The Flash actor Jordan Fisher discusses Bart Allen's relatable 'humanity' in episode 150
To play Bart Allen, a.k.a. Impulse, Fisher studied Grant Gustin and Candice Patton's performances.
Even though The Flash's Bart Allen is both from the future and a speedster, his portrayer, Jordan Fisher, still found Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris' (Candice Patton) superheroic son very relatable — especially when it comes to his trademark impulsiveness.
"The way that I live as Jordan is I think that your gut should always be followed," Fisher tells EW ahead of the CW drama's landmark 150th episode airing Tuesday night. "I think you have the feeling in your gut for a reason, but we're not always as good as Bart is at 100 percent strictly following that feeling. [Laughs] That is what makes Bart, Bart. That is what makes Impulse, Impulse. For Impulse, his impulsivity, he definitely views that as an asset, and I do too, for his family. You've got to have one person that's unhinged, and that's Bart."
After making his crash debut in the final scene of last week's episode, Fisher further steps into the spotlight in the milestone (and season 7's penultimate) hour, titled "Heart of the Matter, Part 1." Hailing from the year 2049, Bart and his older sister Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) reunite with their parents in the present day and get caught in the middle of the Godspeed war that's tearing the city apart.
Below, Fisher chats with EW about studying Gustin and Patton's performances, Bart and Nora's dynamic, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How familiar were you with both the show and the character Bart Allen?
JORDAN FISHER: Coming into it, less familiar with the show, more familiar with Bart in the DC universe. What I knew of Bart was anything I had seen of him from, like, a random comic or Impulse from Young Justice. Before I actually started work on the show, when I was quarantining and getting ready to actually get up to Canada, what ensued was a deep, deep, deep dive of all of it. I needed to know what was going on. I needed to know about this timeline [on the show].
What I found, honestly, is that Impulse is 1,000 percent one of my all-time favorite superheroes. I think that there's so much real-life, actual humanity in Bart that we can all relate to. I think his impulsivity is something people either have in spades or wish they had more of. I think that his compassion, his love, his heart for his family, how much fun he has being a superhero — that's the thing that's probably so relatable, that you can really sink your teeth into. The fact that this dude is one of the fastest people in the history of mankind and can do all these really, really cool things and he's as young as he is. He knows that he is so cool! [Laughs] He knows what he can do is awesome, and he has fun with it. When you watch Impulse fight, he's laughing and smiling and cracking jokes. He's like, "Watch this real quick!" and then jumps off the wall and flips in the air and does parkour. You know when you have superpowers in your dreams or what have you, when you're just having fun, that is what I imagine Bart would be like in real life.
So then to truly introduce this character in a way that's great for both the show as well as satisfying for the fans who read Impulse comics or Flash comics, or is a Young Justice fan, I think I put enough of all sorts of different elements and versions of Bart into one thing to make it feel the most authentic in a live-action setting, and I had a blast doing it.
What was the most enlightening thing you watched on the show or read while preparing?
The thing that was most exciting for me, honestly, was seeing the dynamic between Barry and Iris. Like catching up on the show, figuring out what this is, and seeing little physical traits and characteristics and mannerisms, and things that they do with each other and how they are both individually as people [and] as mom and dad to Bart. That was the most exciting thing for me to watch and to ingest, and really think about as I'm building out this character and doing the breakdown of what I want to do. Like how can I take a little bit of what Grant is doing with Barry and what he did in his past? What can I take from Candice's interpretation of Iris? How can I make these things kind of [like] mom and dad so that as people are watching, they can pick up on little things that are familiar to them?
What mannerisms did you end up borrowing from them and making part of your portrayal?
That it's a big family. Of course, we're coming [from] the future and that adds a little layer of things there that you have sort through, but generally speaking, I think you can look at a family unit and be like, "Oh yeah, they all belong together!" Maybe a few of the kids look like each other and maybe one or two of them look exactly like their parents, but like they all talk [the same] or fold their arms the same way, or give certain reactions to things. Specifically speaking where Bart and Barry are concerned, I think Grant has done a beautiful job of being so consistent. To watch him in his element and see him do what he does and how he is as the Flash and how he is as Barry are two very different things, but they share a lot of similarity.
I think my version of Bart going into this was, "What would Bart do?" He would probably take some of the cool things that his dad did, but he probably doesn't think that everything his dad does is cool. But Bart wants to be cool, wants to figure out what would be the coolest way to enter into a fight. "Or if I have to kick this guy over the head, how can I do that and look like Jackie Chan at the same time?" That's Bart, and I think that is so relatable. I think that Barry is a little more calculated, whereas Bart specifically is not a calculative person. He does everything based off of instinct. No one can figure out what he's going to do, which I think is what makes him as cool as he is. That was something my version of Bart specifically set out to do so that he wasn't like Barry. Finding the differences between the Flash and Impulse is, contextually, a very different layer than finding the differences and similarities between Bart and his father. Being able to play with that duality as an actor? Oh my God! I got to have so much fun on set every day.
How did you feel when you put on the Impulse suit for the first time?
A dream. [Laughs] I took so many pictures and videos on my phone, like sending them to my wife like, "Look at this, I'm a superhero! I'm an actual superhero." I had these dreams of answering the door with my Impulse suit on, on Halloween and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. This has got to be one of the coolest thing to do as an actor. It's not the most comfortable thing in the world, I guarantee you that, but it feels cool.
Did you rely on your gymnastics and dance background to help you get the hang of the action and stunts? How much preparation did you do?
There's not a lot of preparation that can go into it. You kind of just have to learn as you go. The thing that I really set out to do as well was just stay on top of my correspondence with the showrunner, Eric [Wallace], as well as the VFX team, because my goal going into playing Impulse was, "All right, Impulse has to be completely different from every other speedster." The way that he moves, the way that he skids into things, the way that he leaves the room all had to be different. It has to have a different kind of zest to it because that's what makes Impulse, Impulse.
I think Bart being as comfortable as he is with his body and doing things that other speedsters don't do — Bart's doing like parkour off of buildings and stuff like that, and spinning, and doing all sorts of crazy of stuff. What I drew from truly was the training I got as a gymnast, just kinesthetic awareness and not being afraid to just throw your body and see what happens. That's a lot of what learning what new skills in gymnastics is, like, "I'm going to show you what you're going to be doing and we're going to be breaking it down, but ultimately in the next half-hour you're going to have to just try it, throw your body up and see what happens." Other than that, there's no particular style.
It's also great that you're coming into the show with Jessica Parker Kennedy, who is returning as Nora. How would you describe Bart and Jessica's dynamic, especially as superheroes?
Probably like The Incredibles, it's siblings first. It's not partners-in-crime first. And that's what informs a lot of the decisions that they make and how they function together, fight together, and play together. It's unconditional support for sure at the end of the day. If either of us in trouble, we're going to throw our bodies in front of them. That sibling-first mentality is really helpful for them, but it also can impede on things as well, which you'll see in terms of the dynamic.
Bart is the annoying little brother. "Why do you exist?" is kind of like what comes from Nora's brain whenever Bart enters the room, and at the end of the day she loves him so much and would do anything for him. We get to see a little of that as well, which I'm excited about.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.