There’s a lot to love about TV’s new Agent X. He’s smart, loyal, handsome, resilient and a little bit sloppy, but that’s his appeal. He’s not the stuffy Bond type. Much of that can be attributed to the charisma of the man playing Agent X, Jeff Hephner, whose Midwest charm and kick-butt wit definitely show through. TNT’s action/drama series debuts Sunday, Nov. 9 at 9pmET.
“[The show] doesn’t take itself too seriously because, God knows, I don’t,” Hephner says. “I’m from Michigan and I’m playing this guy as if he’s from Michigan, and there’s a low-key-ness that I relate to and I appreciate. It doesn’t necessarily fit into the glamour and the glitz [of Bond] and I’m cool with that.”
Agent X, also known as John Case, is actually one of the greatest secrets in the history of our country. Only Vice President Natalie Maccabee (played by Sharon Stone, who returns to television full time) and her chief steward, Malcolm Millar (Gerald McRaney), know the agent’s identity. He is trained and ready to be deployed, but only at the sole discretion of the vice president, as some emergencies require “judicious disregard” for the government’s typical formalities.
For Hephner this is a dream job, even though it’s far more physically demanding than his Chicago Fire and Boss days. He’s had quite a brutal — literally — introduction to agent life. “The thing I love about this is I kick almost everybody’s ass and I have just no business in real life kicking all these people’s asses. It’s so much fun,” he says.
“There was one guy, a stuntman, who was a world champion kickboxer at one point, and he’s got to kick me into this table and I’ve got to break a bunch of glass and smash through the wall and he kind of half kicked me. We’re about six hours in and I’m beat up and I’m like, ‘Just don’t mess around. Kick me, man. Don’t be a pussy.’ I’m wearing a Kevlar vest so I’m real confident. When you’re wearing a Kevlar vest, you’re like, ‘Yeah, you can kick me. I’ll be fine,’” Hephner explains. “This dude almost folded me in half. … I flew through the wall. I literally looked like I launched off of his foot, but I appreciated it. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.’ I mean, I couldn’t breathe for like four minutes and I ended up with dislocated ribs, which I had never heard of. … I lost feeling in my left arm for like a month. … I personally am a really rowdy guy. I love getting the crap kicked out of me and I love beating the crap out of people [we’re talking acting here]. It’s just my idea of a good time.”
And the series is definitely our idea of a good time, too. We just hope the adorable Hephner physically survives.
“There’s a scene that when I see it I laugh because there’s a guy who is swinging me around and I’m looking over my shoulder and there’s a good amount of dread and terror in my eyes and that’s all real because we’re on the 25th floor and fighting on the edge of this building. There were many times where I was going, ‘This is just a really bad idea.’”
Let us know what you think of TNT’s new Agent X below.
Credit: MELISSA MOSELEY/TNT