Warning: The following contains spoilers about the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Proceed at your own risk.
It was the gunshot that sent Coulson, mad with grief, to war with Ward and Hydra on tonight's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It was also the gunshot that ended the life of his new love, Rosalind Price—and with it, ended Constance Zimmer's time on the ABC series
Watching the episode, we were almost as bereft with grief as Coulson (Clark Gregg)—we weren't quite blinded by an unrelenting desire for revenge, but it was close—so, there was only one thing to do: Get Roz herself on the phone and talk it out. What follows is E! News' conversation with Constance about her final moments, her character's legacy, and why she'll never say never about a trip to Tahiti. (You know—T.A.H.I.T.I, the program responsible for resurrection Coulson himself.)
We're so bummed to see those first few moments!
I say thank you, and then I say I'm sorry.
Were you given any advance notice this was Roz's last episode or did you find out at the table read? How did you learn your time was up?
I got notice two episodes before because, when the Malick storyline came about, I got super concerned that I was bad because from day one, I actually didn't know what I was. I didn't know if I was good or bad or confused. I had no idea, so it was very important to constantly play her on this through line of mystery, so when I read that script, I was like, ‘Clark, what do you mean? Does this mean I'm bad?' I started stressing out, so they were very funny. That's when they all walk down to your trailer and you're like, ‘Uh-oh, am I in trouble?' You know? It's very funny, but they came in and they were like, ‘Well, first we want to tell you we have good news and we have bad news. The good news is you're not bad. You didn't know that Malick is Hydra. But the bad news is this is gonna happen in episode nine.' It was so many mixed emotions, of course.
Since Roz's intentions were unclear for so long and you were not privy to her intentions, what was it like to play that character for so long? You talked about a through line of mystery. What's it like for an actor to play a character whose intentions you don't truly know?
It was really a fun challenge because I felt like I was in a protected place. I knew that they knew what they were doing more than I did. For me, it was just about making sure that…I really loved being able to play both sides…Trying to play the opposite is what kept it in this zero space, not going one way or the other. It was really fun. Every episode I read, I was like, ‘Oh, now she's flirting. OK. But is she flirting because she's trying to get him so that then she can turn him in?' But I just really never knew until I would read the next script how that then became a part of the story.
Through Roz, we got to see a different side of Coulson. What was it like getting to work with Clark?
Oh, he's the best, obviously. I was so excited to work with him because I was a fan, and he and I had met socially through friends, and we worked together on New Adventures of Old Christine years ago, but that was so brief, so I was super excited to be able to work with him again. And he and I, from day one, it was like, ‘Oh, this is on. OK. This is you and me and we got this.' And that was such a great place to be, so supportive. It's so incredible when you walk on a show, especially one that's already in its third season, it's terrifying to think you're going to come on and they're all going to be set in their ways. But they were all so nice to me from the get-go, so it felt so supportive and safe, which is also an incredible place to be when you're walking into so many elements that I had never done before. You know, there's a lot of green screen and stunts and all this other stuff on top of just acting. And the fact that I was this mysterious character. People were asking, ‘Are you good? Are you bad?' I'm like, ‘I have no idea!' [Laughs.]
And I had no idea either that Coulson had never kissed anyone. So, when I saw that he gets to have a kiss with me, if felt like I had earned something so much greater than I even knew the value of. It made that moment so sweet.
Speaking of so many new things for you, I have to imagine someone's first Marvel project is intense beyond just green screens. What's it like stepping into something like that with such a shroud of secrecy?
I mean, House of Cards is super, super secretive as well, but their fanbase is completely different from what a Marvel fanbase is. Your Marvel fanbase seems to know more than the actors know sometimes. I was constantly writing to Marvel, ‘Am I allowed to say this? Am I allowed to post this? Here's a picture. Can I do this or this this gonna…or are they gonna…?' And they'd say, ‘They are going to blow that picture up and they are going to see the words on that…' And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?' So that was definitely new territory for me but I loved it because I really love how into it the Marvel world is. It's incredible. I've never seen anything else like it…It's fun. It's nice. I had such an incredible experience. I feel like I'm going to miss those fans because they were so supportive. Even when they hated me, they were supportive. They were supportively hating me!
In her brief time, Roz has made a really large impact, not only with Coulson, but everyone she encountered. What do you think of her legacy on the show? How do you want her to be remembered?
Wow. That's a lot of pressure. I mean, is fan favorite too much to ask? I don't know. [Laughs.] What I hope Rosalind did is[em dash]she obviously put a fire under Coulson's butt and I think made him realize, even thought the grieving might go on for a little bit, that he is capable of falling in love and being human and all these things that I think they protect themselves from for fear of loss. But I think, a lot of times, if you don't dive in, you'll never know what's on the other side, and I kind of think all the characters, the ones I got to interact with, Rosalind kind of gave them this unfiltered truth that I don't think anyone had said to themselves except for maybe Coulson. So, I hope that, if anything, she opened up a trust level of people going, ‘Wow, if you let people in, sometimes it will do more good than harm.'
Lastly, what are you going to miss the most from working on S.H.I.E.L.D.?
The obvious response would be working with Clark. We really just had the best time and so, the scene of my death was truly difficult for both of us. I mean, we had a really hard time doing that scene. The tears were real tears. Yes, there's acting going on, but we were devastated. I got to hang out with him over Thanksgiving, and I do feel like I've gained a true friend for life, so that makes me happy. But that cast, I mean all of them were just so great. It was such an incredible show to work on. I think in general, I will just miss being there and working with those actors. But, you never know, you never know. Anything's possible in the Marvel world.
That's right. There might be a trip to Tahiti in her future?
Uh, who knows? After all, I do know about it. You never know. [Laughs.] Anything's possible, I like to say.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.