Tonight's episode of Supergirl will introduce a new generation of fans to Mr. Mxyzptlk, an imp from the fifth dimension whose battles with Superman and other superheroes tend to be more in the vein of pranks than outright brawls...partially because Mxy is so powerful that almost nobody can hold up against him, as Mon-El learns tonight.
Once Upon A Time's Peter Gadiot, who says he didn't watch the versions from Superboy, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, or even Smallville lest they influence his performance, told ComicBook.com that he feels they threaded the needle of allowing him to have fun while still making the stakes -- which are pretty high in "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" -- feel real.
The first challenge -- after learning how to say the name -- was simply making sure that between his performance and the script, Mxy's mischief -- here, he wants to marry Supergirl -- doesn't feel like creepy stalking.
"I guess that's one of the creative challenges of how to make this character empathetic. You kind of realize that what he's doing is wrong but you somehow kind of like him because he's amusing," Gadiot admitted. "I think that's very much done in the writing and when I performed it, I was very much open to every different angle. So we did three takes and I gave very different options. They very much have the power to show many different sides of him to create that arc and make sure he isn't too stalker-ish. To keep it light and fun but also create that dynamic of he is, essentially, a villain. You want to keep all of those angles alive, as well as the fact that he does genuinely on some level really have desire and affection for Kara. At the same time, he can't be too nice and amazing, otherwise he wouldn't have anything to battle against."
Of course, as we alluded to, the question of how to pronounce a name like "Mxyzptlk" is itself kind of a challenge to overcome -- and Gadiot told us that it was a point of contention with the show's writers and producers.
"It was tricky. I definitely had to go online and do the research, how other people had pronounced it," Gadiot said. "It actually was a decision and a debate about how we wanted to say it on this show. The guys back in LA were debating and it was quite funny the first time I was there."
To get into the character, he didn't get that "big pile of comics" that series regulars get. Instead, he had to look into the character on his own, and get the ink on his fingers, so to speak.
"I just did lots of internet trawling and I went to a comic book store and finding out what I could," Gadiot told us. "There's so many different incarnations of him -- he has the more evil-looking one and the more playful one. This version was unique, and so i think what they did was make him so that someone who was one way in history was modern and updated. I think their take on it kept the essence of what people expect, but modernized."
One thing that's not what people expected -- but fun nevertheless -- is Mxy's much-advertised decision to create himself a suit like Superman's, but with a big "M" on the chest.
This isn't actually entirely unheard of in the comics -- he's done it at least once, during the "Electric Superman" era twenty years ago -- but it's a rarity and provided a great moment for trailers.
"It was super cool. In the very first fitting, I actually tried on the suit that Tyler wore when he guested as Superman, and that was really cool. Every actor likes to dress up,. and to put on something as iconic as that was very, very fun. They measured me in that and then they went off and created a special one for me. I was so excited."0comments
Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" premieres tonight.