When The Flash comes back this week, it will be the first episode in which Teddy Sears will get significant screen time as Zoom, the season-long big bad who was revealed in a recent episode to have been impersonating Jay Garrick all season.
In the episode coming up on Tuesday, we'll see a major showdown between Barry and Zoom -- with Team Flash and the West family caught in the crossfire.
ComicBook.com had the opportunity to talk to Sears about the rest of the season.
Early in the season, you were talking a lot about how honored you were to kind of carry on this legacy of playing a character like Jay. How early did you know the twist and how much of that is still true even though you're playing the bad guy?
Yeah, this is...I had to...How do I even start this? I knew when they hired me that I was going to be Zoom. I knew actually before taking the job. Andrew Kreisberg laid out, "Hey, this is our vision for the season. You're gonna be this guy, but then you're also gonna be this guy."
I thought that that sounded like a lot of fun, certainly a challenge, but ultimately something that I wanted to take on. Then, that was it. I didn't hear anything from the writers or in the scripts, not a whiff that that was actually what was going to happen, that Jay would actually end up being Hunter Zolomon/Zoom.
I actually probably convinced myself that, "Oh, you know, they're gonna get another actor. They've changed their minds. I'm gonna be Jay for the run of the season, or maybe beyond or ... " Basically, I know I grew very attached and I so lovd playing Jay and I was hoping to be able to do that for the duration.
It wasn't until the episode where I point out my doppelganger on the bench, "Hey, that's Hunter Zolomon, my doppelganger," that I knew, "Okay, these guys are going to follow through on their plans."
How much of what I said was true? 100% of it. It really did ... I was a tremendous honor to ... It's funny, I say this even now knowing I was masquerading as Jay Garrick, it still...there's still a big part of me that...I don't know how to say this. I just believed 100% that, "Hey, I was hired to play Jay. I'm playing Jay until the writers tell me otherwise. Until I see it on the page, I'm this guy." It's funny, I probably should feel differently now knowing what I know and being where I am, but no -- that's honestly how I felt, and honestly how I still feel.
I just feel bad because I had to keep it under my hat, but also I really believed that maybe that wasn't going to happen and that was something that I hoped was going to happen for me, because I was really attached to playing Jay.
The thing I was going to say, in the world of The Flash, there's a lot of twins. Barry Allen actually in the comic has a twin. His children are twins. Would you open to, if they want you come back and be like, "Oh no, the man in the iron mask is Jay Garrick and really you're Jay as well as Hunter," would that be something that you would be open to, or that would give you a whole different approach to kind of playing these same characters?
Oh yeah! Oh, oh, oh my gosh, yeah, yeah, yeah! Emphatically yes! I love the 1940 Jay Garrick, mild-mannered, do-good kind of guy. I think it's just sort of quintessentially Golden Age that if they, the writers, came to me and said, "Hey, this is what we'd like to do," I would leap at the opportunity, yes.
We're in the era now where the Batman V Superman movie is very dark and political, where you look at Marvel's Netflix stuff and it's incredibly dark and violent. When you come to something like The Flash, especially as a Golden Age character, do you almost get that kind of Christopher Reeve feeling of like the rush of positive energy?
Yeah, yeah. I think that's one thing that makes The Flash so appealing is there is such a levity to it while still recreating that sort of authentic comic book feel, but it's managed to avoid going, like you said, into those very dark crevices that the superhero movies du jour, minus Deadpool, are doing to -- some would say great effects, but I also say it begins to do a detriment when it is so dark and heavy. I think comic books are supposed to fun and uplifting. They are littered with sinister characters, but that doesn't mean that they need to live in a dark place from moment one to the finale.
Yeah, I think, for me, being on a show like The Flash is appealing for that reason. Also, being a character like Jay, it does feel exactly, like you said, like that Christopher Reeve sort of squeaky clean, Golden Age of comic books where people still said, "Gee whiz" and "swell." I'm just thinking like I'm in World War II and post-war where there was a different buoyancy in America at the time. Yes, yes, I think that that's something that The Flash done to great effect. Even though, now, I'm stepping into the role of someone who is not as light as the members of S.T.A.R. Labs, it's still a help to exist in that world that makes The Flash unique.
Have you had a chance to talk to Tom Cavanagh at all about kind of what works for him and what didn't, and differentiating the nature of your character from his? Because, they're obviously, even in the context of the show, they're playing with the idea, that like, "Damn it, this happened to me again."
Yeah, I tell you, it's funny, I talk to Tom all the time. That's not something that we've ever discussed though, like how he managed to sort of embody two distinctly different people. I think of Tom like an older brother. I love Tom. He is Mr. Positivity and keeps us all laughing. He also happens to be one of the greatest, deftly-moving actors on the cast here.
But I wanted to do on my own distinctions in sort of the best way I could between these two characters and continue to feel it out on set. Luckily for me, Jay is so honorable and heroic, and there's nothing honorable and heroic about the Zoom incarnation of Hunter Zolomon. That just required me going sort of deep into my own stuff to try to pull out some honest and true characteristics that fit more the mold of the Zoom character that in a way doesn't resemble at all, what Jay was showing when he was on the show.
Now, this is kind of a shallow question that I had never thought to ask it before. Were you in the Zoom suit, because obviously, we've had Tony Todd doing the voice, but have you been in the suit the whole time?
No, no! That's a very good question. No, for the most part, actually no, it's been Ryan Handley. He is a stunt guy, but he would do all the lines, he basically did all the heavy lifting, that's sort of the best way I could put it. He did all the heavy lifting. Tony did all the vocalization. Every time the mask has come off, that's when I stepped on stage.
From this episode forward we see a lot more of that. We're going to see a lot more with his cowl down, but up to now, yeah, that's been a different guy. Same virtual height, same virtual weight, but a different guy.
The thing that made me curious, is this is the kind of show that there's been fans speculation on Reddit. You got all these people trying to do diagrams to show, "Oh no, this is definitely John Wesley Shipp because look at his chin."
Right, right. Right, I've seen that and I saw there was actually...I believe it was a press picture that shouldn't have been released. It was Ryan in the suit, but basically it was Zoom with his eyes not blacked out yet, and Zoom's always seen with eyes blacked out when he's in the cowl.
Well, based on the eye color, of course, you had everyone speculating, "Look at the eye color! It's got to be..." Then they went and started going through actors and matching eye colors. Which is too funny.
That's what makes the show really fun is there are these mysteries to unravel, there are these threads to pull, and it's really great. We have a very excited, very engaged fan base who are really into doing that in their downtime. That's just awesome to have a group that engaged. That makes going to work fun.