Jay Garrick was born to run.
Known to DC Comics aficionados as The Flash of Earth 2, the World War II era hero possesses superspeed, can vibrate his body at high frequencies, and create vortexes, among other impressive tricks.
On “The Flash,” however, Jay no longer has his superspeed abilities as his powers have been stolen by the villainous Zoom, Now, the once super hero has found himself stuck on Barry Allen’s Earth, with no apparent way to return home.
As Jay Garrick, actor Teddy Sears sheds his “Masters of Sex” persona of Dr. Austin Langham for one a little bit more heroic. Ahead of tonight’s episode, “Flash of Two Worlds,” Sears told CBR about his blind audition for the role, just how similar his character’s TV incarnation is to his comic book counterpart, the challenge he’ll face in winning over Team Flash, one person at a time, and the challenges of running and fighting while wearing the iconic helmet.
CBR News: What did you know about the Flash and his legacy before joining the show?
Teddy Sears: I was very familiar with the Flash in his various iterations as I was growing up. You couldn’t be a boy in sports and not want to be like the Flash, not be the fastest guy out there. I didn’t know the depth of the mythology or the legacy that the Flash had behind him, but I knew Jay Garrick and the silver helmet with the gold wings without knowing the guy’s name. I was thrilled when I found out that this was the character I was going to be playing. When I auditioned, I didn’t know who I was going out for. I auditioned for this character in Season 2, and then they told me who it was going to be. I said, “Oh my, God. Let’s do this.”
Were there specific elements from the comic books that helped shape your performance?
Yes — and no. Andrew Kreisberg and the other writers insisted, “Go ahead and read as much as you want, but we really want you to bring what you brought when you auditioned.” That was a sense of this guy having been around for a while, having had some years on him in relation to Barry Allen and someone who was a bit more battle-tested and world-weary. I had a prototype in mind when I went in, but I have been reading a lot of comic books just because I want to get a sense of Jay Garrick’s world, who his friends are and how he conducts himself. That’s been real educational. I love Jay Garrick in that he feels like an upstanding, old-school hero. My job has been to try to nail that sensibility into modern day 2015 and keeping him modern, but also giving him that historical feel.
Jay delivered a cryptic warning at the end of the Season 2 premiere. How much does Team Flash immediately buy into what he’s telling them?
Not at all. Jay has to win over each member of S.T.A.R. Labs, one at a time. There’s no agenda to that. There’s no, “OK, let me win over Cisco so I can get to Barry.” There’s absolutely none of that. Each person is dubious of who this guy is when he walks in off the street and declares that their world is in danger, especially because they are just coming down off the high of closing this portal. I know six months have passed, but there’s an instant challenge for Jay when he arrives.
After last season, I think Barry doesn’t really want anyone getting close to him right now. He’s struggling with, “Everyone around me ends up hurt or worse. Maybe I should not allow anyone to be too close.” Barry has a lot of stuff going on that he’s fighting, and Jay has an agenda. Jay arrives without his speed that Zoom stole in their most recent fight. He knows Zoom is sending people after Barry. Zoom is going to want to take Barry’s speed, too, so Barry has to get ready.
Jay is an old pro when it comes to the superhero game. In what ways will he be mentoring Barry?
Because Jay has had more experience, he’s been able to perfect things Barry hasn’t. He’s going to teach Barry what he’s capable of. He’s going to help Barry learn some things about himself that he didn’t even know were possible. We’re going to start to get into that in Episode 2. I think it’s actually going to work both ways.
Viewers get to see Jay in his Flash costume very early on. How did it feel the moment you put it on? And then, the first time you had to run in it?
The first time I put it on, I was literally buzzing. I was tingling. I was so in awe of the helmet. It’s so iconic. The team did such a great job of making it look battle-tested. I just felt this really great sense of honor, putting on the helmet for the first time and embodying such an iconic character that felt very important. It sounds hokey, but that’s how I felt.
As for running, that was a little more of a challenge. There are various helmets. The one that I wear the most often is the heaviest. Then there are identical versions that are lighter-weight material, like plastic, for more fighting stuff. The long and the short of it is, I run in it very carefully because the helmet doesn’t always stay on.
Wally West will be cruising into Central City soon. What does it mean to Jay to have another speedster around?
I don’t think there’s any jealousy. It doesn’t become a competition. Jay really needs Barry’s abilities to help him regain his own and help him defeat Zoom. I would imagine Jay is relieved to find someone with the same ability as him. It’s wonderful, because it could have been, “Who is faster? I am faster,” and then it becomes a male ego contest.
What else can you tease about Jay’s arc over the next few episodes?
I can tease that Jay finds a friend in Barry. You begin to see Jay and Caitlin [Danielle Panabaker] grow closer as they begin to spend more time together as scientists. You’ll see Jay struggle with identity as he begins to wonder, “Who am I without my speed?” He misses it, and he’s trying to figure out what life is going to be for him without it.
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