In the comic books, Captain Cold and The Flash have a history dating back to 1957’s “Showcase” #8. In his costumed bad guy identity, Leonard Snart was one of the first supervillains faced by DC Comics‘ Barry Allen incarnation of speedy hero, so it’s with a certain sense of historical symmetry that the character debuts in this week’s fourth episode of “The Flash” on The CW, with titular star Grant Gustin facing Wentworth Miller‘s Captain Cold.
One of the most prominent Flash villains in history — frequently seen as the leader of the Rogues, a collection of speedster-averse supercriminals — Captain Cold has often been depicted as a surprisingly complex villain, with his own moral code and flirtations with heroism (he’s even currently a member of the Justice League). He’s also a personal favorite of DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, who wrote “The Flash” comic book for years and serves as an executive producer on the TV show. Johns worked closely with Miller and episode director Glen Witner on tonight’s episode — aptly titled “Going Rogue” — and earlier this month showed off photos of Miller as Cold in the character’s live-action debut, with the parka and Cold Gun strongly hinting that the show’s stated objective of embracing its comic book roots remains a priority.
In advance of “Going Rogue” — which also features Emily Bett Rickards in her “Arrow” role as Felicity Smoak — CBR News spoke with Miller about taking on the Captain Cold role, working in comic book-based material what the future may entail for his character and reuniting with Dominic Purcell, who he co-starred with for four seasons on Fox’s “Prison Break.”
CBR News: Wentworth, “The Flash” is certainly part of this current explosion of comic book-based live-action prime time TV shows — with more seemingly announced each week. As an actor who’s worked in a variety of genres, what’s exciting to you about getting to work with this type of material, and being a part of that larger movement on TV?
Wentworth Miller: You know, I’m a fan of the genre and happy to be part of a show that’s been so well-received, but to be honest, it’s never been a particular dream of mine to play a superhero or comic book character. The enjoyment I get from playing Captain Cold isn’t about riding a popular wave. It’s primarily creative. I find the material supports almost any choice I might want to make as an actor. There are dramatic moments, comedic moments, I can be subtle, I can twirl my mustache… That’s satisfying for me. It keeps things interesting.
Captain Cold occupies a very distinct and very prominent place in the Flash rogues gallery. What are the qualities in the character that were attractive to you?
Captain Cold is a bad guy with shades of gray. And I like that. The writers have shared some of his backstory with me — which we may or may not get to — and I thought, “Ah — there’s a reason he is who he is. Or reasons, plural.” There are beats in my first episode where I’m an out-and-out bad guy and there are beats that hint at something else. The character’s got dimension. Depth.
And did you do much research into the source material to prepare for the role?
I took a look at the comics but there’s a lot out there. It’s a little overwhelming. So I made the choice to let the powers-that-be tell me what I need to know. They’ll guide my course.
Speaking of research — DC chief creative officer and “Flash” executive producer Geoff Johns is probably the most famous Captain Cold fan there is. How much have you discussed with him about the character?
He’s been great. And Kai Yu Wu, who co-wrote my first episode, has been a real asset as well. They were both on set, making themselves available, and whatever questions I had they were happy to answer. It was actually out of my back-and-forth with Geoff that the idea to approach Dom about Heat Wave emerged.
Speaking of that — of course, much has been made about your “Prison Break” brother Dominic Purcell also joining “The Flash” cast as a rogue, Heat Wave. Have you shot any scenes together yet? And how meaningful is it you to once again be on the same show as Purcell?
Anyone tuning in to see the two of us onscreen at the same time will not be disappointed. We’ve got a lot of scenes together. I just wrapped my second episode — Dom’s first — in Vancouver and it was a blast. And a blast from the past. Dom and I played brothers for four years, and we developed a bond that really does feel brotherly. It was a lot of fun to tap into that but also push into new creative territory. This isn’t “Michael and Lincoln Take Two.” But there are moments that did feel a little wink-wink-nudge-nudge. Let’s just say it was a good time.
Given the major role Captain Cold plays in The Flash mythos, presumably you’ll be sticking around for a bit — is there any indication at this point how many episodes you’ll be appearing in, now that “the Flash” has been picked up for a full season?
That’s up in the air. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I showed up one or two more times this season. It depends on availability and what the writers have planned big-picture. Meanwhile, I’m just happy to have a place at the table.
“Going Rogue,” Wentworth Miller’s debut episode as Captain Cold on “The Flash,” airs at 8 tonight on The CW.
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