Just when he thought he had seen it all last season on The Flash, Barry Allen is about to take on one his biggest (literally) threats yet. Season 2 of CW’s The Flash kicks off with an explosive premiere, “The Man Who Saved Central City,” as Barry is forced to go up against the Atom Smasher.
Fans who have been reading The Flash for a while might more commonly know the Atom Smasher as a hero, but when WWE Hall Of Famer Adam Copeland steps into the boots, fans will see a much more sinister take.
We had the chance to talk to Copeland about the role, how his time as “Edge” prepared him for his performance and even fantasy casted a wrestling match.
So, I have to ask, I can only imagine that you doing this has to be a major check off the bucket list, right?
Adam: Yes, that's exactly how I've been explaining it. From the nanosecond I found out that I got this part, that's what I was saying. I looked at Beth and I was like, "Okay, that's off the bucket list. I can check that off now." It was on there, trust me. Super villain and super hero was on there so yeah, it definitely was pretty huge for me to be able to do this.
Can I ask how it came about? Was it something that was on your radar, or was it put on your radar? How was auditioning?
Adam: I heard rumblings last year that there was a part that they had me in mind for but, you know, you hear that and it's four or five months removed so you never know. This was the first year where I wasn't already on a show so I didn't know really what auditioning even was because I'd been on a show for five years and I didn't have to audition for it. I didn't even really, truly know what the process was but then got word they were sending a script. I read for it. I did it in one take, sent it off and then got word that I was going to be Atom Smasher. It was a lot of fun to get that news, for sure.
I know you're a huge comics fan, and the Atom Smasher that you portray is a little bit different from his comics counterpart. When you heard the name Atom Smasher did you know who the character was from the start? Or was there a little bit of research you had to do?
Adam: I did but then I still did research because the last time I had kind of come across it I was in my teens. I've done a lot since then and had a lot since then. I figured I'd better brush up, bone up on my Atom Smasher-ism. It is a different take, too, so I didn't want to get too attached to what he is in the books because I knew there was going to be tweaks to it after reading the script and everything. It's always interesting, you know, finding that fine balance between the two because you do want to bring the elements of what he is in the book but then there is kind of differences too. You have to, at least for me, not get too attached to what you've kind of grown up reading.
You’ve been acting in dramas for awhile now but did you have to stretch different muscles for this part?
Adam: This was actually more of a recall back to my WWE days honestly, because you're playing this larger than life character where there's really no boundaries or parameters. You're supposed to be this super thing and the bigger you go the better because it's all kind of larger than life. So that was really kind of a call back to what I used to do at WWE because everything had to be big and everything had to translate to someone possibly 80,000 people away in the back seat or the Ford Field in Detroit. It was kind of going back to that while still keeping in mind that you can really see your nose hairs on some of those cameras. So if you go too crazy, you know, it might not work. I think with this it does. It lends itself to it because, gosh, you're talking about a guy who can run into different universes he goes so fast. The character I'm portraying can grow to 15 feet tall. So it has to be big and that was a lot of fun. That made me feel like I was back, really, in my comfortable skin.
If we had to compare the match-up of you as the Atom Smasher and Grant as Flash as a wrestling match, who do is Flash and who is Atom Smasher?
Adam: Okay, I would say that would be, let's see, Kane, Atom Smasher against Rey Mysterio as Flash.
We mentioned before that Atom Smasher in the comics was a hero, would you say that your portrayal of him has any redeeming qualities even though he's a "villain?"
Adam: Yeah, there's definitely more to this guy than just your prototypical, huge, destructive villain. There's layers to him which you see, once you get to it, and those were the relations I drew from the book. Thankfully they were there, so that was very cool because just having a big super villain, one trick pony, that's not necessarily what I think an audience wants to see. As a performer, you're always hoping for kind of deeper things that you can peel layers back on. This guy has them. It's not immediately evident, I don't think, but if you're watching, they'll be there. So that was pretty cool to understand that it wasn't a complete 180 from what people know him as if they came from the book to the show.
What was it like working with the cast? You had mentioned before that you're a fan of the show, when you're stepping on the set with everyone, are you star struck? Were any of them star struck that you were coming on board?
Adam: No. I'm trying to think, you know I came from a world where I was being put in the Hall of Fame the same night with Mike Tyson, so there's not really much that kind of ... You know, when you're a changer, Donald Trump one night and then ... It's such a surreal world I came from. So it's kind of par for the course. It was a lot of fun, though, to meet the people behind. We had this one scene and Carlo, who plays Cisco, we had this scene and I saw him, mid-take, because I didn't tell anybody what I did before, I was just Adam playing Atom Smasher, and I saw the penny drop for him half way through the scene. We had already met, talked, everything like that and I saw the realization, oh my god, that's Edge. He came up to me after the scene, you just blew my mind, you're Edge. So that was pretty funny because I said, I know, I saw it when that happened.
Adam: You've got to understand, like those guys, they're in the early to mid-20s so when I was there age, I was wrestling the Rock.
Being a fan of the show and of comics, is there a particular storyline from Flash comics that you're hoping may pop up in the show at any given point?0comments
Adam: There already are so many that are and I think there's already been some visuals and screen tests that perfectly recreate things from covers of the book and things like that where you just go, wow, okay, that's pretty amazing. Yeah, I don't think anyone who reads the books will be disappointed what this show does with it. It really stays very, very true. Like I said, even though a guy like Atom Smasher with his differences, at the base of it there's still that relation to the book. It looks awesome to ... It really stands up, the CGI stands up. Everything about it I was very impressed with this show.
The CW will bring back The Flash on Tuesday, October 6th at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.