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The Flash star Victor Garber on what to expect from new DC Comics show Legends of Tomorrow

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What movie would strand the President of the United States—played by Samuel L. Jackson—in Finland, fighting for survival alongside a 13-year-old boy? Big Game, a 2014 Finnish film directed by Jalmari Helander, which will be released in the U.S. on Friday and will also be available on-demand. It’s a wild, pulpy action film that echoes a film from another era, with shades of a coming-of-age tale around the boy, Oskari, and his helping Jackson’s President William Allan Moore. Don’t worry, Jackson is still a card-carrying cinematic badass, as seen in an exclusive clip shared with EW last week.

Further embroiled in the executive branch drama is Victor Garber, who plays the nameless Vice President in Moore’s cabinet. The 65-year-old actor also was recently announced as a star of CW’s new DC Comics show Legends of Tomorrow, reprising his Flash role of Dr. Martin Stein, who is one half of the superhero Firestorm. The Legends are slated to take on Vandal Savage, a notable villain in the DC universe.

EW chatted with Garber ahead of the movie’s release, talking Big Game—which also stars Felicity Huffman, Ted Levine, Jim Broadbent and Ray Stevenson—Legends and the genius of J.J. Abrams.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you signed on for The Flash, did you already know they were planning for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow?

VICTOR GARBER: No, I didn’t have any idea about that until—I did two episodes, and then I came back for another one—towards the end of the season, that it all just came into focus. I was really was surprised, frankly, and happy. It’s a fun character, and I like the people I’m working with a lot.

Had you always wanted to play a superhero?

No, no. I find it kind of amusing, at this point of my life, that this is now what I’m doing. It’s great. It’s a kind of unexpected treat, really.  

What was it about that character and project that attracted you to it?

It’s Greg Berlanti ‘s writing and his concepts. The way he humanizes the surreal superworld world, because, really, it wouldn’t be interesting if they weren’t believable, and that’s why I think the shows are so successful, is because he and Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim, who write it, they know how to make the story work and believable, even though it’s fantastic. That’s what intrigues me about it. It’s always the material of the writing that gets me interested in anything. I would be very nervous if they weren’t on board.

Vandal Savage was teased last month. What can fans expect out of the Legends bad guy?

I think they can expect more of what exactly what they’re expecting. Frankly, we haven’t shot one frame of the series—I haven’t read a script, we didn’t make a pilot. It’s one of those things that I hope they know what they’re doing [laughs], because everybody’s very confident, and I’m saying, “Well, okay, good! Hope that it works.”

Did you have a prior familiarity with the comic books?

No—none, actually. This is a new world for me.

What’s been the craziest moment of your career?

Probably J.J. Abrams casting me in Alias was pretty crazy; that was a good crazy thing, obviously. It was unexpected—again, not unlike this—because I was going along, doing what I do, then suddenly, I got what turned out to be an iconic role in a little legendary series. I’ve had a lot of very extraordinary opportunities—Titanic was one—but Alias was really life-changing for me.

What about J.J. really impressed you?

J.J.’s just one of the smartest, funniest people I’ve ever met, so that combination has always attracted me to anybody [laughs]. Smart and funny. He has them in spades. He’s brilliantly talented. He’s a great director. The pilot of Alias is, in some people’s estimation, one of the best pilots ever made. It certainly was the template for everything that followed.

What lured you to Big Game?

Really, I just thought it was a charming story. I thought it was a funny idea, that Sam Jackson would be paired with a 13-year-old boy and would have to find a way out of a very bad situation. But really, the shooting schedule worked out for me—it was only a week’s work—and we’d get to work with Felicity [Huffman] and Jim Broadbent.  Felicity, I knew socially and was a great admirer of hers—we’re friendly—so we had a lot of fun, and Jim Broadbent is one of the best actors in the world. He’s phenomenal. That was really what attracted me to it.

Normally, that’s not a role that I would say, “Oh, I got to play that role.” I just loved the twists and turns of what happened, and I thought it was kind of clever and interesting. I thought I would jump at the opportunity.

Big Game has been described as a throwback 80s, 90s action movie. Why would fans of that genre be fans of this?

It’s pure escapism. It’s completely unbelievable and really fun to watch, and I think that’s always a winning combination in a film.

Lastly, I’m unsure how well you knew him, but I wanted to express my condolences concerning Titanic composer James Horner’s passing.

Very sad about that. That’s really sad news. He was such a splendid man and such a brilliant, brilliant artist. I didn’t know him well, but I certainly had met him. It was shocking, really. Shocking, shocking news.

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