Arrow & The Flash Interview Double-Bill: Cynthia Addai-Robinson & Candice Patton

Cynthia Addai-Robinson Candice Patton

Over the weekend, London Comic Con was visited by two women from the ever-expanding DC TV universe: Candice Patton (Iris West on The Flash) and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Amanda Waller on Arrow). They first sat down together to take questions from a room of reporters about their respective characters. Though they have never acted on screen together, they noted that it would be great for them to do that and that anything is a possibility with these shows existing within a single universe as well as the upcoming spin-off, Legends Of Tomorrow.

While many viewers see Amanda Waller as a villain, Cynthia Addai-Robinson instead sees her as a woman who needs to make the unpleasant choices in life by any means necessary. Feeling honoured to be in the same company of the other women to have played the character, Addai-Robinson is eager to see Viola Davis’s take on the character in the upcoming Suicide Squad film. She enjoys how being on these shows allows for the opportunity to get to know the source material, and attending Comic Cons allows her to get to know the fanbase of comics whose passion is a testament to the power of the stories.

Iris West is known in the comics for being an investigative reporter, and though Candice Patton says not as much of this material has been shot yet, she is hopeful for more in the latter half of season two. Currently, Patton is greatly enjoying playing the slow burn of Iris’s evolution as a woman. Many fans have been outspoken for their desire to see Iris become romantically involved with Barry Allen. But Patton states that women are much more than the men they are associated with and her greatest interest is in Iris’s agency as a character. Though she also notes that it would be nice to see her and Barry together given their iconic status as a couple in the comic mythology.

Though Patton did not grow up reading comics, she became very familiar with superheroes such as Batman and Superman by watching Saturday morning cartoons. While shooting the show, Patton is able to continually expand her knowledge as her make-up artist keeps The Flash comics on the table for her to read while getting ready to shoot. Even after shooting a full season of the show, she is still amazed to read comics where Iris West is white and shares how she never imagined as a young girl that she would get to play a Lois Lane, a Vicki Vale or any other leading lady ingénue in comic mythology.

Buzz met with both actresses for one-on-one interviews to dig a little deeper into their character arcs and methods to playing them. Season two introduces Iris West’s mother, whom Iris had always believed to be dead. Patton shares that over the course of several episodes, this arc will present more complications than simply meeting a woman with whom Iris shares DNA. In episode three, the heart-to-heart between Iris and Joe in which Iris learns that her mother is still alive has already received great feedback from stateside viewers and Patton says these heart-to-heart family scenes make for really great TV. Patton reiterates how executive producer Andrew Kreisberg has previously said that while the Allen family was the heart of season one, the West family will be the heart of season two.

Patton would like to play more of the moral obligations Iris has to skirt around as an investigative reporter who is also working with the Flash. As Iris is now a part of that team, Patton is now able to shoot on the STAR Labs sets in scenes that can often have as many as eight actors at a time. Though it can make for technically difficult shoots, Patton enjoys working with actors she had less time with in season one. In particular, the budding friendship between Iris and Cisco Ramon (played by Carlos Valdes) makes for great fun. Patton often finds herself laughing in these scenes, sharing how Valdes is highly skilled at comedic improvisation. She also raves about Victor Garber, calling him a “lovely person,” and how having such an established actor on set is something that everyone on the show loves.

One of the juicier plot revelations in season two was the re-appearance of Dr Harrison Wells, who had seemingly died in season one. Patton remained tight-lipped as to the mysteries surrounding his arc but did say that she felt that people would enjoy the capacity in which he is present. Another new plot point in season two is the introduction of Patty Spivot. Patton says that Patty and Barry will enter a romantic relationship that will take precedence this season to any possible romantic relationship between Barry and Iris. But she adds that Iris’s friendship with Barry is not going anywhere and that great romantic relationships are usually based on a foundation of great friendships. She would not be surprised if Barry and Iris get together at some point.

When asked about her comments from the press conference about still being amazed at reading comics where Iris West is white, Patton says that she doesn’t necessarily see herself as a trailblazer since she was not one of the people to make the executive decision to cast herself in the part. Instead, she feels like a vessel for this change and is pleased to know that there are now more young girls that can find media content in which they see themselves represented. Playing Iris West has amassed Patton a large, passionate fan following. When this following is brought up, Patton says that it is overwhelming and emotional to even talk about. Their passion means a great deal to her, and with all the tweeting that they do in an effort to get her more recognition, she describes their voices as “very powerful”.

Cynthia Addai-Robinson has quite a challenge to play Amanda Waller on Arrow as there is often a great deal of mystery surrounding the character. It poses a specific challenge but Addai-Robinson aims to make the most out of a limited amount of information and tries to reference the source material as much as she can. When coming onto set after being away for a few episodes, she will typically go to Stephen Amell, with whom she shoots many of her scenes, and have him fill her in on what else has happened on the show.

Addai-Robinson was previously on Spartacus alongside Manu Bennett, who plays Slade Wilson/Deathstroke on Arrow. When asked about the possibility of playing an arc that would put Amanda Waller and Deathstroke in scenes together, Addai-Robinson is receptive to it, but also notes that it would need to make sense for the story and shouldn’t be done just for the sake of it. In approaching the role of Amanda Waller, Addai-Robinson thrives on bringing her own energy to a character that is so established and iconic. She also aims to bring humanity to the character and not simply reduce her to a “mean lady” who does seemingly awful things. She most enjoys bringing a thoughtful side to the character and showing that Amanda Waller doesn’t necessarily take pleasure in doing bad things.

With the upcoming Suicide Squad film set to be released, Addai-Robinson is excited to see Viola Davis take on the role, adding that she knew whomever was cast would be amazing. She believes the tone and style of the film will be different to the television series, but sees this as a good thing and that there’s room for all the interpretations of the comics. She is proud to be part of a more inclusive side to television and film, knowing firsthand how much people are affected by the visuals of who they watch onscreen. She she loves coming to cons, meeting fans, and seeing just how much this representation effects their lives.

The Flash and Arrow air on Sky1 in the UK, with The Flash on Tuesdays at 8PM and Arrow on Wednesdays at 8PM.




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