In James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, ARGUS Agent Emilia Harcourt made quite the impression as Amanda Waller’s tough-as-nails aide. Still plenty enigmatic by the movie’s end, it’s only in the TV series Peacemaker, where Harcourt’s assigned to Project Butterfly, that the character opens up… well, kinda. While the character was prickly as ever, actress Jennifer Holland also got to flex her emotional muscles by giving Emilia a tiny bit of vulnerability when she wasn’t laying out scores of bad guys. Having survived the first season – and recently accepted Gunn’s proposal of marriage after several years as a couple – Holland’s got a lot to look forward to in the near future.
Coming into the series, did you think a lot about Harcourt’s origins?
I discussed it with James a little bit, the things that he might be interested in exploring in the future about who she is, and her past, and who is her father. She’s certainly very complex. Anyone who goes into this line of work immediately after high school has an interesting past and an interesting upbringing.
Let’s talk about the bar scenes between Peacemaker and Harcourt. How did you approach them?
John [Cena] and I never really discussed our characters, or how our characters feel about each other. But I felt the things that made Harcourt sort of despise Peacemaker early on in the series are some of the things that make her warm up to him later on in the series.
A large part of why Harcourt despises Peacemaker is because she sees herself in Peacemaker. I think, to some degree, it’s kind of like looking in a mirror, and she doesn’t like what she sees. They have some similar loyalties and similar priorities. They’re both soldiers, and they’re both company men and company women. There are reasons why he is the way he is. Maybe she can see how his path and his upbringing made him who he is, and she knows that that’s part of why she’s the way that she is. I think she sees herself in him. And I think that helps her to understand him better.
Harcourt gets the job done and survives in Peacemaker
Do you know if their relationship will bloom into an actual thing in season two?
I’m totally open to wherever James wants to take the characters. I’m more than happy to go in that direction. There’s a lot of room that you have to play with the unrequited thing between Harcourt and Peacemaker, whether or not that’s the direction that it will go. I really have no idea. I think that there are certain aspects to Harcourt where she might not be able to deal with his bullshit. She just doesn’t have the patience!
Is Harcourt a changed woman now?
I think that the amount of emotion that we show in season one is about all she’s capable of. After she has that [season finale] moment with Peacemaker in the hospital, she probably becomes more awkward with him after that, in my mind. Like, “What did I do? I touched his hand. What just happened?” She probably can’t even deal with that amount of affection. She has a lot of things to deal with within herself before she’s able to have a relationship.
Who was your favourite Harcourt scene partner?
My favourite relationship on the show is the one between Harcourt and Adebayo [Danielle Brooks]. I really loved the way that it was written.
Even though Harcourt really lets Adebayo have it in “Stop Dragon My Heart Around”?
Yeah, she’s so tough on Adebayo. She’s so hard on her, which I think to some degree comes from a level of respect. From my perspective, she obviously cares about her because if she didn’t care about her, she wouldn’t give her that much of her energy. I think that opening up to Adebayo in the way that she did and letting her in, and then finding out that Adebayo betrayed her team, she feels overly betrayed, because she doesn’t open up at all. Ever. Normally, she sees things like that coming, because she expects to be let down.
Lastly, next season: are you all for a new dance opening, or should they stay with the classic?
I’ll tell you what, I know that we can’t keep the same opening. I’m just totally open to James’s inspiration. Whatever comes, I think is exciting. But it’s scary! There’s such a love for the dance sequence in season one, that it’s kind of like no matter what you do with season two, it’s just not gonna live up to season one! I hope that people love it, whatever we end up doing.
All eight episodes of Peacemaker are available on Sky Max and NOW, via an Entertainment Membership.
I think that the amount of emotion in season one is about all she’s capable of