As longtime Superman fans know, Mr. Mxyzptlk isn’t your run-of-the-mill supervillain.
For the most part, the magical imp from the 5th Dimension tends to be more of a nuisance than a world conqueror, content to torment Superman and other heroes across the DC Universe with his annoying pranks and reality-warping abilities. Now, however, the trickster, played by “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland’s” Peter Gadiot, has just one thing on his mind and in his heart: To make Supergirl his bride.
Ahead of his debut on the February 20 episode, “Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk,” Gadiot spoke with CBR about bringing the iconic bad (well, naughty) guy to life, his tricks in courting Supergirl, sparring with a jealous Mon-El and, well, just causing general mischief and mayhem.
CBR: For those unfamiliar with the character, who is Mr. Mxyzptlk and what did you want to bring to him?
Peter Gadiot: He is essentially a being, with almost infinite power, from the 5th Dimension. He’s someone who is known for his ability to do anything, but he doesn’t do it in an evil way. He’s not someone who has a black heart; he is more of a mischievous creature. He finds amusement in turning things inside out. He’s like a naughty boy and has a huge amount of power, but he doesn’t use it for pure evil. He uses it more for entertainment and fun and games. He’s one of the rarest and unique characters in that he has this ability to do anything, but only does so to annoy other people and just for a bit of fun. He’s very frustrating to characters like Superman and Supergirl. Usually, they can eventually defeat their opponents, but they have to think of a different way around Mxyzptlk. Unless you play his game, you aren’t going to get rid of him.
Mxyzptlk is typically portrayed as this older, magical imp. How surprised were you with the direction they went with him? Physically, you and the comic-book counterpart are polar opposites!
I was as surprised as anyone. What they’ve done is rather cool. Whenever you are bringing in a new character, you have to think, “How has it been done before? Do we want to be traditional? Do we want to put our own spin on it?” They did a perfect synergy. They kept his essence true to what has historically been this character. There are his maniacal, impish qualities and playfulness, but they changed his appearance.
The main reason I think they did that was to make him more modern and relevant to the “Supergirl” world, and also, to have the potential that he could be a legitimate suitor. They wanted it to be a pretty interesting suggestion. I mean, why not? This guy has the ability to do anything. If you find him handsome as well, which hopefully Kara does, well, why not go for it?
Why is Mxyzptlk so obsessed with Kara?
First of all, the main thing to say is, “Who wouldn’t be obsessed with Kara? She’s gorgeous.” In the trailers, you see her in that wedding dress and she’s drop dead gorgeous. She’s a sweetheart and strong, independent — and she’s a fighter. I think she ticks every box. Someone like Mxyzptlk, who is from the 5th Dimension – when you are like him, who has lived for who knows how long – it’s quite amazing to see someone like her. He has to follow her. He may be misguided in his ways, but the reason why is self-evident.
Kara, of course, attempts to let Mxyzptlk down easy, but it doesn’t go as smoothly she’d hoped. In what way does he wreak havoc in her life?
Well, when you want something – and you are someone like him, who has infinite power – you’re not used to getting turned down. You’re used to getting your own way. Obviously, there are a few limitations to his power. He has to make Kara fall for him. He can’t just magically make her fall in love. There is this suggestion that she wants to let him down nicely. However, each time he gets knocked down, he’s coming back with a different tactic and it’s going to keep escalating until this dramatic climax.
How does Mon-El handle Mxyzptlk putting the moves on Kara?
He takes it in the way any guy would if he feels another man is hitting on his girl. He’s not too pleased about it. He does his best to stand up for what he thinks he should do. They have a couple of different duels that are done in a playful spirit. It was a lot of fun to film.
I don’t know if I should say this, but when we were filming, Chris literally punched me in the chin. Accidentally, of course. We had this choreographed sequence. We were doing it once and, “Whack!” Chris is a super-nice guy and, of course, he was apologetic. I laughed it off. They definitely butt heads.
There are a lot of outfit changes in this episode. How did it feel getting your own Superman-inspired costume?
It was so cool, but, yeah, you’re right — I had many different outfits. There were modern suits, and the super-suit is iconic. It’s something where I hope I get a cool picture that I can show to my grandkids.
It seemed you enjoyed having a cape as well.
We had a night shoot. We filmed that scene at 5 AM. It was in Vancouver in the first week of January — it was freezing. I had tears in my eyes from the bitterness. I did have fun, but it was a little cold.
In the comic books, the only way to banish Mxyzptlk is to make him say his name backwards. How much are they adhering to that weakness, and was it a bit of a tongue twister for you?
Tongue twisters are tricky. I will say that I’m pretty good at tongue twisters. How they address that in this particular episode, it’s similar to what we just spoke about in terms of the character. They’ve kept true to certain aspects, but they’ve put their own unique twist on it.
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