The CW’s smash hit The Flash is about to get a new speedster… we just might have to wait until next season for it, though. Actress Violett Beane, who plays Jesse Wells (or Quick for all you DC Comics buffs), plays the daughter of Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh)… no, not Dr. Wells from our universe aka Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne, a different one, from Earth Two. Talk about an alternate reality check. But don’t worry Flash fans, you can take comfort in knowing he’s still a self-righteous, self-serving kinda dude in any world. And at this point, it seems we just can’t get away from any and all variations of Dr. Harrison Wells. But do we really want to? Without him there would be no Jesse, and man, are we loving her since her introduction into the Flash Universe!
But one thing’s for sure, trouble has a way of finding those Wells family members, doesn’t it? From being kidnapped by this seasons big bad, Zoom, to being knocked into a coma by a recreation of the particle accelerator explosion… Jesse has already been to hell and back. With the seasons close, the audience can’t wait to see Jesse’s transformation into a speedster as good-hearted as Barry, or so we hope. Beane chatted with me about potentially playing a superhero and the struggles that faced Jesse after being ripped from being held hostage by a villainous psychopath and being forced to uproot her entire life from Earth Two.
Let’s zoom through this! Oops, too soon?
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Tell us about Jessie, the character that you play on The Flash.
VIOLETT BEANE: Jessie, for those who haven’t seen, or are behind, is Harrison Wells’ daughter, Harrison Wells is from Earth Two. And in comic books she eventually becomes Jessie Quick which is another speedster — the female speedster of the bunch. So far she’s been captured by Zoom and she’s with The Flash team. Jessie is really cool because she’s extremely smart and she’s not afraid to talk back or if she doesn’t like what’s going on to voice an opinion on it which I think is really powerful and important for any role on television or film but especially for women just because of everything that’s going on. I really like that about her.
MM: It’s pretty cool with that dynamic because we don’t really have anyone with that type of personality on The Flash. So her being kind of thrown into it is pretty awesome. In terms of your character, the show has deviated a little bit from the comics but did you get a chance to look over any of that material before starting on the show?
VB: Yeah. it’s kind of hard to find comics on her because she doesn’t have her own line of comics. But right after I booked the role, I went into a local comic book shop in Austin and the guys were super helpful and helped me pick out some and we went over that stuff. I think it’s cool that our show is able to create their own stories but also play homage to the originals. I think that’s really nice for the fans. But it’s also are able to create their own characters and their own relationships, it’s really genius.
MM: You get to have some leeway and some reinvention for sure. When we first saw Jessie, she was Zoom’s prisoner. That had to have changed her a bit. Did you think it brought back memories of being a hostage, finding out that her dad was taken?
VB: Yeah, with that in particular, being in captivity, when I was shooting it, I stayed in the shackles and stuff and that really helped me remember that for her. I didn’t come out of the shackles when we were doing the next set ups. It actually was painful for me, Violet, but I think that helped get in touch with those feelings for Jessie when she does find that out about her father. And when she comes back to save him, I think that’s super poetic. She’s one of the only people that can get him back. I think you see a little switch after that. Jessie is a little hard when she comes back and gets that this world is a little different and it’s violent. You’ll see that throughout the rest of the season.
MM: Jessie is sort of finding her place in this new world. With that in mind, which character would you say she’s most like or able to relate to most on the show?
VB: I kind of feel like it’s Wally. They’re both outsiders. They both met this whole crew of people. They just have a lot of similarities happening. I think they get along pretty well and I think it’s nice to have girl time with Iris and Caitlin. I think she can fit in pretty well with The Flash team.
MM: After spending some time with Team Flash, who do you think you’d want to swap places with for a day?
VB: Me, Violet? I think it’d be cool to see life from maybe — I want to say Harrison. I do so many scenes with him and I get what Jessie is feeling in those scenes but I think it’d be cool to see what he’s feeling.
MM: Obviously people are asking about Jessie’s mom. Do you get things ahead of time? Do you know where your character is headed for the rest of the season?
VB: We finished filming so I do know, as far as that. There was actually a deleted scene from a few episodes back where Jesse and Harrison talk about her mom a little bit. But I think they’re keeping it open ended if they want to, next season, talk about that or introduce her or something they can. But as far as I know, we don’t know very much about her.
MM: So you’re in the dark with us [Laughs]. The list of speedsters on The Flash just keeps growing. I mean, is there anyone that doesn’t have super speed at this point? [Laughs] Kidding aside, how are you feeling toward the idea that all the fans are eagerly awaiting your transformation into Jesse Quick?
VB: The fans are amazing. They’re insanely awesome. They’re so supportive which I honestly was surprised by. I hear so much about people on TV or making music and some of their fans or not fans being harsh or mean or bullying in a way. But all of The Flash fans, for the most part, have been so positive.
MM:That’d be awesome. Do you think there would ever come a time where Jesse wouldn’t be on her dad’s side or have differing opinions in terms of what might happen?
VB: Yeah I definitely think that could happen, for sure. Especially if and when Jesse does get her speed, that grows you up pretty fast. She might be like “I don’t need as much guidance or counseling as you’re giving me right now.” I can definitely see that happening.
MM: Yeah, and I mean obviously we don’t know what’s going to happen but the idea of you playing a superhero must be awesome. What do you envision, if you ever get a chance to put on one of those super suits? Do you have a thought of the color or the concept or to stay true to the comics or that sort of thing?
VB: It’s interesting, in most of the comics, the girls in them are wearing little booty shorts and I’m like “would you really run in that, though?” So I think it wouldn’t stay true in that way. But I do like — I like the Liberty Bell and that would carry over if they brought up Jesse’s mom, but I do think that’s a nice touch. I think that’d be cool. The yellow visor thing is kind of cool. It’d be interesting if it did carry over a little bit but everything they make is awesome, so I’d just be happy to have a costume.
MM: Would you be taking videos and pictures of you in your suit?
VB: Oh every day. I would just be chillin’ in it at the beach, at the mall.
MM: They’d be like “who is this weirdo pretending to be a vigilante?” Now, as yourself, would you rather live in Earth One or Earth Two?
VB: Earth Two. I just love the style so much. It’s like Steampunk meets sixties which is my favorite period. Plus CC Jitters is like a lounge and that’s pretty cool.
MM: What would you say has been the most exciting thing about working on a superhero show?
VB: Definitely getting to see some of the stunts that happen. Some of them I’ve seen are extremely scary and have people flying through glass walls and walking out and they’re like “yeah I’m fine” then they pull a glass shard out of their neck and I’m like “no you’re not fine.” They’re built for it somehow. It takes a certain person. The stunts are really cool. The suits are really cool and just the cast and crew in general. It’s such a great production. Everyone I’ve met — it’s scary at first coming into something new but everyone was super welcoming and I’ve met really awesome people.
MM: Have there been any major differences you found between working on a show like The Flash and working on a show like The Leftovers?
VB: Yeah, they’re totally opposite right? It’s different working for HBO because the Leftovers was the very first thing I did that wasn’t an indie or something much smaller and I was a little younger and I was just there to have fun, which is a good thing. You want to have fun at your job. But I didn’t know. It was a totally different experience.
MM: If you could take someone from any other show and drop them into Central City who would it be and why?
VB: Oh man, Batman? Can I say that? That’d be kinda cool. Batman and his batmobile.That would be pretty dope.
MM: We’ll put it out there. Maybe that will happen.
VB: Well with the new movies, The Flash seems like he’s going to meet Batman at some point.
MM: The Flash gets to meet everybody who is cool. There’s potential for it all. Would you rather have super speed or the ability to control minds?
VB: Wow, I think controlling minds would be pretty cool but like I’d probably get so greedy with it and get lazy and make everyone do things for me. Like “go get me tacos.”
MM: Better than doing bad things.
VB: That’s true.
MM: Tacos are important. Now, I like to ask all of my guests an odd question. If you were to construct a donut based on Jesse’s personality, what kind of donut would it be and what kind of toppings would be on it?
VB: Oh my god. I love donuts. She definitely is sweet when she wants to be. But she’s a little salty. I want to say like a maple bacon donut with maybe some chocolate on there.
MM: You can never go wrong when donuts bacon and chocolate are involved.
VB: I know. That sounds amazing.
MM: I’m sure The Flash keeps you pretty busy but can you talk about any other projects you have coming up or that you want the fans to look out for.
VB: Totally. In a couple weeks — I shot something a couple months back, a music video for the band Eyelid Kid and I directed it, edited it and starred in it so it’s a lot but it’s coming out in a couple weeks and it will be on all my social media. I play this deranged orphan girl who lives in an abandoned house her whole life. She has two dolls as friends. It’s going to be kind of creepy but it’ll be good.
MM: Do you have any messages for the fans or anything you want to say to them?
VB: You guys are awesome. Keep watching The Flash. The season finale is going to be the best.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW