Ming-Na Wen speaks with Hypable about May’s devastating decisions, perks of working with Blair Underwood, and the shocking twists coming up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
“Chaos Theory” focuses on May’s response to learning that Andrew is Lash. What was your reaction when you heard about that twist?
I felt like an idiot, because I didn’t see it coming at all, until I read the script. And literally, I gasped, because — even up to the point where I was reading the sentence before it, it didn’t sink in until I finally read “Andrew is Lash,” and I was like, Noooo! Because Blair Underwood is a wonderful, long-time friend of mine, but he is also a really good-looking guy. And you really just want to see more of that.
It is nice that he is shirtless after turning into Lash.
Yeah, and especially one of our makeup people, I won’t name her — WENDY — she has the really tough task of having to oil him down, and spray him with a bottle of water to get him all sweaty. Yeah, she hates that job. I’ve taken so many pictures of Wendy doing that, it’s hilarious.
It’s a really tough business you guys are in!
Yeah, there are no perks whatsoever! [laughs]
Some of the fans already figured it out, way before the episode aired that revealed Andrew’s predicament. So I was really impressed… they’re just really, really, smart, but I think they’re a little masochistic, too! As much as they complain about how much their heart has been broken, I think they secretly really enjoy it! They keep coming back for more!
[I think it’s] because we’ve all experienced heartache, and we’ve all experienced not making the right decisions, or having to chose your job over maybe your family even at times. I think that’s what so great about Marvel. As fantastical as these characters are, these storylines are, the bottom line is really about the human experience and how it effects us, and how it can alter us, or change us, or make us grow as human beings.
That’s really the Lash situation in a nutshell — a bizarre monster that turns out to have major emotional consequences.
Right. I always equate it to a situation where like, let’s say you have a loved one or a family member who has a mental condition, or suddenly becomes addicted to drugs, or is influenced by a cult. Whatever it is that alters them, that changes who they are, and you still absolutely love them. That’s kind of how I make the analogy, even when it’s that fantastical — that’s the only way I can relate as an actor to what’s going on.
This person has changed, and yet you have so much hope that they will come back to you, that they will be the person you fell in love with… these are sort of symbolisms or analogies to that human experience.
And [May] is trying to do some intervention, for sure! Appeal to his compassionate side, his human side really. That’s what I think is so exciting for us as actors. We get to play in this incredible sandbox of superhuman, powered people, and crazy circumstances, but ultimately what is the real story that we’re trying to tell? And that’s the fun part, when we’re taking apart the scene and stuff. But at the same time, unlike real life, you don’t really end up shooting someone because they don’t listen to you! [laughs]
I’m still inclined to blame that one on Lincoln, for attacking Andrew in the first place.
[laughs] He’s a child… he’s kind of like Hunter in a way. He just runs on adrenaline and emotions, rather than thinking things through clearly.
And I think that is part of the issue for May, as well. To come back to S.H.I.E.L.D. with all these Inhumans who are not fully trained, who are unpredictable — it’s a big dilemma for her. All the stuff that has happened so far has become a detriment in any mission, instead of an enhancement of power and abilities. Because so many of these Inhumans are not predictable. And I think for May, that’s a big struggle too.
She’s in that place where, Okay, I’m back with S.H.I.E.L.D., but do I really want to be back? I could have had a happy life, and now that’s all messed up because of all these Inhumans and the Terrigen crystals, and Coulson bringing all the — she can’t even totally support Coulson anymore, because she’s not 100% sure if he’s doing the right thing.
Yeah, she’s got a lot of stuff bottled up, man!
It does feel like every season, the bottle of May just keeps getting more and more shaken. At some point, she’s going to explode.
Right, and I think that’s why she was willing to sacrifice [herself]. She’s like, you know what, just kill me. I’m ready… If I’m gonna go, I didn’t think it was going to be you, but just kill me.