The Inside Scoop Of The Flash Season 5: Tom Cavanagh (Harry Wells)
The Flash Season 5 starts 8:30pm Wednesday October 10
With the premiere of season 5 of the Flash speeding towards us, Tom Cavanagh (Harry Wells) gives us all insight we need coming into the epic new season….
As an actor, what is the most exciting aspect of working on a show like The Flash?
The reason I signed on to this show – and one of the reasons why I love doing the show – is the fact that there’s always opportunity.
At my age, I wouldn’t have expected to be a guy in the yellow suit; especially in this day and age where superhero shows are so huge. I would never have expected to be one of those guys who’s not just playing a great character but a super villain – and one of the iconic ones, too.
I wouldn’t have expected that. It’s something that I never forget to tell myself to be grateful for.
It must be pretty surreal to play such great characters every season. Do you still pinch yourself on set?
It happens all the time. There are moments when I’m directing and I’m setting up a shot where I’m thinking, ‘Right, I’m going to have The Flash run up there to go and grab that helicopter.’ That’s crazy.
It’s four o’clock in the morning and Grant [Gustin, who plays The Flash] is getting prepped to do the stunt and everyone’s checking for his safety. Tensions are high, but then he does it and you have this amazing feeling run through your body.
We’ve got such incredible artists on the show, both our special effects guys and digital effects guys who all come together to tell the story that you see on the comic book page, which is explosive and incredible.
The moments when that happens are incredible; when you’re in awe of the stunt people, the digital people, the effects people and the actors working together. At times like that, you want to remember to be grateful because it’s so cool.
After four seasons on The Flash, do you ever get used to that exhilarating feeling?
Oh no. You can’t really get bored on The Flash. Never.
What can you reveal about season five of The Flash? What version of Wells will audiences see this season?
The question should be, ‘What versions?’ There will be more than one. There are some that I will tell you about and there are some that I won’t – but it’s going to be an exciting season for sure.
What is the thought process that goes into each new Wells?
When it comes to Wells, I try to fill in the gaps that we might have.
This season, everybody is still winning, so we didn’t need another winner. That was the impetus for Harry, who was a bit of a jerk. I loved the way he lacked social graces. He could be mean, but ultimately, he was a decent human being.
It was fun to have something different for the other actors to play with. Anyway, this year I thought, ‘Let’s add a little flair.’
What’s the name of the new Wells with all this flair?
This guy’s going to be called Sherloque Wells. As always, we’re looking to solve some issues this year.
We’ve got Elongated Man [played by Hartley Sawyer] jumping in and I thought it would be nice to have someone from a different place come into this dynamic in the same way that H.R. did.
Sherloque will follow along with the myth and legend of a Sherlock Holmes type of character – but I might turn that a little bit on its head in the same way they did with Iron Man. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be fun.
In what way does the new character correlate to Iron Man?
What was nice about Iron Man was the way they took the superhero trope and they turned it on its head. This guy had so many weaknesses – and when I say that, I mean that in a good way. It humanized him. He was quick. He was funny. He was great to watch. I hope Sherloque Wells is also great to watch in that way, too.
What makes a great superhero character?
When it comes to superhero characters, one of the things that I’m drawn to are flawed people doing extraordinary things.
When I watch Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow do their exchanges [in Iron Man], it elevates the genre. They took Oscar-winning people and they put them in a superhero project – and the way they acted elevated the genre.
That’s something that I’ve always tried to do. I try to take something that is populist and inject it into our show.
It was bold to show the flaws of Iron Man, right?
Exactly. They thought, ‘He’s going to be quick. He’s going to be witty. He’s going to be intelligent. He’s going to have flaws. He’s going to be weak. He’s going to be funny… And it’s okay to be funny.’
With a lot of superhero shows, people think, ‘No, you can’t be funny. You’ve got to be heroic all the time.’ Well they did both those things [with Iron Man] and they showed the world that it can be done.
It’s like when you watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That’s a very funny movie because these two guys are playing off each other. They are being funny. Some people are afraid to put comedy into a dramatic situation because they feel like it will undercut the comedy. With The Flash, we don’t really believe that.
We’re not afraid to put the comedy into the show to try to accentuate the drama. Anyway, that’s what I hope this Wells does. That’s a very long answer to a very short question.
You have been able to play lots of different extremes with Wells. You’ve played the evil guy. You’ve played the funny guy. What are you looking forward to showing audiences with Sherloque Wells in season five?
You know what? I really like Harry. Harry’s a bit of a badass. He’s gruff and mean. I like that a lot.
There’s always going to be room for Harry in the show. With H.R., it was nice to play the guy who was flat-out with enthusiasm, “I just love everybody!” He was the antithesis of a hero who ended up emotionally doing the right thing in the end.
With Sherloque, I think there’s room for a bit of both. Harry was an exceptionally smart guy, but I think this guy is even smarter. He has to be. However, there’s also a sense of, ‘Wait, can this guy be trusted?’ What’s his agenda? I think that will be fun to do, too.
The Flash Season 5 starts 8:30pm Wednesday October 10