Cavanagh plays Harrison Wells, the scientist-in-residence, on the CW’s The Flash, a science fiction series based on the DC Comics character. Harrison Wells is a brilliant scientist from an alternate earth, Earth-Two, who assists the Flash, played by Grant Gustin, in saving Central City from its weekly doom, all the while pursuing his own mysterious agendomain authority.

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Sounds simple enough, but Earth-Two’s Wells has filled the science role once held by his other-earth self, Harrison Wells of Earth-One, whose identity was assumed by a villain from the future, the Reverse Flash. 

For any other actor, the alternate-earth meets future timeline meets character-nesting-doll would prove sầu impossible. But for Cavanagh, it’s a feast. 

Cavanagh has a svào, approachable everyman quality, in the same vein as Jimmy Stewart & Tom Hanks. It’s that likeability that worked for so well for Cavanagh in the NBC drama, Ed, that led to lớn hyên ổn being the series’ lead và breakout star.

Since then, he’s starred in a number of series và features, but it’s his role(s) on The Flash that allow hyên to play everything from distraught father to lớn time-displaced killer and everything in-between.

Cavanagh spoke with TelevisionAcademy.com lớn discuss playing multiple roles on a single series, working as a thành viên of “Team Flash” alongside Danielle Panabaker & Carlos Valdes, and cagily teased what’s in store for the future.

Now that we’re nearing the finale of The Flash’s second season, can you tell us how many characters you’ve sầu played thus far?

I played the Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash; Harrison Wells in disguise; Harrison Wells from Earth-Two, và Harrison Wells before I took over his body as the Reverse Flash. Four characters in two seasons.

How vì you approach the roles differently?

The starting point for me is always Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. He’s why I signed on to vì chưng the show. The other roles fall inlớn place from there.

We started in the pilot episode where Grant Gustin, as Barry Allen, becomes the Flash. He has a mentor, Harrison Wells from Earth-One, và we find out that he’s actually the Reverse Flash in disguise. And so the starting point is pretty convenient for everything, and allows the rest to lớn fall into lớn place. Then it becomes a “Big Book of Pretend” for each character.

The first one uses a wheelchair for his disguise because no one suspects the man in the wheelchair lớn be the arch villain. His cadences are different . He’s an intelligent person.

The Reverse Flash has what I lượt thích to lớn a điện thoại tư vấn timeless way of speaking. He doesn’t use colloquialisms from năm 2016, he’s a little more formal, và he takes joy in destroying people. He has a larger perspective because he comes from 100-plus years in the future & has seen it all. It’s easy to play a character like that. He’s the arch in arch-villain.

The Harrison Wells that I’m playing this season is a man who comes from a whole different earth, Earth-Two.

The third guy whose toàn thân got taken over is a Steve Jobs-type scientist, just a very smart guy, and for his troubles got his face crushed và was taken over by a villain from the future.

Are you enjoying playing so many different characters on a single series?

It’s been fun because, as an actor, you normally sign on khổng lồ vị one role on a show. And to lớn have sầu it be the way it is for me, lớn play three khổng lồ four or more characters, has been a boon.

The people that suffer that most apart from the viewers would be the wardrobe department. With the exception of Eobard Thawne, all the characters have the same name. When I tell them I’m playing Harrison Wells, they say, “Which one? Which Earth? Earth-One? Well, which guy?” The poor wardrobe people have lớn outfit four guys with the same name.

Part of playing the Reverse Flash means getting to lớn wear a super-villain costume. What was it lượt thích putting it on for the first time?

It’s funny. It’s lượt thích what I said earlier, a page from “the Big Book of Pretend.” That’s a lot of what acting is. Often times, you’re tapping into the things you did as a youth. You pretended. A lot of us pretended lớn be Batman, lớn be our favorite super-anh hùng. A lot of times, you pretended khổng lồ have the power of imagination at your side.

Then, when it comes to be outfitted, because you’re actually doing it in your <“real life”>, I have khổng lồ say it’s really a grvà moment. This is really the time that you want lớn . This is the era.

And the first time you put it on, rolling, & off you go at supertốc độ. I’ve sầu gotten to vì chưng some great, great thrilling stunts in the suit. It is a dream come true.

I understvà that it’s a job, và I’m getting paid, but the second that a director yells, “Action”, all that disappears, and you’re a guy in a supersuit. It’s extremely thrilling. I’ve sầu said before that I wish that anyone who is a legitimate comic book fan could have this opportunity. It really feels like a privilege.

Playing this role means entering a world of fandom và a built-in following. What’s that been like?

Walking into lớn this, I knew that there was a lot of fervor và passion there. What I wasn’t prepared for was how welcoming it would be. It’s not exclusive sầu. And it’s not just me . Jesse L. Martin and I have sầu played a lot of different characters of the last 20-odd years, & neither of us have delved inkhổng lồ this world .

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People have sầu been so welcoming & kind và generous to us. You’re taking something that’s so dear khổng lồ them, & it could be tricky. You’re doing one interpretation of something that’s existed for decades. And maybe your interpretation is not khổng lồ their liking.

But, what we have sầu found is people are really patient with us. At the helm of our show, in Geoff Johns, we have sometoàn thân that knows the world phenomenally well và that this iteration of the Flash is in extremely capable hands. I don’t know that the cast as a whole was prepared for how warm the welcome would be and we’re incredibly grateful for it.

What’s the journey been like for this Earth-Two’s Harrison Wells? 

Earth-2 Wells has been tremendous. I wouldn’t want to lớn be caustic and say it’s been so simple as compared to lớn last year. Last year, I was playing two lớn three characters at once, so every sentence was weighted that way. If I was to lớn say, “It’s good to see you, Barry,” it’s tossed away, but it also meant was waiting 136 years for that moment. There were always those levels I had lớn play with.

As an actor, it is delicious. This is the stuff that every actor will tell you they strive sầu to lớn bởi. Every line has two, three different meanings và you can lean on it, or toss it away – it’s really enjoyable.

The second season, playing a guy from a different earth, gives you a myriad of other opportunities, where you’re a guy that looks the same & has the same name but is completely different. Now, you’re just going to town trying khổng lồ craft a different character with a different way of speaking, a whole different persomãng cầu. And that’s been extremely enjoyable.

Moreover, the nice thing about season one is the guy had a clear goal. The Reverse Flash needs khổng lồ use Barry’s tốc độ to lớn get bachồng lớn his time. The man just wants khổng lồ go home. It was very similar.

The same needs existed in this season’s Harrison Wells as a man who wants to go trang chính, whose world is being threatened, but his daughter has been kidnapped by the most terrible thing out there, Zoom, and he’s got to lớn get his daughter bachồng. It’s a very simple, clean, & obvious goal, và he’s going to lớn get it.

The characters you’ve sầu played are never straightforward và pursue hidden agendas. Is that something you think will continue on for Harrison Wells of Earth-2 as the series continues? Do you see hyên ổn becoming a full ally of Barry’s as opposed to lớn someone using hyên and Team Flash for his own goals?

I think the show functions best – and this is not a character specific idea – when things are grating against each other a little bit, not just some overarching conflict. Last year, when I played the Reverse Flash, I posed this grvà threat to lớn the group, và this year, Zoom posed a gr& threat lớn the group. But I think the show functions best when we have that daily grating và daily conflict.

Grant Gustin is so winning as the Flash. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) is so sympathetic in her role, và Cisteo (Carlos Valdes) is such fun. These are all positive attributes. You need the negative sầu attributes. You need the dark lớn let the light in, và let the comic book world come alive. Overall, I think the show functions best when you have that antagonism & I’m happy khổng lồ be the guy to lớn provide that.

The super-power and family aspects of the show are its svào cornerstones. But the show also focuses on its familial elements and relationships. Do you see the show as mainly about family?

No, not at all. Not to overstate the obvious, but I see it as The Flash. It’s from a comic book world and its roots are a large part of that. I think the Flash is one of the most accessible superheroes out there. Nonetheless, this is a man who can run faster than anytoàn thân else.

It lives in that world. I think the family stuff is something that adds heart to it. I think the humorous stuff that Wells & Cisteo vị together really helps it. I always feel that one of the quickest avenues to audience appreciation is khổng lồ make them laugh. And I think our show has that. It has a sense of humor, it’s got the family , và it’s got heart.

And then, it’s got the spectacle. And without the spectacle, I don’t know what the show would be, because it isn’t a family drama.

On the topic of family, Harrison Wells has a daughter, Jesse Quiông xã (Violett Beane). How bởi you see that relationship developing?

There are some nice teasers in the second season for calling his daughter “Jesse Quiông chồng.” For those that know the mythology, there’s much more khổng lồ mine there. I don’t know how involved Harrison Wells would be. In all good comic books, all characters have to lớn experience their journey on their own. I don’t know how much of that is planned out as of yet. But if you know the mythology, that’s an interesting storyline.

What’s been your favorite scene from this year?

That’s easy. That’s a softball question for me. A no-brainer. In episode 17 of this year, “Flash Back,” Barry travels back in time khổng lồ learn from season one’s Harrison Wells, who is the Reverse Flash . I figure out that something is up, chain the Flash lớn a chair, và go khổng lồ kill hyên ổn.

It’s one of the longest scenes we’ve ever shot on the show. It went on for four or five sầu pages. It was basically me telling hyên, “I know who you are,” and the Flash trying to convince me I’m wrong. Then, it’s me getting out of my wheelchair, showing hyên ổn I’m the Reverse Flash, & moving in lớn kill hyên.

Then, it’s the Flash turning the tables on me, me turning the tables on hyên, then hlặng turning the tables on me one last time until we got to lớn a sort of détente because there’s a Dementor “Harry Potter”-type Time Wraith trying to kill us. 

That’s the nice thing about doing a superhero show, there can always be something else trying lớn get you. That’s sort of how this show rolls; it’s got a lot of twists khổng lồ it. But we got to lớn sit down in that scene và went face-to-face & toe-to-toe. I know it was one of Grant’s favorites and was my favorite moment of the season by far.

How would you like to see Harrison Wells develop in future seasons?

I’ve enjoyed this season as Harrison Wells of Earth-Two. I signed on as the Reverse Flash, so for me, I’m just always looking for the opportunity lớn put on the suit.

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