It’s going to be a very long two and a half months.
That’s how long we have until The Flash premieres on The CW. But the good news is that TV Fanatic has seen the pilot (thumbs way up!) and we’ve now talked to the star, Grant Gustin, his co-stars and the producing team, who are also responsible for another site favorite, Arrow.
We’ll be churning out those interviews in the coming weeks - but we figured we should start with our chat with Gustin, who we’ve already seen as Barry Allen on two installments of Arrow Season 2.
In our chat at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Gustin (pictured below with co-stars Candice Patton and Tom Cavanaugh) talked up his knowledge of The Flash... how he’s playing Barry getting used to his new powers... and also touched on Felicity’s crossover episode, which will take place on The Flash Season 1 Episode 4.
Let’s see what he had to share...
TV Fanatic: How much of an expert on these comics have you become? Were you a fan before this came into your life?
Grant Gustin: No, I wasn’t.
TVF: I think you might have even tweeted a picture of this whole kit you received of all The Flash comic books.
GG: I’ve got a lot of comics now. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, that’s for sure, like Tom [Cavanaugh] was saying [during the TCA panel] because when you hear Geoff [Johns] and Andrew [Kreisberg] and Greg [Berlanti] talk about it you realize you know nothing. But yeah, I’m concentrating still on The New 52 series, which I think looks the coolest and is the closest to what we’re creating as far as tone and the origin stories. I’m reading that.
We’re taking liberties because of who we have working on our show, so we’re creating our own Barry Allen. I clearly am not what’s been in any of the comics. I don’t have to rely on the comics too much because any info I need from the comics I’m going to get from Geoff and Andrew anyway.
TVF: During the TCA panel, it was said that Barry’s a character who wants to be moving forward. That said, we know his past is going to keep pulling him back. How much of that is a part of what we’re going to see throughout the first season?
GG: I think that’s kind of what the first season is. He’s been desperately trying to move forward since the murder [of his mother] but now he knows he’s not crazy. So, we’re moving forward and Geoff explained it really well. Your past is like an anchor and you don’t cut it off and drop it at the bottom of the sea. You pull it up and bring it with you.
I mean, this murder happened. My mom is gone, my dad’s in prison and I don’t dwell on it but I can’t ignore it either. We’re going to move forward but now Joe [West] and I are going to be working together to try and get my dad out of prison in the correct way, how we should get him out of prison and prove that he’s innocent.
TVF: You played a gay character on Glee and there is a bullying part in the start of The Flash pilot, which I would guess a lot of people, gay or straight, will be able to relate to.
GG: I mean, I was a tap dancer when I was a 10-year-old and I was bullied just the same all through high school. So it’s something I can relate to for sure.
TVF: It’s a great message that while we’re not all going to become The Flash but you can overcome those things.
GG: Like I was just saying, you don’t cut the anchor and leave it at the bottom of the ocean. You bring that with you. It’s part of you. It’s who you are. Any adversity makes you stronger. That’s why Barry is so optimistic and has so much hope. This has happened to him and he’s still alive and well and is moving forward.
TVF: The fact that Barry isn’t fully confident at the start, he’s not even necessarily smart of how he’s going to do these things. Was that important to you that he didn’t learn everything so quick and all of a sudden he’s like ‘I’m a superhero I’m going to do this.’
GG: Yeah. It is important to me. I hope there’s a lot more of that. I think it’s really interesting that it scares him some because he’s so smart. It’s cool and everything and he’s a fan boy of the Arrow before the fact and everything but he is a smart guy and he would understand that there have to be some side effects that aren’t all positive. So it is a scary thing. Also, yeah, his powers. He’s not going to be great at all of them to begin with because I don’t know how to stop in the pilot. There’s going to be a lot more of that to come, for sure.
TVF: It would seem that Eddie comes off like this perfect detective but what do you think Barry can learn from Eddie? They don’t seem like they’re going to be too chummy off the start.
GG: Not off the start. I don’t know that there’s much that he’s going to learn from Eddie right now. There might be more to come when we find out more about what Eddie’s story is and what’s going on there. I don’t know. I mean they’re not going to be close to start because he’s a really nice guy but he’s with the person that Barry is in love with. I think it’s hard for Barry to even be in the same room with Eddie right now.
TVF: I know Felicity will be in episode four. Can you say anything to how she’ll be involved? Are we going to touch on the romantic side of it?
GG: It will touch on the romantic side but just like Oliver can’t really be available right now to her, I can’t really either and for other reasons. Unlike Oliver, I am in love with somebody else. Now I think it’s even more apparent to me because Iris is with Eddie. Seeing her with him makes me realize I don’t just have feelings of friendship. I have much deeper feelings.
TVF: What’s been the most challenging so far physically that you’ve done either with the pilot or what you’ve just started doing?
GG: Nothing has been crazy yet but the days shooting in the suit are intense. It’s really hard being in the suit. They made it as comfortable as possible now. I like the suit, it’s cool to be in but I mean when we’re shooting…it’s hot in Vancouver right now. We’re shooting outside, I mean it’s intense. That’s exhausting. We’ve got to keep me hydrated and keep me cooled off.
TVF: I guess they don’t want you losing any more weight because you’re pretty slender to begin with.
GG: They’re trying to get me to gain weight so it’s hard.
TVF: What do you hope people take from the show?
GG: I just hope we can bring in fans that know nothing about The Flash, which I think we will do because it’s going to show the story from the very beginning. If you know nothing about The Flash, it’s okay. We’re going to not only see Barry before the accident but also back when he was 11 years-old. And the effects are incredible. I want it to be unlike anything anybody’s ever seen on TV before, which I think we’re on track to do.
TVF: Do you have time to watch anything yourself these days?
GG: With my schedule I’m still finding time to binge watch things. That’s what I want to do with my free time. It’s like when I have time I’d rather sit and watch TV and relax.
TVF: What are you binging now?
GG: I’m actually into comedies right now. I binged Brooklyn Nine-Nine and now I’m watching The Mindy Project. The acting is just so good.
The Flash Season 1 premieres on October 7 on The CW.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.