Clark Gregg has admitted he thought he'd be "slumming in a pop-culture world" when he first took on the role of Marvel's Agent Phil Coulson.
The actor played the character in Iron Man and The Avengers and reprises the role in Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, the TV spin-off of Avengers Assemble.
The 51-year-old revealed that when he first took on the part of Coulson, he saw comics-bred cinema as a breed apart from the dramatic work he had done.
"I had worked with Mamet, Macy, (The West Wing mastermind Aaron) Sorkin! I thought this would be different, that it would be slumming in a pop-culture world," he confessed.
But Clark soon realised it was exactly the type of role he was looking for.
"When I see the connection that this kind of project has made with people on a global level, I realise that's what I got into acting for," he said. "I don't think there's a higher, more highbrow goal to hope for. After all, Shakespeare wasn't doing work for the queen, he was writing for a bunch of people chewing on disgusting sausages and talking back to the stage."
He laughed: "I don't mean to retroactively trash the sausage vendors of Elizabethan England! I just destroyed their Yelp rating."
The star said the show has also given him the chance to indulge his inner child.
"This show depicts a world that I loved as a kid," he said. "This show has given me a great chance to take my 13-year-old self to work with me every day."
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D airs on Channel 4 in the UK.