My buddy Curtis Krick works on the hit show The Flash, on The CW. So I illegally downloaded some episodes and watched them specifically for this interview:
SQJ: I only saw episode 1 and 14. Did I miss anything? (The website I found that would play all the episodes had been deleted after we watched the first episode, you know, within an hour or so of us finding it. We then found another website that played the last few episodes but my girlfriend clicked the very newest one, which was the 14th episode.)
CK: Yes, you missed episodes 2 through 13. We’re scheduled to air ep 15 on St. Patrick’s Day. Not sure if you’ll be free to view it but it’s going to be pretty spectacular.
We have an ongoing storyline of ‘who killed Barry’s mom?’ in addition to our villain(s) of the week. It’s all firmly rooted in the Flash canon from DC. There’s a strong collaboration with the DC folks. Their offices are literally across the street from our post production offices. And when I say literally, I mean it in the old fashioned sense.
There was a great sequence with a train crash at the end of ep 4. We were all pretty pleased with how that turned out. You should check it out if you can. This is a pretty ambitious show for weekly basic cable.
SQJ: I thought when you told me that you were involved with this show that YOU were the Flash, but you weren’t even on there, unless you look different. And I didn’t see your name on the credits. Are you a liar?
CK: I am a liar, but this is not an example. Or is it?
SQJ: How often at work does someone jokingly use the word “Flash?” Like, “Get that done fast. IN A FLASH. Ha ha ha.” Like that. Probably a lot?
CK: We reference the song Queen wrote for the 80’s Flash Gordon movie a lot. A LOT. Flash – Aaaah-aaah.
And then there’s all the times people talk about putting files on a flash drive. That never gets old.
We also reference this old Comcast commercial that features the line, “Where’s my latte?” You can look it up on Youtube. That gives you an idea of the demands of producing a show with 200-250 vfx shots per episode every week.
Finally, we seem to reference that brilliant sketch from Holy Grail a lot. Someone gives some complicated set of instructions and we respond, “Not to enter the room even if you come and get him.”
SQJ: Why is the main actor’s face shaped like a triangle? Was that intentional?
CK: The costume for The Flash was created (I believe) by Oscar winning designer Colleen Atwood who worked with Tim Burton a lot and designed the costumes for Edward Scissorhands which is one of my favorite movies. Around the vfx office we’ve all taken turns drawing our own depictions of Flash on the various white boards we otherwise use to track shots. And of course there are something like 50 years’ worth of drawings by actual professionals in the comics to refer to. I’m not sure if any of that addresses your actual question, but it at least acknowledges your question.
SQJ: Does it get confusing when you guys send each other Adobe FLASH files?
CK: When I first heard about the show I thought it was the story of a plucky young animation software trying to make its way in the world. The bad guy could be called Big Apple. Maybe the series should be animated?
Incidentally, we in the vfx dept. have all come up with our own potential bad guys for future episodes. We think they’re hilarious. The writers were not amused. Maybe by season 7 they’ll be ready to listen to our ideas.
SQJ: You worked on a horror movie before that had a song play while some folks were making out in a VW Bus, do you remember the song title? It had something to do with Cooties? Also what is your favorite lyric from that song. ALSO, is there any chance that will be used on the Flash.
CK: Cooties on Her Booty by Cho Young and the Davenports. A terrific song that featured a hypnotic extended drum riff at the end that put me in mind of some of those songs from the 60s like Magic Carpet Ride and I thought it would be fun to include while a couple of beautiful people writhed around together half naked in the back of a van on the way to their horrible imminent deaths (spoilers). I actually kind of fought to get that in there and it ended up the way I wanted so I was pretty pleased. The name of the horror movie is The Craving, by the way.
My favorite lyric is… wait for it… Cooties on her booty. Particularly as sung by my friend Grayson Berry in the movie when he’s supposed to be driving along. Grayson isn’t much of a singer. And I’m not sure he had ever heard the song before we shot the scene.
Is it possible we’ll use the song on the Flash? As Katherine Hepburn says in Lion in Winter, “Lamb, in a world where carpenters can get resurrected, anything’s possible.”
SQJ: Would you rather have super human speed but you also always have diarrhea that also comes out at super human speed with such force that a diaper couldn’t hold it OR would you rather have super human smell but you have to work at a sewer plant two days a week for the rest of your LIFE?
CK: I’ve really thought about this question. Too much, really.
SQJ: When you guys make up science, where do you decide to draw the line? Has anyone ever said, “No that’s ridiculous? Although he’s a fictional super human and the plots are based on not science what is something that would not fly? When you’re creating science and a writer comes in and says, “This bad guy I came up with shoots frozen peas out of his eyes and nose,” would someone think that’s preposterous? (You can’t steal that idea though, I’ve trademarked it.)
CK: It’s a fair question for a show that features a spectacularly bright explosion of dark matter.
I confess I was not really aware of all the super powers Flash possessed as established in the comics over many, many years. And as the show has progressed this season Flash has been discovering his powers along the way and developing his abilities (apart from being able to run really fast). I think the writers have done a good job of crafting his development. It’s kept things interesting as we learn with Flash what he’s capable of.
Often for us in the vfx dept. the questions are about the physics of how the camera behaves. We had an episode where Flash was running across water and we were debating how the cg water droplets on the camera lens would be behaving as we tracked across the surface of the water following a guy running at hundreds of miles an hour. A lot of discussion about that.
SQJ: Where is the Joker? You’re almost done with the season and not one mention of him yet.
CK: You know the Trickster? He’s coming. And you’re gonna be blown away. I’m not kidding.
SQJ: Can you draw a picture of yourself as the Flash? Even if it’s a stick figure drawing?
CK: To come
SQJ: Thanks so much Curtis!