You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Why Kevin Smith Was Nervous Returning to Direct ‘The Flash’

Last season, Kevin Smith reached out to the CW to ask if there was a chance he could direct an episode of “The Flash.” He ended up helming one of the final episodes of Season 2, “The Runaway Dinosaur,” which turned out to be one of the strongest episodes of the show’s sophomore run.

“These gigs to me, I love them to death,” he said to Variety in a recent interview. “I get to exercise any impulse I have to be involved in the caped action and drama — and it keeps me away from those big a– movies which is probably best for everybody.”

Tonight, Smith’s second episode of “The Flash,” titled “Killer Frost,” will air. He says, “When I went back that many months later it was like no time had gone by.”

Here, Smith talks to Variety about returning to “The Flash,” why he was nervous, plus what to expect in tonight’s episode…

What was it like returning to set?

The style of the show is already set. You can’t change that. And all these actors know what they’re doing and know more about their character than any visiting director can possibly know. At the end of the day, there is not much you can bring to it to change it, or ruin it. What I bring to it, which is why I got to come back and also do “Supergirl,” is boundless enthusiasm. I direct that show like I’m a baptist preacher on coke. It’s like where saving the world as much as making an hour of television, and that’s because the subject matter is so close to my heart. The writers do such a fantastic job. They’re soap operas for people like me.

Superhero soap opera is exactly how I explain the show to people.

Absolutely, it’s episodic in nature. The Honest Trailers folks over at ScreenJunkies did a “Flash” trailer for the TV show and they nailed it calling it “Dawson’s Creek” with capes. It’s soap operas for young men, but it stretches beyond that which is what I love about these shows. You don’t have a demographic.

How did you feel about the first episode you directed for “The Flash” in Season 2?

“Runaway Dinosaur” came at a great time. I had been to Sundance in January promoting “Yoga Hosers” — and critics sh-t all over it — and people were going, ‘This f—ing idiot doesn’t know how to direct.’ And then “Runaway Dinosaur” came on, and the tune changed. People said, ‘Oh, this f—ing idiot does know how to direct, he just chooses not to on his own time.’ It bought me a little credibility.

I thought “Runaway Dinosaur” was one of the strongest episodes of a really strong second season. Were you nervous coming back and having to follow it up?

Oh, totally. I was trying to line up all the the ducks in a row to be the exact same experience. I made sure I had my crew again — the folks I shot with the first time — and then Zach Stentz wrote the episode “Runaway Dinosaur” so I said, ‘Zach, you’ve got to write my episode.’ Originally I was supposed to do episode 5, and Zach did write that episode, but I was doing “Yoga Hosers” press and had to miss it. Instead of doing [episode] six, I waited for that odd-numbered crew and did [episode] seven, but I didn’t get to do Zach’s script so I was terrified, thinking, ‘Oh God, Zach was the magic feather and without him this is going to blow.’ So yeah, I was very paranoid.

“Runaway Dinosaur” was an important episode for Barry, and judging by the promos — and the fact that the episode is titled “Killer Frost” — this seems like an equally big episode for Caitlin. Do you prefer the episodes that are more focused on a single character?

I’m happy with whatever they give me. I was happy with “Runaway Dinosaur” because it was so tied into my favorite episode of the show, the Season 1 finale, that it felt like a spiritual sequel. The “Killer Frost” script couldn’t have been more different. “Runaway Dinosaur” played like a Berlanti-verse version of “What Dreams May Come” — it was lyrical, kinda beautiful, had the idea of facing ones own mortality. “Killer Frost” is like a Grisham thriller and a bit of an action movie. The pace that I was going for was “Three Days of the Condor.” That’s lofty, and I never shared that with the cast and crew, but based on the nature of the story, it’s about someone who knows something that no one else does and they’re trying to get this information before anyone else. It allowed me to tell a story that I would never tell in my own world.

“The Flash” airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the CW.

More TV

  • EMPIRE: L-R: Toby Onwumere and Jussie

    Jussie Smollett's 'Empire' Character Ties the Knot as Actor's Future on Show Is Unclear

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the April 24th episode of “Empire.” Jussie Smollett’s character on “Empire” got married in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, but the actor’s ongoing assault controversy makes his future on the show uncertain. The episode, entitled “Never Doubt I Love,” was Smollett’s last confirmed appearance in [...]

  • Riverdale -- "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of

    'Riverdale' Airs Luke Perry's Final Scene

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear The Reaper,” the April 24 episode of “Riverdale.” “Riverdale” has aired late actor Luke Perry’s final scene as Andrews patriarch Fred. In “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper,” the 19th episode of the third season of “Riverdale,” Archie (KJ Apa) was worried about [...]

  • "We Turn Up This Music Louder

    TV Review: 'The Red Line'

    For all that broadcast TV’s power has attenuated in recent years, what they choose to put on still means something — and, from a certain point of view, something more than the choices made by prestige outlets. After all, the reach of broadcasters is without parallel. They’re simply in that many more homes than prestige [...]

  • Grey's Anatomy Season 15

    Broadcast Bubble Shows 2019: What's Coming Back, What’s Not

    While many broadcast shows have already been picked up for next season, plenty of favorites are still waiting to learn their fates. Given that the broadcasters are currently evaluating this year’s crop of comedy and drama pilots, some current shows will unfortunately have to shuffle off to that great network in the sky, where they [...]

  • Elizabeth Olsen Wanda Vision

    Elizabeth Olsen Says Disney+ Series 'WandaVision' Is Set in 1950s

    “Avengers: Endgame” star Elizabeth Olsen tells Variety that “WandaVision,” the forthcoming Disney+ series about her superhero character, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, will be set in the 1950s. “There’s quite a few other comic books that we’re pulling from and it’s going to be Wanda and the Vision, and I think at the Disney+ launch chat, they [...]


    CBS Chiefs: Former Exec's Claim Network 'Has a White Problem' Is 'Disheartening,' 'Painful'

    Susan Zirinsky, president of CBS News, and Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, sent emails to staff Tuesday expressing concern over claims made in an essay published in Variety in which CBS veteran Whitney Davis detailed racist discrimination and sexual harassment she witnessed and was subjected to at the network. In response, Zirinsky said Davis’ [...]

  • BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series

    BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series for ITV

    ITV has greenlit a BBC Studios-produced series about Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. “Inside the Duchy” (working title) will follow the Prince of Wales over two one-hour episodes to mark his 50th year as the holder of the title of Duke of Cornwall. The producers said the series will give an unprecedented [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content