Interview: The Flash’s Malese Jow on Linda Park, Dr. Light, and the Awesomeness of Suiting Up
If you’ve been keeping up with The CW’s The Flash, you know that the stakes are getting ever-higher for our favorite speedster as Professor Zoom continues to terrorize our Earth in pursuit of Barry, and n’er do wells from Earth-2 continue to come through the dimensional ruptures. In an exclusive interview with The Mary Sue, I had a chance to speak with Malese Jow, the talented actress who plays Linda Park about the character’s increasing involvement in Season Two.
**If you are sensitive to spoilers, TURN BACK NOW, as we discuss the most recent episodes of The Flash.**
Teresa Jusino (TMS): Let’s talk about Linda Park – co-worker of Iris and former love interest of Barry Allen. What drew you to the role and what makes her interesting to play?
Malese Jow: What made Linda intriguing seems really obvious – her confidence, and her charm is just intoxicating, and she’s just herself. She doesn’t put up any fronts. She’ll be real with you, and she’s a lot of fun in the process. She’s never really a bitch about it, she’ll just tell you the truth and do it with a smile on her face, and it’s like OK, this girl is real. I get it. I respect her. She’s confident, good at her job. She’s just amazing.
TMS: I have to say one of my favorite moments in [“The Darkness and the Light”] is when Linda’s editor asks her to interview a famous football player for their sports section, and she refuses unless she can ask about recent domestic violence allegations against him…
Jow: Right, exactly. She definitely has her standards, which is awesome. And that’s actually something that we saw with Barry last season. She knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to speak her mind, or go out and get it. And we’re definitely going to see a lot of that in her and a lot of those qualities in this next episode. She definitely steps up to the plate, and we get to see her be a little fighter, which is awesome.
TMS: When did you find out that you were also going to be playing Dr. Light?
Jow: Oh, goodness. It was such a whirlwind. At the end of my little stint as Linda in season one, there was talk of Oh, we definitely wanna bring you back for the second season, no question about it. And I was like, OK, OK. Come summertime, this past summer, they were like OK, it’s happening. We’re bringing you back. But I didn’t know to what extent or what was going to be happening. And the funny thing is that I was actually going in for a fitting, which I thought was going to be a wardrobe fitting where we try on Linda Clothes. And so I went to this – quote – “fitting,” and they start measuring every single inch of my body. And I was like “Why are you measuring every….” and there were no clothes. There were no cute office pantsuits or anything, they were just measuring my body. And I was like What does this mean? This is so weird!
And it wasn’t until a week or two later that Andrew [Kreisberg] called me and he was like Well, you’ve had your wardrobe fitting, so we should finally tell you what’s going on, since your costume is being made. And that’s when he proceeded to say how they were going to kind of marry the two characters in Earth-2, and my mind was completely blown. It was the biggest honor, and one of the best phone calls I’ve received in my career thus far, that they would trust me with this storyline.
TMS: How familiar were you with the original source material when you got into this?
Jow: I wasn’t too familiar with the comic book world before jumping into The Flash, but I definitely read up on Linda, I know what she’s all about, and Dr. Light as well. But they actually told me not to research her too much because, as you can tell from the show, they’re already putting their little twist on it. So, I’m just kind of going along with the brilliant minds of Andrew and Greg [Berlanti], and kind of riding the ride of what they’re doing with their take on the comics.
TMS: I have to ask about Dr. Light’s outfit. How did that feel putting it on for the first time?
Jow: Oh my gosh! There’s no feeling like it. The suit just exudes power and confidence, and it’s tailor-made for you. You just feel so special and just cool – period. There’s no cooler feeling. And the hair and makeup as well – we just have such a great team all around that puts their own spin on it as well. And it’s just so awesome. I mean the black and white is so sleek and chic. It’s just so cool.
TMS: So, now you’re playing two roles on the show right now. Obviously it’s hard enough as an actor to play just one! And there’s a tradition of women on genre shows – your Tatiana Maslanys on Orphan Black and your Anna Torvs on Fringe – playing multiple roles or versions of themselves on the same show. For you, what is that like to deal with, and what acting challenges does that present?
Jow: It’s funny, “acting with myself” has been a bucket list thing, because I know that a lot of people have that experience playing multiple roles, which is mind-blowing and crazy, and I’ve always wanted that challenge in my own career. And I’m blessed to say that I’m actually able to do it now. It was difficult, especially because Linda and Dr. Light are two completely different, polar opposite people, even though they look alike and are the same person.
It was a very complicated day, that’s for sure, having to do the scene multiple times as Linda then multiple times as Dr. Light. But it ended up looking amazing, and now I can cross something off my bucket list!
TMS: Did you do anything differently when preparing for Dr. Light than you did when preparing for Linda?
Jow: Thankfully I have great people writing for me, so they do a lot of that work for me, but of course I wanted to make sure that there were differences between Linda and Dr. Light. There’s more of a vulnerability with Dr. Light – she probably went down a more rocky road and got caught up with a bad crowd – aka Zoom. So, they’re the same person, and they have the same innate qualities of being confident and being powerful women. It’s just that they ended up taking different paths, or at least that’s how I approached it. They just had different challenges and situations in life that brought them to different places, but essentially they are the same person.
TMS: What can you tell us (without spoiling anything) about tomorrow’s episode? What can we expect from Linda and Dr. Light, and what should we be looking out for?
Jow: Well, next episode is my personal favorite. The action is definitely continuing, and we get to see more how Linda is going to work in this whole scenario. I know from the actual promos that people know that she’s gonna be thrust right into the middle of this whole scenario. She’s going to be a very key player on Team Flash in pursuing Zoom and trying to lure him to get him captured. There are a lot of comedy moments – Linda pretending to be Dr. Light. [Laughs]
The action is just going to continue. We have amazing stunts. Actually, our director, J.J. Makaro, it’s amazing, [the next episode, “Enter Zoom”] was his directorial debut, but before that, he was a stunt coordinator, and he’s so good at what he does. So it was cool to have him leading us in these action sequences and all this choreography, things blowing up…I actually got to drop off the side of a building – so that happened. A lot of action, a lot of Zoom, and it’s really suspenseful, so I think people are really gonna enjoy it.
What do you think of Linda Park and Dr. Light, and of their increasing involvement in Season Two? And will you be watching the next episode of The Flash, “Enter Zoom,” tomorrow night?
The Flash airs on Tuesdays at 8PM ET/PT.
(images via Warner Bros. Television)
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