No matter what universe we find him, Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is a bit of a cipher wearing a protective facade for a variety of reasons. Yet the one person who seems to have cracked that facade and reached his otherwise stony heart is his daughter Jesse (Violett Beane) — at least, the Dr. Wells from Earth-2. One of the most heart-wrenching and compelling storylines this season on THE FLASH has been watching Dr. Wells aka Harry –as Barry Allen and friends have dubbed him so as to not confuse him with the Dr. Wells aka Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne from our Earth. After all, what parent would not do everything in their power to rescue their child from the evil clutches of Zoom? Even Jesse herself seems a bit surprised to find out that her father holds a soft-spot in his heart for her and has crossed over into another universe and back just to save her.
In an exclusive interview, star Violett Beane talks about the joy of landing such a plum role on a hit show and where the possibilities may lie ahead for her character as THE FLASH universes expand.
So now that Jesse has been rescued, are you allowed to share how many more episodes you will be in this season?
VIOLETT: I think you will be seeing a lot of her. As you saw in last week’s episode, she finally got free from Zoom and now she’s on Earth-1. More or less for the rest of the season, you will be able to get to know Jesse and seeing her assimilate to life on Earth-1 and getting to know all the people on the Flash Team and this whole other Earth. So you’ll be seeing her getting used to this new life.
What is going to be the hardest adjustment for her?
VIOLETT: Imagine if you were 17 years old and you had to leave all your friends and had to move to a new city or state, and she moves to a whole new Earth. Like she doesn’t have any friends. She only has her dad. She loves him, but he is her dad. So she is just sort of getting to know everyone and being okay with how her life is on this new Earth. I think it will definitely be challenging at times, but I think she can handle it.
Is she going to be homesick or will she make the adjustment kind of quickly?
VIOLETT: I think she will be homesick for a while. She loves her dad, but she is going to be missing everything. They ran out of there so fast that she didn’t get to say goodbye or anything. So she will be homesick for a while, but as she meets the Flash Team and as stuff starts to happen, she will get more used to it and you’ll be able to see these relationships build with each person on the team.
Is Jesse going to be job-hunting? After all, this is a whole new life for her.
VIOLETT: [Laughs] I know, right?! She needs to get a job! She’s crazy smart, so she is going to be able to help the team in ways that maybe they didn’t think. She had five majors when she was in college and she was in college when she was 16 years old. So she has a lot to offer. I think slowly but surely everyone will start to realize that. She is going to be a good part of the team.
She is also the person who has spent the most about of time with Zoom, whether she wanted to or not. She might have some insight into what makes him tick.
VIOLETT: You would think so, but he is one of the most vicious villains that I have ever seen on TV and there is no sign of him cracking or letting anyone know anything about him — besides the fact that he has that need for speed. I think she is just so happy to finally be away from him.
What was it like to film those kind of intense scenes where you are face-to-face with some actor behind a mask like that?
VIOLETT: I know! The stuntman who was in the Zoom suit is an amazing guy. He was not personally an actor. At first, he was just a stunt guy and then he started to get more into acting. I think he was really able to embody that. Then when I hear the voice on screen — that’s Tony Todd’s voice — it all sort of came together. It is a little hard when you don’t have that person there with you, but that is when our acting kicks in. You know what the writers are wanting as an actor. So it’s easier than you might think when you’re in front of the camera and you are doing it. It just sort of flows out of you.
Who is Jesse as a person? How do you see her?
VIOLETT: There was a couple of scenes with her dad early on and I kind of gathered her personality and how she would handle situations, and a little bit of what’s in the comic books. I think she is a pretty strong-willed girl, but even though she is strong and empowered, when you are behind locked bars and there is this creepy Zoom guy, anyone is bound to crack a little bit. Like in last week’s episode when she was talking to Barry (Grant Gustin), she wants to get out but she had kind of lost hope. She had been in there for 3-4 months and she didn’t think anyone was coming to save them. But as she begins to understand the new world and her new life, her personality is able to shine out more and you will get to know her a lot more and I’m really excited for that. And then as I grown more into the character, it will be nice to have scenes where she is not just scared and afraid for her life.
What do you most admire about her?
VIOLETT: How strong she is. She is really sassy and she is not afraid to talk back and hold her own. I think there needs to be more figures like that for girls and I think the show does a really good job creating those characters that younger kids can look up to — both with the toughness of the women in the show and seeing Barry cry. That’s a new thing for kids to see: boys with emotions and girls that are empowering. So I think adding Jesse to the team is going to be really good. It’s going to be good for the kids. She’s a role model and I really like that.
At this point, what is Jesse’s relationship with her father like?
VIOLETT: She’s grown up with just him and I can relate to that too because my mom raised me as a single mother. You love them and you are close to them, but if one thing happens, you feel like you can’t trust them anymore. I think Jesse loves him and trusts him and she obviously wants to get away from Zoom so she will listen to him, but finding out that her father created the particle accelerator — that’s kind of like a stab in the back. Like why didn’t she know this if they were so close? It’s just a little bit more difficult when you are so close to someone to always trust them and always agree with what they have to say. So I think we will see a little bit of her backlash, but also out of love and out of feeling hurt.
What is it like working with Tom Cavanagh, as your quasi-father on the show?
VIOLETT: [Laughs] He is crazy! He is so talented. Honestly, like if I have any questions about anything or if I’m feeling weird in a scene, he’s always right there to give me advice. And he’s hilarious! Between him and Grant and Carlos, they go back and forth and always cracking jokes. It’s a nice environment to work in. Tom definitely lightens up the mood and he’s been an awesome partner in scenes we’re in. So I look forward to more and for the fans to see our work that we have done so far.
Had you watched the first season when Tom played the alternate version of Dr. Wells?
VIOLETT: Yeah, I’ve seen it all. I think it is an interesting choice on his part. He’s still so hardened, but in a different way, and he’s definitely getting a soft-spot for the whole Flash Team — but he won’t admit it — and I think his character needs that. I think he wants to love and to have these friends. I think Jesse will take on some of that too, but she only knows him and she doesn’t know these other people yet. She is going off of him as she doesn’t know what his relationships are with them.
Is Jesse going to be open to making friends or is she going to be the reluctant new person on the team?
VIOLETT: I think she will be open to it. Being 6 or so years younger than the other characters, she kind of looks up to them in a way. Like Iris (Candice Patton) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), they both are also very strong women and they have earned this place in their lives with their jobs and careers. So I think she looks up to them and they help her out and make her feel a bit more like she is a part of this Earth and a part of what they are creating and doing. So I think that will be nice.
What have you learned working on the show? What is something that surprised you or that you enjoyed?
VIOLETT: I had worked on another television series before, THE LEFTOVERS, but I was not doing as many scenes and I was not taking it as far with my character. So I’ve learned so much about the filming process during all of this. I feel like I have learned way more than I could have doing anything else. I did not go to college because I kind of always knew that I was going to be a performer in some way and I think for certain career paths that college is not necessarily the right thing and I don’t think I could have learned nearly as much about film if I was in a classroom. Being so hands-on and doing what I love to do and having that be my career is such a happy feeling, and for it to be happening so soon in my life is a really great feeling.
Did you have a clue when you joined the show that your story arc would be expanded so much?
VIOLETT: I didn’t. For my audition process, I sent in a tape. I never even came up and met anyone. They just chose me. I don’t think they really expected my character to go where it did. But I guess just the chemistry on screen and all that, it just made sense for this character to keep growing the way that she is and I’m so grateful for it.
The Man in the Iron Mask who was in the cell next to Jesse in Zoom’s lair, can you offer any information about him?
VIOLETT: I don’t even know who he is because the characters didn’t talk to each other. The only thing that were exchanged were: J-A-Y. So I don’t know if he knows who Jay is, or if he is saying Jay could have saved them or what he was saying. Just like Barry and Jesse, we don’t know who he is. I know the writers are going to do something crazy. They always do. I’m exciting to find out who he is.
That’s the crazy thing about Zoom: he seems to collect people and just leaves them in these cages. It’s like, “dude, why are you collecting people?”
VIOLETT: [Laughs] I know! He kind of judges how great his based on these people he captures and does nothing with. It’s like, “Why?!” But he must have a plan.
What can you share that the future may hold for Jesse?
VIOLETT: At some point she is going to get speed because it has been hinted at a few times — Jesse Quick. Hopefully that happens this season. I think that will be interesting. Just to see how another speedster would work with The Flash. Wally West is a speedster in the comics too. So just to see that whole Speed Force will be really, really cool. I know that everyone that has tried on their suits before has been like, “When I put that suit on, I feel like a superhero.” So hopefully that will happen soon for me too.
Are you worried they will make you do a ton of running scenes after that?
VIOLETT: [Laughs] I know, right?! And it’s so awkward because I have the weirdest run ever!
This next episode features the return of King Shark. What teasers can you share?
VIOLETT: They bought back King Shark because it did so well. People really liked it. The special effects were amazing. So it’s going to be cool to see another villain that we have seen before come back. They don’t do that very often. There’s some guest-stars from ARROW, which is really cool. As far as Jesse goes, you will see her slowly coming into this Earth and finding her place. So stay tuned and watch “King Shark”!
To see what further clues Jesse may hold into both the identity of Zoom and the Man in the Mask on Earth-2, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of THE FLASH on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. on the CW.