The Flash-Supergirl musical crossover: Grant Gustin on being back in his element
After being entertained for hours by his costars performing an epic ensemble number, Grant Gustin takes the stage in full dress tails for the climactic conclusion of The Flash-Supergirl musical crossover.
The Glee alum is prepping for the close of the Rachel Bloom co-penned tap number “Super Friend,” in which Barry (Gustin) and Kara (Melissa Benoist) fully embrace their predicament: They’ve been trapped in a movie musical by the Music Meister (Darren Criss) and must work through the script in order to escape. Earlier in the night, Gustin sat down with EW to talk about returning to his roots for the highly anticipated crossover, which you can read all about
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you feel when you first found out they were going to be doing a musical crossover?
GRANT GUSTIN: It had been talked about by the fans for a long time and I didn’t ever think it would be a real thing, so when they told me it was real, it was kind of like, “How?!” That was my first question.
What has the prep been like?
I knew we wouldn’t — for me, at least — have much prep. For me, this episode’s the same as a lot of the other episodes when it comes to stunt work or learning something on in the spot. Like we’re shooting a tap dance later today that I haven’t learned yet, so a lot of the prep work for me is very last minute. It is what I expected.
Does it feel like you’re on Glee all over again?
Yeah! It’s very similar where it’s just like run and gun and an impossible schedule to get this kind of thing done, but we will get it done.
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Are you actually singing when you guys are doing the takes? Or are you just relying on stuff you did in the studio?
Yeah, I mean, it’s the same exact way that Glee did it, which is you go in before, record your demo technically, and they use the flip track to play on the day. So it’s really us singing and then usually you sing overtop of the track so that what they’re shooting doesn’t look like you’re just lip syncing. It looks like you’re singing for real. So I’m singing for real, but it won’t be like our live singing performance. It’s a pre-recorded performance.
Were you nervous since you haven’t done this in a while?
Yeah, I was, but I just handle it the way I handle this job always, which was to not think about it until I’m literally doing it. [Laughs] So I usually have nerves for maybe an hour leading up to something. I was pretty nervous because I’d been sick, too — Melissa was as well — when we went in to record our music. Both of us were really congested, so I was nervous that morning, but it was fine. I’ve actually not been nervous about the dance aspects because, more than anything else, my true foundation was tap dance. So it’s been cool to get back to it.
What was it like getting to reunite with Darren Criss?
It’s cool, man. I mean, me and Melissa are both just like, “It’s weird!” It’s literally a Glee episode because he’s so Darren no matter where he is. He’s comfortable wherever he is and has fun wherever he is, so he came right in. It was just the same energy I remember him having from Glee. He’s awesome to have around.
The roles are reversed though because before, you were evil, and now he is evil. Is he finally getting his vengeance on you basically?
Yeah. He gets to manipulate me a little. His Music Meister — at least our version of him — isn’t like a malicious bad guy. He’s technically the villain of the episode, but it’s kind of for our benefit. He manipulates me. It is similar to how Sebastian treated the Blaine [Criss] and Kurt [Chris Colfer] characters. He’s a manipulative villain.
How is the Music Meister a different villain than what we’ve seen on the show before?
Well, there’s nothing we can really do most of the time to stop him because he brings us into this dream world and he’s in complete control. We don’t have our powers, so it’s not Flash and Supergirl; it’s Barry and Kara trying to use their brains to get out of this musical. That’s why I say he’s not really a malicious villain. A lot of our villains have these human cores, and we find out what they are. But Music Meister isn’t even a bad guy, in a way. He’s like a weird, messed up therapist.
How does Barry take to being in this musical world?
It’s like a mixed bag. He’s dealing with a lot back in reality, first of all, so it’s initially like, “We don’t have time for this, man. Stop your games. We need to get back to our life and our problems.” But this world was created because of Barry and Kara’s subconscious. They each love movie musicals and they always have, and it had been an escape for them growing up. So a piece of him starts to really enjoy it, and it comes in waves. It is also, like I said, trying to escape, get back to their problems so they can fix the things happening in their real life, but it’s kind of an escape for them in a way, too. So I think he gets caught up in it at times and has a little bit of fun for sure.
What’s it like being in this ’40s musical?
It’s always cool when everyone’s in a different look. It creates a buzz for everybody. I can tell the crew is having a lot of fun on this episode with everyone’s different looks and it switches up for them.
The last time you guys crossed over, Barry and Kara learned something from each other. What do you think they learn this time from each other?
We’re each learning the same lesson, which is that our love is enough, which is perfect because it’s the cheesiest thing that you could possibly take away from a musical. Love is enough sometimes and I think, for them, that’s what they learn and move forward with.
What can you tease about some of the songs you’re doing, like the Rachel Bloom one?
It’s very consistent with that style of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. We have a lot of different styles of songs. We have the standards. We have Pasek and Paul’s original song, and then Rachel’s. That one is more of a comedy piece and that’s the one we tap for. It’s fun. That’s the moment we’re really being engrossed in the musical and I think it’s the first time you see us kind of accept it. We’re trying to figure out the stages of the script to finish the play and get out essentially. So that’s the beginning of that process. It’s a fun number. We have a good time. We like to goof around, improv and stuff, for sure. That song’s kind of like a spoken singing song. There are pauses in it that we left empty when we recorded it to do whatever improv we could on the day. So there’s some fun looseness to that song, too.
Besides obviously getting to reunite with Darren, what’s it been like working with everyone else who is crossing over into this episode?
I’ve worked with John [Barrowman] a handful of times now, and I got to work with Jeremy [Jordan] on Supergirl, so it’s cool to have them back. But the weirdest person is actually Chris Wood, because we went to Elon University together, we were musical theater majors together, and we were very good friends in school. We’ve never been on a set together ever, and now we’re being reunited doing a musical crossover with our two superhero shows, so that’s probably, honestly, out of all the weird [things] — Darren being here, working with Melissa — that’s the weirdest thing is that I’m on a film set with Chris Wood doing a musical.
The musical crossover will kick off at the end of Supergirl’s March 20 hour, with the majority of the action taking place during The Flash’s March 21 episode, both airing at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Get BTS scoop here, check out photos here, and read our interviews with Darren Criss here, Melissa Benoist here, John Barrowman here, and Carlos Valdes here.