Ming-Na Wen. Picture: Bob D'Amico

Take a peek at the photo of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actress Ming-Na Wen and try to guess her age. Did you pick somewhere in her twenties? Thirties? Forties? Try 50. Yes, 50. Even more impressive is the fact she pulls off wearing a skin- tight black leather suit as Agent Melinda "Cavalry" May, the haunted super-spy in the hit Marvel universe TV series.

"You know you're not supposed to ask a lady her age, Shannon," Wen playfully chastises me on the phone from LA. "I'm only giving that age out because I'm proud of it. And I look younger in person. I remind my husband of that all the time."

Fans of the cheery, somewhat cheeky Chinese-American actress can see if she really does look younger in person when she attends the Supanova Pop Culture Expo this weekend, where she's looking forward to meeting fans, signing autographs and taking part in a Q&A session.

"I'm really excited to come back to Australia because I shot one of my first films there on the Gold Coast, Street Fighter with Kylie Minogue, and my husband asked me to marry him there. So we're really looking forward to coming back. "

Wen says Street Fighter opened the door for her long-running role on the hit series ER, where she starred alongside George Clooney in the first season before returning to the show from 2000-2004 as a doctor. "There was no romance with George," she sighs. "I wish! I would have been happy with an on-screen romance. But there's still hope - we could work together again one day."

The role on ER, in turn, led to shows such as Stargate: Universe and Eureka. She has also appeared in movies such as The Joy Luck Club and Push and voiced the lead characters in Mulan and Final Fantasy. With so many comic-book and science-fiction credits to her name, it's no wonder Wen is the object of so many fanboys' affections at conventions including Supanova.

"It's a great way to connect with fans and fulfil the geek girl in me. It's nice to hear their appreciation and it's a way for me to thank them. But I also come for the booze, which is a big part of the fun.

"But you know what? I always thought of myself as a serious actress. I went to college and made it on to Broadway and felt like 'OK, I made it to Broadway'. Then I started doing all these comic book and sci-fi projects in Hollywood. But when I look back on it now, I've really enjoyed playing all these characters I dreamt about being."

Wen says she's most recognised for her current role as the butt-busting Agent May in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which aired here on Seven. With Captain America: The Winter Soldier signalling the disbandment of S.H.I.E.L.D. recently, Wen is thankful to be returning for season two, which will air in the US later this year.

"They didn't tell us anything about the events in The Winter Solider," she explains.

"They just told us to attend a mandatory screening of a rough cut of the film and all I can remember is being in shock and yelling 'What the', at all those revelations. I thought 'OK, what happens to all of us?'

"We had no idea at what it all meant for the show but we start filming in July and I can't wait to see what our writers have dreamt up for us. It's really exciting to embark on a new format where the film and TV worlds are meshed together like this. I think it's very ambitious of Marvel."

Season two will also be broken in two parts to include the Captain America spin-off series Agent Carter, which focuses on Captain America's early love interest, Peggy Carter.

The West Australian

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