Two more cast in the rapidly approaching show.
It's very important to Disney that S.H.I.E.L.D. hit television by next year. Hopefully, the show won't suffer from the rather frenetic pace. Production on the pilot is supposed to begin in January, so the whole show needs to be cast by then, and a pilot script needs to be finalized. To that end, the main roles have almost all been filled.
We had already learned that Clark Gregg would be reprising his role as Agent Coulson, likely in a supporting role, and that Ming-Na will be playing the part of one of the lead characters, Agent Melinda May. Now we have news that two more of the agents from the protagonist team have been cast.
Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker have been cast in the roles of Agent Gemma Simmons and Agent Leo Fitz, respectively. Simmons is the team's nerd, being an expert at "biology and chemistry," while Fitz is the team's hacker and high-tech weapons expert. The two were cast together because the characters are intended to be friends - well, it's Whedon, so more like frienemies - and so must have a certain chemistry.
According to the official press material,"These two came through training together and still choose to spend most of their time in each other’s company. Their sibling-like relationship is reinforced by their shared nerd tendencies – she deals with biology and chemistry, he’s a whiz at the technical side of weaponry."
Both British actors, it's not clear yet if they'll actually be playing British characters. Henstridge is a relative newcommer to television, and it's unlikely that you've seen her before. The most visible role she's played was in the independent film, Tooting Broadway.
Caestecker, however, you've seen before in the incredible BBC fantasy horror serial, The Fades, in which he played well the protagonist of the story, showing great range, and earning his place on the marquee. Too bad it wasn't enough to get the show a second season. It's great to see him moving on to something with such high visibility.
Personally, I hope they don't make Caesteckerdo a toneless American voice for the show. He could probaly handle it, but it always makes me feel sorry for the actors when I see them being forced to suppress their natural accent unnecessarily.
S.H.I.E.L.D., which will be directed and co-written by Joss Whedon, is currently in development. If it stays on track, we might very well see a pilot in Fall of 2013.