ARROW Scoop: Meet Barry Allen! A Chat with Grant Gustin, EP Greg Berlanti & Writer Geoff Johns

(Article by Sarah Stephens)

Following last week’s nail-biter of an episode, ARROW fans are dying to get some scoop on Starling City’s most recent import, Barry Allen. Lucky for you, we’ve got just the guy to ask. Grant Gustin, who plays Barry Allen, sat down to give us some juicy details on the pre-Flash character. After last week’s cliffhanger (spoiler alert!), where Barry learned the true identity of his hero the vigilante, we just had to go straight to the source and ask executive producer Greg Berlanti and writer Geoff Johns to find out what it was like bring Barry Allen to life. Get the inside track here before ARROW vanishes….until Jan 15th, 2014.

We met the eager and brilliant Barry Allen on last week’s episode and immediately he hit it off with Oliver’s gal Friday, Felicity. The two of them obviously have some….ahem….chemistry. We’re not the only ones that like Barry’s goofy but sweet demeanor. Grant Gustin, who has previously been on shows like GLEE and 90210, told us what he enjoys about Barry. “I immediately thought he was really funny and endearing. I had a lot of fun with that throughout the audition process. He’s fun to play. He’s likeable. I would be his friend.”

But what is it like being thrown into the world of comic book heroes? Grant is enjoying the ride. “I’m a superhero fan. I’m a big Superman fan growing up.” (He even has a Superman tattoo!) “It was fun to have them [the producers] get excited about my random take on Barry Allen.” But perhaps the big adaptation is the training it takes to be a superhero. It’s not exactly the Steven Amell/ARROW boot camp. Gustin told us “I think my workout routine is much different from what he did and what he still does, just because our body types are so different. But it’s a lot of working out for hours at a time. Right now, it’s running, training with an Olympic running trainer and putting some mass on my body. A lot of protein, a lot of eating.”

Geoff Johns gave us some thoughts on what Grant brings to Barry Allen and why it works. “He’s earnest. Grant as an actor has brought more to Barry Allen than we’ve seen before. Especially seeing him in the days that he’s taking his first steps. He’s got that heart, he’s got humor, he’s got compassion. Barry was always the nice guy. He’s the guy that stops and makes sure everyone is all right. Grant embodies that. He’s a perfect Flash.” Executive producer Greg Berlanti went on to explain “We were looking for someone who was the essence of the character and in addition, you’re looking for someone that fits into the Arrow universe we have, but still potentially have their own universe and their own show. Had we not found Grant, I’m not sure we would have done the character.”

Barry Allen does head back to Central City after tonight’s mid-season finale, but it’s not the last we’ll hear of him on ARROW before the Flash pilot. And that’s good to know, since tonight’s finale leaves on a BIG Barry Allen related cliffhanger. “You definitely hear about, in the back half of the year, what happened to him. In the way that you’re hearing now about Star Labs and things like that, in the periphery and in terms of Felicity, since she has a connection with him.” Berlanti explained.

Grant is ready to dive in. “I’m looking forward to the whole thing. I’m looking forward to how he’s going to handle this happening to him. Because he’s not just excited, it’s scary.”  In last week’s episode of ARROW, we saw Barry geeking out over the vigilante but how does that play into the eventual transition into The Flash? “That’s what I loved about the character. It’s not just like he loves superheroes and he’s a fanboy and like ‘I’m going to be one and I’m really stoked about it!’ It’s like ‘This is terrifying and it’s really happening to me.’ I’m really excited to play more with that.”

We’ve got a while to wait before we get to see how this plays out for Barry and what that means for a backdoor pilot. But in the meantime, catch Barry Allen playing with the rest of the ARROW team on tonight’s mid-season finale of ARROW!

Catch ARROW at 8/7pm on the CW.

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