Kevin Smith is making his directing debut on The Flash tonight with “The Runaway Dinosaur.”
Smith is openly a huge fan of all things comic book related and with this was able to become a part of comic book TV history. The director has said that this episode is “my favorite thing I’ve ever directed.”
“I didn’t go in and be like ‘let me show you how Kevin Smith does things’ – I was like, ‘please show me how you do things every week,’ and in doing so, I became a better filmmaker,” he says. “In the course of eight days on ‘Flash,’ I know I became a better director … and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I did not get to write it, I did not edit it. All I had to do was focus on just directing.”
Smith added that he understood he was coming into a show that had already established its own style and feel. He wanted to come in as a fan and work within this world.
“The show has its own tone and you’re coming into Season 2, so to do anything but their show is disruptive, and as a fan, I had no interest in doing my show – I can do that in my world all the time. I tried to do as close as I could to my favorite episode, which is the Season 1 finale. Good news is, when I was handed Zack Stentz’s script, holy crap, it plays like a spiritual sequel to that episode; it was a gift.”
While Smith has been very open about being a fan of the comics and the show, joining the project came along with a few hesitations, including special effects.
“They have three pillars on which they’ve built that show: heart, humor and spectacle, that’s what they say – every episode’s got to have that. With those pillars, you can raise and lower them — sometimes you can have more of one or the other — but you’ve got to have all three in there. The heart and humor I knew I could handle going into it, but it was the spectacle I was always most nervous about. And the really nice thing is, I got to watch a few episodes – Armen [Kevorkian, the show’s visual effects supervisor], who directed the episode right before mine, he was working on set, so I got to go to their shoot and shoot a tail scene – the scene that’s our button on our show … we shot that on their set while they were still up and running, five days before I started my show, so I got to ease into the job a week in advance.”
It came as no surprise to fans or Smith that he would be invited back to work on season three.
“By day 3 on that show, I was like, ‘I’d do this every damn day if I could.’ Lots of the folks that I was working with were like, ‘you have to come back.’ So when we were done with the episode, most of the crew on the production side, the Berlanti folks, had seen all the dailies and they liked them and heard from the cast and crew that they liked me; I was very enthusiastic. So they started talking early on. Greg [Berlanti] sent me an email – ‘any show you want to come play in, you’re welcome here; consider this a second home,’” Smith recalls. “The one thing I asked was ‘just make sure it’s the same crew,’ because they alternate between two crews because they shoot so many episodes, and the folks that I bonded with, the folks that I worked with, they made that show what it is. It’s a great episode and I give them all the credit. So if I am going to go back, I just want to make sure I’m with them again so they cover my ass and make me look good again.”
When asked about other CW shows, Smith explained that he would love to work on Arrow but wouldn’t want to sit in the directors chair for that show.
“I prefer not writing the episode because what we were able to do with me not writing it was, at least for me, substantial and wonderful … just as a directing exercise, I was so happy with it,” he says. “So I wouldn’t want to write on ‘Flash.’ I would, though, like to write on ‘Arrow.’ I would love to jump in for a one or two episode arc just to bring that Onomatopoeia character to life. That would be so badass – I created this character in the comics and then to do a live-action version of it that fit into their universe, fit into the run of their show? That would be exciting to me.”
“KEVIN SMITH DIRECTS – With Barry (Grant Gustin) gone, the team must figure out a way to handle the return of an old enemy – Girder (guest star Greg Finley). Realizing Girder is retracing his steps from his last attack, Iris (Candice Patton) volunteers to act as bait to trap him in S.T.A.R. Labs. Meanwhile, Barry fights to return to his old life. Kevin Smith directed the episode written by Zack Stentz (FL221). Original airdate 5/10/2016.”
The Flash, which has been renewed for a third season, airs on Tuesday nights at 8/7c on The CW.