You may have thought his previous CW role (on Star-Crossed) had an edge, but Greg Finley will truly go to the dark side with his guest spot on The Flash Season 1.
As Tony Woodward (aka Girder), Finley gets to be pure bad - and while that may fall in line with a lot of villains on The Flash, Woodward has something the other baddies don’t: a past with Barry Allen.
Finley jumped on the phone yesterday to give me a preview of Woodward and Girder and whether or not his character - who appears on The Flash Season 1 Episode 6 and The Flash Season 1 Episode 7 - is really as bad as he seems, along with what his connection is to Barry...
TV Fanatic: Is this an origins story for Girder or has that already taken place when we meet him on The Flash?
Greg Finley: You don’t see the transformation of Tony to Girder. You have flashback scenes to when Tony was bullying Barry in elementary school but you don’t see the transformation.
TVF: Would you call Tony an all-out villain or is there a vulnerability we might see that explains why he’s doing what he’s doing?
GF: He’s not like Drake, the bad boy with the heart. I think a lot of people liked that and that’s what I liked about Drake but [Tony] is just kind of a bad dude. Not to tease too much but maybe later one, maybe in another episode, he has some redemption and he redeems himself in a really cool scene in a really cool way so you’ll definitely see that. Definitely in episode 6 he’s a bad man.
TVF: What are the challenges in how you play a villain? You could go campy but how did you channel the character?
GF: I’ll be honest, when I first started, I did my research on Girder and he was just a bully and you want to have a character that has a little bit of a character arc and as an actor you might want to contain yourself a little bit but this is comic book, man. This is The Flash. He’s a bad guy, he’s a bully, so when I got to set they wanted more, more, more. At first, I thought maybe that would sound corny but at the end of the day, that’s him, man. That’s Tony, that’s Girder. He’s a beast and he is very loud and he is over the top so I just went with it and went crazy. It was fun.
TVF: Does Barry know right away that it’s Tony or does it take him some time to figure it out? I mean, sometimes they dynamics from when we are kids to adults doesn’t change all that much.
GF: I think he does know very early on he realizes who he is. And that’s part of the episode that Tony bullying Barry was very traumatic for him and Grant does a great job of portraying that in the episode.
TVF: What we’ve seen in The Flash so far is Barry learning his powers and what he’s capable of and not capable of. Is Tony still learning his powers or does he know his powers inside and out?
GF: Oh, Tony definitely knows his powers. [laughs] You see Tony loving his power the first time you see him. You’ll see. It’s fun. I went crazy with this role. When I found I got the role, I hit the weights really hard. I saw him and I didn’t want people to be like ‘Oh, he’s too small to be Girder.’ I wanted to be this guy and I think it’s going to be cool to see.
TVF: Are you saying you’re more pumped up than you normally are, Greg?
GF: Yeah, I pumped up extra for this guy! I know I look bigger on screen and I say to my friends, ‘Nah, not really’ but I said to my friends ‘Yeah, guys, I’m pretty huge in this role.’
TVF: Is a role like this like being a kid again and being a superhero and villains?
GF: It is, of course! I collected comic books as a kid and loved DC and Marvel and I was a fan. When you’re playing with your friends or your brothers and having fake fights and falling off the couch but then you’re doing it for real and the crazy thing is you’re getting paid for it so it’s bizarre.
TVF: So I can guess you have scenes with Grant but do you have scenes with some of the other cast members?
GF: Yeah, I got to work with Candice, who’s so talented and such a strong female role for her. Danielle was in one of the scenes but not so much. I didn’t get to work with her as much as I would’ve liked. She’s so sweet. And not to tease too much but later one I get to work with Tom, who has such a fun, shady character. He was so fun to work with.
TVF: I would think that Harrison Wells would like Tony and Girder because he could use him for his own devices.
GF: Yeah, but I think he’s a little more intelligent than Tony. [laughs]
TVF: The show does have a certain level of physicality and stunt work. Did you get a taste of that in your episodes?
GF: Yeah, I got to do most all my stunts on Star-Crossed and that trained me with a lot of fight training. Drake was a warrior so I got to do a lot of that stuff and work with the stunt guys. But there was a lot of physicality. I had a great stunt guy, Ryan, who did a lot of the stuff that I definitely couldn’t do. But a lot of the fight stuff was me and Grand and we had a great time doing it.
TVF: I hear there’s sometimes some singing and dancing going on behind the scenes with Grant and Jesse. Did you get caught up in that at all?
GF: Thank god, no. I was done before that. I don’t know anything about singing or dancing and I can’t really do either so I’m glad I was gone.
TVF: Anything else going on outside of The Flash?
GF: Yeah, I’m actually doing CSI as we speak. I’m playing a vigilante on CSI: Las Vegas, which is funny. I love the superhero stuff and I’m playing a vigilante on CSI. It’s been fun.
TVF: Is it more fun playing a good guy or bad guy?
GF: Oh, man. It’s always fun. I like playing both, ya know? But I guess you probably have a little more fun playing a bad guy, especially someone like Tony and Girder because he has no reservations. He just goes and everything works. ‘I’m crazy, that’s my excuse, that’s why I did that.’
The Flash Season 1 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.