Agents of SHIELD star Ming-Na Wen has played many parts over the years from Jing-Mei Chen on ER to June in Joy Luck Club, but it's her role in action movies and television shows that's really set her apart from other performers. A few years before voicing Disney's fiercest princess, Mulan, Wen played Chun-Li in Street Fighter in 1994. These days, she's still playing badass women from SHIELD's Melinda May to Star Wars: The Mandalorian's Fennec Shand. However, according to a recent interview with Looper, the actor almost gave up on action roles back in the '90s.
"In college, I studied Shakespeare. I mean, we were all into the theater and plays," Wen explained. "The only thing that we would do would be like stage combat and dance and the kind of physical aspect of acting." She added, “After I did Street Fighter, I had said to myself, 'You know what? I'm never going to go and do action again.' Because at that time I was young. I wanted to be a serious actor.”
Thankfully, Wen learned that action and good acting can go hand-in-hand, which she's proven during her seven seasons on Agents of SHIELD. In fact, this season has been especially challenging for the performer. After briefly dying, May returned from her battle with Izel in another realm unable to feel her own emotions. However, she now has the ability to feel other people's emotions when she touches them. In another recent interview, When explained what it was like to play May with even less emotion than before.
“Just when you think she couldn't feel less and show less, she does,” Wen shared. “It's very tough as an actor to play that, trust me. I mean when they told me what was going to happen, I was like, ‘Really, you're going to go in that direction? How is that even possible? How do I show less?’”
During her Looper interview, Wen also talked about the future of her Marvel character and revealed that she'd like to see May reunite with Nick Fury. "I feel like May and Fury have had such a close relationship," Wen explained. "Supposedly it was Coulson that asked her to join the team, when in reality it was Fury who had set all that up. So, they have a very close relationship."
Agents of SHIELD airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 10 PM EST.
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