Rising Brit star Hayley Atwell has spoken exclusively to Total Film about joining the blockbuster leagues with Captain America: The First Avenger.
On her character, freedom fighter Peggy Carter, she says: “She can do everything Captain America can do, but backwards and in high heels!”
She’s not perturbed about the glamour though: “You think, ‘She’s a soldier, why does she have these lips, nails and heels?’ But she’s still a 1940s woman. It’s a reflection of that time.”
Atwell won the coveted role of Peggy in the face of stiff competition. She tells us: “I think Joe [Johnston - director] cast me, because he wanted someone to bring a truth to her.
“I wouldn’t be sending her up all the time. I’d try to explore her as a woman struggling to make her mark.”
She might be best known for period fare (The Duchess, Brideshead Revisited), but she didn’t shy away from the action requirements of the role: “I love firing a gun and the sense of responsibility that comes with it – you realise that holding one makes a lot of people walk away really quickly!
“I do all my own stunts… In fact when [the stuntwoman] comes on I’m like, ‘I’m really sorry, but can you go away, otherwise it feels like a waste, all this training just to look good in a uniform!’”
Captain America: The First Avenger opens on 29 July 2011.
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