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Clark Gregg interacts with fans at the Apple Store in SoHo, NYC

Clark Gregg, who has inspired a cult following for Marvel favorite Agent Phil Coulson, is making some large strides both on and off screen. On the small screen, Coulson has just been promoted S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, replacing the now undercover Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Though his television counterpart has been pretty occupied quelling a Hyrda uprising, Gregg somehow found the time and creative inspiration to write and direct the lovely “Trust Me.” He’s making us 9-5ers look bad.

Clark Gregg headshot
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

Certainly no stranger to writing and directing, having produced the “What Lies Beneath” and “Choke” scripts, the latter of which he also directed, Gregg proves once again his genius behind and in front of the camera. Speaking at the Apple Store in SoHo this week he opened up about “Trust Me.” Gregg explained that the film felt very raw. Ironically, mimicking the plot, the girl slated to portray the lead actress in “Trust Me” landed a major role in another film and her dad pulled her out of Gregg’s dark comedy.

According to Gregg, “Trust Me” was inspired by the misconception that the next big break will transform you into a beautiful creature. The concept of change occurs across multiple levels, and the overall message becomes clear as the narrative unravels. He elaborated that though this idea is a worldwide myth, it’s particularly prevalent in show business. A down to earth message, it means much more when the coming from a seasoned Hollywood star.

The transition from television to a movie, Gregg elucidated, was scary. It’s roughly twice the size of a TV episode and “Trust Me” had a budget roughly the size of a week of Marvel catering. Hey, Asgardians have a pretty high metabolism. Due to monetary limitations the special effects in the finale of “Trust Me” were almost impossible to film, though luckily Gregg’s pals at Marvel Studios pulled some strings. The formidable cast includes heavyweights William H. Macy, Sam Rockwell, Felicity Huffman, and Amanda Peet. Gregg met Macy and Huffman while at NYU.

As for the future of Agent Coulson and the Marvel Universe, it’s largely ambiguous. When asked if he’ll appear in the forthcoming “Age of Ultron,” Gregg replied that he didn’t think so, adding that he expected he’d have heard already. He’ll soon have his hands full rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. and slicing off the many remaining heads of Hydra. Gregg seemed particularly excited that season two of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” which airs this Fall on ABC features story telling across several platforms. He further hinted that the series will bring dark, funny, popular lore to television.

While Marvel fans geek out over all things Marvel, but especially Coulson, they’re not alone. Gregg is a self-professed comic reader, and admitted he kept freaking out when sent off on assignments, such as a surprise in New Mexico: finding Thor’s hammer. Agent Coulson began as a bit character with a handful of lines in “Iron Man,” but evolved as he and headliner Robert Downey Jr. began adlibbing on set. He’s since blossomed into the face of S.H.I.E.L.D. Gregg admitted that Coulson is heartily beloved because he’s essentially an average dude with no super powers who stands up to the most menacing villains. Plus, he’s pretty hilarious with an arsenal of dry humor in tow.

However, the charmingly awkward Phil Coulson isn’t the only relatable character; Clark Gregg discussed a stint parking cars, which should prove consolation to those creative geniuses slogging through a pay-the-bills job. Moreover, it’ll remind us all to tip that waiter, bartender, or valet a little extra. Gregg commented that when Marvel kills him off next, he’d like to move to New York City. Hopefully he won’t be moving to NYC any time soon, unless of course there’s another Chitauri invasion. Clark Gregg’s Apple Store appearance reminded us all why he’s such a cool dude, and even held a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA), a great opportunity for fans who couldn’t attend the NY event. A few more Clark Gregg gems: he portrayed the surgeon in the classic “The Usual Suspects,” and composed an Avengers theme song. A full album had better be in the works. “Trust Me” is currently out on video on demand from a variety of services and cable providers, as well as available in select theaters on a limited run. Grab a ticket, or check it out on TV, Amazon, and iTunes.

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