You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Flash’ Star Tom Cavanagh Talks Directing This Week’s Episode

The Flash” returns this week after a month-long hiatus with Barry (Grant Gustin) making a dangerous play to learn the identity of Savitar.

After an encounter with future villain Abra Kadabra (David Dastmalchian) — who not only knew a future version of Flash, but also who Savitar was — Barry decides the best way to learn more about the God of Speed is to head to the future himself. On top of all that, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) has succumbed to her Killer Frost persona and is on the run. All of this is juggled by first-time “Flash” director, and series’ star, Tom Cavanagh.

Variety spoke with Cavanagh — who has played three separate versions of the same character across the show’s three seasons; currently H.R. Wells, and previously Harry Wells and Harrison Wells — about directing different versions of the main characters, how being behind the camera this time differed from his previous directing gigs, and more.

How did directing an episode come about? Was it something you wanted to do or did they approach you about it?
Generally, when I am signing a contract for a television series, we have a handshake deal in there about directing. This is my third show for Greg Berlanti, and they sort of know I like to direct. In the past the stuff that I’ve done seems to have been well-enough received that it allowed me to forge forth.

Did you know when you said you’d direct that it would be this big Barry-heads-to-the-future episode?
They do a ridiculous amount of episodes of “Flash” every year. “The Flash” is one of the most prepared television shows I’ve ever been on, and for the amount of work that comes through the pipeline they are incredibly on top of it. As a director — I’ve been on shows where the director gets the script on the first day of shooting — they will get a script for the entire length of the prep. It gives you a fighting chance.

In terms of what the actual story is going to be, they’ve got a story arc when they start the season but you don’t really know where your story is going to fall. I feel very fortunate to deal with Barry … dealing with Barry. That’s two versions of Grant Gustin, which is phenomenal. I was grateful to have this storyline.

You’re no stranger of playing multiple versions of the same character, or acting opposite yourself. Was it fun directing altered, future versions of the other characters?
That’s part of the aspect of this episode that I really, really liked. We see a whole different world. We got to mess some stuff up. I’ve played five or six or seven different versions of myself since the show started but most of the cast has just played one or two versions of their character. In this one, I think it was great for them to pull out of the hat another version of themselves. I think both Grant and Carlos Valdes in particular were exceptional in this episode. They’re very talented to begin with, but then you add these different layers you kind of marvel at their abilities.

How is it to direct yourself?
I always find it’s really good. If you write something and you have the visual of that in your head, I don’t have to convince the actor — or even explain to the actor — what the visual is. So I can accommodate however I want. One thing I will say, though, if anyone is going to get short-changed when I’m directing it’s not going to be the other actors; it’s going to be me. You become much less self-indulgent.

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

More TV

  • Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on

    Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on Their International Plans

    It’s different strokes for different streaming folks as Amazon, HBO Max and Netflix lifted the lid on their international plans in London this week. Amazon said it’s not in the volume game and talked up a select number of hyper-local shows, while Netflix dished on plans to rev up non-English-language originals. The message from HBO [...]

  • Dua Lipa

    Green Day, Dan + Shay, Dua Lipa Among 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' Performers

    Green Day, Dan + Shay, Dua Lipa, Paula Abdul, Kelsea Ballerini, Blanco Brown, Ava Max, Megan Thee Stallion, Anthony Ramos, Salt-N-Pepa and SHAED will perform on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020,” dick clark productions and ABC announced today. The broadcast will also feature Ciara as West Coast host, who said, [...]


    Daniel Rezende on Netflix Brazilian Series ‘Nobody’s Looking’

    Having premiered on Netflix Nov. 22, “Nobody’s Looking” marks the first collaboration between Gullane and Netflix – their second, “Boca a Boca” is in development- and comes from a long list of new projects that the streaming giant has announced with it’s $87 Million investment in Brazilian content. The series embodies the streaming platform’s push [...]

  • Chuck LorreVariety Innovate Summit, Presented by

    Chuck Lorre Talks Streaming Vs. Broadcast, WGA-Agency Battle at Innovate Summit

    With “The Kominsky Method,” Chuck Lorre ventured out of his broadcast comedy comfort zone and took a leap into the world of streaming, an unknown quantity for him. During a keynote conversation at the Variety Innovate summit, held Thursday at the 1 Hotel in West Hollywood, Lorre talked about how making a show for a [...]

  • Jason Segel as Peter, Eve Lindley

    TV News Roundup: AMC Announces 'Dispatches From Elsewhere' Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, “Dispatches From Elsewhere” starring Jason Segel has been scheduled for a two-night premiere date and Netflix released a teaser for Season 2 of “You.” CASTINGS Briana Cuoco has been cast in HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant” in the recurring role of Cecilia. The series details the chilling story of a flight [...]

  • Supergirl -- "Crisis on Infinite Earths:

    'Arrowverse' Boss Breaks Down Journey to 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'

    It’s an event nearly 500 hours in the making when the “Arrowverse” and fellow CW superhero series “Black Lightning” collide in the five-part epic crossover event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Inspired by the iconic graphic novel by the same name, “Crisis on Infinite Earths” finds the “Arrowverse” heroes — including Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content