In an exclusive conversation with Comic Book Resources, Patton, who plays Barry Allen’s best friend/maybe-love interest Iris West, says that like the show’s titular superhero, the action will continue to move even faster as the series progresses, beginning with the second episode, “The Fastest Man Alive,” and continuing on as Iris begins to track The Flash’s activities and ultimately encounter the Scarlet Speedster and the emerging Rogues who challenge him, all while remaining a self-sufficient, independent character in her own right.
CBR News: Congratulations on the show getting out of the gate in such an impressive manor. It’s good to see that people really responded to the show.
Candice Patton: Yeah, who’re you telling? [Laughs] We’re excited. It’s finally good to see how people are responding to the show that we’ve been shooting for months now.
What can you put out there about where the next step is on “The Flash’s” road as we head into Episode 2, “The Fastest Man Alive?”
It’s a great episode. In it you’ll see that Iris has been discovering that there’s this red streak out there that’s saving lives and it kind of piques her interest. And she starts this blog — or wants to start a blog, eventually, about the streak, and she’s just really curious about this impossible man that’s saving people. And also she’s struggling with Barry and why he’s different. She knows something is different about him, and she can’t quite put her finger on it. And then also she’s juggling her relationship with Eddie [Thawne] and how to keep that a secret from her father, and also how to have this relationship in front of Barry that she’s never really had before. A lot of good stuff!
Iris is a really interesting character. What are the things about her that you’ve become really fond of and found as exciting challenges for you to play as the show’s been evolving?
The thing I love about Iris, she’s very charming and she laughs and smiles. She’s just kind of a positive force and that’s really fun to play. It keeps my work really enjoyable and light. And she’s also extremely brave and inquisitive and that gives me something as an actor to explore in a fun way. And I guess what’s challenging is — I don’t know what’s really challenging. Iris is pretty fun to play. I think juggling her secret with Eddie is going to be difficult for her, because she’s not somebody who likes to lie or likes to keep things from the people that she loves.
How is her relationship with her father Joe going to be challenged while he’s trying to keep Iris safe from the danger that Barry can attract as The Flash?
Obviously Iris has no idea that he’s keeping a secret from her and that Barry and her father both know who The Flash is, and that it happens to be Barry. So I think it’s going to be a strain on everyone’s relationships, to be honest. And I think it’s when, if Iris finds out, I think it’s going to change things between her and Barry and her and her father.
Give me a sense of how Iris’ relationship with The Flash is going to be different — and allow you to play it differently — than the relationship she has with Barry.
It’s very different. Even when Grant [Gustin]‘s in the suit, it’s a different energy. I mean, yes it’s Grant playing it, but there’s a different energy that comes when he’s got the suit on. Even the way the suit forces him to carry his body is different. So, I can almost see how in a real life situation, how Iris would not know that this is Barry. And he’s a braver, bolder guy. The Flash is a more confident kind of being than Barry, and I think that’s something Iris is really intrigued and attracted to. And lo and behold, she has no idea it’s Barry. Nerdy Barry.
Talk to me a little bit about where things are going with Eddie, who may not be as perfect as we’ve come to believe at first glance.
As far as Iris knows, he’s pretty damned perfect. And I enjoy just exploring that. Iris sees Eddie as just a nice guy. He is lovable. He treats her well and he cares about her, and so it makes sense that she would be in love with him, and I think that’s what makes it so difficult for Barry, because he sees Eddie and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I have to admit: Eddie’s a really, really nice guy.’
As the show begins to introduce its group of Rogues — the classic Flash villains from the comics that the show has cast so many exciting actors to play — where does Iris fit into their world? Do you get a lot of face time with the bad guys?
Yeah, there are definitely episodes coming up where Iris will interact with these Rogues and metahumans. I think just by proximity of being so close to Barry and Joe and The Flash, that innately sets Iris up to be kind of a target. Not to mention she’s going to create this blog where she’s talking about metahumans and then The Flash. And the fact that she kind of puts herself in situations where she would interact with Rogues, so yeah there will be some of that, for sure.
You and I have talked previously about Iris not being a damsel in distress, but being a very independent female character in her own right. Tell me a little bit about how that’s been developing as you’ve created more episodes. Has it been easy to find ways to keep her active and not dependent on being saved and pulled out of situations by The Flash, to kind of find her own solutions?
Yeah, there’s a great episode that will come up, and it will explore that and how Iris deals with saving herself, and I’m really glad that the writers explored that, that there’s an opportunity for viewers to see Iris take the reins herself and figure out how to save herself when no one is around to save her, or no one can actually come to her aid. I think it’s really important to not make her constantly a damsel in distress, because innately, she’s just not. Even if you read the comic books, Iris is a very strong, kind of sassy girl, so it doesn’t even make sense to portray her as a damsel in distress.
We’ve been told that there are going to be some seeds for some other DC Comics-related characters like Firestorm. What’s it been like for you to see how those sorts of plot elements are being set up, and how all of that great DC mythology is being incorporated into the show? I know you’re a relative newcomer to the world of comics, so what’s it been like for you to see how they’re weaving all of this, and taking from here and plucking from that?
It’s really, really exciting. I mean, yeah, it’s a new world for me, “Flash” specifically. And now I’m becoming kind of a geek about it. So when I heard that they were casting Heat Wave — you know, Heat Wave was one of the first villains that I had read in “The Flash” comic books when I started it, so I finally had my first feeling of being excited. I was like a comic book nerd, like, “I know Heat Wave, and I love him, and he’s so menacing. I can’t wait!” It’s really exciting to see who they’re casting, and then the caliber of actors that we’re getting on the show to come in and play these metahumans, it’s really, really exciting. And then I get to kind of live vicariously through the fans on Twitter and Facebook. They’re tweeting me and telling me who they’re excited to see. It’s really, really fun to be part of a show like that, where every episode there’s something to look forward to.
The show got such great reviews and great ratings. What were you doing the night that the show premiered?
I was working! I was on set, shooting scenes with Grant. But the moment that it was airing, I was getting ready, so I was in hair and makeup, and I kind of jumped out of the chair, and I was like, ‘Sorry, guys. I’ll be back.’ And so I watched most of the pilot with Rick Cosnett, and then I went and finished work!
“The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.
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