Season two of The CW’s The Flash has found Team Flash facing their biggest threat yet in super villain, Zoom. Our heroes have even traveled to Earth-2 in an attempt to end Zoom’s reign of terror once and for all and to help Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) free his daughter, Jesse (Violett Beane). Zoom was keeping Jesse captive in a cell, holding her hostage in order to force Wells into stealing The Flash’s speed. Fortunately, Jesse was able to escape her prison cell with the help of her father, Barry (Grant Gustin), and Cisco (Carlos Valdes).
Beane is a new player in the world of The Flash, joining the cast in season two to take on the role of Jesse Wells. But as The Flash fans know, there’s much more to Jesse than meets the eye. Jesse’s smart and resourceful, and as of The Flash‘s 15th episode of season two, she and Dr. Wells have escaped Zoom’s clutches and have fled to Earth-1. So now that Jesse’s met Team Flash, what’s in store for the remainder of season two for the character who may soon become speedster Jesse Quick? I had the opportunity to talk to Beane about The Flash season two and playing Jesse, as well as find out more about the two films she’s in that are set to screen at SXSW.
Violett Beane Exclusive Interview:
How difficult is it for you to actually do interviews given that you have to keep everything so spoiler-free?
Violett Beane: “I know! Luckily I’ve had great interviewers. Some of them try to get it out of me, but they know as well as I do that I can’t really give anything away. And why would I want to? And, on top of it, I don’t know much. [Laughing] To be totally honest with you, they don’t share very much with us so I wish I knew information to spoil for you.”
As an actress preparing to play a role, is it tough for you when you really don’t know the character’s trajectory?
Violett Beane: “It is hard, but at the same time, in real life you don’t know where your life is going, so sometimes it works. It’s tough in the sense that I don’t know what’s going to happen next season. Should I be looking for another job or not? That part is hard. Am I going to have a job? But in the actual filming of it, it kind of helps to not know. That’s my opinion though. I know some people hate it, but some people love it. I’m in the middle of it.”
It seems like it would help keep it fresh for you, if you really didn’t know what exactly was happening with Jesse.
Violett Beane: “Exactly, and it makes it more realistic for me as an actor.”
Did you know anything about the universe of The Flash before becoming a part of the show in season two?
Violett Beane: “I have some friends who are in love with anything DC or Marvel or any of that, and all I really knew about it was sort of from them. I’ve seen a few movies and stuff like that, but I watched the show … I watched a couple of episodes of the show and then I got the audition and I binge-watched the rest of the season. Then when I booked it, I went out to a comic book store and actually got some Jesse Quick comic books and I read up a little bit on that. At the same time, this show I think does a good job of sticking to certain things but also doesn’t hold back because of it. I like that. I think the fans have actually responded pretty well to almost all of the changes that they’ve made, so it’s cool. It’s good.”
Was there anything in the research into the comic that you really hope is incorporated into the character?
Violett Beane: “There’s not a whole lot on her specifically, but I did want to share how smart she is because her parents are incredibly smart and so is she. I think they’re doing a good job of that. The other thing is, she’s blonde, and I’ve always wanted to go blonde, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. They don’t like changing hair on The CW. I don’t think that’s a go, but at some point I will. [Laughing] At some point in my career I will go blonde.”
Why do you think people who aren’t into comic books enjoy The Flash?
Violett Beane: “What I think is really cool is that TV has taken such a turn and can be comparable to movies and I think our special effects on this show are so good. When you compare that to some special effects on other shows and movies, it is really good. I think that combined with the actors – we have some really talented actors and I think that those two things together. Even if you’re not into comic books or superheroes, it’s just a good story and it’s fun to watch.”
When she becomes speedster Jesse Quick, they’re going to have to put you through a lot of physical training. Are you looking forward to that?
Violett Beane: “I am. I think I’ll have a running coach or so I’ve been told because, to be honest with you, my run is so awkward that I will need a coach. It’s very bad.”
But you’re in shape otherwise, so you’re not going to have to do too much other than the running part?
Violett Beane: “I’m like kind of in shape. If and when she becomes Jesse Quick, her metabolism is crazy then I understand. At the same time, if it’s just CW being like, ‘You need to lose a few pounds,’ then no. You know what I mean? My body looks like this and I’m not going to conform because you want me to. If that has to do with the character, I get that. But if it’s just them being picky, then no way, Jose.”
It’s interesting that she started out as a victim. She was locked up in this cage and we didn’t learn much about her other than that her dad was doing everything to free her. After being released you’ve already shown she’s a smart, strong woman. How has it been just playing that arc so far?
Violett Beane: “Her introduction has been so slow. Same with Wally West on the show as well. When you do get those scenes and you do get those moments, you definitely take advantage of them. I just try to do as much as I can in each scene but also be realistic with it. I don’t want to push it, but at the same time I want fans to be able to see as much of her as they can. I think everything I’ve heard has been so positive, so I think the fans are getting a small grasp of who Jesse is and possibly this season if I continue with the show, then they’ll be able to see more. It is hard, but I think they’re getting some of her.”
How tough do you think it will be for Jesse to get used to living on Earth-One after growing up on Earth-2?
Violett Beane: “I think when you lose everything and everyone you know without even being able to say bye that’s really tough. I think she’s going to try her best, but it might be a little difficult to just fall back into life like that. I think the help of Flash [Grant Gustin] and Iris [Candice Patton] and all of them, and Caitlin [Danielle Panabaker], will kind of help her out and make her feel like she’s part of the team. It might take some time, but I think she’ll get there.”
Is there anyone in particular you hope she becomes good friends with, either Iris or Caitlin or even Barry himself?
Violett Beane: “Yeah. I love working with all of them, and I get along with Candice really well off screen. Also Keiynan [Lonsdale] who plays Wally West is such a cool guy. I would love for any partnership of any kind to happen with all of them. Candice and Keiynan are really cool, and I’d like to see some more scenes with us.”
And working with Tom Cavanagh who is an awesome individual?
Violett Beane: “He is such a good guy. On my first day I was so nervous and he was just so supportive. I think he pretended to forget his lines because I had forgotten mine. He’s so sweet. He’s been such a good partner, especially for this, sort of helping me out. He’s such a good guy.”
It must be a little bit tough to come into a show that has such a good ensemble cast that’s worked together for a while, and here you are, the newbie. Did they all just pretty much accept you and take you under their wings immediately?
Violett Beane: “It can definitely be tough coming onto a new show, especially since they’re in the second season and everyone is a little more tired and all that, but they actually have. They’ve been pretty welcoming. We’ve hung out a few times on the weekends and celebrated certain things. It’s been really nice, and I would love to keep working with these people because not only are they talented but they’re also just really funny and sweet people.”
How difficult was it for you playing the scenes where you’re locked up and you’re opposite this character inside of a mask and you’re supposed to be scared of him?
Violett Beane: “It’s a stunt guy and he was so sweet. He’s an Australian guy. He hadn’t really thought about acting. He just did stunts, but he tried so hard. It was really awesome. Zoom’s suit itself is creepy as hell so that was actually scary. There was no acting in that, but it wasn’t as hard as you think. It really wasn’t.”
And you’ve also got a couple films that are coming to South by Southwest?
Violett Beane: “I’ve got a couple. One is Slash where I play a supporting role in, and that’s a comedy about a nerdy kid who writes erotic fan fiction, essentially is picked on, and then he meets a girl who’s also into it. It’s kind of their coming of age love story. That’s going to be a funny one. I think it’ll be a good film.
The other one is Tower, which is a documentary about the UT shooting of 1966 which was actually the first major school shooting in the world. There hasn’t really been much media about it. On the school itself, there’s just a plaque that’s like a foot by a foot that says ‘In remembrance of.’ Some students don’t even know what happened, so the subject really just gets to me and I’m very excited for its release and for people to actually hear about it. It’s been getting some good buzz and hype. It’s been on a lot of top five lists for South by Southwest, so looking very forward to it.”
Did you do a lot of research on the subject?
Violett Beane: “I had known a little. I did know about the shooting. A lot of people don’t, but I did know about it before the project started. Keith [Maitland], our director, actually talks with Claire Wilson – which is the character I play – almost every week, or he did when he was making the film. He recorded his conversations and his interviews with her and I watched those. I haven’t physically met her yet, but I am meeting her the day before the premier and I’m very nervous and excited for it. It’s going to be a bit heavy, but it’s going to be good.”
Did you feel extra weight playing a real person how survived this devastating, life-changing event?
Violett Beane: “Absolutely. It was just so tough because I wanted to do her story justice. She was an eight-month pregnant woman, and her baby and her boyfriend were both shot and both died and she had to lay out in this hot sun for like an hour while everything was happening just knowing that they were gone. Her story is just so powerful. She has such a positive outlook now. It was difficult, but I just hope she’s happy. I hope when she watches it brings her back in a good way.”
It’s bizarre that the story isn’t well known. Why do you think that is?
Violett Beane: “I really don’t know, especially because these shootings are so frequent now. It’s so upsetting. This happened and then our governor of Texas decided to pass ‘campus carry’, and that is so scary that in August anyone who has a licensed gun can bring it on campus in their backpack. That idea to me is so frightening. I don’t go to UT, but I used to live over there and have friends that go there. The idea that someone sitting next to you could have a gun in their backpack that you can’t see and that that’s legal is so scary. It’s so scary. Maybe that’s because people don’t really know about this and they weren’t thinking about that when they voted. You know what I mean? I just want this story to be out there.”