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INTERVIEW: Dastmalchian’s Abra Kadabra Toys With Team Flash

by  in TV News Comment
INTERVIEW: Dastmalchian’s Abra Kadabra Toys With Team Flash

Another one of Flash’s classic Rogues takes center stage in tonight’s aptly titled episode “Abra Kadabra.” A villain from both the future (the 64th century) and another dimension (Earth-19), Kadabra journeys to our Earth to permanently take down the Flash. After he fails and finds himself captured, Kadabra makes Barry an offer he simply cannot refuse – let him go free, and he’ll disclose Savitar’s true identity. There’s just one (major) snag: Gypsy has come to retrieve Kadabra in order to make him pay for his crimes.

RELATED: A Major Villain Returns in Flash #19, And That’s Not Even the Big News

Ahead of tonight’s episode, Dastmalchian spoke with CBR about “The Flash’s” take on the classic — and insanely powerful — rogue, the villain’s beef with the Flash, and whether his knowledge can really save Iris.

CBR: For people unfamiliar with Abra Kadabra, and for those who know him but might not be aware of how the show will portray the villain, who is he and how would you define his skill set?

David Dastmalchian: Abra Kadabra, in my humble opinion, is the greatest showman – the biggest magician – the universe has ever known. Being that he is from the 64th century, from the future, he has access to all kinds of insanely powerful technology that can enhance not only his showmanship, but following through with some of his goals or projects in life. That can include accruing wealth, because he’s a capitalist at heart, too. But, no, he’s truly a showman.

Unfortunately, in the time that he lives, people aren’t so impressed by what it is that Abra can do, even though he knows how much skill and craft and talent goes into his work. Not only has that been frustrating, but, in the future, I’ve had run-ins with this thorn in my side: Barry Allen. He’s this guy who thinks he is somehow called upon to meddle. He’s caused me a lot of problems; in fact, he’s shattered some of my dreams. He’s not just been annoying — he’s actually caused major, major problems and frustrations for me. I’ve come back so that he can’t bother me anymore in the future.

Abra Kadabra makes Barry an offer he can’t possibly refuse when he offers to reveal Savitar’s true identity, but can Kadabra be trusted?

Strictly, as a basic fact, Abra absolutely knows who Savitar is, because he’s from the future. Everything that is happening to Barry right now, he knows exactly how it happens, where it happens, and when it happens. The fact that he knows how much Iris means to Barry – the fact that he knows what Savitar means to Barry and the fact that he knows all the details of his life – means that everything Abra is saying is 100 percent true. How I can use that is the gift. That is the talent of the true magician, the true showman.

If I wanted to, with the technology at my disposal and my gifts, I could have gone back in time and killed Barry with a snap of a finger, or with the tap of my magic wand. That wouldn’t be a great show. That wouldn’t be fun. That wouldn’t be the trick that I wanted to pull off. Utilizing the knowledge that I have, and making Barry this offer I do, is all part of my plan to make Barry pay for the suffering that he’s caused me, that he doesn’t even know he’s caused me… yet.

In what ways does Gypsy turn things upside down?

She needs to go back to where she came from and leave me alone. It’s like, “I’m sorry I caused you some problems on Earth-13. I’m sorry if I perhaps may have hurt some people that you care about. I don’t care.” She causes me a lot of headaches. Imagine you are standing on stage. You are about to perform in Vegas for the largest crowd. I am going to do the greatest trick that I have conceived. Then, all of a sudden, someone stands up at the back of the theater because their phone is ringing or they are answering a call.

Gypsy is like that annoying person that continues to try and get in the way and interrupt my great performance. Don’t worry, though. Abra will have his way and I will absolutely take care of Gypsy. She’s another person Barry not only cares about, but — there are people in Barry’s inner circle that he cares deeply for. It’s really fun for me when I get to hurt not only Barry, but the people he cares about the most.

Does that mean you get to interact with Team Flash?

You’ll have to see. Barry realizes very quickly that he doesn’t have the skill or power to stop me by himself. It’s going to take more than one speedster to stop this magician. You are going to see a number of people at work trying to stop Abra. And, guess what? I just toy with all of them.

Abra Kadabra’s abilities require CGI effects, buy there’s always some kind of physicality involved with playing a villain. What were some of the challenges in bringing this theatrical character to the small screen?

I’m blessed with a life of being familiar with these characters. I have a passion for comic books. That was helpful in even the physicality and how I felt I would carry myself as Abra – how I would walk, how I would move, how I would gesture, and how I would talk. As a kid, I was almost as fascinated with magic as I was with comic books and horror and sci-fi films, but just not enough that I ever pursued it the way I wanted to do.

When this came about, one of the really awesome things that the Flash team did for me was – I went up [to Vancouver] and we started to get into the wardrobe and the look of the character – and I spent a good deal of time with a real magician, an illusionist who lives up in Vancouver. His name is Alex Zander. He came and graciously spent a lot of time with me. The little things that a magician does – or the detail that goes into the craft – those are all the things that you, as an actor, if you have a short amount of time to try and prepare, it’s really difficult to do by yourself. So, having professionals come and work with me and train me was invaluable.

The Flash’s rogues frequently return to butt heads with Barry more than once. What kind of conversations did you have with the producers about Kadabra’s return, or do you feel he’s a one-trick pony?

I’m so excited about this episode and where this episode goes and what happens. I will say, a magician never reveals his secrets. I’ll have to leave it at that. The most fun for the audience, as when you are reading a comic book, is comic books and episodes of any series, do not have to end with our hero on top. Now that Abra is here – when he will appear and disappear is going to keep people on their toes and, hopefully, most of all, leave Flash quaking in his little red boots.