Hayley Atwell: Agent Uncovered


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It seems that most English actors and actresses are theater trained and while most aspire to be the next Dame Judi Dench or Helen Mirren, most are lucky if they can work enough to pay the bills (see poor Maggie Jacobs, the perpetual extra from the aptly named British series, “Extras”). So is it considered a good thing or not to be a well-trained British actress (unlike most American actresses) yet get the most attention for your work as a comic book character? That’s the situation facing English actress Hayley Atwell who graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama whose alumni include Daniel Craig and Ewan McGregor. She is known for her stage work in a 2009 revival of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge for which she received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. Hayley said in an interview how spellbound she was the first time she saw Judi Dench in Trevor Nunn’s production of Macbeth. She said she felt, “my life had changed just by watching her act. I already knew I wanted to act, but when I saw her I knew she was the sort of actress I wanted to be.” Hayley went on to say that it was amazing to even be nominated in the same category as Dench who has been nominated numerous times before.

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Before her West End debut, Hayley appeared in Cassandra’s Dream, a 2007 Woody Allen film. In 2008, she also earned critical acclaim from the British Independent Film Awards and the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards for playing Lady Julia Flyte in Brideshead Revisited. Therefore, it must be bittersweet that Hayley’s most recognized role is as Peggy Carter, the love interest of comic book hero, Captain America in various Marvel movies and on TV. Well, maybe it’s Hayley’s dual citizenship that’s caused her this duality in acting creds; her mother is English and her father is American and part Native American. Hayley spent the summers in Kansas City so she probably saw her share of American schlock and knows not all entertainment can be fine English productions. Besides, like any smart actress knows, Hayley must figure a job is a job.



After much speculation about who would be cast as Agent Peggy Carter, it was confirmed that Hayley landed the role of the tough, independent woman. When the feature film, Captain America: The First Avenger was released in 2011, MTV Networks named her to their “Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011” list. Hayley also did the voiceover for the video game, Captain America: Super Soldier, a tie-in to the movie. Guess Hayley has no fear being “Tony Sopranoed” as an actor since she reprised the role in 2013 for Agent Carter, a short film and played Peggy again in another feature, Captain America: The Winter Soldier which was released in 2014. She played the role again in the ABC TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and will star as Peggy in another TV series, Marvel’s Agent Carter. And if that wasn’t enough, Hayley has committed to playing her again in Avengers: Age of Ultron, scheduled for a 2015 release. Well, at least Hayley doesn’t need to worry about having difficulty getting into character.


In 2010, Hayley played Aliena in the eight part miniseries, The Pillars of the Earth, adapted from a novel by Ken Follett. The series premiered on the Starz network in the U.S. and later was nominated for 3 Golden Globes including a nomination for Hayley Atwell for Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. She didn’t win but in the mini-series, Hayley’s character did expose some skin and was nude. However, the nudity was performed by a body double so unless it’s necessary for Peggy Carter to get naked in any of the various Agent Carter projects Hayley is involved in, chances are her fans will have to wait a while before seeing any skin from this beauty.

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Hayley is currently dating her model and musician Evan Jones who is nine years younger than her. Jones is in the band, Keep Up and tweeted about visiting the Avenger set were Hayley was playing, you guessed it, Peggy Carter in the Age Of Ultron. “Was up at 5am watching @HayleyAtwell filming #Avengers – Wow,” Jones tweeted. Wow indeed.

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