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All Doll’d Up: Troy James Previews The Flash’s Rag Doll

Interview with Troy James who plays “Rag Doll” in the Flash episode “All Doll’d Up”

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The DC Comics villain Rag Doll first made his appearance in the comic books back in the 1940’s, with a more popular version being best known in Gail Simone’s Secret Six comic book series.

Tonight, the character comes to live action for the first time with America’s Got Talent twisting sensation Troy James in the role.

We spoke with Mr. James last week to learn more about his guest role on the episode which is called “All Doll’d Up.”

“It was a blast,” he said of what it was like to play a villain whose abilities are actually possessed by the actor himself. “It actually just felt like an extension of myself as normal, if I were an evil supervillain who didn’t care about other people.”

“As you know, it looks like a three piece suit, but it’s actually a onesie,” James told us about the Rag Doll costume we see in the episode. “But it is super comfortable. It feels like a comfy pair of pajamas. I really give thanks to Kate Main for creating that for me. For me, it’s a Troy-proof suit. I say that because I’ve ripped so many pairs of pants! But this was a fantastic costume, and the mask was awesome! I love the hair. I like that it kind of does stay true to the comics with the red hair and white mask. It looks scary,” he enthused.

“Rag Doll is a unique supervillain in the sense that he doesn’t have super-strength or super-speed; he’s just unusually flexible,” James explained. “It’s not a typical super power. And going along with that, he doesn’t have a motivation to be the strongest meta in the world or to be the richest. He’s a psychopath, actually. In this episode, you get to see why Rag Doll is the way he is. He does have some family issues. But as a villain, he seeks to cause the most emotional harm. He does not commit crimes just for the sake of committing crimes; he does it to really hurt whoever his victim is, emotionally.”

While we usually see Rag Doll with a mask on, we will see Troy himself without it at one point of the episode — if you pay close attention. “There’s a sneak peek of me without the mask, but you need to have an eagle eye to spot that out,” he teased, offering that it’s easier to play a character like Rag Doll with a mask on.

“It’s much easier to put on a costume or put on a mask and not be yourself, and perform. I’m so self conscious about myself,” he explained.

Last summer, James made a memorable appearance on America’s Got Talent — and he almost didn’t do it, despite his friends and family assuring him that he’d be fine.

“I didn’t have a mask. I had no costume. I had to talk on stage in front of all those people. And famous people! I’m getting nervous just thinking about it,” he recalled. “Luckily, it went over really well, though.”

And now, after appearing on such series as The Strain, The Flash has been Troy’s first superhero show appearance. “It’s interesting to see the behind the scenes or the mechanics of how exactly they make Flash, Flash. It was also my first time in Vancouver, so I got to do a lot of sight-seeing… it was just really great being there, being on set… and everyone was so nice. We got up to a few antics, a few hijinks if you will, using my flexibility… me, Grant, Hartley Sawyer… Elongated Man and Rag Doll, we’re kind of similar in a way, so we bonded,” he said of the experience. James had been fan of The Flash before getting this role, but hadn’t totally been caught up to Season 5. “But after being there, and seeing how cool they were, I want to catch up and get up to speed, if I can make a silly joke like that,” he punned.

Troy James had a particularly fun anecdote to share about working with Grant. “He didn’t know that I could do what I could do when I got to set,” he recalled. “So, right before we got to ‘Action,’ I got to my location and then just collapsed, and it’s the part where I had already kidnapped him, and he’s immobile, and he sees it and he just bursts out laughing. I had a lot of fun creeping around him on the set. He took a bunch of cool behind the scenes pictures that maybe you’ll see after the episode airs,” he teased.

Finally, does Troy James have any advice for young fans who might see him or the characters that he plays on screen?

“Be yourself, because there’s no one else like you out there. Only you can be you. You never know who’s watching, and who could give you a chance.”

Troy James can be found online as “TwistyTroy.” The Flash airs tonight (November 13) at 8PM ET/PT on The CW. See some photos from the episode below!

The Flash

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The Flash -- "All Doll'd Up" -- Image Number: FLA505a_0161Ab.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Danielle Nicolet as Cecile Horton and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

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Interviews

Flash Post-Mortem: Danielle Nicolet on “Masquerade”

Interview with Danielle Nicolet about the things that happened with Cecile Horton in the Flash TV series episode “Masquerade”

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SPOILER WARNING: If you have not yet seen the June 15 episode of The Flash titled “Masquerade” read no further! You might, however, like our preview interview with Danielle Nicolet where we talk about some non-spoilery things!

The June 15 episode of The Flash was a showcase for the incredible talents of Danielle Nicolet who played multiple versions of Cecile all in one installment. When we interviewed her about this episode, there was a lot that had to be saved for after it had aired because so much was spoilery… but here we are for the scoop on what her character went through in “Masquerade!” Enjoy…

FLASHTVNEWS’ CRAIG BYRNE: Can you talk about the subtle hints that you might have put into your performance to hint that Cecile is actually not really Cecile at several points in the episode?

DANIELLE NICOLET: There are quite a few, and I’m very curious to see if the audience will notice. It may take a second watch of the episode, because there’s so much going on the first time you see it. But yes. I was very particular. I worked really hard with Rachel [Talalay, director of the episode] to decide what these little moments are. And some of it’s extremely subtle. Fake Cecile dresses in all black, which is something that up into this point, Real Cecile is not generally a leather pants-wearing [person]. Tribal jewelry, she has like a very specific necklace on, and when Chester describes the history of the Psycho Pirate mask, you can see that it moves its way through Egypt, it’s been through African tribes, and little things like that.

Each different iteration of Cecile has a different hairstyle. It’s not super obvious, but we try to do little things like that to really physically differentiate Psycho Pirate Cecile. She walks differently than Real Cecile does. So just little things like that, that are beyond just those sort of more like “winks to the camera moments” where she has a line where she’s gonna go change her outfit to do a little breaking and entering… I’m very curious to see if people notice.

Can you talk about that heist?

[Laughs] That was a lot of fun. Again, Rachel and I really did our best to collaborate on this. She wanted each of the three elements of the show – the being in the hospital with Barry, the heist aspect of things, and then when Psycho Pirate has Cecile fully in the mask and the transformation is complete… for each of them to have their own separate feel. So the hospital was shot like a horror film, The heist stuff was shot like a heist movie in the tonality, the visuals, and then the rest is shot as a traditional Flash episode.

The heist part was really, really, really fun. I enjoy repelling from the ceiling very much, even if it’s in a comedic way. There’s some neat stuff in that museum room. For example, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the original Poltergeist movie, but on one of the tables, there’s a book in that movie that in it, they go through it, and they find out about the history of the land, and the fact that the housing complex was built on an ancient Indian burial ground all of that. That same book is in that scene, and it’s open to the same page. It’s our little personal homage to horror movies. There’s lots of little stuff like that.

How awesome was it for you to see Cecile in the mask, and was it hard for you to see while the mask was on?

I had no peripheral vision, and as tough guy as I was behaving in those scenes, just know that I had to be walked to set with people holding my hands on either side of me, so as to not bump into the wall.

When you first signed on as a guest star on The Flash several years ago, did you ever expect to have such deep material and character building for Cecile?

I always knew I was signing on to a show that had really next level writing, so I certainly was hopeful. What I didn’t know when I signed on initially was that Cecile was going to end up with powers. It was right about the time that I decided that I would do the show full time; I got a call from the showrunner at the time saying “hey, I want to pitch you this notion,” and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited. I tried really hard not to scream on the phone with him, and I remember writing down on a piece of paper that I had on the dining table, in Sharpie, “THEY’RE GIVING ME POWERS” in all caps, and holding the paper up to my husband and jumping up and down, while I was trying to pretend like I was cool, calm, and collected on the phone at the same time.

What was your reaction when you read about Cecile’s backstory in this episode?

I loved it. Eric Wallace, our showrunner, had given me a heads up that this was coming for quite some time. And, boy, when I got the first draft of the script, it was even better than what he told me was coming. I just couldn’t believe it. Everything from the honest approach to mental health issues, and facing things like anxiety and depression, and the notion that we are afraid to share how we feel and that people will judge us, and so we suppress it, and we end up manifesting that anxiety and depression in other unexpected ways in our lives. That, in and of itself, is such an important message to me, just personally, I know personally to Eric, and the fact that he could take something as cool as the Psycho Pirate mask showing up on the Cecile and at the same time, have this be a story about the importance of mental health awareness and us taking care of ourselves and each other… that was, to me, it was one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. I’m so I’m so pleased, and I’m so proud that my character got to be the one who played it.

What is it like to work with an icon like Jesse L. Martin in so many scenes?

He sings all the time, just randomly, and he has no idea how amazing that is for everyone around him. So when he sings, you just sort of like sit down and let him go. [Laughs]

Jesse and I, from the moment we started working together, we’ve always just had a really good energy and vibe with each other. He’s just such a profoundly talented human being. It’s a gift to get to work with him. I’m really lucky. I get to work with some super awesome people on this show.

Did you want to say anything specific about working with Grant Gustin so much this week?

Oh, I had the time of my life. We both did. Grant knows – it’s no secret that he’s one of my top 10 favorite people on the planet. He knows how much I adore him. We really felt like we were making a little movie all by ourselves for a few days of this episode, and we both really, really enjoyed it. The few days that we were trapped in that hospital together were some of my favorite acting days on this show, in all the years that I’ve been on it.

And what was it like to be able to act opposite yourself?

Pretty challenging! [Laughs] It was really neat to learn the process of that. Our director, Rachel Talalay, is so experienced and so talented, and she allowed me to just hang around all the time, so I got to learn how we were going to do this. There is a whole other person who looks like me, and very physically similar to me, who was an amazing actress, and she learned all of my material for the entire episode, the same as me, and so, whenever I was acting to myself, this other actress was performing my lines for me, and then I would go change and turn around and do it on the other side, and then she would be the other me. And then sometimes, it had to be both of us with Grant. So, poor Grant, he had to have “me squared” at all times.

The process of how that’s done, technically, in order for it to play the way it does, was really, really neat to learn. Some of it’s like new school technical and some of it was straight up old school, like “Dani, go stand there in the corner, and we’re gonna turn the camera really fast, so that we can’t tell that that other one isn’t really you.”

Will we ever see Cecile’s older daughter Joanie again?

I hope so. I think that in the comics, Joanie is a speedster, so I imagine that there may be an opportunity for her to find her way back to the show in an in an interesting way. I really think that is an Eric Wallace question more than it is me, but he always seems to find really fantastic ways to bring characters back.

When are Joe and Cecile going to get married already?

That is a very good question that I highly recommend you run past Eric Wallace, our showrunner, who will laugh when you do, because I asked him the same question all the time.

Do you think Cecile should be the one to propose?

Oh, my gosh. Craig, that’s such a good idea! Am I allowed to steal that? Because I will one hundred percent call Eric and say “hey, guess what? How about this?” That’s such a cool idea. Yes, I definitely think that Cecile should propose.

Our thanks to Danielle Nicolet for taking the time to speak with us! New episodes of The Flash air Tuesdays on The CW.

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Crisis on Infinite Earths

The Flash: Eric Wallace Discusses Barry’s Coming Crisis

The Flash EP Eric Wallace discusses what the Crisis on Infinite Earths will mean for Barry and Iris.

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Warning: Spoilers for the Flash Season 6 premiere “Into the Void” are being discussed here.

A Crisis is coming… Crisis on Infinite Earths, that is… and on December 10, 2019… Barry Allen is destined to die. And the story engine will guide The Flash Season 6 toward exciting places.

“Crisis turned out to be the best thing that could have happened — I can’t speak for the other shows, but I certainly speak for The Flash — because it created an immediacy to things,” Executive Producer Eric Wallace recently said in a group Q&A. “We know that December 10, 2019, The Flash will die. He just said it. We’re not messing around. So as a married couple, [Barry and Iris] can count the number of days and weeks. The countdown begins next week. What kind of urgency does that give them? An extreme one. It turns the dial up to 10, and it makes you think, ‘Is every moment together our last? What can we do? Should we fight this? Is it inevitable? These are all the things that they’re grappling with for these next seven episodes, because eight ends, and it’s Crisis time, and it’s time to go off to, literally, cosmic war. So the relationship is strained. But it’s also going to bring them closer together than ever before, because that’s what tragedy does,” he continued.

And how is this different from Season 3, when they saw that Iris was destined to die?

“You should watch next week, when that exact question is asked and answered,” Wallace explained. “That is literally the plot. What this story has enabled us to do is to look back at any other time when somebody was facing life and death, and see how they reacted then. So in the writers’ room, we had a lengthy discussion about how it’s the other side of the coin. We know how they reacted with Iris. How will they react next week? And I will tell you — no spoilers — it’s different. It’s not the same, because of what they learn next week. That’s the great part of the story. The Monitor showing up and kind of making a cosmic pronouncement drives you to extremes in order to fight against or accept the coming Crisis. And every episode this season – 602, 3, 4, 5 and 6, especially — are all about, ‘Do I accept death? Or do I fight it?;’ That’s also the reason why Bloodwork is the villain this season. The villain, as we now know, has HLH cancer and is dying. So for the first time in the show’s history, we have a villain and a protagonist who are going through the same thing. It’s the reason Bloodwork was chosen as a villain this season. It was very deliberate, because they’re going to learn about halfway through the season, ‘Maybe we’re not so different? And what does that mean?”

And finally, do Barry and Oliver know about their respective interactions with The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) this season?

“No, and boy, I wonder what will happen when they both find out. [Laughs] It’s good stuff. It’s so great, ’cause I can’t tell you when it happens,” Wallace said excitedly. “But I will tell you that is a scene that happened and is a moment, and it is coming. Lets just say people might get pissed off a little,” he laughed.

The Flash airs Tuesdays on The CW.

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Interviews

Flash EP Discusses Killer Frost’s New Status Quo

Eric Wallace discusses the new status quo for Killer Frost in The Flash Season 6.

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As we saw in tonight’s Flash season premiere “Into the Void,” Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) is going to be able to live a little bit of a life of her own. What does that mean for her future?

New showrunner Eric Wallace was asked that very question.

“Now that she has a life coach?” he joked, referring to Ralph’s offer. “I will tell you, and again, no spoilers, it has been a pure delight writing Killer Frost this season, because she’s much more in the forefront than Caitlin is.”

“That life coach stuff starts next week in 602,” Wallace teased. “It’s like the second scene and we honor the promise of the premise.We deliver. And it’s it’s led to these hilarious situations. Because basically, it’s like when we talked of her almost as a teenager who finally got the keys to the car but doesn’t know how to drive. We’ve got to drive to go to the store, to get the groceries, to get some wine, to meet your boyfriend, or to go to the movies, or whatever. So everything is new through her eyes, which means she’s gonna make some mistakes, which is great, it’s gonna lead to some more tears, but then at the end, she’s going to grow into something that didn’t exist before. Maybe you do lose that Killer. Maybe it’s just Frost waiting down the line.”

Photos from the second episode of The Flash Season 6, “A Flash of the Lightning,” can be found here.

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