Actor Grant Gustin’s take on Barry Allen won viewers’ hearts at lightning speed when he debuted the character on “Arrow,” and he’s hoping they’ll race along with him as he dashes into the fall spinoff series “The Flash.”
Gustin spoke with a small group of reporters gathered at The CW’s summer party for the Television Critics Association and offered up some teasers about what fans can expect as he sprints headlong into the new series, including learning to run the right way, not-so-secret identities and learning how to rock that red suit.
What have been some of the unexpected treats of the process, both in getting the gig and seeing it coming closer to fruition?
Grant Gustin: It’s all been unexpected, to be honest. I don’t know if I could pick the coolest unexpected thing. It really has been just a whirlwind so far and I never would’ve expected a job like this to come around for me. It’s really surreal I’m having a lot of fun. I’m just glad that we’ve started filming.
How long did it take you to find your comfort zone in the suit?
I haven’t really had much — in the pilot, I only shot two scenes in the suit, and as of now, in this episode, I just shot in it yesterday. Yesterday was kind of the first time I felt like The Flash in the suit. It was funny, because I was getting my ass kicked. It’s kind of the first time you see him in combat. He’s not going to be awesome at it right away obviously.
Did you have to learn how to run the right way for the character?
Yeah! You don’t realize that there is a real way of running correctly, I guess! I’ve always been fast, but I worked with a track and field trainer to get the right movements. Now I’m working with a new trainer and we’re doing a lot of treadmill, but it’s mostly just cross training my whole body.
When you went on “Arrow,” did you realize you would do “The Flash” series?
When I auditioned for it, I knew that it was a potential spinoff. At that point, I thought it was a backdoor pilot. We didn’t know it’d be a standalone but I was excited about this show long before I had anything to do with it so I think everyone kind of knew that we’d probably at least get a season, just because it’s such an iconic character and everything. I knew when I auditioned that there was a possibility.
Will Barry keep in contact with Felicity?
Yeah — she’s actually going to be in episode four of “Flash.”
Will Iris find out you are the Flash sooner rather than later?
She may know more about that than I know, but I do know everyone close to me is going to start to find out pretty quickly. It’s not even going to be dragged out over the course of one season. I mean, Joe finds out in the pilot. Anyone that’s close to me that sees me in the Flash suit is going to recognize me, which I think is kind of cool. Even if I’m in the mask, if they know me well enough, they know it’s me. So that might be how she finds out. I don’t really know.
How long will it be until you can control your powers?
I don’t really know. That’s a broad question in a way, because he can do so much in the comics and hopefully we have seasons to develop some of the powers. I think I’ll get a handle on at least the speed aspect of it pretty quickly. There’s new problems that are happening in episode two with my body and how the speed is affecting my body. There’s some new issues.
Is he going to keep his CSI job?
Will there be a case every week that he works for his day job?
I don’t really know yet but it’s looking like there will be a case every week that’s somehow connected to these villains that are appearing because of the particle accelerator explosion. They’re going to be connected usually, it’s looking like.
Who is the first classic Flash villain we get a glimpse of?
Well, we had Weather Wizard in the first [episode]. I’m trying to think if anything’s been said. The next two episodes, they’re both very iconic Flash villains. I don’t want to give away too much, but they’re both iconic, both very memorable villains. We’re going to get most of them, it’s looking like.
How long before you find out the truth about Harrison Wells?
That may be a while. That might not be something I find out about this [season]. There’s a lot of complexities to his lies. He’s very much tied into the comic books, his character. There’s a lot of complexities to all of Harrison Wells’ lies.
How did you and Stephen Amell discuss how Arrow and The Flash would express their admiration for each other?
It was mostly Andrew [Kreisberg, executive producer] telling us what the feel should be, because he knows it all. Out of all the superheroes, he loves Green Arrow and Flash so he helped us set the tone for that scene.
How much of a research nerd have you been, digging into the comics?
At first, I was reading everything, which was kind of confusing. I was reading a lot of the different eras, but now I’m mostly just reading the New 52 series because I just love the way it looks. It’s the closest to our origin story and what we’re doing. Now that I’m working with scripts and we’re shooting, I don’t have as much time to read comic books. I’m reading the scripts and shooting, but what I am reading is the New 52 series. Not just Flash — I’m reading Superman now. I love how those look.