Nobody enjoys a party crasher, but that’s exactly what Barry Allen faces in “The Flash’s” Season 2 premiere, “The Man Who Saved Central City.”
Mayor Anthony Bellows (Vito D’Ambrosio) and the city’s residents declare Flash Day, celebrating the new hero’s contributions to and protection of Central City. However, the festivities abruptly end when Atom Smasher, played by former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Adam “Edge” Copeland, arrives and immediately makes it known that he’s got other plans for the scarlet speedster.
Known to DC Comics fans as as a trusted member of Infinity Inc. and the Justice Society of America, Copeland’s version of Atom Smasher appears to be on the side of the devils rather than angels — but for what reason?
Ahead of tonight’s season premiere, Copeland spoke with CBR about “The Flash’s” spin on Atom Smasher, whether the character’s comic book history with Jay Garrick is addressed, and filming his action-packed scenes in that hot leather costume.
CBR News: “The Flash” is one of the hottest shows on television right now — how did you land your role on the series?
Adam Copeland: I am a comic book fan. My first memories of things I would draw as a kid were superheroes and KISS. (I was a strange little kid!) Growing up, I continued to read them. This, for me, was on my bucket list of things I could check off. This role was pretty huge for me.
So, yeah, I just auditioned for the role. I had a few auditions that day, and this was the shortest one. Originally, I was like, “I’m probably going to do this another day since the other ones were due earlier.” But, I read it and felt like I connected pretty quickly with [the part]. I banged it out that day in 15 minutes, and then I got a call that afternoon.
In the comics, Atom Smasher is a valued member of Infinity Inc. and the Justice Society of America. What is “The Flash’s” take on him?
It’s a different take. He’s in a bad position, so he has to do some things Atom Smasher normally wouldn’t do. [He’s a villain] because of the precarious position he’s been put in.
How do Atom Smasher’s powers make him a good match for a speedster?
Any time you can grow up to 14 feet tall and you can get a hold of someone, you are going to do some damage. I think it’s great when you have a character with that power, because there’s always the David versus Goliath, upper-dog role that works so well in comics.
I think playing the Goliath is a lot of fun. From my wrestling days, I was just an average-sized guy in that world. A lot of times, I was the David against the Goliath. It was a blast to truly be the Goliath in this one.
Though his actions differ greatly, Atom Smasher’s costume remains fairly faithful to his comic book counterpart. What was your impression of it?
It’s funny — we joked around that the costume was called “The Flash diet suit” because it’s leather, thick and looks amazing. But, by the end of the day, you sweat a lot.
There is this one scene, which is the big introduction of Atom Smasher. We were filming that day, and I knew it was all outdoors and it was hot. I weighed myself that morning. I was 250 pounds. I weighed myself that evening and I was 242. That will tell you what the costumes are like. I was drinking water all day, just making sure I stayed hydrated. This is probably too much information, but I only peed once. That will tell you how much you are sweating.
The costumes really do look good, though. I like the fact that the Flash’s costume isn’t spandex. I like that it feels gritty, and — I don’t know if urban is the right term for it, but the leather is a very cool step up.
Did wearing the costume help you get into the character?
It’s strange, because you immerse yourself in it right away. You have no choice. You are in this costume, and you don’t feel silly. You have to be in this world, because everybody else is.
Maybe being a comic book fan helped, but I was immediately like, “This is amazing. I feel like this guy.” It’s incredible. The nerd in me was pretty evident throughout production.
Atom Smasher/Albert Rothstein and Earth 2’s Flash, Jay Garrick share a rich history. Will viewers see any of that dynamic on screen?
As of right now, no. There’s nothing where they rub elbows. This is strictly an instance of Atom Smasher coming to do a job. It doesn’t involve [Garrick].
You’ve got experience working with a CGI-heavy show from your time on “Haven.” Did that help prepare you for “The Flash?”
It was interesting to do some of the CGI and the instances where Atom Smasher grows. Then, to do the scans — to recreate this and have it be you doing it — was eye-opening. I was super-impressed with how it looks. It could stand up to being on the big screen. I was really intrigued to see how that was accomplished. It was pretty cool. You have this guy come out in this giant suit on stilts. You get to play a character that inhales nuclear energy and can grow to grab the Flash. It was quite incredible.
Earth-2 features prominently into Season 2. Have they left the door open for more Atom Smasher?
I like to think that with any alternate Earth like this, there’s always that chance. That’s one of the reasons I love comic books. You can always see these people come back. It’s always a possibility. There’s always a way to do it, so, we’ll see.
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