Smulders inspires with Avengers 0
When she was a high school senior in Vancouver, Cobie Smulders was voted Most Respected by her fellow students.
Some things never change.
The respected Canadian actress, star of TV's How I Met Your Mother, is now one of the team in The Avengers, the action juggernaut that opens Thursday at midnight.
Smulders' character has her feet on the ground, however, because as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, she has no superpowers to fall back on.
"The agents at S.H.I.E.L.D. like to think we're special, in that we've chosen this line of work," says Smulders, 30. "We've made the decision to train as hard as we can to be the best of the best the human race has to offer. There's something very heroic to choosing that, being mortal, putting your life on the line for others. And all without a fancy flying suit or a superpower."
Spoken like a true agent. Smulders' character in The Avengers is cool, calm and collected, but when the bad guys turn up, she kicks butt with the best of them.
"I did most of those stunts myself!" the actress says with enthusiasm.
"Almost all: One involved a wire and being thrown into a wall, that they wouldn't let me do because of insurance purposes."
What you can't tell by looking at the athlete and former model is how smart Smulders is. The actress Joss Whedon says he would have cast as Wonder Woman originally had her sights set on medicine or marine biology. At the last minute, she decided to pursue acting more seriously.
Mind you, Smulders says she'd still like to be a marine biologist; she took a night course in oceanography not too long ago. "The problem is, if you take a chemistry or biology or ocean science, it usually involves a lab, and for that, you have to be there during the day. I couldn't do it with my schedule."
Smulders, who has a three-year-old daughter with fiance Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), began acting in high school theatre productions. She also became a model as a teenager and by age 17 she had travelled the world.
She was back in British Columbia and enrolled at the University of Victoria in ocean sciences, when she decided to give acting a serious try. "And I definitely had some hard years with multiple waitressing jobs," she says, "but I've been very lucky in my career, to be able to make a living doing what I love. That's rare in this industry."
Smulders knows that her career will evolve with The Avengers, and while she's a bit apprehensive about all that, she's glad her character is such a positive role model. "If I can inspire my daughter and other little girls, then I'm proud," she says.
You can see where that Most Respected title came from...
"I honestly have no idea what I did to earn that!" protests Smulders.
"But I tried to be nice to people."