Actress Hayley Atwell, best known for her onscreen role as Peggy Carter in the Marvel Universe, stopped by Baltimore Comic-Con for the first time to greet fans of her work.
Atwell co-starred in Captain America: The First Avenger, and continued her role as Peggy Carter in two seasons of ABC’s Agent Carter. It’s a character she says has been in her life for about seven years. This fall, Atwell stars as Hayes Morrison in the ABC legal drama Conviction airing Oct. 3.—a bold departure from 1940s Peggy Carter.
Speaking with ABC2, Atwell said she loves seeing Peggy Carter live on through cosplay at comic book conventions, and is always humbled by fans’ commitment to a character she feels very lucky to have played.
ABC2: Were you a comic book fan growing up?
Atwell: I had no idea what a comic book was until I was in late teens, and that was kind of helpful because it meant that I hadn’t put any added pressure on myself to try and live up to something. There wasn’t much about Peggy Carter that we discovered in the comics that I couldn’t create myself, and I felt that that was easier than having to live up to something that was so loved. You’re immediately at such a higher place to fall from if the world already has a preconception of what your character should be.
ABC2: There’s a group currently petitioning to have Agent Carter revived on ABC. How does it feel having such a strong fan base committed to your work?
Atwell: I set out to do work that I enjoy and that interests me, and then having a group of people who support that—even when you’re going in a different direction—they’re still saying, come join this body again. That’s really lovely. To think that Peggy’s taken off with people and that she’s someone lots of people relate to or want to see more of. I’m definitely a part of that gang.
ABC2: What does it mean for you to participate in comic book gatherings, and see your fans face-to-face?
Atwell: These conventions give me an opportunity to actually interact with the fans and see who’s been staring at me from the comfort of their own homes for so many years. Just to be able to hear the impact that the character and the show had in their lives, it’s really humbling and very moving. Especially young girls and boys who see Peggy as a force for good, and that inspires them. A lot of people have quotes of “I know my value, anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter,” that’s become her catchphrase, and seeing people with tattoos or pieces of jewelry with it engraved extends it far beyond just me as an actor turning up to do my job every day. This is a very humbling wake up to realizing that some people have really taken her into her hearts, and that’s a wonderful thing.
ABC2: What are you most looking forward to at Baltimore Comic-Con?
Atwell: I’d love to see some people dressed as Peggy Carter. There have been some men in the past at conventions dressed as Peggy Carter, and I’ve been very jealous because they look better in a skirt than I do. To see that she still lives in other people’s worlds, it makes me have hope that she might come back some day.
ABC2: Do you have a dream superpower?
Atwell: Yes. The ability to eat what I want without consequence.