Exclusive Interview: Candice Patton on ‘The Flash’

“The Flash” is one of the most anticipated new shows of the season. A spinoff of “Arrow,” the series centers on the Barry Allen version of the famous comic book superhero while chronicling his rise to valor. If the pilot was any representation of what the season will look like, it should be pretty awesome.

So far, we’ve been introduced to a number of anticipated characters. There’s The Flash himself, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), possible nemesis Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) and Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). But no superhero is complete without a love interest, this time it’s Iris West, as played by Candice Patton.

CraveOnline got a chance to chat with Patton this week. She assures us that Iris will be a “strong female character” and not another damsel in distress. She also reveals how she was cast on the show, and how the relationship with Gustin is expanding and what to expect from Iris West this season.

CraveOnline: Lois Lane, Vicki Vale and now Iris West. You’re bringing on the next generation of these female characters. Did you have a relationship with them as a kid or with comics?

Candice Patton: I didn’t read comic books; that’s not something that was really available to me as a child. We watched more cartoons and movies. I grew up with Batman and Superman but definitely in a cartoon and a movie kind of way. I was familiar with DC superheroes. I didn’t know much about The Flash or anything about Iris West! Going in for this part, that was something I had to research.

Can you tell me about the process of getting cast?

Around December they were starting to look for Iris West and my manager sent me an email, ‘There is this role Iris West. You are absolutely perfect for this.’ He knows what I’m like, the kinds of roles I would like to play. I went in and kind of bombed the first time. I went up on my lines, which I rarely ever do. It wasn’t great and I knew that it wasn’t going to go forward for me. I was really bummed about it because I felt like Iris was perfect for me. I went home for Christmas and came to terms with the fact I wasn’t going to be a part of The Flash. [Then ]they re-released the role. I had another shot. This time I got to read with [Grant], which helped. We had a lot of chemistry there. Second time around it just worked!

How much of Iris did you take from the comics, from yourself?

It’s a bit of both. I read a lot of comics with Iris. I got a feel for her. I talked to Geoff Johns and then for me, really, most of it came from the script. I relied a lot on my interpretation of the script. I tried really hard not to create an idea of Iris I had already seen in the comic books. What people see on screen is 90% my interpretation; 10% is research.

Iris is a journalist. Do you blog or have you started since the show?

No, but I have in my past and I used to be into Tumblr and online blogs. I have a little bit of that in me. Iris is an innately curious person. Growing up she was always changing hobbies. She’s curious about the world and doesn’t really mind going after things, where her heart leads her.

How did you build the relationship with Barry? There are so many layers! Did you hang out or rehearse at all?

We didn’t necessarily hang out just because there was no time really. It was so important for the producers to find someone from the beginning who had chemistry with Grant. When you’re shooting a TV show there’s not a lot of time to build character. It had to already be there. [I talked] to Grant in between takes about what it was like for us growing up, what did they do? The other day I said, ‘Do you think we have a secret handshake? We should come up with that!’ We’re trying to build history so it’s believable on screen.

When will it get sexy? Now it’s still in brother/sister territory.

I know! I know a lot of people are upset about that! You can’t give away too much too soon. Iris is very happy in the relationship with Eddie. Iris sees Barry as her brother. She’s seen [him in] his underwear, with braces! It doesn’t occur to her that all of the sudden one day, he has feelings for her. Until he actually says it…I don’t know that she will get it. Sexy time for Barry and Iris…I don’t know when that will happen!

Why does Iris believe Barry about his mom’s death? Why does she trust him?

I think even before his mom was murdered, they were friends and there’s something about Barry for Iris. She knows his heart is kind and pure. Barry was bullied in school. I think innately she’s drawn to Barry and to standing up for him. She’s always protecting Barry. If Barry says something to Iris, she takes him for his word.

Will she protect him physically at some point?

We all know that Barry Allen has super powers. I think Barry will always need protecting in an emotional way and she’ll fill that role for him.

How much will you work with CGI technology?

I haven’t worked with it as much as Grant and some of our guest stars. I want to continue to be a part of it more and more. It’s not something you innately know how to do. Well, Grant is innately great at it! He attributes it to having a dance background. A lot of the special effects I’m part of I’ve had to learn as I go. It’s very weird!

What makes Iris not JUST another damsel in distress?

I love just how the producers have really protected that part of Iris and have really made her a strong female character. Iris is not someone who is going to wait for someone to save her. She’s very willing to step up and save herself if need be.

Are you excited to be a role model? You’re definitely going to have a Barbie doll.

I don’t know that I’ll be a role model, but Iris is! I hope and pray it continues.

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