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A Classic Superhero Tale Gets a Modern Makeover

Move over, Clark—according to Supergirl star David Harewood, the world is ready for a female to take flight

The story sounds familiar. A super-charged visitor from the planet Krypton lands on Earth and, after growing up as part of a seemingly regular family, comes to terms with some very distinct powers and uses them to help rid the world of evildoers. Except this is no Clark Kent; in CBS’ Supergirlit’s Kara Danvers—a cousin of the Daily Planet reporter—and she’s ready to let her red cape fly. But she’s not doing it alone.

David Harewood—an alum of TV shows including Homeland and Dr. Who—plays Hank Henshaw, a scientist part of a shadowy intelligence agency that works alongside Supergirl, well, mostly. 

You’ve been working on Supergirl for a while now. Are you ready to share it with the world?

It’s really, really exciting. I can’t wait for it to get on the air. I think we’re all going a bit stir crazy, working extremely hard, and nobody’s seen the show yet. So we are looking forward to the premiere so that everybody can see what we’re doing.

Your character is a scientist who’s not always thrilled with how the title character operates. What made him intriguing to you?

To be honest with you, I wasn’t really expecting the script to be quite as good as it was. When I read the script, it read like a movie. It really did seem like a very large movie, and all of the scripts have continued in that way. I think what really attracted me was the character, the script and [producer] Greg Berlanti and his fantastic creative team. There’s a lot of room for action and adventure.

Superhero stories are nothing new. What do you think makes this the superhero show that the world needs? 

A lot of shows are quite dark, and there’s a hell of a lot of machismo flying around a lot of the time. Supergirl, to me, seems fresh, and I think that she has this kind of innate goodness about her. And Melissa’s performance is really delightful and very, very charming. She’s a Supergirl very much for 2015.

David Harewood as Hank Henshaw and Melissa Benoist as Supergirl

In the first episode alone there are already some impressive fight scenes. There’s a plane crash averted, there’s lots of action. Do you get in on that? 

In the second episode, there’s a little bit of action for me with driving and shooting. Mainly, I think, the first couple episodes are really concentrating on Kara’s story. We throw you a big curve ball at the end of episode two, which is very exciting for me. And there’s a lot more action coming up and I’m really, really excited about it.

Here’s the inevitable question about superpowers: If you had to choose some, what would they be?

I think it would be flying. I was stuck on the 405 yesterday for about 20 minutes and the idea of leaving work, jumping into the air and two minutes later being home really appeals to me. I don’t particularly like any of the freeways in LA, so it would definitely be the power of flight.