For actor Grant Gustin, winning the role of Barry Allen/The Flash was, well, kind of like getting struck by lightning and becoming the fastest man in the world: It was a life-changing event that has placed him in the spotlight, for better or worse.
“This is my favorite character I’ve ever gotten to play thus far in my young career,” says Gustin, who had recurring roles on “90210” and “Glee.” “I’m having the time of my life.”
There are the obvious upsides (playing an iconic superhero in a television series), and the inevitable downsides (the angry, overprotective fan boys of the original DC comic book character). But Gustin and the crew behind the CW’s “The Flash” aren’t exactly entering this arena untested. Gustin was first introduced — and well received — as Barry in Season 2 of “Arrow,” the network’s popular series about the adventures of that DC character. “The Flash” firmly exists within the “Arrow” universe, and crossover episodes planned for this season are already highly anticipated among fans. Still, none of the hype would matter if the show and its characters can’t stand on its own. So it’s a good thing Barry is so darn likable.
“He’s just so endearing. He’s so sweet. He’s curious,” Gustin says of his forensic scientist-turned-crime-fighter. “He’s a nerd … and now he’s a superhero. Now he has these powers and he can use them to help other people. There aren’t that many better characters out there to play.”
Expect to see The Flash’s trademark red costume and super speed employed creatively, but effectively. And don’t worry — Gustin can keep up with the pace. “I actually was very fast as a kid,” he says. “I actually have always been pretty fast, luckily.”
Finding “The Flash”
Though “The Flash” exists in the same world as “Arrow,” the producers of both series didn’t want to simply replicate their already-established superhero hit. And a major part of accomplishing that meant finding the right leading man. “Stephen [Amell, star of “Arrow”] is sort of the more prototypical hero, and we wanted somebody who was more normal, who had greatness thrust upon him, somebody that you would just fall in love with,” says executive producer Andrew Kreisberg. “Grant was literally the first person to read for Barry. And after that, it was sort of over.”