Agents of W.H.E.D.O.N.

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Three talented actors who earned the good fortune to work with Joss Whedon gathered in the Westin on Sunday afternoon to reminisce about their experiences.

Amy Acker, who starred in Angel, Dollhouse, The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., said that working with Whedon is “like [being members of] a theatre troop. We all have this trust, and can jump into parts and still have Joss write words for us.”

When asked about her role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., she said, “I always wondered who was going to play the cellist. Then when I found out it was me, I was excited and nervous.” She said she’d played the viola in fifth and sixth grade, but that after taking one cello lesson, she realized that the skills didn’t transfer as hoped. “I thought it would be easy,” she joked, “but not so much.”

J. August Richards, who starred in Ange, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., used his phone to snap a panoramic view of the crowd and tweeted it at https://twitter.com/jaugustrichards/status/506173931888607233.

Ron Glass, who starred in Firefly, Serenity, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., was asked to compare his role as Shepherd Book versus his role as Dr. Streiten. “Well,” he said, pausing dramatically, “at this point they may have more similarities than differences. The character I played on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is [also] dead.”

Glass recounted some of his adventures working on Barney Miller. He explained that when actors do a table read, the cast usually reads the whole script. But on Barney Miller, on the first day they would only be given five pages to read. “We’d rehearse and then wait for more pages. Almost every scene was a surprise. [We got] accustomed to being on the balls of our feet, being ready for whatever was asked of us.”

At one point, an audience member asked Richards a roundabout trick-question to try and sneak information about the Season 2 arc of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Richards successfully evaded the question. “They keep such a lock on the scripts,” he said, “that we seem to learn at the same pace [as the viewers].”

When asked about Whedon’s script secrecy, Glass said, “When you’re working with someone like Joss, it’s almost fun not knowing. You get to know his process. It has a certain kind of excitement. Because of the kind of product he puts out, you trust it. [The process] is quite wonderful.”

When Acker was asked which of her Beatrice scenes in Much Ado About Nothing was her favorite to perform, she said, “The ‘If I were a man’ scene.” Acker explained that they’d filmed the scene at Whedon’s house, which added elements of intimacy and comfort to the result.

One of the highlights for this reporter was when an audience member explained how a couple of years ago at Dragon Con, Richards had sung the theme song for Three’s Company, and the performance had found its way to YouTube. In the interests of turning the moment into a tradition, the man asked Richards, “How about The Flintstones.” The two then sang the theme song for the classic sixties show in its entirety.  Dragon Con fans will hope that perhaps this new performance will also find its way to YouTube.

About the author

Suzanne Church When Suzanne Church isn't chasing characters through other realms, she's hanging with her two children. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, On Spec, and Cicada and in several anthologies including Urban Green Man and When the Hero Comes Home 2. Her collection Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction is due out in spring 2014 from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. She is a three time finalist and 2012 winner of the Prix Aurora Award in the Short Fiction category.

Website: http://www.suzannechurch.com

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