Ever since George “Digger” Harkness was introduced in 1960’s “Flash” #117, the Rogue known as Captain Boomerang has found himself the brunt of many jokes. Flash frequently ran circles around Harkness and his admittedly primitive choice of weapon, and the good Captain was unable to muster any respect from his fellow villains as a founding member of Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad. However, over time Harkness modified his boomerangs, incorporating razor-sharp blades, explosives and other technological enhancements, making him a truly deadly threat. And now, Captain Boomerang will be putting his special skills to good use when he visits Starling City as part of the “Arrow”/“Flash” crossover episode, “The Brave and the Bold.”
CBR News spoke with actor Nick Tarabay about taking on the Captain Boomerang role and reinventing the scarlet speedster’s longtime nemesis for the dark world of “Arrow,” whether viewers will be seeing trick boomerangs in action and the scope of this week’s long-anticipated inter-series crossover.
CBR News: How did this role come about for you? Were you a fan of “Arrow,” or had you auditioned for the series before?
Nick Tarabay: Actually, both. I’ve auditioned for the show a couple of times, I’ve met with some of the producers and writers in the casting room, [but] they didn’t work out, for one reason or another. One day, I was in New York filming, I got a call, and it was a straight offer. They were like, “We have this really great role that we think would be perfect for you.” They told me about it and sent me some pictures.
Mind you, I had no idea who this character was. I was like, “Who? Boomerang? Who is Boomerang?” I looked him up, and the rest is history. I had already watched “Arrow,” because really good friends of mine are one the show, like Katrina Law. I love “Arrow’s” style and the action, so I’m glad it worked out.
Captain Boomerang isn’t just another two-bit thug. How did you interpret the character?
When I looked him up, and when I talked to some of my friends, I found out the character had a style to him. If you noticed, I don’t think Boomerang has ever been brought to life on film or television. In the comics, he was a bit lighter, more of a jokester kind of guy. I had a completely different take on him.
Some people talk about how he was raised, how he was poor, and what his father would do. He worked in this toy store where he was really good at making stuff. Something connected with me about this guy who was picked on when he was young. He didn’t have a lot of money to do what he saw other kids do. He has this itch, or this hunger, to prove himself. That could be used both ways. It could be a great tool or a dangerous weapon.
The way I approached him was way darker. From the storyline they gave me, he was betrayed by A.R.G.U.S. and is out for revenge. When I spoke to [“Arrow” Executive Producer] Marc Guggenheim, he was very helpful and supportive. He would agree with me on some of the stuff. So, it’s a completely different take than what’s in the comic books or cartoons.
He’s a very complex character, that is physically skilled and a martial artist. He makes big waves when he shows up. He shakes things up in a way fans are going to love. I don’t think the CGI has ever been used quite to this extent. There are boomerangs, the fight choreography is amazing — I was blown away. I was like a little kid, jumping up and down. “Let me do this! Let me do this!” I felt so bad for my stunt double, because I didn’t want him to do anything. I wanted to do it all.
What brings Boomerang into conflict with Arrow and the Flash?
He’s out for vengeance. He goes crazy, he goes to work on it. Obviously, the Arrow is the protector of the city. Boomerang gets some interaction with him and Arsenal and the Flash. He pretty much gets involved with everybody.
What makes Boomerang such a formidable foe, one who is able to take on multiple heroes?
A lot of stuff. Captain Boomerang is not just physically strong, he’s pretty smart, too. He’s insightful. He knows their game. He knows how they do stuff. He knows how to trigger them. You’ll see in the episode how he sets things up. “Oh crap. This was all planned.” He’s very smart that way. He knows how to move things around to his advantage.
On top of it, there’s his weapons. When you see these boomerangs, you are going to be shocked. The way he uses them is amazing. He has a distance advantage, too, so he doesn’t have to be in close contact with his enemies. He doesn’t even have to be seen. Boomerangs do that little circle, and he’s so good at it, almost like the Arrow is good with his arrows. There will be times when you see those boomerangs flying before you see him.
And when it comes to close contact, he’s very good. I was very happy they wanted to show this more and more. Physically, just in hand-to-hand combat, you’ll see him take down some people and hurt others. The way the story goes, he’s been doing this for a long time, so he’s a well-trained assassin.
Did you have to practice throwing or handling boomerangs at all?
There are boomerangs, but in terms of throwing them, we weren’t going to play with that. I wasn’t going to throw boomerangs at anyone. It’s like throwing knives: No matter how good you are, you are not going to throw them, ever. You’ll see me use them in different ways than throwing them, as well. He uses them even when he’s fighting, almost like knives. My main practice was just holding them in my hands as much as possible. The main challenge was to get them out of the pockets. They were set in a way so they won’t fall out.
Does Captain Boomerang employ trick boomerangs?
Oh, he has different ones, not just straight-forward boomerangs. He has technology involved in his boomerangs. The way he makes them is pretty lethal. They are not wooden ones. They are metal. They are pretty hardcore. And the speed that he throws them at is very accurate and dangerous. If you throw them at a machine, they will mess it up. If you throw them at a person, he’s pretty much dead or seriously injured.
Will viewers get to see which is faster, an arrow or a boomerang?
Captain Boomerang’s comic book costume, while classic, is one that might not have translated well to television. What’s the “Arrow” version look like?
It’s actually very practical and real. What I love about “Arrow” is, they try to make things real and dark. You don’t want it to be too costume-y. The best thing about comics, and Christopher Nolan nailed it with Batman, is to make it so real that it could happen right now. That’s the same as they are doing on “Arrow.”
The way they made the costume, which made perfect sense, is very practical, yet it has a few elements from the comic books. If you see him walking around, you would not be like, “Whoa. What is this?” The boomerangs are hidden, in a way, on it.
Again, when you say “boomerang” to anybody, a lot of people would laugh. “Yeah, yeah. Boomerang. That sounds like fun.” My main thing was to ground [the role], make it real and make it dangerous. No matter what you think of Boomerang, no matter what your history or knowledge is of this character, based on the comic books or cartoon, it will completely change when you see him. We want the audience to feel like, “Oh crap. Here he comes again,” and to see beyond the boomerangs. They are an extension of the anger he has inside of him.
In addition to your full debut, “The Brave and the Bold” features the first full crossover between “Arrow” and “The Flash.” Was there a sense on set this was an epic event?
Oh, yeah. This episode is pretty huge. It almost felt like a feature film. People on the set, whether it was crew or cast, they all said it was a pretty big deal. Again, the CGI guys went above and beyond. There’s the fight sequences, the drama and the story and bringing Flash into this world. Something really cool is going to happen that gets a lot of people involved. It’s awesome seeing Arrow and Flash working together, or having their issues, and having to deal with somebody who is a real threat to them both. And there’s the relationship with people you hold dear, and what happens when those people are in jeopardy? It’s a very heavy episode. You’ll see a lot of people question everything they believe. The end leaves it open for a lot of stuff.
Weather Wizard stormed Central City. Captain Cold gave Flash the chills. Heat Wave is waiting in the wings. Has there been any discussion about the Flash’s rogues banding together?
To be honest with you, I’m not sure about plans as far as them uniting. I’ve heard rumors, not necessarily from production, but just from people and fans. There’s talk about the Suicide Squad and A.R.G.U.S. All of them sound great, and are something I would want to see, never mind be a part of.
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