Vancouver's Cobie Smulders is kicking Avengers ass
LOS ANGELES—What are the odds of a young woman graduating from a West Side Vancouver school and going on to an international modelling career before starring in a series of blockbuster action films in which she plays a kickass woman in black. Now, what are the odds of it happening twice?
Carrie-Anne Moss took that route from Magee Secondary to The Matrix movies, and now Cobie Smulders has moved from drama classes at Lord Byng through a modelling career and to the film The Avengers, in which she plays Maria Hill, an operative for the top-secret S.H.I.E.L.D organization. Hill has martial-arts smarts and a closet of black clothing. Like The Matrix, The Avengers is expected to spawn sequels after what is predicted to be a big opening night (on Friday [May 4]).
In an L.A. hotel room, Smulders says she is happy to be compared to her fellow Vancouverite. “I will take it,” she says. “I would love to be like her in any respect of my life, and I do see a similarity there between the characters, for sure. They are both very strong women in positions of power who like to kick butt.”
Of course, it’s not easy to be part of a huge cast in a movie about superheroes. There are skill sets to be learned, most of which are not called for in one’s off-screen life. For instance, Smulders says she can now shoot a gun while driving.
“I got to do a really fun car-chase sequence,” she says. “You had to learn this stunt choreography where you pull the emergency brake and spin around and then you take your gun out and you shoot and then your body hits the window. You have to turn your brain off a bit and hope your body gets it. I was also affected by the work we did on this helicopter carrier [that turns into a sub] because we were surrounded by this set and there were hundreds of extras and it was so high tech. My job was to fly it, so it was cool to be in this environment, but it was all-encompassing, and you really felt you were on your own.”
Although there are a lot of Canadian actors in films and television, it’s possible that no single character has done as much for promoting Canada as Robin Scherbatsky, Smulders’s alter-ego on the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The show has followers on several continents, and Robin wears Canuck sweaters and is the butt of jokes for her support of her home and native land. She says that although the writers often take the Canadian content to the edge, she gets only positive comments from the show’s audiences.
“All the response has been positive, even from my fellow Canadians, despite the fact that we make fun of them all the time. But we can take a joke, hopefully. I am to do promotion in Toronto [for The Avengers], so I will find out.”