The actor playing Coulson asked Marvel for a backstory, and got a book.
The Marvel universe now contains the character of S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Coulson, but before his first appearance in the first Iron Man film, he didn't exist on the pages of comic books. Actor Clark Gregg said he wanted to know more about S.H.I.E.L.D and his chief, Nick Fury while he was filming, and the Marvel representatives complied ... with a specially created book containing every bit of information on S.H.I.E.L.D.
"The great thing is that the Marvel guys are there and you say, 'I need a little more background on Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.,' and the next day they hand you this thing that any fanboy would die for, kind of an encyclopedia illustrated about the history of S.H.I.E.L.D," Gregg said.
At first, Gregg felt a bit liberated by the fact that his character couldn't be criticized because it didn't exist, and that allowed him to create his own character - as long as it stayed true to the canon. "The fanboys and girls are very interested in the [mythology] like, 'that goes directly against what goes in the comic'," Gregg said. "And they can't do that with me. I feel like these movies are designed to respect those comics, so I always made a point of checking out what there was about S.H.I.E.L.D."
In contrast, the actress playing Agent Maria Hill had a lot of comics to read. "I went online and found comic books and bought them from different sites," said Cobie Smulders. "I bought two from this guy and bought three from another guy. It really helped me seeing her visually instead of just reading a character description."
With Steve Butts' Marvel Roleplaying Game and the impending release of the Avengers, I'm currently gobbling up all the comics I can. Sounds like these actors had to take a crash course in the Marvel Universe as well.
White Luke Cage says, "Sweet Christmas, you honkies!"
Source: Hollywood Reporter