Jenny Agutter: I said yes to Captain America to beat up Robert Redford on screen

Jenny Agutter said she could not think of “anything better than stepping out” of her role in Call The Midwife to beat up Robert Redford on screen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The 70-year-old actress reprised her role from The Avengers to star in the Marvel superhero film.

She and Redford, 86, are both members of the fictional World Security Council, which oversees S.H.I.E.L.D., in the 2014 sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger.

Jenny Agutter
Jenny Agutter has played Sister Julienne since 2012 in Call The Midwife (Danny Lawson/PA)

Agutter is seen attacking the Hollywood actor during a scene in the film, until she is revealed to be Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, in a virtual disguise.

She told Good Housekeeping UK: “When I was asked to do the Marvel film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I couldn’t think of anything better than stepping out of Call The Midwife to work with a stunt team and beat up Robert Redford.

“Although admittedly, they wouldn’t let me stunt-punch him. They were worried I’d actually hit him, instead of missing him.”

Robert Redford
Robert Redford starred in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Ian West/PA)

The actress, who has played Sister Julienne since 2012 in Call The Midwife, said she thought the show would be over in six episodes.

She added: “I was sat on a bus once when the woman next to me said, ‘I didn’t want to disturb you, but I have to say, I watch Call The Midwife and I have a particular interest in it because I was a nun for seven years’.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’ve been a nun longer than her’.”

Agutter, who as a teenager shot to fame in the 1970 film The Railway Children and recently reprised her role in The Railway Children Return in 2022, also said she previously felt a little “guilt” for “spending too much time away” from her family and children during her career.

Jenny Agutter
Jenny Agutter in the February issue of Good Housekeeping UK (Good Housekeeping UK/David Venni/PA)

She also said: “When my father was dying, it was very different to when I lost my mother many years earlier.

“I was much less concerned with making plans and more focused on just being with him – and that was a very good thing.

“Now, it’s about turning off the switch every so often. I’ll go, ‘OK, you can’t plan this out completely. Just do what you have to do’.”

Read the full interview with Jenny Agutter in the February 2023 issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale from December 29.

Call The Midwife returns to BBC One on New Year’s Day at 8pm.