Jenna Dewan Tatum's Lucy Lane has made her way from Metropolis to National City today, hoping to hash out her fractured relationship with James Olsen.
Those who watched last week's installment of Supergirl may have noticed that the two are a bit cozier than they were two weeks ago, which is something that will be explained this week...since the Paris terror attacks led to tonight's episode to be delayed somewhat (it revolves in large part around a terror plot).
Tatum joined ComicBook.com to discuss her role on the series, which gets bigger with tonight's episode.
How did you end up on Supergirl?
My agent actually called it, as far as taking a meeting with them. I met with Sarah Schechter, I met with the head of casting and I met with a couple of the producers. They were such lovely people and the role was just so fun. The way they described it and explained the arc to me and her comic book lineage and history, there was so much about it that just felt fun, that felt powerful, felt different, felt sort of irresistible. There was really no way I was going to say no to this. So it kind of happened and then two days later, I signed on to do it. And I read with Mehcad, so I had a chemistry read with Mehcad and we just really hit it off so it was one of those really nice situations that just flowed.
There’s essentially two different versions of Lucy: There’s the somewhat more mousy version and then there’s the superhero version. How do you get your head around a character who has that broad of a range of interpretation?
You know, I think with everything, no matter if you’re playing a superhero or a regular character in the world, you have to find the truth in each character that you’re playing. For me, Lucy is a really interesting, strong, complicated character with a complicated history with her father, complicated history with James. She’s developing a complicated relationship with Kara and with Cat Grant and with all these people. You just have to find out, what is her motivation? What’s important to her? What has she lived through in life, what is she struggling with, what is she happy with?
You ask the same questions of a superhero that you would ask of a regular person. The more grounded and three-dimensional you can make a character, the better, and it just makes it more awesome that she’s going to have magic powers…[laughs]…to turn into something that’s really fun to play and to watch at some point. But she’s still Lucy Lane, she’s still a human being with flaws and strengths and all of the other things that go along with living life.
Tonight’s episode really gets into the meat of your character in a surprising way. When you’re reading that script, was it kind of nice to see you can’t take this character at face value?
Yeah. There’s your story, someone else’s story and her story. You kind of gain insight — it’s like being able to see inside the walls of what other people think of you, and that informs what you think of you. I really like that she has a reason and a motivation that she’s decided to come back and get Jimmy and right her wrong with him and see she made a mistake. But his version of why she made that mistake and what she thinks are very different. You’re not sure which one is right but you know that they still share an energy and a connection together that hasn’t gone away.
Lucy’s not coming to National City with any manipulative reason. She has a very specific reason why she’s there to find him and that changes, that develops, that grows. But I like that you can’t really pinpoint her. You like her and you’re like “Oh, she has a really good relationship with Kara. She wants to be friends with Kara.” But you’re not sure. Is that really what it’s going to be? Is she going to be a threat? I like that it’s a little bit ambiguous and obviously you’ll feel that ambiguity and root for her and be kind of wary of her, which is fun.
Did you look back through some of the source material? I always thought Jimmy and Lucy’s relationship was interesting because they never had a big splashy break-up, but just kind of floated in and out of one another’s orbits.
Yeah. Almost like there was just a lot of karmic history between the two; they were just always show of finding each other. It wasn’t like some dramatic thing that happened. I did research it a lot — one because I love comics and two because there’s nothing more fun than having this wealth of information that’s available to an actor when you go to play a role.
At the same time, I know the producers had their own vision for Lucy and their own character that they’re playing that isn’t exactly by the book, so to speak. So I did a little bit of both. I learned a lot, I also asked them questions and I sort of created a character that’s still evolving. Every episode I learn a little bit more about her and something becomes a little bit more fleshed-out. But reading the comic and researching it was a blast.
Obviously you’ve done a handful of franchise things, but what’s different about Supergirl versus approaching any of these other things that come with built-in baggage and cultural expectations?
Well, Supergirl has a really nice, light, powerful energy behind it. They knew exactly what they were making. I think a lot of times, if there’s some sort of hesitation amongst the creators and the writers and they’re not sure exactly what show they’re making or what character they’re developing, it tends to fall a little flat.
With this project, they knew exactly what show they were making, they knew exactly who Kara was going to be, they knew exactly what Supergirl wanted as a show and a message, and I felt so much confidence with that. That was awesome. You’re not left in that weird middle zone of trying to decide what you’re creating.
Supergirl was literally one of my favorite movies as a kid. i loved that movie, I was her for Halloween, and so there was that element, too. I had a real, personal connection to the movie and this project has been really fun. Superwoman was really interesting to me. It felt very strong and I felt like the comic audiences and viewers in general were going to be satisfied with this. That was very comforting.
With Superwoman in particular, have you told your husband that if Lucy gets her powers, she could totally kick Gambit’s butt in an armwrestle?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We still have an ongoing joke in our house because he signed on to play Gambit and I signed on for this, so it was like Marvel versus DC kind of household. We’re like the Romeo and Juliet. But, no, it’s really fun. We both have a healthy competitiveness just in general with our physicality because we both come from being dancers. So there’s the thing where he likes to do his own stunts and I like to do my own stunts. So we have like “Well, I can do this.” So there’s a healthy respect for each other’s desire to do these kinds of roles.
And he was thrilled. He knows how excited I was to come on and do a show like this. But yeah, it’s kind of funny having two people in one house who play superheroes. I just have to make sure that I bring my daughter to set one day when I look really cool, and if I get to ever really live out the superhero dreams, so she can think I’m really cool one day.