Fan News

Keeping Supergirl Grounded: An Interview with Supergirl's Chyler Leigh

Keeping Supergirl Grounded: An Interview with Supergirl...

By Tim Beedle Thursday, December 10th, 2015

WARNING: This interview contains a major spoiler from Monday’s episode of Supergirl. Read on at your own risk!

And she thought her life was complicated with one alien coworker…

As the human sister of the show’s titular hero, it would have been easy for Supergirl’s Alex Danvers to have been relegated to plotlines revolving around family drama and romance and to serve as an easy damsel-in-distress for Kara. So kudos to both the show’s producers and actress Chyler Leigh for not going the traditional route and instead crafting a non-superpowered character who is every bit her sister’s equal.

Serving as a top secret agent in the clandestine Department of Extranormal Operations (D.E.O.), Alex has long kept her sister grounded and in control, while also working to subdue the alien criminals who escaped from the Phantom Zone when Kara landed on Earth. She’s a scientist, but don’t mistake Alex for a lab rat. As we’ve seen in recent episodes, she can kick butt with the best of them and has recently caught the eye of the enigmatic Maxwell Lord. But how will she cope now that she’s not just working alongside an alien, but reporting to one as well?



 

So what do you have to say about the Martian Manhunter reveal?

Wow, let’s dive right in. It’s so exciting. We don’t really get a lot of information right off the bat. I feel like every episode we’re learning a lot more about our characters, about each other, but when that was revealed, David ’s reaction was just like…he’s like a kid in a candy store. It’s really amazing. He’s so strong and such a calm, cool guy. But then he put on the suit for the first time the other night. We had a scene out in the desert. I’ve never seen a grown man make a noise like that. It was like “Eeeeeeeeee!” I came out and I was like, “Whoa, that just does not match the face!”

It’s so exciting. I’m like his number one creepy stalker fan. I compliment him all the time because he’s incredible. But yeah, Martian Manhunter, J’onn J’onzz, it definitely brings a lot of drama to the mix. It gets revealed in our next episode. He reveals himself to Alex. It’s pretty awesome.

Does it change the relationship between the characters?

It does quite a bit. Up until then it was a question of who is Hank and how much does he know about our past and family. Now, I’m kind of learning more. He’s very much a part of what happened to my dad. So there’s tons of mistrust and a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. He’s walking around with his red glowy eyes all the time that apparently nobody else can see. I asked David that. I was like, “Okay, I’m really confused because in this scene, you’re out in the middle of the D.E.O. and you’re walking through and your eyes get all red…like, doesn’t everybody see that? I don’t understand.”

And he goes , “Well, the way the light reflects…” He’s saying it’s like bending light. I say “Dude, I don’t know what that means. Do people know your glowy eyes or not?” and he’s like, “No.” And I’m like, “Okay, that’s fine.”

It definitely adds a lot of layers to the relationship between them. You start to see that he looks at her almost as if she’s one of his daughters, one of his children. You learn that he had daughters and that in a huge war, his family was basically eradicated, taken out. So there are so many wonderful moments between the two of them where that kind of stuff comes out, where he talks about how I’m very much like his daughter.

I couldn’t think of a better person to work with. He’s just incredible. It’s been really cool watching that arc. The revelation, when it does come out, it’s pretty intense.



 

We know that Alex is going to help him come to turns with being an alien and looking a little different than Kara does. He’s been her superior. Does helping him change things for them?

Well, it’s kind of funny because in ways it does and it doesn’t. There are so many aspects about Alex. There’s the emotional side, the personal connection side, but she’s also a scientist, so it’s like she’s asking him questions because he’s also the great Martian. He’s the only one left. She’s just mind-blown because he’s literally the last one, and she’s asking a lot of questions.

There’s a balance between the scientist in her and also the personal side of it. There are a lot of moments where Alex kind of toes up to him and stands up and says, “This is crap” or “This is good.” They can kind of bounce ideas off one another, but there’s still a level where he is an authoritative figure and she has to respect that. But she gets her jabs in, which is fine.

Alex has a very not-normal life. Her sister’s a super hero. She’s surrounded by aliens. Will she ever have a normal life? Does she date? Can she have a normal life?

Does any woman have a normal life? I don’t know that she would ever have a normal life, but that does beg the question, all kidding aside, what is normal? Especially anymore. The fact that she was handed Kara at such a young age, it was really, “This is your job, this is your responsibility. She’s yours to watch over, she's yours to protect.” End of story.

So there’s nothing normal about any of it. Because Alex loves her sister so much and there is so much to what she does, it’s any super hero’s story. You have to be at the ready. Anything could happen at any moment. And with so many threats to her, now that Supergirl’s out in the open. It’s Alex’s job, whether begrudgingly or not. Her job is to watch over her sister and to love her sister, protect her sister.



 

The only thing that you even see even remotely hinted at is whatever that whole dynamic is between Alex and Maxwell Lord. Honestly, there’s not a whole heck of a lot that we’ve been told, other than it could create drama with Supergirl wanting to protect Alex now. I think we’re just coming upon all that stuff now where it’s coming to a head.

The great parts that we do have, and some of the work that I know Melissa and I love most, are the scenes where we get to just be sisters. Where it’s in the loft and we’re stuffing our faces with pizza or ice cream or whatever it is. There’s a reality to that that I think is very special. A lot of times you see the cattiness between sisters and siblings. You don’t get to often clue in on the really sweet moments where it’s like, “Okay, we can just kind of do whatever and be stupid and burp or whatever we want to do,” and it’s okay. You’re not judged. You’re on a level playing field. Those scenes are really fun for us.

Speaking of family, during the Thanksgiving episode we saw you interact with your mother. I love the scene at the table where you’re just drinking and letting it fly, but it also had a sweet resolution where we saw Dr. Danvers tell you, “You’re my super girl.” Are we going to see more between Alex and her mother throughout the rest of the season or did we put a pin in that?

Nothing has come up quite yet. Not that I can think of. I’d hate to blank out on something at this point. That’s always going to be there. That’s always going to be a part of it. I absolutely believe we’ll see her again. As of right now, I don’t know when exactly, but family is family. They’re going to show up at your doorstep whether you invite them or not. I’m sure that will come back into play.

That was definitely some of my favorite stuff to do with Alex as well. It was deep, deep stuff. I think again when you’re a sibling and there’s a competition level in one way, shape or form, there’s just always that side of you that’s going to come bubbling out, bubbling over, and talk about those areas that have cut you the most. It was really, really cool the way the approach to that scene and to that declaration Alex makes . I thought it was really well done. It was fun. Helen is really sweet too.



 

Is Alex becoming closer professionally to Hank Henshaw going to cause some tension between her and her mother later?

Well, maybe. Because in , it’s revealed that I mention that I’m working for the D.E.O., so my mother is like, “Whoa, wait a minute.” I think there’s always going to be an element that will come up just from a motherly perspective, at least from Eliza’s side. She would absolutely be a bit more hesitant or cautious about that and warn her daughter about that kind of stuff. I think any mom would. The revealing of who Hank really is, Eliza isn’t privy to any of that stuff. At least not yet. So the all the stuff that gets said between J’onn and Alex is just really intimately them. And then Kara, Supergirl, gets brought into it shortly after. Can’t keep that a secret. We tried and now everybody knows he’s Martian Manhunter so…


Supergirl airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on CBS. This is the fourth in our weeklong series of Supergirl interviews. Don’t miss our earlier interviews with Jeremy Jordan (Winn Schott), David Harewood (Hank Henshaw) and Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen).