Everyone wants to test a Kryptonian's strengths and weaknesses through combat. This week, "Supergirl" adds General Sam Lane to her growing laundry list of those who want to see exactly what she's capable of.
In order to push the nascent hero to her limits, Lane pits her against a super-powered android dubbed the Red Tornado. Brought to life by actor Iddo Goldberg -- who also portrays Tornado's creator, T.O. Morrow -- the field test quickly grows dangerous as Tornado develops sentience while battling Supergirl.
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Ahead of the CBS series' latest episode, aptly titled "Red Faced," Goldberg spoke with CBR about the origin of his Red Tornado, what makes him such a formidable foe for star Melissa Benoist's Supergirl, and the fun he had filming fight scenes under circumstances he describes as "like working on a huge blockbuster feature film."
CBR News: For those unfamiliar with the character, and for those familiar with the comic book version, who is "Supergirl's" Red Tornado?
Iddo Goldberg: We have the D.E.O., who is working with Supergirl. Then, that organization is working with the American Army. Sometimes they don't see eye to eye.
Now, we have General Sam Lane who is coming and saying that he wants to test Supergirl. What we don't know is he and Dr. T.O. Morrow have been working on a project: Red Tornado, an unbelievably advanced android they have created as a test for Supergirl. Things don't go according to plan for them. Let's just say the Red Tornado becomes sentient, goes rogue and starts to wreak havoc. The episode is all about Kara gaining control over this rogue killing machine.
How was it putting a "Supergirl" spin on an established character like Red Tornado?
I had a lot of fun on that set. It was a real treat to be on board with everyone. Obviously, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg have been at it for a while. It was like working for a very well-oiled machine. They are so into it and so passionate about it.
I was never a huge comic book fan. I moved from Israel to the U.K. when I was 10, so most of my readings and learning English -- I missed a little bit of that, of that whole world. It was really fun finding out things about the character and realizing certain people were really into it. You had to be more of a hardcore comic book fan to know who the character is. This character has been around since the late '60s, and knowing this is the first time that someone has put him up for real on the screen, was a huge undertaking and something I was proud of. It was a great experience.
Supergirl is one of the most powerful beings on the planet. What makes Red Tornado such a force to be reckoned with for her?
Think of an entity that can create a tornado in the palm of his hand. You will see there are a lot of people walking the streets, so it's a very dangerous power to have, especially a very dangerous power to have out of control. You're talking about someone that could pretty much take off and land anywhere he wants and continue to wreak havoc.
Red Tornado also has a rather distinct appearance. What went into transforming you from man into machine? Was it an evolving process?
Yeah, we had several specialized fittings. Everything had to be made for me, and had to be made to measure. That was an amazing experience in itself, going through all these molds of my head. Everything was specially created for the shape of my head. There were masks, costumes and repeated fittings, because everything had to be just right. Everything had to be workable, because there was a lot of action involved. Some stuff had to look good while you were standing still, but this costume had to move around a lot, because Red Tornado and Supergirl go at it pretty hard. It was quite a process, getting everything fit and get everything to be moveable.
Was his blue cape ever in the mix?
Not to my knowledge. Michael Grassi and Rachel Shukert, who wrote the script for "Red Faced," -- I'm not sure if they, Greg, Andrew and Ali Adler had ideas about the cape. I certainly never found out about it. I would have liked to have a cape. I had a lot to work with anyway, so I was pretty satisfied.
What was it like filming some of those giant action sequences?
I can tell you, in all my 12-15 years of working, I've never filmed an action sequence this big. It was insane. A very, very big road had to be closed down. It was like working on a huge blockbuster feature film, or as close to that as possible. It was brilliant. My phone was in my trailer. I couldn't take any pictures, which kills me to this day. It was very grand and blockbuster-like.
In the end, do you consider Red Tornado a "villain?"
I'm not sure I should answer that question. In this episode, there is conflict. There is something sentient about this character. There is something that is not completely android about him. I'll leave it at that.