Some of the most interesting characters in the gigantic Marvel cinematic universe are the ones without any superpowers at all.
Case in point: Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter — formerly of S.H.I.E.LD. and currently a CIA agent — who was introduced in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” to protect Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. The hero soon learns that she is actually the niece of his wartime affection, Peggy Carter.
In “Captain America: Civil War,” VanCamp’s character plays a much more integral role in the story, which pits hero against hero after they’re divided by a major philosophical quandary.
amNewYork spoke with VanCamp — who rose to fame for her television work in “Everwood,” “Brothers & Sisters” and “Revenge” — about the film, which opens Friday.
How did you prepare for this role?
When I did “The Winter Soldier,” they hand you a bible of your character, which is super helpful and it’s sort of everything that she’s ever done within the comic books. And so I had already done so much research on who Sharon is. Re-familiarizing with that, as well as getting into better physical condition — it was just a lot of that. These characters are so interesting and fleshed out within the comic books that it’s endless amounts of reading. Trying to put your own spin on it — it’s a lot of fun the process of figuring out who Sharon is in the movies based off this insane amount of literature. It’s very cool.
This movie is built around a divide with the superheroes signing an accord agreeing to be monitored and policed by the United Nations. Where do you fall in this?
You know, it’s interesting, there’s this whole Team Iron Man vs. Team Cap. I think for Sharon, it’s a little bit more complicated because obviously she’s worked very hard to get to where she is. She works for the government, so the obvious choice would be to back Iron Man and his desire to sign the accords, whereas she has this innate sort of loyalty and love of Cap, and he’s rebelling against the accords, so it’s a tricky position that she’s in. I guess for the viewers it will be very interesting to see what she ends up following: her head or her heart. It’s difficult to take a stand, but I think any fan of the comic books knows her loyalty to Cap.
Sharon and Steve have a long history in the comics. What are your thoughts on this relationship?
I think it’s definitely probably some sort of inevitable connection because of his relationship with Peggy and her relationship with Peggy. I also think they just have chemistry. She has a deeper understanding of him and, within the comic books, always has his back. And that’s something I really like. I think they share a similar moral compass, which is why I think in “Civil War” it’s really tricky for her because she’s sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place of her work and her obligation versus what she’s feeling in her heart. It was an interesting thing to play, in that sense.
Do you have a favorite moment in the film?
I’ve got to be honest, I thought Paul Rudd was hysterical. That was one of my favorite moments, when he’s starstruck meeting Cap. I thought it was super funny. But these movies are so big, that to pick one moment is crazy. The Russos [the directors] just did such an incredible job with it. I don’t know if I could pick an absolute favorite moment. I think the movie as a whole is very good.
Where would you like to see Sharon go from here?
What I’d love to see is, [and] we’ve just scratched the surface of, is her relationship with Steve. I think you really get a sense of her loyalty to him in this film, but I think there are other places to go with that for sure. It’s not up to me whether I get to continue in these films, but what I love in the comic books is how complicated their relationship was. They’ve only just sort of been introduced to each other in this film and in “Winter Soldier,” he still didn’t know who she was. So I feel in that sense, there are many places to go. It’s really interesting to see Steve in a more interesting relationship. We haven’t really seen that within the films, apart from with Peggy. But it’s kind of interesting to see him in that light as well. So we’ll see. I really respect and love their relationship.
You share a lot of screen time with Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie. How was it working with them?
These guys are just so awesome. ... They’re hilarious! We have a great time. It gets a little rowdy, but that’s to be expected, I guess.
Sharon is surrounded by characters with amazing powers. What power would you like to have?
Oh man ... I think it would be cool to fly. I don’t know ... what superpower would she have? What I love about her is that she’s sort of very rooted in her training and her background, which is martial arts. She’s just tough and I kind of like that she doesn’t rely on a superpower. That she’s just really strong and a badass. That’s really fun to play.