Based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El, CBS’ new series Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist (Glee). It is Executive Produced by Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Arrow).
It’s been 12 years since Kara, Superman’s (Kal-El) cousin, escaped from the doomed planet Krypton. Now as a 24 year old, she lives in National City, assisting media mogul Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart, Ally McBeal, Brothers & Sisters).
After keeping her superpowers hidden for all these years, she decides it’s time to finally embrace them and be the hero she was always meant to be.
Greg, what was it about Supergirl that interested you in doing a series?
Greg: I grew up really worshiping the Donner films and their magic, their wonder, their joy and their fun, and when we went in last year to talk to Warner Brothers and DC and they mentioned the possibility of us working on a show like Supergirl, our real hope was to bring just a smidgeon of that magic that those films had.
Melissa, how did this come to you?
Melissa: I auditioned the day after Halloween last year. I think the second that I saw in my email inbox the title Supergirl, I just knew automatically that it was something important and it was something exciting and rare and that I wanted to be a part of. That’s where the journey started.
Did you read Supergirl comic books as a kid?
Melissa: I never read Supergirl. And I didn’t read too many of the other comics, but I loved Michael Keaton’s Batman. Batman Returns is still one of my favorite movies.
There’s been a struggle to create successful comic-based TV shows, but you’ve cracked this code, Greg. What’s the key to making a great comic into a great TV series?
Greg: I think where were concerned, we always try to imagine what the show is if you remove the superpowers from it. Most often the things that we’re writing towards on the shows are the emotional dynamics.
In terms of the superpower and action set pieces, for me, they’re not cuttable and worth spending all that money on when they really demonstrated some thing about the person’s character, and so whether it’s the emotional thing they’re struggling with in that episode, or they have to overcome, that’s where we try and stay focused on the character.
Growing up, did you feel super? Were you faster than anybody else or better at sports?
Melissa: I’m terrible at sports. I’m not coordinated in that way. I would have moments where I felt confident and where I felt strong and brave and like I could do anything. But then, like everyone else, I would have horribly awkward moments.
Do you do all the flying sequences at one time?
Melissa: I think I’d keel over if we did it all in one day. It’s really difficult, and there have been moments where I’m in that position and they’re like, ‘Try to look less concerned. You need to look comfortable.’ But actually, it’s also really exhilarating. As difficult as it is, it’s exciting to feel like you’re flying.
Why is it called Supergirl instead of Superwoman?
Greg: We knew going in that Supergirl might imply a younger audience, but we felt like we can take the power of the word back and participate in introducing that to a new generation, and say that doesn’t just mean young and inconsequential.
It should mean strong and bold, and that was our hope.