Interview: Christopher James Baker Talks Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D., Stan Lee, His Upcoming Role in Stargirl, and more

Christopher James Baker recently appeared on the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D as the new villian Malachi. I recently got the chance to interview Christopher as we talked about his appearence on the show along with his time in Ozark along with Stan Lee, his upcoming role on DC’s Stargirl, and New York City in general. The twenty Minute call was a great one and here is the interview below.

So I have watched you play different roles on Ozark and the blacklist and even Garbo. And also, True Detective and now recently, Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D. My first question to you is that was a hard transition for you to play these different characters?

It’s a good question. And I don’t want to sound flippant. It’s not hard because that’s the work for me like that’s telling you you get a new role and start from the pace up and kind of build it up. Whether it’s about movement quality or you know vocal quality or whether if you know what the story purpose is like all of that stuff is a big part of the craft that I really enjoy. So it is work but it’s very enjoyable work. And by the time you get to the point where you’ve built a new character that’s different in a lot of ways to something you’ve done before. I find that fulfilling to you know when you enjoy seeing that my character was very different to this character those that I’d much prefer to be doing that every time and then doing another version of that guy again if you get what I mean. So yes I it’s work but it’s it’s like I love it. And that’s why I’m in it doing it. I’m kind of always trying to look for something that’s different to anything I’ve done before because it inherently involves a lot of exploration into different parts of yourself or different a different world or different time period that you don’t know about. So it’s kind of like being a religious archaeologist at some point.

When did you get the call that you were going to play as Malachi on the episode?

It was about this time last year. I can’t remember the exact day of the call, but the cool thing about it was that when I did the audition, it was just for a one episode guest. Here’s what I thought I was doing and I was elated like great. This is a great show. It sounds like a really cool character. At that stage, everything in a project like this is so top secret. They’re trying to keep everything under wraps. You actually as the actor not finding out very little about what you’re going to be doing and which is kind of fun and exciting in a way but it really wasn’t until I got there and pretty much just before I read that I met a cast and all the producers and everything. And then you’re reading through and it was that first episode that was just done and I remember finishing the Bible reading and calling my manager and saying oh I just kidnapped one of the main cast. I think they’re going to ask you to come back and get it. So it was kind of I didn’t realize that it was going to turn into to what it was I thought it was just going to be a lot of gastro but yeah. So but it was about a year ago I think and it was very exciting. That’s like stepping into the Marvel Universe which you know I’ve been a kind of comic fan and a movie fan my whole life. So that was there was a limit. Yeah a little bit tingly and kind of giddy and fun stuff like that happens.

Who did you tell first tell that you got the role?

My wife {Laughs} and then my family. At the time, my family’s still over in Australia and so I’m constantly sending them messages that say Guys I’ve got this really exciting news and you seriously can’t tell anyone. Otherwise, I’m going to get my Marvel Police that will come to my house and lock me up so you can be happy for me. But just don’t tell anybody else I’m doing this but it is a double edged sword sometimes.

I’ve heard stories of Stan Lee sometimes going on the set of Marvel’s Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D.. Have you met or spoken to him before he passed away?

 I’ll just be honest. I think we’re in lunch third or fourth episode. And when we found out I was I remember quite clearly in the makeup like you know you do hair and makeup we’ve performed in the makeup bus and that television on and the news broke that Stan lee had died which you know obviously affected the cast and crew of show immensely. And to your question, the rest of the day and the next day everyone I was chatting with would tell these incredible stories about exactly what you’re talking about that some guy and he just broke up or turn up for a cameo and he’d go out and chat to everyone and you know sign stuff and was just as generous and kind of amazing guy that was loving the world that he’d helped create the universe to help create and I think from from stories from from cars right down to you know set pieces and crew people would just hey just in time for everybody from from what I can tell. Fortunately I never got to meet him. I would have loved to. But yeah I think what a quite an amazing what an amazing amazing contribution to so many people’s lives. If that gentleman made some kind of yeah that was he was an amazing couple of days being on a show that you know he’d been a big part of creating.

What was your first day on the set like?

First day was little nerve wracking even if you had a lot of first days on set with something like this. I mean with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it was made very easy because they’re on Season 6 the most of the cast and crew have been there for six seasons now. They all want it knowing they’re shooting on the studios that they’ve been working on. It’s just a very well oiled machine and there’s no there’s no teething problems. It’s not like working on episode one of a brand new show where everybody’s trying to get to know each other and do their thing. So it was it was like just being into a really welcoming and fun family day. They made this stuff really well. Amazing crew and then all of the other actors are really welcoming and kind of enjoy what the guest cast bringing to their world and how we all kind of play together and it’s really when you on that first day that everything comes together like you’re doing your research and you preparation at home and it’s not until you get in and you get the costume on for the first time and you get things together and then you step into the set and suddenly you’re in a spaceship and then they hand you the props and your things and then you’re looking around and then everybody else turns up and you start when it’s like All right. Yeah well we’re in where it’s space. Sometimes it’s that very first day that you might be really nervous going “Oh my God I don’t know what I’m doing it and how this is going to work what’s going happen”. And then when you get there and finally step into everything and let go of everything, you worried about it it just takes on a whole different form I think. And then, it becomes into that and that becomes the play in the work. And it’s it’s exhilarating it’s nerve racking cause you really really don’t know what you’re doing a lot of the time until you’re actually standing there and then you see how the camera is going to be moving and what other people are doing. Right. Well the place even looks like oh can you tell again now that line makes sense because you’re holding that thing or you know and there’s a lot of you know I spent a lot of that first day going “Okay so what’s happening, why are they here”, Because everyone thinks the end of season five is so much it happened that I wasn’t privy to it because I didn’t get to know what the last couple of script turned out. Yeah there’s a lot of there’s a lot of catch up in it but it was also really fun and exciting because you walk down on those big kind of studio stages in in downtown Culver City. It’s a lot of history there is when I was walking down and someone’s like yeah that’s where they shot the sound of music I think we shot them and you know like there’s a bunch of old. It’s really cool you know on some of those old Hollywood stages that have history under themselves almost like a theater right. There it was. It was an exciting time and it was also a bugler and I know there was a good time. 

Now do you have any stories working with the cast on S.H.I.E.L.D. and also on your time with Ozark?

Oh yes! one with Julia Garner. I do actually use her method of using that one way she’s spinning around on the chair singing to herself and I was standing in the room about 44 when that happened. Just been chatting and then she started doing it. So I just went “Oh my God”.She kind of popped up and cracking up laughing and it was the funniest thing I’ve seen. And it was a lot scarier in the room because everybody of course goes “Oh my God”. And then when we told her that she had been making it look so much worse on the video this looks like she blacked out. Yeah that was crazy stuff like that happened but yeah that was that was about the eyes and watching watching the video of the candidate posting this because she had to get all the permissions and everything she’s like you can sort of make out that we’re on set but you can’t really tell what to do. It’s like I’m in an office. 

You’re also going to start the upcoming Stargirl series for this DC Universe. What can you tell me about the upcoming project?

I’m not saying much but it’s besides what’s happened. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Comics Geoff Johns stuff he did. It’s you know a lot of the story follows that pretty closely. Young young Courtney Whitmore moves to a new high school in a little town gets an advantage because she’s style girls. And there’s the places I have nothing on the other side then but yeah there’s nothing coming. It’s just that I think the most amazing thing about it so far has been that Geoff Johns who created the first comic that he ever did for DC quite a that you sound like you’re knowledgeable about the comic world as well. I think like so you know Jeff John and sort of what he’s done at DC and the characters he’s brought back and like true flash and everything that still go with the first thing he did and he wrote it and made it as what followed was a tribute to his sister. And where did it come. And now sort of come full circle and he’s show running this amazing showing. I think the task that is built and the crew that is built I find that with shows is the person that you know the people at the top and particularly the show runner is if they’re really loose and their intention is in the right place and the team they know they just kind of flows down the pyramid and everyone on this show is really great and it’s just been imbued with this excitement because it’s such a special project for him and personally he’s really going to exceeding in extraordinary lengths to make sure that it’s every shot is exactly right. Not in a bad perfectionist way but in a how can we all make this better so that it’s just everything is kick up and there’s been so many fun moments of just being on the set and watching like it was like when making a huge big 13 episode feature film they’ve got the stunt coordinators and came from like cattle and men and stuff and in doing these incredible stunts and I’m like it’s a proper big superhero do. I haven’t I haven’t thought of that kind of thing. It’s just amazing. And it seems it’s got a really good positive yes. It’s just a good story. 

Any final thoughts before we wrap up the interview?

Just that it’s been pretty amazing to have a foot in both the DC and the Marvel Universe is I just feel blessed that that’s very rare and wonderful thing and I hope the it can continue for as long as possible because I think there’s something about doing these the comic book things. I don’t I feel like they deal with the bigger archetypes and biggest stories that help us work out what’s right and wrong and moral is not that everything has to have a message but it’s definitely fun to work on a big canvas that has lots of fans that are really into it because they can relate to it even though it’s not set in the real world. Oh yeah.

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julian

Writer and Media Journalist for Alternativemindz since 2012. I Cover the latest in Pop Culture, Video Games, Comics, Pro Wrestling and much more.