In Season 2 of ABC’s MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER, Tuesdays at 9 PM, we’re still in the Forties, but we’re no longer in New York. Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter finds herself in the newly-established Los Angeles office of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (the precursor of S.H.I.E.L.D. – AGENT CARTER is a spinoff of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD). Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) is in charge, but office manager Rose, played by Lesley Boone, is the one who holds things together on a day-to-day basis.
In Season 1, Boone’s Rose started out as a fake telephone operator at an equally fake telephone company that was actually the gateway to the New York office of the S.S.R. Boone, an L.A. native who a regular on ED and BABES, says in a phone interview that she was initially surprised that Rose turned up in Los Angeles.
LESLEY BOONE: When Season 2 was picked up, and then when I heard it was being moved to Los Angeles, I just assumed that I was dead in the water, because I wasn’t a significant part of the show in Season 1, and certainly I thought I would be one of the last people that they would bring to California, to bring to Hollywood.
[But show runners/executive producers] Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters and Chris Dingess, they were all writers on ED, they are all friends of mine, we all go back over a decade, and they have always been supporters of mine. And I think for Michele and Tara, it just organically happened. Sousa was going to move out and open up the L.A. office, and for them, why wouldn’t I be the perfect choice to come out and help open up this office, be the front person, or the gatekeeper, as they like to call me? I think I have very big supporters behind me at the same time – Jeph Loeb also, at Marvel – I think everybody supported the move of Rose and making her a little bit more of a significant role this year.
AX: Did you always want to be an actress, or when you were little, did you think you might be an astronaut or something?
BOONE: I always wanted to be an actress, but now that I’m an adult, I wish I would have been an astronaut. I’m obsessed with space. That would have been wonderful. But no, according to my mother, I guess even as a little child, I certainly don’t remember, but I told her I wanted to be an actress and I wanted to perform, and I think for the most part, she would say, “That sounds wonderful,” and then she would ignore it and not indulge me.
I think her idea was to encourage me to stay involved in the arts in school, and when I was old enough, if this was still my passion, then I could pursue it on my own, but they would give me their full support, and that’s exactly what happened. I got involved in musical theatre when I was in junior high, and I went to a pretty great high school, Chatsworth High School. There are a lot of people in the industry that came out of that school – Mare Winningham, Val Kilmer, Kevin Spacey. We had a wonderful drama teacher, he was a wonderful inspiration. I then went off to college with the absolute focus that this was what I was going to do – it was really primarily musical theatre. My entire focus was, “At some point, I will head to New York, and I will become a big musical theatre star.”
And then while in college, being that we were in L.A., I got a little sidetracked, got an agent, and started auditioning for television. And it was seemingly so easy. Every audition I went on, I booked. And I remember thinking to myself, “Why does everybody think this is so hard? This is so easy.” It was very naïve of me to think so, but because of the ease of which I was getting everything, and then I got my first series, which was BABES, and it was on Fox, and once BABES got canceled, then I got hit with the reality of what this business is about. It wasn’t so lucky. Because I literally kind of sat around and did nothing for a good couple of years. But I would always ride out the lull and then I would book something great, and that’s sort of how it has always been for me. I took a hiatus to have two children and be a mom.
AX: Do you let your kids watch AGENT CARTER?
BOONE: We watched [the season premiere], but they’re five and seven. We certainly watched all of Mommy’s parts. I think they were of fascinated with the frozen woman, with the black matter running through her, and the fact that when you turned out the lights, she lit up. They were frustrated that I kept fast-forwarding through a lot of the shoot-‘em-up parts. It’s funny, because AGENT CARTER isn’t crazy-inappropriate in the sense of, there’s certainly not language or subject matter that’s so crazy outlandish they couldn’t watch it, but because they are young, we were just like, “You don’t need to see that kind of stuff,” so I kind of pick and choose what they’re allowed to see. But it’s fun for the kids, too, because aside from a lot of other things, what’s so wonderful about AGENT CARTER is that it’s so visually entertaining, just to look back at the period, and all the scenery in Hollywood now, and everybody looks, even in their daily life, so glamorous, and the cars and the sets and the colors, so it’s fun to watch.
AX: Has Rose been in the show since the very beginning?
BOONE: I was actually in the pilot of Season 1. In the very first episode, when [Carter] walks into what is the “phone company,” and then she looks at me and we have a little bit of an exchange, I look at her, and I say, “Love the hat,” and I shut the doors, and into the S.S.R. she walks. But that “love the hat,” I got a lot of airtime in the promos just with that one line, and it sort of became descriptive of the entire season, that hat.
AX: In Season 1, do you think that Rose had a preference between Daniel Sousa and, Jack Thompson, played by Chad Michael Murray, who winds up running the New York office?
BOONE: Well, I can only go with my own back story, because I didn’t get a lot of time, really, with either one of those characters, but I think she has a soft spot for Daniel.
AX: What’s your back story for Rose? When in her life did she join the S.S.R. and why?
BOONE: I think she joined the S.S.R. when she was young. I believe that as she got older, she was sort of pushed aside. In the first season, Peggy had to [stand up for herself with her male colleagues]. They were like, “Hey, can you get me a cup of coffee,” and she was like, “Really? I’m an agent. I’m not getting you coffee.” But she had to fight. I think Rose probably had to fight back in the day, because it wasn’t [even] the Forties, it was probably the late Twenties, the Thirties. That’s why I think Peggy recognizes that there’s more to Rose than meets the eye, that I’ve been around for a long time and, granted, I might be a little older, but I’ve still got that fight inside me.
AX: How much of Rose going to the West Coast do you think was loyalty to Daniel, how much was a genuine desire to get out in the sunshine …?
BOONE: I think it was probably fifty-fifty. Rose works for the S.S.R., and though in the first season, all you saw was her sitting at that bank of telephones, now that we’ve gone to Hollywood, you’ll understand that Rose, working for the S.S.R., though she seemingly is just the woman in the front who is the gatekeeper, she lets you in or she doesn’t let you in, she’s gone through a lot of the same training that all of the other agents have had to go through to be a part of the S.S.R. So there is more than meets the eye there.
You get to see Rose go out in the field, and she shows everybody that she actually had to go through some of the same training as everybody else did. So I think it’s an exciting time for her, and I think Rose is a little caught up in the whole Hollywood thing – I mean, obviously, in the first episode, she alluded to Peggy that she’s taking up surfing. By the way, not to give you a big spoiler, but we will not actually see Rose surfing, which I’m very happy about. The one thing people are not ever going to see is me in some 1940s swimsuit on the beach. No thank you [laughs].
AX: When Rose goes out in the field, did you do any training with the stunt people?
BOONE: Yeah, I think everybody at some point gets introduced to that, because if you are going to go out in the field, you need to know how to do things properly, and I think Rose has an innate ability. She’s just a badass. That’s my little hashtag this year, any time I Tweet, I’m just going to Tweet that #RoseIsABadass. Because the wonderful thing about this Marvel world is that the women are badasses. In the 1940s, women had their place for the most part, very specifically – even in 2016. And we go outside of that border.
AX: Rose knows that Peggy is a badass. Does Peggy know that Rose is a badass?
BOONE: Yes. Peggy has all the confidence in Rose.
AX: Does Daniel know that Rose is a badass?
BOONE: I think again, I think with Sousa, being a man, has to be reminded that I had to go through everything that all the other agents had to go through, even though technically I just sit at the gate and mind the doors.
AX: It seems like Rose may have more of a correct assessment of the Peggy/Daniel relationship than maybe Peggy or Daniel do themselves …
BOONE: Well, she’s an objective player on the inside, and she sees what they have for each other, and she sort of I think at times – obviously, in the first couple of episodes, you’ll see she’s trying to encourage Daniel to be honest with her, and be like, “Well, now she’s here, you know you might have a thing for her, what are you going to do about it?”
AX: In the L.A. office of the S.S.R., the fake front is now a talent agency. Rose has to sit through a lot of auditions. How difficult is it for you to get your dialogue out with people literally tap dancing in front of you?
BOONE: I have to tell you, the tap dancers didn’t get me as much as the clown. The clown freaked me out. I tend to be one of those people who’s not particularly fond of clowns, funny or not. This one, I was literally [frightened]. I’m fairly certain that this actor is a professional clown, so when I saw him on set, he was already all in his garb, he was a clown the entire time, I never noticed that he was a real person outside of being a clown, so every time it was my line, I would look at him and I would be like, “I don’t even know what my line is. He’s freaking me out.”
It’s funny. I mean, obviously, the crux of AGENT CARTER is not anything about this theatrical agency, it’s just a fun little side story, but you can think of all the characters that could come roaming through this joint back in the 1940s, all looking to be a part of an agency. It’s funny, because really, it’s all a front, I’m just there to watch everybody, and then smash their dreams and turn them away.
AX: Do you find there’s a fan reaction to Rose?
BOONE: I think online it’s been lovely, all the people that are happy that Rose [is in Season 2]. Even after last season – by no means do I have some massive following, but I was very appreciative of the people that did take notice of a very small character and were hoping that she would come back, and I think that people were pleasantly surprised to see that Rose is back.
AX: What would you most like people to know about AGENT CARTER?
BOONE: It’s a fun, glamorous, exciting ride. Because we’re only on for ten episodes, it’s kind of like a little miniseries. It’s colorful and it’s fabulous to watch and I’ll just tell you that towards the end of the season, it’s going to go into a realm that nobody’s going to expect, and it’s so exciting, and I think it’s a wonderful jumping-off point for inspiring Season 3.
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Article: MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER: Lesley Boone holds the office together – exclusive interview