EW.com – Elizabeth Henstridge is the director now, because this Wednesday’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. marks her directorial debut.
In the ABC super-drama’s twisty episode, titled “As I Have Always Been,” the Zephyr gets caught in a time storm that threatens to destroy the entire ship. As if that wasn’t difficult enough, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Coulson (Clark Gregg) find themselves trapped in a time loop, forcing them to watch their friends die over and over again until they figure out a way to save them before the clock runs out. Like the best time loop episodes, the hour finds meaning in the repetition through exploring the duo’s relationship to each other and the rest of the team.
“For it to be a Daisy [and] Coulson-centric episode, I was just beside myself with excitement the entire time,” Henstridge tells EW. “It was so lovely to get OG Coulson in there with his suit. We really got to dig into some gorgeous, emotional, existential questions, but also a lot about their relationship. It’s quite a healing episode, even though there are some really sad things that happen in it.”
Below, EW chats with Henstridge about her journey to stepping behind the camera, her primary scene partner’s Iain De Caestecker’s absence, and more.
What was the highlight or most memorable experience of directing?
Our day one was on a Friday, so everybody is quite tired. It was maybe a difficult day to start an episode, but obviously the crew was amazing and everybody rallied. Even though you’re tired, people had great energy. But we started on the most mind-twisting day: it’s when Daisy wakes up in the hyperbaric chamber. I’d color-coordinated everything — I had grids, I had spreadsheets — but it was at the end of a long week getting everybody’s minds on how we were going to shoot this and what the method was, and [remembering] what loop Daisy is in now [in each take]. It was a really complicated day.
We had a power cut. All of the power went out, so the bed wouldn’t go up and down. It was just one of those days where you go, “Oh my gosh, this is day one?” At the end of the day, Chloe came up to me and she just said, “I’m so proud of you,” and I started crying and she started crying. She said, “We’re going to do this and this is going to be amazing.” That was such a moment of, “Oh my God, this is happening. I’ve wanted this for so long and it’s happening with Chloe Bennet, who has created this iconic character in Marvel but also is just being very supportive.” This is a huge episode for her and Daisy, and really pivotal in her journey, that to have her support just stands out to me.