If our interview with Edward James Olmos is any indication, the acclaimed Hollywood veteran will fit right in with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” because he certainly knows how to keep secrets close to the vest.
Olmos joins the ABC series in the latter portion of the second season as an enigmatic character named Robert Gonzales, whose arrival has been promised to shake things up considerable for Director Coulson and his operatives. And the much-honored actor — who has some serious genre cred thanks to his iconic roles in “Blade Runner” and “Battlestar Galactica” — remained appropriately tight-lipped as CBR News interrogated him about his new job, but he did offer a couple of tantalizing tidbits about his entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
CBR News: Tell me about getting the call to join “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Did it come out of the blue? Had it been suggested to you at some point earlier that you would become a part of the show?
Edward James Olmos: No, no. It came out of the blue for me. I mean, I don’t know how long they were talking about it, and I usually don’t get involved with shows like that, or any shows, really. But I love the Marvel world. Big time. And so, I was very honored that they had asked me. They offered me a very great arc, in respect to what it does. It’s a short arc. It’s only about between three to five/six shows. I don’t know how long it’ll take them to do it. It’s really a lot of fun.
What can you say about him and what kind of hooked you about playing him?
Well, I’ll just put it to you this way: When he smiles, the whole world smiles with him.
Okay — that’s cryptic.
It says a lot, too. Especially for a guy that made his career out of not smiling! [Laughs]
What impressed you about the show — what you knew of the show and the way Marvel does things — that made this an easier “Yes?”
I saw all of the episodes that they had. I saw the first season and half of the second season. I’ve seen everything, except for the ones that they’re editing, and I really found it to be a very well-conceived world. I like it. Of course, I like the Marvel world. I enjoy “Captain America.” I enjoy “The Hulk.” I enjoy “Iron Man” — big time! “Thor.” Those films are really good, and very entertaining, wonderfully told stories. Now, they’re connecting the television world with the motion picture world, so some of the stories that’ll be nurtured through the television will come out in the major motion picture, and vice versa. It’s a good way of really coming and bringing together the universe of Marvel, through television and motion picture.
Is it harder to say yes to a TV role, having the high bar of “Battlestar Galactica” — to any TV series, but also something that’s a genre-type show? Because I can’t imagine an experience that’s going to get any better than “Galactica” for you, in many ways.
But that was all a one-shot deal. Everybody knew it. We hit a very strong human nerve that won’t be duplicated because the show lent itself to deal with that humanity in that way. Especially after 9/11 — we came out about 13 months after the situation happened. But basically what I really find to be extraordinary is that the world is very well-defined. I’ve done one other show, which was “Dexter” — I did a season of “Dexter,” and I’ve done this. And that’s it. I’ve been offered a lot of stuff, but I’m busy.
Can you say who you’ve gotten a lot of screen time with so far at the new gig? Have you worked with Clark Gregg a lot, for example?
I’m working with everyone. I can’t really say too much about him, because they already told me what not to do. [Laughs]
Basically though, us being there really pushes it up and over. The realities are very strong, and storylines are very dark. That’s what makes Marvel, I think, really quite interesting. The heroes all have a flaw, and they all end up pulling through. But you can never tell — they might flip at any moment and become something you weren’t expecting. And I like that. Iron Man is probably the best. And the Hulk. The Hulk became very interesting. Even to this day, we talk about him on the show. We talk about the different —
And they balance that human quality with humor. They can go to dark places, but they always know where the lightness is as well.
Yeah. A lot of it. They’re always throwing it in there, and I really appreciate that.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is scheduled to return in March.