 6 days a week with an ex-Marine for 2 and a half months before we started filming. It was the most amount of exercise I've ever done in my life. The first day we did it, I turned green, left early, threw up and went to bed [laughs]. It was that hard. And I'm a tough woman – I work out, consider myself fit, but my goodness, this killed me. But I loved it and had buckets of energy.
Insider: Were you counting down the days till shooting wrapped so you could sleep in?
Hayley: I was worried that once it stopped, I would instantly get really fat – go crazy in some kind of food breakdown. But by the time filming wrapped, my body was in such a different state that I didn't want to go back. Granted, I'm not doing those crazy workouts, but it's a reminder of how lucky I am to be doing what I do for a living – every time I get down, I try and think of my friends who are out of work actors that would kill to be in this position. I'm thankful for everything I have and gratitude goes a long way in helping you move stronger through life.
Insider: Plus, I'm sure seeing how Chris Evans totally transformed his body was even more motivation.
Hayley: I don't know where it came from, but when we filmed his reveal as "Captain America," I literally reached out and grabbed his man boobs [laughs] – it almost felt unreal. The first time we shot that, I held on for quite a while, which the director felt was a bit much for the film. I was told to do a "light brush over his nipple" – I guess that was more appropriate [laughs]. I was so shocked, I just had to make sure it was real. And let me tell you, it was real and pert and covered in oil and it looked extraordinary in person.
Insider: You know that moment made you the envy of women and gay men all across the globe, right?
Hayley: [laughs] I know! I know! I did it for all of them! I'm that selfless. I'm that kind of woman. I groped Chris Evans for you!
Insider: I know this movie didn't embrace that much greenscreen, but even in such a scant amount, it was your first experience with it -- how did you like the process?
Hayley: If I was having to talk to an alien monster who wasn't there, I think I would find that difficult. The only thing that was bizarre to me was having to do a take with Chris and then having to do the same take with Leander Deeny, who played the skinny version of Chris. That was quite bizarre. And a lot of times, my eye-level had to be shorter, so I couldn't look in his eyes – I had to talk to his neck. That was really odd. But it's one of the things I like about acting – you go in and are asked to do the most bizarre things. It just makes me a more open-minded person – no matter how you think something is supposed to be done, there's another way!
Insider: And lastly, Peggy won't be in The Avengers movie -- but give me your best pitch on how she could be.
Hayley: Peggy has kept a little test-tube of blue serum, injected herself with it and is now lurking around somewhere. I would love for Peggy to suddenly turn up and be really evil. You know how the blue stuff makes good great and bad evil? Well, I would love Peggy to be a raging bitch and this amazing character. I'm totally up for that. Let's start a campaign.
Captain America: The First Avenger is now on Blu-ray and DVD, click here to buy!