I’ve been waiting 31 years to see a solid new Supergirl, and I loved the new CBS series from the moment I saw the pilot. Actually, from the moment I saw Melissa Benoist in costume. The show has continued to live up to my expectations with some specific episodes, so I was excited to visit the set with the Television Critics Association and speak with Benoist about the show.
Producers revealed that an upcoming episode would be based on the Alan Moore series “For the Man Who Has Everything,” only adapted for Supergirl. Smallville Supergirl Laura Vandervoort is joining the cast as Indigo, and Benoist’s husband Blake Jenner is guest starring as well. Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 on CBS.
Nerd Report: I know the show is a lot of work. Have you fallen into a rhythm yet?
Melissa Benoist: It’s always kind of an uphill battle in a really good way. It’s always challenging me. It’s always pushing me to another limit physically, mentally, emotionally. So I’m still figuring out the balance but I think it’s getting to an even keel.
Nerd Report: How much ownership do you take of the costume? When you see yourself in it, do you feel like, “That’s me?”
Melissa Benoist: Totally. Now, yes, I think I’ve gotten to the point where I feel very comfortable in it and I feel like every time it’s on, I know something hard is coming up. Whether it’s a fight or some kind of crazy emotional scene with someone that is a nemesis or someone that is hurting her. I think putting on the suit entails putting on all her baggage to me.
Q: Has playing this character changed you, feeling what she inspires in little kids and a lot of people?
Melissa Benoist: Oh, completely. It’s really definitely taught me. I’ve never really been a passive person or meek, I wouldn’t say, but I definitely know what it feels like to be a wallflower and to no want to impose and to be a yes man. This job is definitely teaching me to stand up for myself and not take any… I don’t want to say a bad word. This is me being modest. Not take any crap, yeah.
Q: Do you feel that inherent goodness? Is she an example to you?
Melissa Benoist: Yeah, what she stands for I think would be difficult for anyone to live up to in today’s world especially. She totally holds me to those standards, just in playing her every day.
Nerd Report: Did you go read “For the Man Who Has Everything” for the upcoming “For the Girl Who Has Everything” episode?
Melissa Benoist: Oh yeah, and the whole episode has been my favorite to play. I think it’s beautiful. It’s got this Wizard of Oz type feel to it. We talk so much about how much Kara has lost and how important Krypton was to her and to actually be Kara Zor-El on Krypton was a pretty magical feeling.
Q: How uncomfortable is the suit?
Melissa Benoist: It’s not too uncomfortable unless it’s 103 degrees outside which we’ve done some days like that.
Nerd Report: Now that it’s winter has it been better to shoot?
Melissa Benoist: Yes, yeah. It’s kind of hard because either/or, if it’s really hot nothing up here breathes. If it’s really cold, my legs are exposed.
Q: How excited are you that Laura Vandervoort, another Supergirl, is coming to the show?
Melissa Benoist: It just feels good to honor the past. Not many people have played this character before and it’s a special thing to be a par of. Not many people have played Kryptonians really and that’s rare and unique. I feel like Laura is an amazing addition to our show.
Q: How much of a relief was it that the show was ultimately well received?
Melissa Benoist: There’s always trepidation, especially when something’s being pushed. We were advertised everywhere. That was the only moment that I felt any trepidation, like, “Oh God, that’s going to be embarrassing if no one likes it.” I never really had any true fear. I knew that most everyone would be able to take something away from it.
Q: How was it working with Blake on an episode?
Melissa Benoist: A dream. Any chance that we could ever have to work together, we will take. I love working with him.
Q: Is it a romantic storyline?
Melissa Benoist: There are sparks, yes. He definitely complicates things.
Q: What did it mean to you to explore the subplot about how women are judged for how they manage anger?
Melissa Benoist: Well, I want to say that is one of my favorite episodes that we’ve done to date, just because of what I got to explore in that theme of women’s expectations on how to handle anger. And I didn’t realize when we started shooting and when I got to do those scenes where it was literally just all hell broke loose, how good that felt because of how little I do that in my daily life (laughs). It’s, like, that’s kind of interesting.
Q: How has your life changed personally since this came on? Have you bought anything for yourself?
Melissa Benoist: Everyone’s always asking me that but my life is here really. I spend most of it at Warner Brothers and no, I don’t. I’m saving. I’m being smart. My mother would be proud of me.
Q: You didn’t buy a house?
Melissa Benoist: I’d like to someday.
Q: What’s on your wishlist?
Melissa Benoist: Another dog, I don’t know. I already have three.
Q: Kara is very preppy. What is your style?
Melissa Benoist: Oh, you know what, it totally depends on my mood. Lately it’s been a lotta sweatpants and whatever I roll out of bed in.
Q: If you have to go to an event, what do you like to wear?
Melissa Benoist: I always tend to go towards simple, understated, minimal. Usually I’m not too flashy.
Q: Any favorite designers?
Melissa Benoist: I love Marc Jacobs. I don’t know, I’m not too much into fashion. I wish I was.
Q: What are your passions outside of work?
Melissa Benoist: I love riding bicycles. I love making pottery. I love my DS. I love my dogs. I’m pretty simple. I love reading. I’m kind of a bookworm.