Candice Patton just got her big break. She stars in The Flash as Iris West, Barry Allen’s “sister” and future love interest. She plays a brave, cool, and strong women on the show, and in real life she’s kinda like her except even more cool, goal-oriented, and totally grounded. She's is about to become the next Hollywood star, and we just had to find out what this transition has been like for her, who her inspiration was growing up, and what’s coming up for Iris this season. Candice is absolutely amazing, but we’ll just cut to the interview before we overdo the gushing!
Candice Patton: Iris West is in grad school; she’s studying journalism. She’s best friends with Barry Allen. They grew up together after his mother was murdered and his father was put in jail for the crime. My father, Joe West (played by Jesse L. Martin) takes Barry in and he’s kind of raised as my brother and best friend. The story picks up in the pilot where Barry gets struck by lightening and he ends up having these super powers. Throughout the show, we’ll see how Iris and Barry’s relationship changes, and her interest in finding out who this man is that’s running around and saving people in the city.
ShareTV: I heard at Comic Con that you didn’t originally get the role! Can you tell us what happened with your audition and how everything played out?
CP: It’s typical audition stuff, that I don’t know if a lot of people know about. I went in for the role originally and didn’t get it. They tested other girls for it and I was just told that I wasn’t moving forward. I was actually really upset about it because it was one of the roles my manager had sent over and said, “You are perfect for Iris.” My manager knows me very well, so I knew that if he said it was the right role, it was probably one of the roles that I tested for. I was really disappointed when I heard that they had moved forward with other girls. I went home for Christmas and I came back to LA and my manager called me and said, “They didn’t choose any of the girls that they were looking at and they’re going to revisit auditioning girls, and I’m going to get you back in because I know you’re perfect for Iris.” Somehow he got me back in and I read with Grant the second time around and I think that’s when they knew it was just a perfect match. It was amazing because sometimes when you think something is over, it’s not over. I was sure that The Flash was done for me, and lo and behold.
ShareTV: What was the best part of Comic Con in your opinion?
CP: Being on the floor, signing autographs, and actually meeting the fans. Being at the panel with everyone- we did a huge panel with all the Warner Bros., DC shows that are on air including Gotham and Arrow, Constantine and The Flash. It was amazing to be up there with Geoff Johns asking me a question and Jada Pinkett Smith, and you look out in the audience and it was packed. That was just a moment for me that I realized that my life is going to change, so that was really awesome.
ShareTV: I was actually going to ask you (because this is such a huge, defining role for your career) was there a particular moment?
CP: I don’t know that there was a specific moment (that would be one of them). I mean I’m constantly having them everyday because it’s hard for people to understand that you go for so long in Hollywood and you’re just working to pay rent and get a job. You hear “No” for so long, that one day someone is finally like “Yes, we want to hire you.” And you almost can’t believe it. And on a show like The Flash, that has so much buzz around it, and then the show premieres and people love it… it’s almost like you can’t accept that all this goodness is happening to you. Every day I’m in shock.
ShareTV: Is there anything really hard about it all happening so suddenly for you?
CP: Yea, I mean it’s not an easy transition I’ll say that. I’m very grateful for the transition, but it’s not an easy one. You go from no one knowing you to all of the sudden people are Googling you on the Internet, talking to you on Twitter, and you know fans are curious. And I totally get it because I’ve been a fan, but it’s weird when the roles are reversed and now people are doing that to you. I’m a pretty private person, so it’s an adjustment to realize now people are watching you. When Entertainment Weekly starts following you on Instagram, it’s like a whole 'nother level of life.
ShareTV: When you’re an actor in LA trying to make it, and get roles, is fame something you really thought about? Like what it would mean for you, was that something that ever crossed your mind?
CP: Not seriously, no. When you’re in the grind of LA and Hollywood and you’re just working so hard get a guest star or a recurring role it really is about the work and really is about paying your rent. So fame or being famous, for me, it didn’t cross my mind, but I guess it has to be in the back of your mind somewhere that it’s a possibility. It didn’t occur to me that it was going to happen in 2014, all at once.
ShareTV: What actually inspired you to star acting when you were younger?
CP: That’s a great question, I was a really big fan of I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball and every night I would watch that show religiously for years. Something about Lucille Ball, when I watched her I wanted to do what she was doing: make people laugh or feel good the way I felt when I was watching her. So naturally, I just started taking theater classes and going to school for theater and never really stopped. It’s the best show, I love it so much!
CP: Gosh, that was the very beginning of my career! But any show compared to a superhero show is very different. There’s a lot of stunts, long long hours on our show, and it’s quite taxing, but it’s also really stimulating and fun. I find the days that I’m not working on The Flash I’m terribly bored. All I want to do is go hang out on set and see what’s going on. Even though I’m tired when I’m at work and wonder if the day will ever end, the days I’m not working I wish I was working.
ShareTV: You’ve got a dream job!
CP: It’s true, I really do.
ShareTV: I wanted to ask you about meshing with the characters on set and with the cast as individuals. What’s that been like?
CP: The great thing about our cast, from the get-go when we first all got in one room together to shoot the pilot, we really got along really well all of us and I can honestly say that we are friends outside of work and that we see each other all the time. I was with Jesse and Rick last night hanging out, It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this week so a bunch of us are renting a cabin this weekend and spending it together. We really enjoy each others company, really enjoy each other, and look out for each other. And it’s really great to go to work everyday with people that you really have vested interest in getting to know and, and taking care of each other. We really love each other and that’s great.
ShareTV: Some sets seem to have that really close-knit friendship and others are friendly, but that’s it. So that’s awesome!
CP: I hear that a lot on set, like “we work together and we get along, you know that’s what we have to do to get the job done.” On our show we spend time with each other and we are all by our trailers we are outside them hanging out and playing with each other’s dogs. Grant has a dog, Danielle has a dog, so there’s dogs running around! It’s like a big family house- granted it’s crazy!
ShareTV: We know it’s a superhero show, so there will be a lot of action. Does Iris get involved in any of it, or is she cast off as the girlfriend/sister on the side?
CP: Yea, I think in just being in close proximity with Barry Allen (and in turn The Flash) that sets Iris up for being a prime target for a lot of meta humans who know that it could possibly be Barry Allen’s weakness, so she will, definitely. Beyond that, Iris is curious. If she sees something going on in the city she’s going to run straight into danger, fighting Barry and her father telling her not to do that. I think there will be plenty of opportunities for Iris to get in on some sort of action. She’s not a damsel-in-distress and she doesn’t always wait for someone to come in and save her. She’s very aware that sometimes at the end of the day you’ve gotta be able to pull up your boot straps and do what needs to be done to save yourself. I love that about her. I love that about her.
ShareTV: Getting to play a strong female role is becoming more common, but it is still kind of rare and very exciting!
CP: She’s still a woman, has heart, and is emotional at times. But she also is strong. She’s all of those things, so she’s a very dynamic kind of character and I love being able to play that.
ShareTV: What’s your most similar quality to her?
CP: We’re quite similar and in a lot of ways we’re different. I think we’re both pretty happy-go-lucky. When I am happy it’s to the Iris degree. Iris is very bubbly and she sees the world as the glass half full, and there’s a lot of that in me. Iris takes it to a whole 'nother level and there’s a part of me that looks at Iris and wants that in my own life. She’s very strong and brave and I’d like to think that I am those things, but I also in reading the scripts and learning more about Iris I’m constantly wanting more of that in my own personal life.
ShareTV: That’s pretty cool! You get to try to be that person that you’re learning from, it’s neat that you get to kind of play it out.
CP: Yea, when I leave set and I’ve been playing Iris all day, there’s something different about me. I feel stronger and I feel lighter and that’s really fun, so I think she’s going to change my personal life, which is great.
ShareTV: What’s your favorite color?
CP: Currently it’s purple! I’ve painted Iris’s nails purple this episode.
ShareTV: Do they let you do whatever you want for her nails?
CP: Yea, I kind of decided that Iris is also fun in her fashion and she probably likes to paint her nails. I like changing it up every episode.
ShareTV: I love that, it’s so fun! What’s you’re number one vacation spot?
CP: Vacation? What’s that? [Laughs] I don’t know, I’ve never really been into tropical destinations like Hawaii. When I go on vacation I like to go to a big city where I can explore, like New York. I don’t really like to lounge, but after this job and after this season I may want to sit on my butt and drink a Mai Thai, so maybe Hawaii or Bali, or something like that. Actually one of the best places that I’ve gone that I really loved was New Zealand.
ShareTV: Name the last movie you watched.
CP: I just went to see Gone Girl. I read the book and I’m a huge David Fincher fan and I thought it was just another masterpiece of his. I would highly recommend it.
ShareTV: What’s your favorite TV show (besides The Flash and I Love Lucy of course!)?
ShareTV: Iris loves coffee, that’s already clear from the pilot! If you were personally going to order a cup, what would you get?
CP: Well right now I’m drinking plain black coffee with two cubes of brown sugar. If I’m going to a coffee house I’ll probably get a skinny vanilla latte.