Melissa Benoist stars as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl in CBS’s upcoming superhero TV show Supergirl debuting this fall, and she’s well aware of the popularity of the character and didn’t take lightly the task of embodying the character in the new series. At the 2015 San Diego Comic Con, Benoist even admitted it was a bit daunting to step into these particular shoes. During roundtable interviews at the Con, Benoist said she wanted to stay true to the source material while shouldering the responsibility of playing Supergirl.
“What I want to bring is I love her humanity, even though she is an alien. I love that she really has a lot of discovering to do – and growth – and she makes mistakes. I just wanted to stay true to that,” explained Benoist. She also immediately stepped up her workouts after landing the role in order to bring the right physicality to the part. “I definitely had to learn technique, like how to actually punch someone and not hurt yourself more than you’re hurting the person you’re punching. So, boxing was part of it and core work.”
In training for the role, Benoist found her mindset shifting into that of a superhero. “I can’t sit down and be like, ‘I’m done. I want some popcorn.’ I have to stay on top of the game.’” Part of staying on top of the game was preparing to handle extensive wirework. “The wirework is really difficult but so fun when you get it right. Like, watching the results is exhilarating. It’s a really, really cool feeling to know what it felt like, the energy I had to exert to create those flying scenes and then the way they look is really cool.”
And speaking of looking cool, Benoist was asked what it felt like to see herself in the actual costume. “There’s this internal feeling, something changes. It’s this transformation almost to the point where I don’t really recognize myself in it, you know? I feel like a different person,” explained Benoist. “I grew up as a dancer and it feels like the skirt and tights that I wore when I was a ballerina.”