Melissa Benoist On The Pressures Of Playing ‘Supergirl’ For CBS: ‘I Want To Do Right By Women’

07.03.15 3 years ago 14 Comments
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Since the first trailer for CBS’s Supergirl premiered in May, DC fans far and wide placed doubtful speculation on the new superhero series. It’s been quite some time since The Eye ventured into comic book territory and when the pilot episode for the series leaked half a year before its scheduled television premiere, it really felt like a rocky start for Greg Berlanti’s new series.

Then last week, a promising new trailer hit that teased more action and comic book mythology in the program. With San Diego Comic-Con less than a week away, Supergirl‘s star Melissa Benoist talked a bit with Entertainment Weekly about landing her new role, the responsibilities than come with it and the strangely empowering experience of putting on the suit for the first time:

You would think, “Oh, it’s silly. I’m putting on tights. I’m putting on a leotard and a skirt. There’s muscles built into the suit. There’s a cape. I’m going to feel like it’s Halloween.” But something changes internally. I feel like a different person almost. It really is an alter ego, where I feel inspired, hopeful and empowered.

Not only has Benoist been catching up on DC’s new 52 series, she also had to undergo some training which included “some boxing, strength training and a lot of core work.” But when she met Helen Slater on set, she found out the actress — who played the hero in the 1984 film — went horseback riding, did fencing, archery and swam a bunch to get in shape for the role. Those were much simpler times…

Nowadays, comic book properties are some serious business and Benoist recognizes the importance of her role as one of the few female superheroes to be featured on TV this fall:

I want to do right. Of course this is a broad statement, but I want to do right by women. I want to portray someone they can relate to and look up to that’s not a trite or a shallow depiction. I want her to be complicated and flawed.

[…]

It doesn’t matter if it’s women or men I inspire, I just want to inspire people in general to realize their strengths and their potential, and that you can do the things that you feel like are impossible to accomplish.

She is well aware of the responsibilities and pressures in bringing Supergirl to life on the small screen, but it apparently hasn’t fully hit her yet. Benoist admitted she was really overwhelmed at the upfronts earlier this year and says, “I’m sure Comic-Con will be an animal of its own.”

Yeah, that’s definitely an understatement.

WB TV will offer a sneak preview of the Supergirl pilot at Comic-Con on Wednesday night, and a panel is scheduled for the show on Saturday. This new superhero series is set to land on CBS on Monday October 26th at 8:30 PM EST.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)

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