Victor Garber, acclaimed actor and veteran of Alias and Eli Stone among others, will play far and away his biggest role so far on The Flash, as Professor Martin Stein is Separated from Ronnie Raymond's body and rejoining his wife.
As such, Garber will step out from being a voice in Robbie Amell's head and become a character in his own right.
We spoke with Garber about the role, what drew him to the series, and (of course) whether he could see a musical episode happening.
I am astonished that people do. I'm not aware of these things because I don't follow anything in the media about anything like that. I was just thrilled to get to do it, and because Robbie and I have this relationship from the past, because we've worked togehter, I was thrilled to be paired with him and we had a great time doing this. I'm not surprised that it worked becuase I had a feeling it would, but it's very gratifying to hear that people are responding in such a positive way.
The first real appearance you'd had was going to be this week; did you see how Firestorm was going to look before you went on camera?
Yeah. I was frankly stunned at how well it worked. Robbie has the brunt of it; I just kind of pop in and out, literally, but I didn't know how it was going to all look until I actually saw it, frankly. I saw sketches and ideas but I was very impressed. I think the effects on this show are kind of remarkable and it works in a way that I find amazing, quite frankly.
The first time I remember being very impressed with your work was when you were on Eli Stone. Is that how you came to be in this, because of Greg Berlanti, or was it just luck?
No, that's exactly how this happened. It's one of those things where you work with people and you wonder if you'll ever work with them again, and often you don't, but Greg and I had a great time together and so when he came to me with this, I was on board almost before he finished the sentence.
Really, I had no idea. I've been thrust into a world that I don't have any experience with or understanding of, so I'm a newcomer to this, but I trust Greg and I'm really delighted to have embarked on this new challenge.
Well, first of all, I just started, so I think they have to figure out if they're going to get back together to become Firestorm again. I don't know is the answer to that, and I'm not sure it would really work. I think that Eli Stone was really one of the first of those shows and God knows there's been a few since.
I think Grant sang on [a previous] episode of The Flash, didn't he? At a karaoke bar? I think that's about as close...I don't think they're going to get Martin Stein up at a karaoke bar. I don't know how they're going to get him to sing, so I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
In the comics, there's a wealth of source material in terms of his number of appearances, but he isn't as fully fleshed-out a character as some of the others. Is that handy in terms of your being able to really put your stamp on it without feeling constricted?
Yeah, but I would never be constricted by the source material. the writers have more of an issue with that. I just look at the script and flesh out where I can. Honestly, the source material is in a comic book, it's not dimensional, so for me that's not really ever an issue. When I've played people who were alive, that people knew, I still have to bring my sensibilities to it in some way in order for it to work for me. So that's never been an issue for me.
The relationship with Clarissa seems to really be at the heart of what's going on with Professor Stein. Can you talk a little about that? It seems like with such strong ties to your personal lives, coming together when the plot demands Firestorm will be a challenge.
Well, and that's the essence of drama, what you just said. That's really what the conflict is, and how do we resolve that, and how it affects everything. Obviously, Martin Stein coming back to his wife after eighteen months or whatever it's been, everything has changed. Even though the love is very much there, everything has been altered. So that's the challenge and the dilemma and the conflict and it makes you want to watch to see what happens.
How that plays out is really what's going to happen in this next episode and you sort of get a glimpse of what the future will hold. They are joined. Even though they've been separated, there's obviously more than just a physical connection. It's an emotional connection and that's what's fun for the writers to figure out.
Obviously you're going to be bouncing off Clancy Brown this week. How has been the experience of working off of him? You tend to be cast more often as a white collar character who might not be looking down the nose of Clancy playing a heavy all the time.
Well, that's the fun of it. Honestly, I never thought at this point in my life that I would be stepping into this kind of world and I'm so grateful that Greg gave me this opportunity because it's what I love to do. I love to be challenged, I love to work with great actors. I'm astonished by the level of acting on this show and by who they're getting. It's part of what attracted me to the project initially and what keeps me intrigued. It's kind of the perfect storm; it's everything I look for.
We're going to use that "storm" pun in a headline, just so you know.
[Laughs] Wow. That was completely an accident.