On the next episode of The CW series The Flash, called “Escape from Earth-2,” the team races to find Zoom’s lair on Earth-2, while back on Earth-1, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) tries to perfect Velocity-9 so that Jay (Teddy Sears) can stop the Geomancer (Adam Stafford).
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Candice Patton (“Iris West”) talked about how much fun it was to play the Earth-2 version of Iris, the very different relationship between Earth-2’s Iris and Barry (Grant Gustin), what Earth-1 and Earth-2 Iris would think of each other, Iris’ upcoming run-in with King Shark, working with the show’s visual effects, Iris and Wally’s bond, whether we’ll get to see more of Iris at work, and why she thinks it’s important for Iris to remain totally human.
Collider: It’s been so much fun, getting to see the Earth-2 versions of all of your characters.
CANDICE PATTON: It’s nice getting to play a different version of yourself. You sign on for a show and think you’re just going to play one character for however many years, so it’s nice, for an actor, to have a little bit of fun.
Was there ever any discussion, prior to these episodes, about what Earth-2 Iris would be like, or were you completely surprised by who she was when you read the script?
PATTON: Completely surprised! I don’t really dig for answers from the producers and writers that much. I let things happen the way they’re going to happen. I really don’t have any control over it anyway, so I just take it as it comes. I wasn’t prepared, at all. I didn’t know if Iris would travel to Earth-2. I assumed maybe she wouldn’t. I didn’t know we’d see her doppleganger or what would happen. So, it was a surprise for me, too, when I read that Detective West was really Iris. I texted Andrew Kreisberg, our executive producer, and I was like, “Iris is a bad-ass cop on Earth-2? Are you kidding me?!” He was like, “Yeah, it’s pretty cool, right?!” And I was like, “Hell, yeah!” I was excited, right then and there. I knew it was something I could have a lot of fun with.
What do you think Earth-1 Iris would think of Earth-2 Iris, and vice versa?
PATTON: I don’t know. I think maybe Earth-1 Iris would see Earth-2 Iris and Barry together and think, “Hmm, that’s interesting. We’re married on Earth-2 and we’re supposed to be married in the future.” I think it would just get the wheels turning for her, about her relationship with Barry. But, I think she would be extremely inspired by Earth-2 Iris. She’s got her whole life together. She’s married, she’s passionate about her job, and she’s fearless and strong. I think they’re both great characters, just a little bit different. I’d say Earth-1 Iris is still learning and finding herself while Earth-2 Iris is very much settled into who she is.
When you were doing these episodes, did it feel like you were doing an alternate reality of the show, since that’s kind of what it is? Did you have any particularly funny moments, watching everybody playing such different versions of their character?
PATTON: Oh, yeah! When you’re watching Earth-1 Barry do a scene with Earth-2 Barry, it’s very tedious to shoot, but it’s fun to watch him flip in and out of two versions of Barry. It’s also cool to walk into these sets that you spend a lot of time in, like Jitters being Jitterbug or the police precinct, and everything is the same but different.
What was it like to play the role reversal aspect to Iris and Joe’s relationship?
PATTON: I think it was fun for everyone. It makes the most sense for Jesse [L. Martin] to be a jazz singer at Jitterbug, the jazz club. He’s such a talented singer. Why not exploit and use his talent on our show? He’s amazing! People should hear him sing.
We know that Earth-2 Iris will learn that she wasn’t actually interacting with her husband. How will she feel when she find out that it wasn’t her version of Barry?
PATTON: I think she’s a little shocked. That’s why he wasn’t wearing his ring, and that’s why the kiss was a little weird. But when they get down to the matter at hand, which is the reason it wasn’t him, and that these people are from another earth and Zoom has taken Earth-1 Barry, she gets right back onto the task of going after Zoom and rescuing Earth-1 Barry.
Will Earth-1 Iris find out about what went on, on Earth-2, or will she be kept in the dark about that?
PATTON: Eventually, she definitely finds out from Barry about what Earth-2 is really like, what happened over there, and what her doppleganger was like. For both of them, that knowledge gets the wheels turning about the coincidence of them being on Earth-2 and also married in the future. It just gets them thinking.
The episode after this one, called “King Shark,” will see Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) come to Central City to help out with King Shark. Will we get to see Iris interact with either of them?
PATTON: No, not at all. She does have an interaction with King Shark, but that’s it.
What’s it like to shoot scenes like that, where you know you’re supposed to be working with an enormous man-shark?
PATTON: It’s so silly! It’s absolutely ridiculous, so we just make fun of it, all the time. Between every take, we’re just poking fun at the idea that we’re talking to a huge shark, but it’s really a man in a foam costume. It’s fun and silly. At this point on the show, we do it so much that we’re pros at it.
And at least you’ve seen a glimpse of what he looks like, so that you can keep that in your head while you’re doing it.
PATTON: Exactly! Season 1 was a bit harder, when we didn’t even know how the show worked or what the special effects would look like. We were just going with a choice and hoping it would work. Now, we’re in Season 2 and we understand what this show is, so it makes those visual effects much easier to play with.
Do you think that Iris getting the chance to forgive her mother before she was gone will help her move on from the mother-shaped hole that she’s been carrying for most of her life?
PATTON: Yeah. I think, in general, this season for Iris, it’s been about coming to terms with a lot of family past hurt, and learning to let it go and forgive this history that she wished she had but didn’t have, and accepting it and moving forward. A lot of this season, for her, is about moving forward. Even with Eddie, it comes to a place of being able to let that go and open herself up to the idea of falling in love again.
Now that they’ve made some positive progression in their relationship and their bond has grown, how will the relationship between Iris and Wally grow?
PATTON: It just gets stronger. They begin to really have this authentic brother and sister relationship, which is quite different from Barry and Iris. I would say that they have a true life-long friendship, whereas Iris and Wally will continue to have an authentic brother and sister relationship, where she’s continually rooting for him, looking out for him and wanting what’s best for him. I don’t think we’ll see much more tension between those two.
The fans love getting to see Iris at work, especially because she’s so passionate about what she does and it’s fun to watch her do her thing. Will we get to see more of that, coming up?
PATTON: I hope so! We see bits of it, here and there. I’m hoping we move in a direction where you can see Iris at work, working on stories that matter to Team Flash and to Central City. We’re getting there. Not fast enough, but I think it’s coming.
Now that you’ve gotten to see who Earth-2 Iris is, and you’ve gotten to see some of the other characters as their alter-egos, like with Caitlin as Killer Frost, have you thought about getting to see Iris in a costume, of some sort, if we get to see another version of her?
PATTON: If we ever did see Iris in a costume anytime soon, I would hope it would only be for an episode on a different earth. I’m not overly into the idea of her being any kind of superhero or villain. I’m not interested in making her that. On a superhero show, you have to have people who are really human and who have the experience the audience is having. Iris and Joe are very much that, on our show, and I like keeping them that day. I think it would be fun to do it, here and there, but I’m happy with Iris being a plain old human. The thing that I love about The Flash and about superhero shows, in general, is that it’s not about having superpowers that makes you a superhero. You don’t have to be The Flash and have super speed to do the right thing. You can be a great reporter or you can be a cop, like Joe West, and still fight for the things that matter.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.