1. How did you get started as an actor?
I did Drama and musical theatre in high school and then dabbled with it briefly afterward before going to college. Then I came back to it in my late 20's after feeling unsatisfied with my day job, went to acting school and started working.
2. What was your overall experience like on The Flash during your two episodes as Everyman (Hannibal Bates)?
Awesome. The cast and crew are super nice and supportive. Bill Terezakis, the key prosthetics artist, and his assistant were my eyes during those days because the prosthetics cover my head, nose and eyes. Before prosthetics were applied, I met everyone and got a visual tour of the sets. Then everything was hand-led and everyone had to be quiet so I could hear instructions getting in & out of the Pipeline. It was like a maze at times with all the film gear everywhere, and they put a walkie-talkie in my cage so I could hear the director. The Pipeline door slams shut pretty loud, and since I was inside and couldn't see it coming down, I jumped every time, until I asked them to tell me when it's closing. The sets really impressed me. A lot of sets look fake when you look up close and you start to see glue gun tracks and other fixings that don't show on film. But The Flash set is immaculate. Almost everything looks very real, even up close.
The first day, I played Everyman super angry, drooling & banging on the glass in the Pipeline; then when Wells asks me who I really am, I dipped to a tragic meltdown. I got a lot of compliments for that, and Tom Cavanagh asked me to come chat with him after my CGI scan and prosthetics removal. The whole cast is awesome and very kind, but Tom is one of the most supportive actors I've ever worked with.
Then production called me in a week later to reshoot that scene because they couldn't get the CGI morph to match. There was a second-unit director who had me make very different choices, to play him more casual & sad… and very still. Maybe the prior day had too much movement for the CGI guys, but the latter work made the final cut on the show. I would really like to have seen that first day's work, but alas, tech issues win.
3. Were you a fan of Arrow and The Flash before you got the part of Everyman?
Definitely. They are two of the coolest shows being shot here.
4. After getting the part of Everyman, what kind of research, if any, did you do on the character before you started filming your episodes? What was the overall process of bringing Everyman to life for the show?
I hit Google and wiki's to gather everything I could, and asked for help from my friend Don King. He's been an artist and avid comic book collector since he was a kid, and worked in a comic book shop. He's an encyclopedia, on everything -probably the most self-educated guy I've ever met. He gave me some key info I hadn't found online. This was essential to understanding Everyman's plight on The Flash: a skilled and exceptional man, locked in a cage, and all his power is impotent to get him out. Isolation is difficult for the majority of people, and he's spent so much time trying to be other people, that he's lost who he is, and there are no distractions to take his mind off of it. I think this happens to a lot of people when they have to spend time alone or their smartphone breaks. Many people are trying to be like their media-curated perception of their favorite celebrity, or they're too busy, and they don't connect with themselves. So instead of having a Walden experience, they go crazy …or maybe that's part of the journey to Walden. It's definitely an epic part of our society's issues. It was great reading The Chronicles of Cisco about the episode after it aired. Sometimes I feel like I'm nerding-out alone on the themes in good writing, and then I feel encouraged that The Flash writers really understand the depths of the characters they are exploring.
Prosthetics: This was an unusual process because with my eyes covered, I didn't know what I looked like until the end of the first day when Bill showed me pics he took with my phone. I saw the artist's concept sketch and latex mask, but because it was relatively thin, it looked pretty inanimate until it was applied.
5. Were you a fan of comic books like DC Comics or Marvel Comics growing up? Did you have any favorites, and if not, what did you enjoy reading?
As a kid, I grew up with Star Wars, the original first three that came out, you know, a long time ago. I don't mean I just saw the movies, but they influenced how we played, thought and bought. I tried using the force many times (unsuccessfully) and I collected the bubblegum cards with the money I made from collecting bottles. I had the Hammerhead action figure and then Darth Vader with the lightsaber that slid out of his arm. So that consumed a lot of my imagination growing up.
I was also a big fan of The Green Hornet radio series, the old black & white (non-animated) Batman TV series, Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, re-runs of the Fantastic Four (1967 animated series), and the Spider-Man animated series (I think from 1967 too) where Spidey hallucinated psychedelic colors when he was dazed –I always felt pretty distressed when that happened.
Then puberty hit, I got a motorcycle, and well, most TV & reading got replaced. But a good friend of mine, Don King, an artist and comic book collector, shared a lot of stuff with me and we had many late night conversations about comic book storylines, art, life, etc. He passed stuff on to me to read. In particular, I really liked Maus by Art Spiegelman.
Later, I also enjoyed reading the comic book version of the bible, a few times through.
I'm really grateful for the resurgence of comic book content in main stream media. They provide noble heroes and explore stronger themes than most fiction produced today. I wrote a blog post about that here.
6. Before you got the part of Everyman on The Flash, did you ever audition for other comic book characters on other TV shows or films?
I hadn't auditioned for The Flash prior. I shortlisted a role on Arrow but didn't book it. I'd love to work on Arrow as Everyman or another character. I also worked on Stargate-SG1 if that counts (the comics came after the movie/show).
Glad you're loving the show. I hope to be back there again soon.
(Note: these opinions are my own and do not represent official statements/opinions of CW or The Flash)