Whitney Frost has been the thorn in Peggy Carter’s side throughout the entirety of Agent Carter’s second season. The brilliant scientist turned Hollywood starlet turned supervillain made her bid for power when she took control of the Council of Nine. Now she’s looking for even more power in the form of Zero Matter, but can she keep that power under control?
We caught up with Wynn Everett, the actress who portrays Whitney Frost, to discuss her character’s plans and motivations, her feelings about how the character was adapted from page to live action, and her part of in the show’s big musical number.
You play Whitney Frost, who is Madame Masque in the comics, but this version has been adapted to better fit into the time period and the tone of the Marvel Cinematic universe. As an actress, are you a little disappointed that you didn’t get to go full comic book supervillain with metal mask look, or was that something of a relief?
Wynn Everett: (laughs) I definitely am not disappointed. I would've loved to have done a mask. That would have been so much fun as an actor. But also, I really loved in the beginning, when I sat down with Michelle [Fazekas] and Tara [Butters], they told me that it was going to be a different reinvention of Whitney Frost and that there was going to be a covering, but not necessarily the metal mask that we saw on the comic book. But that there would be different masks, the veil or the hat or the scarf, and a much more subtle type mask then, like you said, the super strong, super villain look. Which I thought was genius and I loved. I think I would have loved it either way. I was really happy.
Whitney has proven to be a very complex character. She has noble motivations, but sinister methods, something that Peggy Carter herself points out in tonight’s episode. How much would you say we are supposed to sympathize with her? At what point she we recognize her as a force of destruction and put that sympathy aside? Or have we even reached that point?
Wynn Everett: From the inside, I feel empathy for Whitney the entire time. The whole journey, it's just so confusing, but I think that she's really being taken over by this substance and is having a difficult time seeing things from a justice perspective. It's only her justification. Doing this, her justice, playing that out through very unjust means; and that means killing innocent people that stand in her way for what she thinks is a bigger picture goal. Which is a very scary thing. So scary and it's so apropos of so many things that we're seeing today. The writers are so genius in that they're bringing in the story into a lot of what we see in the news. Just incredibly scary things.
Being inside Whitney I do feel so much empathy because I think that, again, her early childhood and the way that she was, the cards that she was dealt in Hollywood and with her husband, I think she really believed that this is her only way to elevate the disenfranchised and the people like herself. The women and the poor, or people that have not had the chances that other people have. I definitely think that its mixed, and that’s what I love about it. It's incredibly mixed. She's so flawed and yet feels like she's doing so much good.
You mentioned the dark substance that’s been taking hold of Whitney. At this point, how much of what we're seeing is Whitney acting on her own volition, versus this kind of dark creeping force connected to Zero Matter taking control?
Wynn Everett: I really think that this, I would say, is a majority of the dark creeping force. I think it's consuming every ounce of her and it's definitely making her crazy. And it's making her obsessed. You can substitute any substance in there that takes people over without their even knowing it the moment it does. But I think that she's been completely taken over by this black matter, this Zero Matter, this power, this very evil substance that is overwhelming her decision making and overwhelming her ability to see things in the light of the real world and in the light of what's really right, what's good and just.
How do you think Whitney views Peggy Carter? There have been a couple of scenes where she almost seems, not so much like she dislikes or hates Peggy, but is almost frustrated that Peggy can't see things her way.
Wynn Everett: Right. Yes. I think it's coming up in the next episode that I have a line where I say she's lovely. I'm talking to Dr. Wilkes and I say, “I understand your obsession with Peggy. She is lovely, but incorrect, and she's not right.” It's really funny watching, especially to Dottie and my interactions with Peggy, it's almost like we so deeply want to be her that we hate her so much inside. We wish we could be her. We wish we could be that good, inherently good. That envy becomes obsession and becomes hatred to what is something that…we could join forces and be taught by Peggy, but instead we hate her. We really want to eliminate her. Both of us.
I think that she poses a threat in so many ways to me and to Dottie, and the fact that she's carried on this far, and I have this supernatural substance that could eliminate her, but yet she seems to always come out on top. It's pretty amazing, just on the goodness of humanity and the power that it has. What Peggy holds is just the goodness of humanity and how it could actually overpower an evil, even a supernatural evil.
When you signed on to do a period piece set in a super hero universe, did you have any expectation that you'd end up involved in a musical number by the end of the season?
Wynn Everett: (Laughs) Oh my goodness, no! I love to dance in my kitchen with my babies, but dancing in public is a totally different thing. We had the most incredible dance choreographer from Dancing with the Stars. That was the most fun day. I'm only in a second of it, but I get to dance with Dottie and with Ana, and it's almost like a redemption in some ways for Whitney, that she's got these two women and I have a smile on my face and this dream that is ... I love it. I absolutely loved it. I loved the dancing, I loved the costumes. I loved the whole number. It's so much fun. I think people are going to be really entertained.
Agent Carter airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.