As Supergirl flies into week two, the threats get bigger, and a lot weirder. This week, actor Justice Leak steps into the limelight as the villain Hellgrammite. Comic fans know Hellgrammite as a big ol' creepy bug like creature, but Leak's version is a bit different.
Comicbook.com caught up with the actor to talk about what he loved best about the role, what this version of Hellgrammite is like and so much more.
So to kick things off, how much of the character did you know before signing up for the role, or did you go into it blind?
Justice Leak: Did I know much about the character? Are you joking me? Hellgrammite, I didn't even know how to say the name, let alone know about it. But i love doing research, so after reading up on my Hellgrammite, I got to really love the character. I've been lucky enough to audition for a handful of villains in the D.C. Universe through The Flash. That's how I got to know Greg Berlanti. Every time I had the opportunity to audition for one of these guys, I mean, it's like, you're a kid. The opportunity to play a villain, I always thought I'd want to be the hero, but it's kind of this, it's been this great sort of twist of fate.
I'm a pretty nice guy, if we ever meet or go have a drink, but, for whatever reason, Hollywood loves to cast me as the bad boy. At first, I was like, "It's just a fluke.", "It's just one serial killer, right?", which was my first job in L.A. Who knew that it would be just sort of the continuation of this thing?
Obviously, in your research you would have noticed that the character is a big beastly bug. Were you worried at all that you were going to be in a whole bunch of prosthetics, or did they assure you that that was not the case?
Leak: When I got the opportunity to audition for Hellgrammite, and I looked him up, I was like, "Holy smokes, what are they going to do?" I was actually in Atlanta filming Vampire Diaries at the time when I booked it. There's a great film community here. Warner Brothers had me go get a cast of my face here to send to L.A. in advance of me getting there, to give them an option, if they wanted to go prosthetics.Once I was actually in L.A. filming, we then did a full VFX scan as well to give them those options.
They were prepared to go either way, and I was loving it. As the goo was coming down over my face when they were doing the casting, they're like, "Just think of it like a spa day, it will be nice. Some people kind of freak out." I had just found out that I had got the part about three hours before, so I was trying not to smile as the thing was hardening on my face, because, I was like, "This is the coolest!"
I mean, I was the guy who got made fun of in school, so, the idea that I get to play some gnarly-looking villain is the ultimate payback in life, I think.
So then how much of the character is practical and how much of it is visual effects? Also, did you get to do your own stunts?
Leak: Right. I think, because of time, to do a lot of those stunts practically, and especially with this character who, as you might have seen, he's jumping all over the place.
Now, my stunt guy, he's fantastic. We were able to do some of that practically, but the majority of it, because he's like a super alien insect guy, he's going to not be constrained to our gravity and other things in the same way.
A lot of that went the way of the amazing animators and it looks really good. I think, for most of the big stunts, for most of the jumping and bounding and those sorts of things were relied on by the animating team.
I was strapped on the back of a truck careening down the road, and that was one of the coolest moments of my life. That is really me. They gave me the option. They were like, "Hey, do you want to do this poor-man style, where we just rock the truck and see you up there?" I was like, "Hell, no! Put me on the road!" They had the whole, I think it's the 6th Street Bridge there in Los Angeles, shut down for it. We did one pass and they were like, "Hey, do you mind if we go faster?" I was like, "Yes! Let's go faster!" I mean, I'm strapped into this thing enough to where I felt safe. With the wind whipping through my hair, and I'm shooting these things out of my hands, it was a really, really cool experience.
All of that stuff, outside of the stingers actually protruding from my hands, obviously that didn't happen, that was all done practically.
Speaking of those stingers, for fans who may be coming into the show and your character for the first time, can you explain a little bit about what your powers are? What you get to do ability-wise?
Leak: Right, so, his abilities are, obviously, he has a super-human ability in terms of running and jumping and that sort of thing. He produces these stingers which he can eject from his body. Those are the two that you see highlighted in this episode.
Before I let you go, what are you excited for fans to see when they tune in and see you on screen?
Leak: I think, the pilot, like every good pilot, does a really good job of setting up the world as we know it. It was done so beautifully, and everybody is in love with it. They did such a good job of getting that.
Now, in Episode 2, I'm excited to see that world expanded. I think fans are going to love seeing characters like Hellgrammite because I was lucky enough to be the first ever live-action representation of him. Sure, he's been in cartoons and stuff like that, but this is the first time that fans of the Superman/Supergirl universe are going to see some of these great characters that have never been seen before. I think people are going to be really excited.
So what do you think ComicBook.com readers? Are you excited to see Hellgrammite show up on Supergirl tonight? Let us know in the comments below!