Emily Van Camp on Sharon Carter, Team Cap, and everything MCU
One of the stars of the upcoming "Captain America" Civil War" chats with student reporters about her life as Agent 13
May 5, 2016121 Views
Every Marvel fan on the planet is excited for the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War” (in theaters May 6).
A “Twilight”-esque division has occurred between fans: those who side with Team Cap and those who are more in favor of Team Iron Man. The reason for the split? A new act, requiring the registration of superheroes with the government.
The film divides the MCU-familiar faces going up against one another in support or protest in an epic clash of fists and morals. Team Cap, headed by Captain America, includes Ant Man, the Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Hawkeye, and Sharon Carter — first introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in “Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier” as Agent 13.
Sharon now comes into her own, standing with Cap and the others as a symbol of freedom while living with the legacy left behind to her by her aunt Peggy.
Emily Van Camp, who plays Agent 13, showed great excitement while discussing the film recently with high school and college reporters. During the interview, she was asked by the Raider Times how her younger self would react to seeing her on the big screen.
“I think she’d be like, ‘What?! No! Stop it. Small-town girl from Fort Berry, Ontario? No way!’ ” she said, laughing. “I don’t think she would have believed it, to be honest.
“Yeah, it’s kind of — it’s kind of crazy. I still kind of have to pinch myself that I get to do this for a living.”
During the 20-minute conversation, she analyzed Sharon’s role and development, discussed her journey from small-town girl to TV actress to the world of blockbusters, and even shared her own personal alliance (Team Cap).
Here is an edited transcript of the interview:
Q: So, what can you tell us about Sharon’s motivations to take the side that she does? Last we saw her, she was starting to work for the government or the CIA at the end of “Winter Soldier,” so what brings her to where she is?
EMILY VAN CAMP: When we find her, she’s working in Berlin, the Joint Terror Taskforce. And we meet her at Peggy’s funeral and that’s where Steve finds out sort of who she really is, because it was never mentioned in the “Winter Soldier.” And that’s sort of the beginning of when the whole Accords thing is happening. So she sort of finds herself a little bit between a rock and a hard place in terms of her loyalty to Cap.
But, obviously, he’s rebelling against the Accords, and she’s just sort of trying to help him and continue to sort of keep her job. Because you know, obviously she’s feeding him information that she’s obviously not allowed to be feeding him. And you really get a sense of her loyalty to him, which I think is interesting, and something that I loved about their relationship in the comic books. So, that’s kind of where we find her.
Q: This is your second time working with the Russo brothers. Can you describe what it’s like, working with them, and how working with a pair of directors feels different than working with a single director?
EVC: With a movie of this scale, it kind of is amazing to have two people that, one person can be focusing on one thing, one person can be focusing on the other. So they really get great performances. They get great effects. It’s double the power, you know what I mean? So to sort of keep this huge engine moving, it really helps to have two people, and they are both brilliant and kind of extraordinary in their own way.
Q: What new things can audiences expect from your character in this film that they might have gotten specifically in “Winter Soldier,” without giving spoilers, obviously?
EVC : We were really planting a seed in the “Winter Soldier.” Cap didn’t even know that she was Sharon Carter, within that film. So that’s definitely something new we find out. We find out who she is — well, Steve finds out who she is — and that’s sort of, I think, just inevitably deepens their connection because of obviously the shared tie with Peggy. There’s just an inevitable, immediate trust between them. And we really explore that throughout this film, and we see that the stakes are high for her because, her job is at stake if she’s helping Cap. That’s the bottom line, but we really see her sort of follow her heart rather than her head, I suppose, which is cool.
Q: Did you do any research via comic book reading in preparing for your character? And have you been a past fan or a reader of comics?
EVC: Um, I was not a fan, previously, but when I sort of joined the universe as Agent 13, they handed us all of these bibles, which is everything. From years — everything Sharon Carter — and I just sat with it and went to town, and really kind of fell in love with Sharon and her relationship with Cap.
And it’s really interesting because all of the comic books are different. Their stories are different. Her relationship to Peggy varies from comic book to comic book, all of that, but it’s fun to kind of take elements of all of the different stories and really piece together a character that hopefully the fans enjoy. And it’s a really interesting process, because you don’t always have that kind of information readily available when you’re researching for a part, so it makes it a really cool process.
Q: So, Marvel recently released this featurette highlighting the company’s achievement in adopting more women roles in their movies. In addition, you were also involved in the “Captain America: Civil War” Challenge for young women in STEM. What are your feelings on playing the strong female role, and empowering women across the country in the process?
EVC : I mean, that’s just a huge compliment to hear that, because you know these characters are so much fun to play, but to know that in doing this, it could be you potentially empowering young girls, is amazing.
And I think Marvel’s really trying to diversify, they’re really sort of incorporating more women in these great parts, and I think it’s just kind of heading in the right direction, you know? But it’s super enjoyable to play, too.
Q: I know a lot of Marvel fans are picking Team Captain American and Team Iron Man, so my question is, if you were to choose a team independent from the character that you play, which side would you choose and why?
EVC : Hmm, that’s a really good question that I’ve been asking myself quite a bit. I mean, I always … I guess, because I have such an attachment to Sharon and her loyalty to Steve and Captain, I just feel that I sort of agree with him. It’s tough, though, because to have superheroes running around, without any sort of monitoring, it does seem wild and crazy. But I really see both sides.
It’s kind of hard to, even watching the movie, it’s hard to see the Avengers going at each other. But you really do see the right and wrong of both sides. It’s a tough one, but just because of my attachment to the character I’d probably go Team Cap.
Q: As an actor with extensive experience in television, what was it like to transition from those television projects to roles that involve a franchise like this one?
EVC : I always say that having a TV background is amazing, because you move so fast and you really have to be quick on your toes, which kind of prepares you for anything that’s thrown at you. Obviously they take more time in the film, so it’s a luxury, really, to have that kind of time, but there are moments. I remember we did a little fight sequence on Captain that, you know we were just losing the day. We were running out of time and we had to shoot it in an hour and a half, or something ridiculous.
And because I had that TV background, it makes it a lot easier to sort of learn quickly and get it done. So I really enjoy doing both, to be honest, but it was obviously amazing, entering into this universe, and sort of getting to experience the scale of these films. It’s really impressive and just super fun.
Q: So Emily, this is your second time playing this role. What, if anything, are you doing differently this time in terms of how you’re playing your character I think when we met her in the “Winter Soldier,” she was kind of at a rookie stage. She was figuring out what her feelings on everything were like, where her loyalties lie, and all of that. So we just sort of kind of, scratched the surface, really. I mean, we didn’t even know she was Sharon Carter, so I got to have a lot more fun in terms of just being genuine to the character.
Her openly being Sharon Carter, Cap knowing she’s Sharon Carter, it kind of allowed us to delve into their relationship a little bit more and really dig into where her loyalties are. It’s just really fun to play, now that it’s not hidden, who she is, it can kinda just go there with her. And all of the research that I did on her, and all of the ways in which I admired their relationship in the comic books, we got to play that out a little bit, which was great.
Q: So, this film is a Captain America film, though it does have quite a few other Avengers in it. How do you feel that the film differentiates itself from the previous two Avengers films, and makes itself truly a new Captain America movie?
EVC: It’s interesting. It does really feel like the Avengers. Everybody is in it, pretty much. [Laughs] So it is hard to differentiate it, but they really are kind of focused on the relationship between Tony and Steve, and what they represent.
And the rest is just sort of people picking sides. And they really delve into the depth of what these two characters within the universe truly, truly feel. And they are the extremes of those feelings that, you know, other people are kind of following, so it still does feel like a Captain film.
Q: So, this film has quite the all-star cast. What was it like, working together as a team?
EVC: It was amazing. Everyone’s great. A couple of the guys, I just met today, actually. Which was interesting. That’s how big this movie is [Laughs]. Cause our paths never crossed. But everyone’s fantastic and super talented. It’s a very welcoming environment. It’s just amazing. It’s kind of like being a kid, you know. You just get to show up to work and play and hang out. And it’s really, really fun.
Q: Please describe the most intense scene you’ve shot during production.
EVC: Hmm. The most intense scene. I mean, I think the one that I connected with the most was just her speaking at Peggy’s funeral. You know, a really difficult moment for Steve.
It’s also where he finds out that she’s Sharon Carter, which is very interesting, and the fans have such a love of Peggy, that it was nice to sort of honor her. And it really did make sense for Sharon to do that. So that was probably one of my favorite ones. It’s also where you almost wonder if she’s speaking to Cap in this moment in terms of the sort of difficulties that he’s going through, so that was pretty good.
It’s kind of fun to go up against Bucky. [Laughs] But the truth is these scenes are a lot of fun. My stuff wasn’t the highest intensity stuff, so I just got to show up a lot and have fun. Which is really great, especially after “Revenge,” which was like, constantly, constantly tortured, you know? So it was a great departure from that.
Q: OK, you’re invited to an exclusive party, but you can only invite three other superheroes. Who do you invite?
EVC: Oh, man. I don’t know. Maybe, like, the Falcon. He could take you on rides, which would be really fun. Like, fly you around and stuff. [Laughs] Who else? Two other ones? Um, who else? Maybe, like, Thor, so you could go to [Asgard]? That’d be kinda rad. Just, like, do a little hop over there. … Maybe Scarlet Witch, just ’cause I really like Lizzie Olsen. But also, she can just kind of like get rid of anyone there’s annoying, just shoo them away with her superpower. So those are my three, I guess. There’s just so many good ones. [Laughs] I’ll stick with them.
–May 5, 2016–
Isabella Vitti is a veteran member of the Raider Times staff.