Never the one to step down from a challenge, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD star Clark Gregg is taking his team of agents up against a new and unique threat...Hayley Atwell and James D'Arcy. Ever since Comic Con International 2015, Gregg and Atwell have been involved in the most entertaining battle the Internet has seen this year, and it's all thanks to Dubsmash.
We had the chance to talk with Gregg about his strategy heading into this, how the songs get picked, and what song Coulson would nominate if given the chance.
I think it's safe to say at this point, you've reached phenomenon status. How surprised are you with how this rivalry took off?
Clark Gregg: It's a brave new world out there. We were trying to keep ourselves entertained, during the very hot San Diego Comic-Con. I've gotta say, really, It's Hayley. I didn't really know what a Dubsmash was at first. We were doing some press for Marvel in London over the summer, and she showed me a couple. She's really ... a master of the art form. To be honest, Team SHIELD is very honored to be even keeping up so far.
So let's talk about that Wrecking Ball one.
First off, who gets to pick the songs and who puts the choreography together?
Gregg: It's really mostly a committee of me and Chloe Bennet. And not just because of her past as a Chinese Pop Star.
She has amazing taste in music, and is really good at helping come up with the choreography stuff. I bounce some stuff off her that she assures me it's too 90's and dad-like. She bounces some stuff off me that I assure her is not going to really resonate for anyone over 24. It's a democracy.
Where was that shot? Where did you find a bunch of hanging wrecking balls?
Gregg: We have this amazing guy, Tanner Gill, who runs Stunts Unlimited. Which is the amazing company that does stunts on our show. I walked up to him 2 days before and said, "Okay, we're doing this thing, it's for charity. We've already raised about $10,000. We just started." I told him what the charities were, and he just lit up like a 10 year old at the idea of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Stomp Out Bullying. I think the idea of doing this for charity had personal affect on him. I showed up 2 days later and he had found these incredible wrecking balls, which were in fact, incredibly bouncy. He had them painted black,found chains, and had his full stunt crew rig the thing from the ceiling. Then, we all spent a fairly uncomfortable 40 minutes swinging on this thing, because the stunt guy insisted that we all had to be harnessed in. I had an idea that it would quickly devolve, and we'd be bouncing off each other. He wasn't having any of that. The piece de resistance was the amazing Patton Oswald showing up on a minute's notice to be our final ball rider.
You mentioned the 2 charities, the St. Jude Children's Children's Hospital and Stomp Out Bullying. Do either of them hold a special place with you?
Gregg: It's hard, because there are a lot of great charities that the four of us care about and support, but we really felt strongly that this particular thing, because it's so silly, and something that kids do a lot, we just wanted these particular two charities to be youth oriented. Especially since the barrier to entry and to donate is so low, it makes it easy for many people to feel like they're able to contribute.
Do you guys have a goal in mind on what you're looking to hit from a donation standpoint?
Gregg: No, honestly.
I believe it's important, especially in our particular genre, to keep it fun at work. It's gotta be fun, and sometimes it's very dramatic, but we're trying to keep it fun, and we keep a sense of fun, and Hayley's amazing at that. I couldn't love her more. Literally, one of those things, we started out doing it, we didn't think anybody would care about it. We were just trying to get through a long weekend of relentless, and really fun work at Comic-Con. I think it's really ... It started to get intense when, because both Hayley and myself, and I think frankly, Chloe and James as well ... Turns out we're really competitive.
This all happened because they posted one that was lampooning Chloe, as Chloe's music video from when she was a 16 year old pop star. I felt like, in a beautiful way, they had crossed a line. I don't know why, for me, the idea of somebody crossing a line suddenly means I need to be in drag as Agent Carter, but apparently it does. When people said, "This has become a thing, you have to keep it going." We collectively agreed off the bat, well, why would we keep this going? We're all going to be so busy working soon that this will become the bane of our existence if we're not careful. If it does, we have to feel like there's a good enough reason.
Then we came up with the idea of making it a charitable thing. Fighting it out for charity, like a charity boxing match. Using our magnificent love of lip syncing. Luckily there's an amazing media producer from Marvel, Geoffrey Colo, who championed the whole thing, and put in more hours than anybody would ever imagine. Crowdrise came aboard and supported it, and they would fly out the winners to L.A. to have lunch with us, and do a Dubsmash with all of us at the end. It took on a life of its own.
Alright, I want to ask you one more question. If Coulson had to pick a song, what do you think he'd pick?
Gregg: That's really funny, because there was a scene last season with Coulson and Edward James Olmos, where suddenly, he'd taken over my base, and we were having it out. He was looking at the record collection. I think the line ... They gave me a couple of different options to say, and we answered this debate about what is in Coulson's record collection. Some of the ones that I came up with, I felt like his tastes were very eclectic, and included some metal, and some hip hop. They felt that he was maybe more 80's rock-n-roll.
If Coulson was doing a Dubsmash. Boy, that really makes me think. If he was doing a Dubsmash, there's a really good song that I can't think of who it is. It's about ... Bring me back to life? What is that?
That Evanescence song, "Bring Me To Life"?
Gregg: Yes! Evanescence, that's the one.
Let's go with that.
Check back later this week for our chat with Agent Carter star, Hayley Atwell to hear her side of the story of the DubSmash War. And if you haven't already, consider donating over at their special Crowdrise page by clicking here. Also, in case you missed the news - Hayley and Clark will be appearing on Lip Sync Battle to possibly put an end to their war.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.