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Greg Berlanti, ‘Jane the Virgin’ and ‘Flash’ Stars Talk Up Changing Roles for Women

The superhero world may seem to be a boys club but if Greg Berlanti has his way, we could see some new super-faces in features and on television.

On the carpet Saturday at the Paley Center’s Fall Preview of CW’s “The Flash” and “Jane the Virgin” Berlanti told Variety that he agrees with the fans who are clamoring to see a female superhero writ large on the screen.

Berlanti, exec producer of “The Flash” and CW’s “Arrow,” recalled being a fan of Wonder Woman and Batgirl as a kid, and noted that he thinks there’s enough interest for the super-verse to take on new kinds of heroes, including female leads. Berlanti’s remarks come on the heels of reports that he is eyeing a Supergirl series.

“I think it’s going to come next,” he said of the coming boom in female superheroes. “You look at things like ‘Frozen’ and ‘Wicked’ and ‘Maleficent’ and ‘Lucy,’ and they’re hits. Because they’re really interesting characters.”

Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez (pictured with co-star Jaime Camil) agrees that there is room on television for different and interesting women. Rodriguez, who stars as the accidentally artificially inseminated young woman, noted that she took the role because of its tone and inclusion of women.

“I got into acting to make a difference,” she said on the panel. “Growing up, I didn’t see myself on screen,” and as Jane she gets to play “someone who’s strong and intelligent. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself…and she isn’t cynical about love or the world.”

Candice Patton, the African-American thesp who plays Iris West on “The Flash,” is also grateful for the opportunity to bring more diversity to the superhero milieu. “To tell young girls that you can be curious and be brave and go out and explore the world…that’s such a great message,” she said.

“We don’t see them any differently,” Berlanti added of talking female characters on “The Flash,” “and I don’t think the audience does either. Rather they judge the work on the merits of how interesting those characters are.”

Both actresses also repeatedly stressed how much they appreciate the depth of their characters and the lack of focus on their physical appearance.

“Nobody’s talking about how brown my skin is, about my weight, about whether I’m pretty or not,” Rodriguez explained on the carpet. “Nobody’s talking about things that we see – we just live.”

“To be in this role,” said Patton, “to inspire young girls and be different is great.”

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