I’m an Howling Commandos – Interview with Richard Short (Agent Carter)

 

We present to you an exclusive interview with the british actor Richard Short, who played the role of Pinky Pinkerton, a Howling Commandos member, in the fifth episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter. Short worked in many tv series as 666 Park Avenue, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Fringe and movies as Public Enemies.

How did you enter the cast of Agent Carter? Did you attend an audition?
I had an audition in Los Angeles, where I now live. Of course, for a Marvel audition, you enter a wonderful building in Hollywood with film posters on every wall….Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers etc. It makes you realize how lucky you are to be asked to a meeting for such a project! I’m just a working-class boy from the North of England, yet here am I surrounded by the most wonderful characters created for the screen. Such a privilege. If that doesn’t get you excited as an actor, you shouldn’t even be there.

Can you describe the atmosphere on the set? What was it like to work with Hayley Atwell, Neal McDonough and the rest of the cast?
This is the nicest team of cast and crew I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t expect such a friendly atmosphere on such an important project but there isn’t a hint of pressure shown by anyone. It’s a great environment in which to ‘create’. Hayley is from England, as well as Ralph (Brown) so we all bonded very quickly. To be among your countrymen on the other side of the world is a comfort, especially as you can talk about football! As actors, we develop a skill of getting very close to colleagues very quickly. In the case of the Howling Commandos, this was simple! Neal, Leonard (Roberts), James (Austin Kerr) and myself became instant friends…..like we’d been through many battles together already. We ran around shooting guns, helping our friend Peggy Carter and laughing a lot…best job in the world (except playing for AC Milan).


Can you describe your character, Pinky Pinkerton? Your character has a comic-book background. Did you prepare yourself reading comics?
With Marvel, everything must be kept quite secret until it’s time to reveal the story and I appreciate them doing that. Far too much is given away in movie trailers/interviews/podcasts now, so when I found out the exact details about the Howling Commandos and Pinky Pinkerton, I started my research pronto. I read some of the comic books, I found a lot information online and I even watched some of the animated series on Netflix. So Pinky was, to me, firstly a comic-book character then an animation! My job is to make him a human in a universe full of superheroes. To help with the process I studied David Nivenvery closely particularly in the film “Guns of Navarone”. Pinky Pinkerton is one of the most fascinating characters ever created by Stan Lee. While he’s obviously an incredible soldier, he’s also rather unique…which is what makes the Commandos so iconic. The real world is full of people of all shapes, sizes, political persuasions and much more and that is why the Howling Commandos mirror society so effectively. To learn more about Pinky, you’ll have to keep watching Agent Carter…!

What has been the biggest challenge you had to face during the making of this episode?
As you can see in the images released by Marvel, I had to grow a mustache. Not a big challenge for me but maybe more for my wife! It’s also rather challenging wearing thick woolen army clothing in the California desert. We may look cold in the snow but I was sweating! On the whole, it was pretty simple jumping into the story as everyone on Agent Carter knows exactly what they’re doing and it was very well written. If you’re lucky enough to find the right actor for the right role it just feels effortless.

You are now part of the Marvel Universe, what are your feelings about this experience?
It’s a huge honor and I don’t take it lightly. To look across at a character like Dum Dum Dugan while performing just makes you want to smile. I’m also happy to have entered the MCU through a more ‘realistic’ storyline. Peggy Carter stands for the feminist struggle and Hayley does it wonderfully. Likewise, the Howling Commandos are incredible soldiers but are real people in a heightened universe. To so many people, these characters are inspirational. How Marvel manages to connect every corner of their comic-book world is extraordinary but also very clever. I mentioned earlier how easy it is to act if the script is written well enough, and writers such as Jose Molina, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are the very best. These are writers at the top of their game, as well as being huge fans of the comic book world and they do this because they love it….just like every other fan around the world. Every time an actor plays a role, he becomes indelibly linked to it forever. Google an actors name and the characters they play appear instantly even if it was twenty years ago! To know that people will see ‘Richard Short is Pinky Pinkerton’ for the rest of my life…fills me with pride.

Howling Commandos, which your character in part of, are professional soldiers. Did you have to face any sort of special training with the other cast members before the shooting began?
On a television series, there isn’t as much time to rehearse/train as on a movie but all the Commandos were selected precisely because we’re all physically fit people. Obviously, it’s very demanding being a Commando and if Peggy Carter needs help…you need to be able to keep up! We were given gun training on set. Neal, Leonard and I have all used guns onscreen before but every time you pick up a weapon it should be given the respect it deserves. Safety is an issue but also Pinky, Happy Sam and Dum Dum are supposed to be the finest soldiers in the Universe so we’d better look like we know what we’re doing! The good news is, we do! So if you’re ever in trouble and Hydra is coming, don’t call “The A-Team”. Call “The Howling Commandos”!

What are your future projects?
In 2015 I have THREE films to be released. “A New York Love Story” which is a dark romance I shot almost two years ago in NYC, Cockroaches, a really fun black comedy in LA about three small-time thieves (that film was made by a Swedish crew including director Christopher Aldell, and will be seen in Scandinavia first) and Not Welcome, a rather funny ghost story in Chicago. Keep your eyes out for all of them. My ultimate project is moving to your country, Italy! The land of Antonioni, Fellini, De Sica, Rossellini, Dino Zoff and Paolo Maldini. Bellissima. Enjoy the show…

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