This week’s midseason premiere of The CW’s monster hit The Flash is exciting for a number of reasons; first, obviously because it’s the premiere and it’s been too long since we’ve sped through Central City, thank you very much; second, the episode sees the return of Captain Cold and introduces his ally Heat Wave, which will inevitably lead to the flu or something; and thirdly, it will see the onscreen reunion of the stars of Prison Break, Wentworth Miller, who already played Captain Cold earlier this season, and Dominic Purcell, who joins the show as Heat Wave. Recently Nerdist, along with other online outlets, spoke to Miller and Purcell on the set of the episode about what it was like getting back together onscreen, and what we can expect from the two villains in the future.
Purcell’s involvement in The Flash is in no small way due to his former TV brother’s involvement. “I got a call from my agent saying The Flash had offered you a role in the show” he said, “and I knew Wentworth was doing it, and he actually sent me an email saying ‘Come on board, it’ll be fun!’ And I said, ‘absolutely!'”
Evidently, it was Miller himself who recommended Purcell for the role; he thought of his Prison Break co-star after executive producer Greg Berlanti and DC Creative head Geoff Johns explained the character of Heat Wave to him.” As he started to describe the character,” Miller explained, “the first and only name that, that emerged was Dominic Purcell. Never in a million years did I think that they would be able to pull that together, but so excited that they did.”
The two starred as brothers on Fox’s Prison Break for four seasons and became very close, though they hadn’t seen much of each other since that show ended. “We’ve stayed in contact since Prison Break,” Miller adds, “strictly via e-mail just because of our schedules and geography, so this was actually the first time that I’ve seen him since the show ended in 2009, so it’s been a happy reunion.” Having a close friend with him on set was fun, and Miller found it easy to fall into the old acting repartee with Purcell. “We played brothers for four years, so there’s just something that builds up over time and I know his style and he knows mine and I think it’s brought an extra layer to these two characters and their relationship, because they do have a history – [Captain] Cold and Heat Wave — and it was nice that we already had that bubbling on the stove.”
Purcell seconds those feelings about working with Miller. “We have a unique chemistry I think,” he said, “so this gives us a chance to come into a different world and it affords actors [the chance] to really play, and I think that’s what I’m really enjoying about this role.” Purcell also mused about possibly why he and Miller clicked so immediately on their old show and why that continues here. “It’s hard to articulate. I don’t think there’s an answer to chemistry. I think it’s just one of those things. With Wentworth and I, there was no ego, there was never any sense of competition, we just kind of worked very easily together. I don’t know what the chemistry is, but people respond to it.”
Heat Wave, along with Captain Cold and the rest of the Rogues, are in integral part of the Flash mythology, but the man playing the fiery foe did not know anything about the character, or really the comics at all, before he got the job. “You know, I’m pretty naïve to this whole comic book world,” Purcell told us. “What I understand and have briefly been told is these two characters are pretty iconic and important in the DC Comics world. It’s kind of a responsibility, because you know you have fans out there who have their perception of what these characters are and you just hope you service the expectation.” When asked if he’d watched any of the show, which at that point had only been on two weeks, the actor chuckled, “No. I’m pretty new into this whole universe. But, I certainly will be doing my research now.”
In terms of this show so far, Captain Cold is certainly the leader of the Rogues and has recruited Heat Wave specifically. Miller was asked if Cold views Heat Wave as a colleague or a pawn: “I think it’s a bit of both. I think everyone is potentially a pawn as far as Cold is concerned. I think much like myself, Cold is a solitary, lone wolf kind of character and may occasionally enjoy having some company. So there is a push-pull between the two. They aren’t friends, but they do have a kind of intimacy and that’s been fun to explore.”
Purcell sees the two more as likable ruffians than all-out villains, and a kind of odd camaraderie between them. “Wentworth’s character is in charge, and his responsibility is to kind of rein in Heat Wave and develop a bit of a moral code, if you will. There are certain things that we will do and certain things that we just won’t do. At this point, Heat Wave is a likable character, but they’re anti-heroes. I see him as a likeable villain. I don’t think he’s as psychopathic as the Joker, but he’s still a badass. I don’t think you would describe Heat Wave as ‘evil.'”
And like all good villains, the Flash won’t have seen the end of either Captain Cold or Heat Wave when “The Revenge of the Rogues” is over. But we can still enjoy the ride. The Flash episode 10 airs Tuesday, January 20, at 8/7c on The CW.