Candice Patton on keeping up with The Flash.
Launching the Silver Age of comics alongside super- speedster beau Barry Allen in 1956, few leading ladies have had the longevity of Iris West. That’s a fact not lost on Candice Patton, the fresh- faced actress who plays the beloved comic book character in TV adaptation The Flash. When SFX first meets Patton during a break in shooting the hit show, she welcomes us with a smile that generates just as much lightning as a certain particle accelerator explosion. And after we mention we’ve met her character’s co- creator, the late comic artist Carmine Infantino, her eyes widen and her hand races to her mouth as though we’ve demonstrated superpowers of our own. Patton herself has little need for such powers, having already appeared in 20 different TV shows and movies by the age of 26. But of all the roles she’s played, it’s the woman behind The Fastest Man Alive who most closely matches her own fervour for life… Occupation: Actor Born: 24 J une 1 988 From: Jackson, Mississippi
G reatest H its: The Young And The Restless, Entourage, Castle, Heroes, One Tree Hill, CSI: Miami, The Flash
Random Fact: She was scouted for a CBS Soap Star Contest while still at college. As a blogger, Iris has come to represent fans of The Flash…
That’s the perfect description of what Iris represents. In episode six, the villain Girder even refers to Iris as a fangirl. She’s such a fan of The Flash, and she’s a blogger. I can see how that speaks to the fan who tweets and blogs about our show. Iris is just so passionate. She is a fangirl, and that’s fun to play. It’s great to see her have something she can be proud of waking up and doing every morning. It’s great to see Iris find her passion. Are you a fan of science fiction or fantasy?
Yeah, of course. I’m not gonna say that I’m a huge sci- fi nerd. I know there are people who can totally out- nerd me. [ Laughs.] But I love shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I was a huge Lost fan. I love anything that deals with time travel. I’m a big nerd for that kind of stuff. I’m excited to maybe get to do that on our show. I look up to actresses like Zoe Saldana. I want to be in movies like Star Trek and Guardians Of The Galaxy. I want to play Storm one day. These are all things that I’ve dreamed of doing. So to be on a show like The Flash… When this audition came in, I was like, “I want this so bad.” What was your reaction upon first seeing Grant Gustin in his Flash costume?
“Are you” — expletive — “kidding me?!” Because we’d been working on the show and had ideas about what the Flash suit was gonna look like, but I’d only seen him as Grant. Then to see him in the suit… I had an Iris moment where I was kind of geeking out. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m standing next to The Flash! This is the coolest thing ever!” When I’m shooting scenes with Grant in the suit it feels very different than when I’m shooting scenes with him as Barry. There’s something very sexy and exciting about being next to The Flash. In real life, would you be drawn towards Barry or The Flash?
I probably would be more intrigued with Barry, to be honest. I’m not really into the show- stopping kind of guy. I think Iris is too, and that’s why she’s attracted to the Flash. The Flash is almost a heightened version of Barry, with the confidence he seems to lack at this point in his life. She’s attracted to both of them. She just doesn’t know that it’s both of them. Should Iris learn Barry’s secret sooner rather than later?
Yeah, only because I see Iris as such a smart and assertive young woman. It’s only a matter of time before she puts two and two together. Unless Barry, the STAR Labs team, and her father Joe can do a great job of covering his tracks. But I’d love to get to a point where Iris is in the know and starts to help more in her own way. It’ll come down the line. You can’t give away too much too soon or you’ll have nowhere to go. If you were a metahuman, what would be your power of choice?
I guess it would be to be invisible. To disappear when I needed to. I have a tendency to stick my foot in my mouth, and think, “I’d love to not be here right now!” [ Laughs.] We’ve seen that Iris knows how to throw a punch. Would you like to see her get more involved in the show’s physical action? That’s something fans can relate to — we can always dream about being The Flash, but we can actually be Iris West. We can actually be brave in our lives without superpowers. That’s something I love about her: she offers a reality people watching can identify with. Some of the show’s other characters have metahuman alter egos in the comics. But would you prefer to see Iris remain human? Yes and no. Yes, because I think it’s important to the show. Joe West and I are important to the show because we ground it in reality, and you need that. But I’m not gonna lie — I’d love to have super powers. I don’t know that we’ll ever do that, but it would be nice to have a suit made of… some kind of leathery material. [ Laughs.]