Every member of DC Universe's newest team has their issues, and while you can't say any of them are only skin deep, Rita Farr's situation is perhaps the most grotesque of them all. The prima-donna former movie star and current member of the Doom Patrol is still trying to learn how to control not only her abilities, but her emotions and fear, both of herself and of some of her teammates.
It's a task that requires the actress playing the part, April Bowlby, to break down Rita and decipher just what she wants, even when she's saying otherwise. Following a screening of the first few episodes in Los Angeles, California, CBR got the chance to speak Bowlby and the rest of her Doom Patrol co-stars during a Q&A session with the cast. There, Bowlby talked about her role, the intricacies to the character, and what turned out to be the most surprisingly difficult aspect of playing the part of Rita.
"I think she's terrified," Bowlby said, succinctly summarizing Rita's emotional state when we meet her. "Just look at what happens when she goes out into the world. She destroys it! And she feels bad about herself, and just isolates herself again. So I think that she feels the safest place for her is in a controlled environment where she feels taken care of. She can control it, she knows what's going to happen. I think that's why she gets so flustered when Jane comes in, because when Jane comes in, who knows what's coming with those sixty-four personalities? I think [Rita] just feels safer when she's alone."
"What surprises me about Rita is that as much as she resists being part of the team, she wants to be a part of the team," the actress said when asked what it is about the character that ha surprised her most. "The one who protests too much is the one who needs all the attention. So that's of fun to realize, that her 'nos' are 'yeses.'"
One thing she certainly wasn't expecting, however, was just how much chicken she would need to eat. Rita has to keep up a strong metabolism to maintain control of her shape-shifting powers, and in the pilot alone she eats an entire chicken. Because of the realities of filming, she was actually forced to eat a lot more chicken than we see in in the few moments of screen time the scene uses in the final edit. "look, the first three takes are awesome," she admitted, "and then you realize you have to do, like, 22 takes, and then you're in big trouble."
Streaming now on DC Universe, Doom Patrol stars Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele, Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor, Diana Guerrero as Crazy Jane, Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody, April Bowlby as Rita Farr, Joivan Wade as Vic Stone, and Timothy Dalton as Niles Caulder.