SPOILER WARNING: This interview contains mild spoilers for “Schott Through the Heart,” tonight's midseason premiere of “Supergirl," which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.
There’s much to love about Supergirl, perhaps the most optimistic corner of The CW’s Arrowverse: great stories, great performances, the list goes on. But high on the list of the show’s many pleasures is its supporting roster, a pack of characters with vital, compelling stories all their own. On a lesser series, an episode focused primarily on a supporting player might fall flat, but with Supergirl, such a failure is far from likely.
Enter “Schott Through the Heart,” the first episode in the back half of the excellent third season of “Supergirl,” which returns tonight. As the title suggests, it’s an hour that’s often focused on the stalwart Winn Schott, played with easy charisma and subtle shading by Jeremy Jordan. As was the case with the first Winn-centric episode of the series, “Schott Through the Heart” examines Winn’s family life -- a situation made more complicated and dangerous by his villainous father, known to law enforcement (and to comic readers) as Toyman. But while season one’s “Childish Things” dwelled on Winn’s fears about himself, tonight’s episode explores his connection to his absent mother, here played by Emmy-winner Laurie Metcalf.
Jordan’s skill as a performer will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. “Schott Through the Heart” gives him a chance to dig deep, and the result is a standout for both the character and the season. Ahead of the midseason premiere of Supergirl, Jordan spoke with CBR about playing against Metcalf, what’s next for Winn, and how to navigate the wild world of karaoke when you happen to be a Broadway star.
CBR: So first of all, congrats on a terrific episode.
Jeremy Jordan: I haven't seen it [yet]! We had a good time doing it. I'm sure I will enjoy it.
So you find out you're going to do an episode in which Winn encounters his TV Mom, and then later you find out that your TV Mom is going to be played by national treasure Laurie Metcalf. What is that experience like?
Well, I knew she was going to be my Mom for a while, long before everybody else did. So I had time to prepare for it. Honestly, you know, I was a little bit intimidated, because she plays such powerful characters. But she was super chill, and really sweet, and we got along great really, really quickly. Right off the bat. I mean, our first scene together was [a] big, emotional confrontation scene that we have in the D.E.O., where we kind of talk about what happened, and why she left, and that was our first scene together. So we kind of got thrown into the lion's den.
We spent about a week together, and she brought her daughter, which was super sweet. Her daughter’s a big fan [of the show]. We had a really good time, and had a bunch of laughs in there too, because there were, of course, some pretty zany, fun, silly moments as well.
I wanted to ask about that confrontation scene. Obviously the tone of Supergirl is often pretty light, and even when it's heavier, those scenes are often centered on Melissa's character. How do you go about preparing for scene that hits that hard, particularly when you know that you're going to be acting with a stage and television legend?
Well, you have to do your homework. We really had to study the scene a lot. I had a lot of conversations with the writers about how to make it perfect. In fact, it went through a couple of rewrites before we were all super satisfied with it, because it was such a pivotal moment. It’s such a big emotional cornerstone for Winn, [so] I wanted it to be perfect. We really got to work together to… craft that. And that was all before we got on set with Laurie, who's just a consummate professional, and like I said, very easy to work with. So it sort of really fell into place… We just went in, we knew exactly what we were going to do, and how we wanted to portray the scene and the emotions.
It's all about showing up. So many times we come to work, and it’s like, “I have one or two lines in the scene. What are they? OK, alright.” [Then you] sit around for two hours waiting for the camera. “OK, what’s my line? ‘The ship is on Planet Star-Z136!’ OK, let's go home.” You know? There are so many days of that, that you look forward to the days where you really get to exercise the muscles that you got into this business to exercise in the first place.