While “Marvel’s Agent Carter” is firmly focused on Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter, the ABC television series wouldn’t be the same without Edwin Jarvis. Played by James D’Arcy, the butler with a taste for adventure and intrigue is more than Peggy’s sidekick — he’s her best friend. He’s unflappable, loyal, and always ready to do the job. Sometimes doing the job means looking after flamingos for his boss Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), while other times it means serving as Peggy’s getaway driver and accomplice.
Season Two of “Agent Carter” has revealed more of Jarvis and Peggy’s dynamic, as well as introducing a new face for Jarvis to interact with: his wife Ana. CBR News spoke with D’Arcy about working with Lotte Verbeek, the comedic aspects Jarvis brings to “Agent Carter” and more.
CBR News: Season Two has more of Jarvis doing physical comedy. Was that a conscious decision for the season?
James D’Arcy: They decided it, and I went along with that. I have to be honest: I have really enjoyed the fact that they did make it more physically comedic. The fact that we’ve moved the show to L.A. and the show has a bit of a lighter tone this year — I think it’s really good for the show but also on a very personal note, I love doing the comedy stuff so it’s great for me as well.
And speaking of Los Angeles, Jarvis hasn’t exactly had warm and fuzzy feelings towards the city. Can you relate to that at all?
I didn’t hate L.A. when I first arrived. I fell in love with it quite quickly, I have to say. But I do know lots of people who get there, and they immediately dismiss it. Not just British people, but American, Australian — everybody who first comes to it. It’s such a different place; it’s not like the rest of the world, L.A., somehow. And then, almost everyone I know who stays for any length of time falls in love with it.
The L.A. setting has brought a different tone, like you said, and new characters, including Ana. What’s it like working with Lotte Verbeek?
She’s the best. She’s just fantastic. When we were shooting the scene where Hayley and I were having the little judo fight, there was a bit where I went over to get a towel from Lotte and she smacked me on the bottom, which wasn’t in the script. It was very playful and, I thought, really courageous because she’s just arrived in a new show, working with people who had been there a long time and she did it. She just did it. And I thought, “Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.” From that moment on, she just knew how to play that role. She was fearless about it, and she’s great fun. I think Jarvis and Ana are a very sweet couple together, and hopefully that comes through. They’re like a proper couple who do those old-fashioned things that couples do.
We’ve seen a little of Ana but not much since the premiere. Can you tease what we’ll see between Jarvis and Ana as the season unfolds?
It’s really difficult to do that without giving anything away, and of course I’m legally contracted to give away nothing, as much as I’d love to. But I can say she is a very, very crucial part of the season. It’s not like she’s just going to dip in and out. She has a very important role to play in the way the season plays out so the audience can look forward to [seeing] more of her.
Let’s talk about the second most important lady in Jarvis’ life, Peggy. He really wants to help her. What’s different about their dynamic this season?
He really cares for her, and he really wants to help. He said in the beginning, in the first episode, that he’s ready for adventure. But of course, lives are at stake and I’m not one hundred percent sure quite how much he completely gets the life and death aspects of it. Peggy has the weight of the world on her shoulders. I do think he finds it quite difficult when he’s not able to help her, and the dangers of Peggy’s job are part of an ongoing conversation as the season goes on.
Since Peggy gets to work in the open with the S.S.R. now, Jarvis gets to interact with more people. What’s it been like to share more screen time with people other than Hayley?
You know, it’s great. I love our cast. I absolutely adore our cast. I have to say I have nothing but admiration for all these people, and it’s always a joy to step on the set. Obviously I primarily interact with Hayley and Dominic whenever he’s in [an episode] and Lotte, but Enver [Gjokaj] is a friend of mine so it’s fantastic when we get to do scenes together and in season one we really didn’t get to do many scenes together.
“Marvel’s Agent Carter” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.