The next episode of The CW’s DC Comics hit is titled “The Flash Is Born,” and looking at the villain of the piece, it may be a fiery genesis.
Debuting on tonight’s installment is Girder — a villain made of steel created in the comics by the show’s executive producer Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver. While the four-color Girder was a steel mill worker warped into metal by STAR Labs, the TV version is a former bully to Barry Allen who’s the latest metahuman to pick up a power and a taste for the dark side.
A veteran of The CW’s sci-fi series “Starcrossed,” Greg Finley will appear in two episodes of “The Flash” as the metallic evil-doer. Ahead of his debut, the actor spoke with CBR about what he’s bringing from Johns’ comics to the screen, how he fit into the Flash’s rapidly approaching long game and how his fights tap into the essence of film classic “T2.”
CBR News: While Girder isn’t one of the oldest or best known Flash villains, he is the creation of series executive producer Geoff Johns. Did you get the impression that this was a villain the creators had a soft spot for?
Greg Finley: I did, actually. They were really excited about the character and really cool about me coming onto the show. They told me how they wanted him to be this animal — this beast. The direction for me on every take was, “More, more, more!” As an actor, you don’t want to overact, and you try to have some containment, but they just said, “We want you screaming and angry!” It felt like there was a lot of excitement around him, which felt great.
This take on the character is unique to the circumstances of the “Flash” TV show. What do you think drives him?
When I found out I had booked the role, I Googled Girder and did as much research as I could. He came out in 2001, and he really was just a bully. He’s not the best dude. He’s angry, and he hates the Flash. He hates Barry and wants to cause havoc in Central City. It’s a pretty simple role. It’s like the Joker. He just wants to mess things up.
And here, he’s cast as a school bully of Barry’s, right?
Yeah. There are some cool flashback scenes, and he’s been the bully since elementary school.
From the look of it, that high school idea hits pretty hard with a “rough him up against the lockers” fight coming. Was it fun to make the rivalry that literal?
Oh man, wait until you guys see that scene. The stunt guys and stunt coordinators did an amazing job, and the CGI is awesome. We worked late nights to get that done, and it was a lot of hours. But we knew it was going to be pretty badass when it came out.
Action and effects wise, “The Flash” has been a pretty ambitious show with how they test Barry’s speed over big set pieces. The effects on Girder remind me of the villain in “T2.”
[Laughs] Yeah, my buddies were joking when the preview came out, “Dude! You look like the T-1000!”
Does this episode have a similar unstoppable force chase scene vibe to it?
It was cool because, like I said, Girder has a simple mindset. It’s like, “Hulk Smash!” He just wants to hurt things and tear through them. It’s fun to play a beast. It’s simple, but it’s great.
This isn’t just a one-off appearance — you’ll be around at least for two episodes. What can you say about what you get to do with the character since you’re playing him for more than a one-shot episode?
There is more than one episode, and I’m not sure with the whole metahuman angle how many episodes I’ll end up being in. But we will see a little bit of redemption for all the bad he’s done. I think the audience will be thinking that was cool.
“The Flash” has been a big hit for The CW, and you’re coming on right as it’s finding its voice and ramping up for a crossover with “Arrow.” What was it like to be coming into this whole enterprise right when it’s taking off?
You’re always a little bit nervous to be the new guy, and I know what it’s like to be a series regular. You always want to treat the guest stars like they’re part of the family as well, and that’s just what they did. Grant being the ringleader was so cool and he’s such a sweet guy. Candice and Tom and Danielle — everybody was so cool. They were very excited to have me on the show, and that made me want to do a better job. They have something special there, they really do.
Comic book superheroes are the hottest thing right now, on TV and on the big screen, and you’ve certainly got the build to keep playing characters in that world. Do you have anything more you’d like to do there?
Of course! I’m in the DC family now, and who knows what tomorrow is going to bring! I feel that the way my career has gone, I did a show, and after it I wanted to play some more gritty roles. So I hit the gym hard, and after that I got a different look than a lot of actors out here. In my old CW show, “Starcrossed,” I got to play a badass with muscles, but he had some depth and substance as well. I want to play these tough roles, but with a real character arc. I love the way things are going right now.
“The Flash Is Born” episode of “The Flash” airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. E/P on The CW.
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