Chloe Bennet: delightful in real life at 2015 Motor City Comic-con, talks Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and breaking an elbow during a fight scene
Chloe Bennet, Skye on Agents of S.H.I.EL.D., attended the 2015 Motor City Comic-con and spoke solo at her panel on Saturday, May 16.
I excluded some major spoilers and kept others for the sake of a few jokes. If you’re wondering what those spoilers are, feel free to email (email@example.com) or tweet me (@Hannahrubyisms) and I’ll tell you everything!
The scene: Imagine a room full of sweaty, tired geeks who pack into a room not big enough for the delightful Chloe Bennet.
The panel was packed. The running joke throughout the panel was “excuse me, if you could just clear the aisle” because people kept standing in the aisle.
I would put the audience’s reaction more, but then I would just type “The audience laughed” or “Everyone laughed” or “it was like laughing gas was released in the room” in varying degrees. Please just imagine everyone laughing at basically everything Chloe Bennet said. She’s absolutely hilarious and she wore the cutest outfit.
She came in and told us she was sweaty, but that that was probably too much information.
She referred to the spoilers in the second season finale a few times. (I haven’t seen yet. Sorry, Chloe, please don’t hate me) If you don’t want spoilers, stop now!
Question: What was it like discovering who you were (Daisy Johnson AKA Quake)?
“I had no idea who I was first season and most of the second season,” Chloe said. “When I found out, I was like She-Hulk. I was like I’m gonna need to bulk up.”
“When all you bosses knock on your trailer door, I was like “oh my god, i’m fired,” she said.
They told her she was Daisy Johnson. Chloe said she knew about the character because she had done research.
“I was so excited. I didn’t know how much me being S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and an inhuman was going to drive the rest of the season home and how the end was gonna kinda be a war between my two families,” she said.
One fan commented on how well Skye has progressed character-wise throughout the two seasons.
“She was kind of a looney bin living in a van when we first met her, who was very anti-gov, anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. and she’s grown so much and it’s been such a crazy opportunity getting to play her,” she said. “I was so green starting the show and I didn't know anyone and I kind of got thrown into this ragtag family on and off screen. It’s been really amazing to grow parallel as Skye to Chloe. I just referred to myself in the third person. Excuse me, that’s really douchy.”
One fan asked what she wants to see happen.
“I’m hoping to maybe lead the Inhumans in a new way because they haven’t really worked together with S.H.I.E.L.D. yet,” Chloe said.
She trained for two months last season doing a few different martial arts techniques for about four hours a day. She trained a lot during the hiatus.
She got injured on set doing a fight scene one day. Chloe had two and half hours to rehearse for a one-take fight scene and then shot it in an hour and a half.
“Basically at the end of that shot, I did a role on the ground. It was hard cement. I’m not a gymnast. I did a role and broke my elbow in the middle of the take,” she said. “I broke it and got two hairline fractures in my elbow. I was supposed to stand up in the middle of the scene and finish shooting him after standing up.” She finished the rest of the reason with a broken arm.
Chloe said having an injury puts you into character because the agents probably always have injuries they don’t talk about.
“I felt more like a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent,” she said.
When they found out about the Winter Soldier and the part S.H.I.E.L.D. plays, all the writers and producers pulled them into Elizabeth’s (Agent Simmons) trailer. They read the last page from the script of the episode that coincides with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” aloud.
“We just started reading it aloud and it was at the end when Ward shot Agent Hand. I go ‘oh my god, I kissed you.’ Ming goes ‘oh my god, I fucked you,’” Chloe said. “I was so mad at Brett and he was like ‘it wasn’t me, I don’t want to be hydra.’ We were really mad, I think he almost started crying.”
“So if you think you guys get into the show, imagine playing these characters because we get obsessed,” she added.
A few fans asked about the audition process.
“I actually auditioned for Simmons first,” Chloe said. “But then they heard me talk biochem and they’re like ‘nope, that’s not great.’” She did her first audition tape with a valet in Nashville because she had no one else to read with.
“I had no idea how much Skye would be involved in the show,” she said.
One fan congratulated Chloe on her role.
“Thank you. I screamed. I went in about six times for the audition,” Chloe said. “The second time I met Joss, it was down to the bottom four girls and Joss Whedon came out in the hall to get some water. I was up next and I was really nervous. Joss came out and he was like ‘how are you?” He’s very calm and intimidating. I was like ‘I’m great. You look like shit.’ He was like ‘thanks’ and I was like ‘I mean not shit, but you look really tired.’”
She said it was trainwreck when she got into the room because she forgot her lines, but everything worked out she said, “because they saw some of Skye.” Chloe often made fun of herself for being like Skye because of her goofiness.
She was also pulled over before her audition to meet Joss. She didn’t get a ticket, but she ran in sweaty.
Question: What’s it like playing an Asian female in a male dominated society?
“It’s crazy. Our showrunner is an Asian woman and two female leads are Asian and that’s incredible, especially now,” Chloe said. “It’s great. It’s pretty amazing to be apart of a new wave of strong woman roles. That’s something Joss told us from the beginning.”
“What I love about all the woman relationships on the show is that none of them are caddy at all. For some reason on TV they like to pin women against each other for petty things, and Joss said from the very beginning you and these women will have strong relationships and you’ll never be caddy and it’ll be loving and you guys will strengthen each other,” she said.
Question: Who’s your favorite person to work with?
“Clark is amazing to work with, obviously. Everyone is fun in all different ways,” she said. “Elizabeth and Ian and I cannot do scenes without laughing the whole time.”
Chloe said they have a “prank thing” going with Clark Gregg. During a plane crash scene, Clark put a fart machine under her chair. Later, they had guests come onto the set, and Chloe told Clark to make it fart a lot when the guests were there.
She said she wants to do more fight scenes in the future because “It’s basically like playing real life video games.” She pointed out that one of her little brothers was wearing an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shirt, and that they were single, except for the oldest one. The audience laughed at Chloe embarrassing her younger brothers, like big sisters should. “I love doing all the action. They used to play Halo growing up and I was so bad. So it’s fun to pretend to be in a video game.”
“Character wise, I’d really love to see her discover more Inhumans,” Chloe said adding that she’s curious to see what characters they’re going to pull from the comic books.
The running joke of the panel was a moderator saying “If you could just clear the aisle” to the people who kept standing in the hall. He must have said it five times before the panel started, and in the middle of the panel, he said it again. Then Chloe said it and made it better.
“If you say things like Elizabeth Henstringe, who plays Simmons, could you clear the aisle please? Thank you so much, love.” she said in a wonderful British accent. I’m pretty sure people moved out of the aisle.
She said it’s wonderful to act with the person who plays Mockingbird, Adrianna Palicki.
“Our first real scene together was when she brought me a little care package when I was going through earthquake puberty. I love that scene,” Chloe said.
A fan asked if she would change her decision of which side to choose at the end of season two.
“I was a little frustrated with Skye while I was playing her. It was hard knowing what my mother did. It was hard to play naive to that. I would choose Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. over and over and over,” Chloe said.
One fan asked if Marvel asked her to play a part in the Inhuman movie, and she said they do things on a whim, but she didn’t know yet.
Question: Who from the comics do you want to see in the show?
“I would love anyone from the movies,” she said. “We should just get Chris Hemsworth to play my boyfriend.”
Question: How was it finding out about your powers?
“At first i was like ‘just earthquakes’? When I realized I could concentrate them and focus in on someone’s chest or head,” Chloe said. “It’s such an awesome power to have, especially watching ‘The Avengers.’ I was like ‘I could have helped.’”
Question: What’s it like working with Clark Gregg on set?
“He is wonderful,”Chloe said. “It’s funny now that he has one arm. Its funny to work with him now. To do the one arm gag, you put it under his jacket and then he has his arm in a sling, and he was moving it and I was like ‘you don’t have an arm, you don’t get to use that arm right now.’”
“He’s really been an on and off screen mentor for me. If he hasn’t talked to me in two weeks he’ll call me and be like ‘hey. Hey kiddo. How’s your soul? How're you doing? What are you doing? Where are you? Have you been getting enough sleep?’ He’s really sweet.”
One fan asked about the Joss Whedon controversy with the movies and show.
“It’s all technically one universe. I think the question got skewered,” she said, adding that Joss meant Coulson’s death changed the chemistry of the second Avengers movie. “It’s definitely all connected. I can’t speak for Joss. I know the Marvel universe loves the show. He definitely considers everyone a big family.”
She hummed a few bars from a song and it was beautiful.
“The cast hates when I sing on set cus’ i do a Britney Spears impersonation all the time,” Chloe said.
She did her impersonation of “Oops...I Did it Again” in a nasally, Britney Spears voice and it was hilariously fantastic.
Question: What’s it like working with Kyle MacLachlan (her father, "The Doctor")?
“He’s absolutely incredible, even from that first scene we had together, when Ward opened those doors and I see my dad standing there,” she said. “It was so awkward on set because we were just trying to keep the energy of what was gonna' happen in the scene. He’s so funny. He’s so giving as an actor. It makes my job so much easier.”
During the last scene in the end of the finale, they kept hugging and crying. “It was such a great moment to have,” she said.
“In TV, it moves so quickly,” Chloe said. “Sometimes the scene, or the integrity of the scene, the meat of the dialogue gets overlooked by needing to get the day done, because movies shoot seven pages of the script in a month and we shoot that in a day.”
Chloe said keeping the characters straight gets confusing because sometimes they have three units going at one time. It’s a struggle trying to keep up with who’s who and who's good or evil in what scenes.
“It gets really confusing, but luckily we have a lot of awesome people in the crew who are like ‘this is who you are and this is what you’re doing,’” she said. “I literally was driving my car and there was traffic and there was a car and I was like ‘I will move you’ and it happened. It was amazing.”
Question: What do you want to see Skye do in the next season?
From the finale, Chloe thinks Coulson will enlist Skye to go find other Inhumans.
“I hope she gets a boyfriend,” she said. “She needs that. It’s been a stressful couple years for her.”
Question: What’s it like acting with powers?
“It’s really awkward. Everyone always asks ‘it must be so awesome to have a power’ and it is, but when you’re shooting things that look really cool on TV when you watch them, guarantee they look super stupid in real life.”
For example, with the high-speed camera, she had 15 seconds to do the take for the mid-season finale, during the dramatic break off of the stone.
“I was looking at Trip, who had just passed away and I was actually looking at yellow piece of tape,” Chloe said.
“The director goes ‘you’re gonna look at the piece of tape. Trip is gonna be dead. Cry. Then look back at Raina. What does she become? Then look back at Trip. Cry, and then all of a sudden go like this,” she said, throwing her arms and head back. “To break it off and you have 15 seconds to do that.”
“So I was like ‘what did you say?' It’s very awkward and very uncomfortable and you have to get used to crew because I’m very close with them. I’ll be like ‘if you laugh, I will kill you.’ Afterwards we can laugh about this, but you have to go into your own little pretend world. It feels very ridiculous," Chloe explained.
Question: Does she get noticed?
“I was checking out [at a store] and she was like ‘have you seen that show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?’ I was like, ‘yeah, actually I have. She was like ‘you look just like that girl.’ I was like ‘yeah I’ve heard that before.’ She goes ‘it is my favorite show. I watch it every week,’” Chloe said.
“I get a lot of people who don’t quite know yet,” she explained. “I think the bangs help. You are welcome to say ‘hi’ to me every time you see me on the streets.”
Question: Who’s most like their character?
“I would probable say Clark and me are the similar to our characters. I think I’m less similar now. I was more similar when I was incompetent and goofy in the first season. Skye’s way cooler than me now,” Chloe said. “But Clark’s definitely our leader on and off screen. He cares for the crew and cast just as much as Coulson cares for everyone on the show genuinely. He’s always trying to make everything easier for everyone. He’s truly the leader of the show. And Ming is not like May at all.”
One fan asked who her favorite character is beside her own.
One fan yelled “Ward is hot” and Chloe said “yeah, he is hot. He has an eight pack. He eats so much meat.”
Chloe said she “really can’t choose” her favorite character. “I really love watching Fitz and Simmons on screen. I think they are two amazing actors. They just kill me. When they’re not even doing anything emotional, I’m like ‘they’re so good,’” Chloe said, fake sobbing. “I really just love them they’re such great people off screen too. We all hang out way too much when we’re not working. We’ll spend 14 hours shooting and be like ‘want to go get a drink? Should we go play board games at my house?’”
Another fan asked how much time she has with the script before they shoot.
“Sometimes it’s a couple days or a week or so. Sometimes it’s that morning,” she said. “There’s a lot of rewrites that happen the night before because so much of it is tied into the movies, it has to all get approved way up the food chain. Sometimes they give it to us in the morning and we’re like ‘oh, these are not what I memorized. That’s great.'”
A fan asked how they feel when they read a script and finds out someone dies.
“It hurts,” Chloe said. “When BJ, Trip, got killed off, it was awful because BJ was a light of energy every morning when he came in and he was hilarious. He were horrified. We had a table read. It was so sad. We were all hysterically crying. No one could talk, it was awful.”
“There are people you don’t think we’d be friends because they’re evil on the show," she elaborated. "Simon [Kassianides], who plays Bakshi, is amazing and when he passed away that was awful. It’s really hard because you want them to have a job. At least it’s not as bad as ‘The Walking Dead.’”
Someone asked about a theory where Ward is Hellfire, about what would happen between Ward and Skye if that theory were true.
“I’ve never heard that theory. I’m usually up on my theories,” Chloe said.
The fan said it’s a popular theory on Tumblr.
“What is wrong with me? I’m not spending enough time on Tumblr, obviously,” she said. “I talked to [the writers] about Hellfire. I go into the writers room all the time. They’re like ‘we know you’re in here not because you like us, but because you want to find out information.’ I’m like ‘half of that is true. You are right.’ So I have no idea.”
“Deep deep down, I want them to be together, but he is a murderer. He is! What do you want me to do? People get mad because SkyeWard shippers are very, and I love you guys, and I ship the ship too, but he’s also a murderer. He tried to kill Fitz and Simmons,” Chloe said. “I really do hope that they’re able to redeem his character in a way that is genuine. We have a lot of time. It’s not like the movies. We have 22 more hours.”
One fan asked what her favorite father/daughter moment between Skye and Coulson.
“I really love our scenes in Lola because they seem so S.H.I.E.L.D.y,” she said. “When we were in the car and I got to drive, that was awesome. I really love when he was dropping me off with the Twizzlers and we actually ate the Twizzlers at the same time completely by accident. They ended up using that take, which is really great. I love every scene I get to do with Clark.”
The moderator said a fan could ask one last question and Chloe said she loved everyone and wished she could stay to talk to everyone.
The last fan pointed out that Chloe is a Chicago native, and asked her to pick the better deep dish pizza: Chicago or Detroit.
“Listen, I just made friends with all of you, right before you asked that. I’m from Chicago so obviously Chicago. But you guys have the most beautiful falls, trees, and your apples are the best, and you guys are all lovely.”
She was only able to talk for about 35 minutes, sadly, but it was a glorious 35 minutes.