Melissa Benoist has some large boots to fill. And not just from Laura Vandervoort, who played Kara Zor-El on Smallville. Benoist (as you already know) has been cast in the title role of the DC Comics inspired series Supergirl, premiering in November on CBS. A show with a female DC Comics character as the lead hasn’t happened since Lynda Carter twirled her last spin as Wonder Woman in 1979.
But Benoist seems to deflect the pressure like bullets of her chest. In a resent interview with Variety, she’s ready for the responsibility of playing the Maid of Might. “Of course I do (feel the pressure), but not in a negative way,” she states. “I’m not necessarily a person who works well under pressure. But in this situation, I am so excited about it. I’m not going to let myself doing anything less than what I think people will want to see.”
When asked what it’s like to play a superhero, Benoist responds like a true hero. “Not like what you would expect! There are the moments you feel like a badass and you feel empowered.” Benoist continued, saying “You feel strong and confident. But I have to say there are moments when I step back and look at the bigger picture and I’m on the set with fire and explosions and I’m in the suit and I’ll have to do a doubletake and be like, ‘What am I doing?’ This is hilarious and surreal and amazing.”
Executive Producer Greg Berlanti (Arrow and The Flash) speaks very highly of Melissa Benoist. “If we had not found her, I would have said ‘I don’t want to make this,’” says Berlanti of Benoist. Like actors Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Grant Gustin (The Flash), Benoist auditioned first before other potential hopefuls. But something about her stood out to casting director David Rappaport.
According to Benoist, she does many of her own stunts. “Already I’ve fought a male on the show. Supergirl’s fight moves are boxing. She’s really heavy-handed. There’s some flying that involves kicking and punching mid-flight that’s kind of awesome.” In addition to fighting, Benoist has logged some frequent flyer miles with wiring training. “The wirework for training is mostly core work. It’s mostly ab-centric — the whole area of the body that nobody wants to work out. You have to get strong. You have to carry your whole body weight when you’re up in the air.”
Supergirl is set to air Sundays staring in November on CBS.