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[The following interview contains spoilers for Hawkeye’s first two episodes.]
Hawkeye stars Vera Farmiga and Tony Dalton have officially debuted on Hawkeye, Marvel Studios’ six-episode holiday event on Disney+. Farmiga and Dalton play Eleanor Bishop and Jack Duquesne, who are engaged to be married despite the doubts that Eleanor’s daughter, Kate (Hailee Steinfeld), has regarding Jack’s morality. While Kate raises some valid points about her potential stepfather’s character, Jack’s uncle, Armand Duquesne III (Simon Callow), voiced his own concerns about Eleanor before Kate eventually discovered his dead body inside his home. When asked about Armand III’s view of Eleanor, Farmiga instead chose to address Eleanor’s ultimate priority.
“I’m not sure what you’re insinuating at all,” Farmiga tells The Hollywood Reporter with a laugh. “But is she a good mother? Because that’s her number-one task. So this is a mother who’s got to harness her daughter and teach her how to filter [her talents] for good. Because she’s going to get herself in big trouble if she doesn’t.”
In the opening flashback of Hawkeye‘s premiere episode, Kate’s life was permanently changed when she witnessed Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) heroics during 2012’s Battle of New York. Barton even saved her life from an incoming Chitauri threat. The moment also inspired Farmiga and Dalton to reflect on the most enduring heroes from their childhoods.
“When I was a kid, we were on this ranch, and there was this little dog that was drowning in a lake,” Dalton recalls. “And one of the farmers in the field jumped into the lake and rescued the little doggy because he couldn’t get out. I was like seven or eight, but I remember that as one of the first times I saw somebody do something that was sort of heroic. I still remember that very vividly to this day.”
Farmiga adds: “It’s little gestures of kindness. We lived in New Jersey, and we went into New York City to watch my first movie, Annie, on the big screen. And I watched my dad roll down the window to give a fiver to a homeless man. Little things like that were the first time I acknowledged that we’re capable of helping others.”
In a recent conversation with THR, Farmiga and Dalton also compare Marvel’s security to their other franchises, namely The Conjuring and Better Call Saul. Dalton also updates his production status on Better Call Saul‘s final season.
As a little girl, Kate Bishop’s life was forever changed when she witnessed Clint Barton being a hero. This question might be unanswerable, but do the two of you remember the first time you saw someone acting heroically and how it made you feel?
Vera Farmiga: What a beautiful question. Yeah, it’s a significant moment right out of the gate where Clint Barton leaves an indelible impression on her in this really dramatic moment of her life. Let me think… (Farmiga ponders for a few moments.)
I told you it was unanswerable.
Farmiga: (Laughs.) It’s such a beautiful question! The most formative memory of heroism…
Tony Dalton: When I was a kid, we were on this ranch, and there was this little dog that was drowning in a lake. And one of the farmers in the field jumped into the lake and rescued the little doggy because he couldn’t get out. I was like seven or eight, but I remember that as one of the first times I saw somebody do something that was sort of heroic. I still remember that very vividly to this day. That’s the best I can do for you, man. (Laughs.)
Thank you for saving me, Tony.
Farmiga: It’s little gestures of kindness. We lived in New Jersey, and we went into New York City to watch my first movie, Annie, on the big screen. And I watched my dad roll down the window to give a fiver to a homeless man. Little things like that were the first time I acknowledged that we’re capable of helping others. What a profoundly beautiful question.
Since Eleanor and Jack’s engagement happened rather quickly, did you ever figure out how long they’ve actually dated? Are we talking six months? A year?
Dalton: Well, I think that they’ve known each for a while, and maybe Jack has always had intentions. So I think Eleanor had her reservations until she finally said, “Well, okay, what the hell?” (Laughs.) What do you think about that?
Farmiga: Right, it’s unspoken…
Dalton: Exactly. We don’t know. I’m just making this shit up. (Laughs.)
Farmiga: It’s a bit mysterious in terms of how long this engagement has been. Obviously, it’s been Kate’s semester away. So if it’s the holidays and the semester started in late August, it’s at least four months.
Dalton: Four good months! (Laughs.)
Farmiga: I think she would have sniffed it during the summer if she was home for the summer vacation.
Dalton: Sniffed it… (Laughs.)
Eleanor clearly loves Jack since she let him display his sword collection all over her house.
Farmiga & Dalton: (Laugh.)
Farmiga: It’s a big move! To allow your partner to come in…
[Writer’s Note: Dalton and Farmiga start improvising the moment when Jack convinces Eleanor to put his sword collection on display.]
Dalton: “Let me take those paintings out and let me put these swords in.”
Farmiga: “I’ve got a better idea: how about a big sword installation? Extravagant swords from all over the world!”
Dalton: (Laughs.) “Trust me, it’ll work!”
Farmiga: “It’s gonna be great!”
Dalton: “Look, if you don’t like it, we can take them down.”
Farmiga: (Laughs.) “Let’s just try it!”
Dalton: “Just give me a month!”
Farmiga & Dalton: (Laugh.)
Do the two of you have any collections on display at your own respective homes?
Farmiga: My house is full of my daughter’s paintings. They’re just all over. She’s a great painter.
Dalton: Oh, that’s great!
Farmiga: There are people who want to buy her paintings, and I’m so tight-fisted about it.
Dalton: Oh, really?
Farmiga: (Farmiga jokingly rebukes the buyer.) “You can’t have them! They’re mine! She painted them for me!”
Dalton: (Laughs.) Do I collect anything? I don’t think so. Not off the top of my head.
So Kate asks the question of whether Jack is too good to be true, but based on what Armand Duquesne III said, should we also be asking that same question in regard to Eleanor?
Farmiga: I’m not sure what that means. I’m not sure what you’re insinuating at all. (Laughs.) But is she a good mother? Because that’s her number-one task. She has a daughter who’s so full of potential, so capable, so intelligent and so talented in so many different ways. She has such prowess and she has the ability to be a very, very powerful woman. But she’s a bit scatter-brained and reckless. Look at the first episode. Look at the destruction she wreaked. (Laughs.) She wreaks havoc because it’s all unbridled. So this is a mother who’s got to harness her daughter and teach her how to filter that for good. Because she’s going to get herself in big trouble if she doesn’t.
Better Call Saul is very secretive when it comes to plot, as is the Conjuring franchise, but Marvel has to have the most intense security you’ve ever experienced, right?
Dalton: I think it’s pretty much even. For example, on Better Call Saul, they’re also like, “Don’t you say a word about anything!” It’s like, “OK!” (Laughs.) So with Hawkeye, it’s kind of the same.
Farmiga: Yeah, it’s a funny game, the game of secrecy. You can’t say anything, and then all of a sudden, they say a whole bunch. It’s like, “What? When is it OK to say anything?” Conjuring gets that way. They’ll say, “Don’t say anything,” and I’m like, “What!? You just edited a whole trailer and told them everything!” So it’s a tricky dance of, “What can I say? What can I not say? Are you going to see it anyway?”
Vera, have you seen Tony’s work on Better Call Saul?
Farmiga: I have not!
He’s sensational as Lalo.
Farmiga: I know! It’s on my list!
Dalton: (Dalton deadpans.) It’s okay.
Farmiga: (Laughs.) Look, I’m on Game of Thrones right now. I’m years behind! I’m on Game of Thrones’ fourth season, fourth episode. I’m so late to many of these ballgames. I saw the first Iron Man; that was the only thing I saw when I got this job. And then I had time to do a deep dive. I’m just quite a bit behind on all of it, but I will, hon.
Dalton: It’s okay! Did you see “The Red Wedding?” [Game of Thrones’ “The Rains of Castamere”]
Farmiga: Yes, I did!
Dalton: Did that freak you out?
Farmiga: Outrageous! Outrageous! I see the formula now. It’s always episode nine of the season where they break your heart.
Dalton: They screw you over! (Laughs.)
Farmiga: They screw you over big time! They break your heart in episode nine of every season.
Farmiga & Dalton: (Laugh.)
Tony, have you wrapped your role on Better Call Saul‘s final season yet?
Dalton: I have, I have.
Hawkeye‘s first two episodes are now available on Disney+.
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