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Guide to DC Universe’s DOOM PATROL: Q&A Interview w/ Cast & Producers + Episodes + Photos

Maj Canton - February 15, 2019

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On Friday, February 15, 2019 DC Universe premieres DOOM PATROL. (The first season consists of 15 episodes, with new episodes being released on Fridays at 9am ET/6am PT.) This wild and crazy action-packed seires re-imagines some of DC's most beloved outcast superheroes -- Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Woman and Crazy Jane -- led by modern-day mad scientist Dr. Niles Caulder (aka "The Chief"). The Doom Patrol members suffer horrible accidents that give them superhuman abilities -- but also leave them scarred and disfigured. Traumatized, the team finds purpose through The Chief, who brings them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence -- and to protect Earth from what they find. Picking up after the events of TITANS, these reluctant heroes are in a place they never expected to be -- called to action by none other than Cyborg, who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse, but also a warning that is hard to ignore: their lives will never, ever be the same. Part support group, part Super Hero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of superpowered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them. Based on the characters created for DC by Arnold Drake.

 

CAST: Timothy Dalton plays The Chief, a modern day mad scientist; Brendan Fraser voices Robotman, a former race car driver whose consciousness has been uploaded into a robotic body; Diane Guerrero plays Crazy Jane, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder and each of her personalities has its own distinct superpower; Matt Bomer voices Negative Man, who has a “radioactive soul-self”; April Bowlby plays Elasti-Woman, who can manipulate her body at will; Joivan Wade plays Cyborg; and Alan Tudyk plays the villainous Mr. Nobody, “a living shadow able to drain the sanity of others” and on-set costume performances by Matthew Zuk and Riley Shanahan

 


 


This February 2019 TV Tango attended the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour, where Warner Brothers presented a panel that included cast Brendan Fraser, Matt Bomer, Timothy Dalton, Alan Tudyk, Diane Guerrero, April Bowlby, Joivan Wade plus Executive Producers Jeremy Carver, and Sarah Schechter. Here are a few highlights (edited for clarity and readability) from that panel.

 

Cast and EPs of DOOM PATROL at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour in February 2019 at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena.

 


Diane Guerrero as Crazy Jane.

Question: What do you think of the Crazy Jane role and what is it like to play it?


Diane Guerrero: I said, “My goodness, I finally found myself.” It's a dream come true, I couldn't believe it. I mean if you've seen some of my other work too, other characters I've played, I was just hungry for a part like this, and when I first saw the material I didn't know anything about the comic book, and they didn't give me much information but I just saw how complex and dynamic this role was, and I really wanted to challenge myself. And believe me, this show has challenged me. It's incredible - my actual therapist is on hiatus because I get to really express myself on this show, and it's worked wonders. I'm actually my best self that I've ever been. So when we complete our fifteen episodes, talk to me about how crazy I am then.


Sarah Schechter: I'll just add that Diana self-taped for her audition and the second we saw her tape; it was sort of over for us. And we couldn't get it out of our mind — I don't know what it says about her, but she really naturally understood the character. I’m excited for people to see her work in this show.



Apri Bowlby as Elasti-Woman.

Question: April, did you model your character after specific classic Hollywood icons?


April Bowlby: Yeah, I watched “Star” with Bette Davis and “Sunset Boulevard” with Gloria Swanson. She just has a fun cadence to her, very '50s, put together. There's a great “Twilight Zone” about an actress who’s narcissistic and falls into her own stories. I think that's very much Rita. She can't quite get a grip on reality and so she creates this own story and she lives in the '50s, which is why she's so rigid and controlled. And, when things don’t go her way and she has to go outside of her comfort zone she blobs out. Most of it is CGI. There are some prosthetics that they put on. They teach me how to move as a blob and they take from that and create the CGI around it. I'm very supported in the effort; it’s mostly not me at all.


Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele.

Question: Brendan, are you wearing a costume or doing motion capture for your character?


Brendan Fraser: I provide the voice of Robot Man. It's a partnership of sorts that I share with Riley Shanahan, an actor who is about the same height, weight, size, except not as handsome. (laughter) We have similar training and I feel like he's doing the heavy lifting and I'm adding the voice when I'm not playing Cliff Steele, who is the race car driver you see in the flesh. No, I don't wear the suit that often, pieces of it in episodes, but stay tuned.


Question: What are the challenges of voice acting?


Brendan Fraser: It's really well written. You just read the sheet music the way you should do and keep your fingers crossed you're not boring everyone and make sure the microphone's on. Yeah, I guess it's convenient that way, but I'd rather be on the set, truthful though.


Joivan Wade as Cyborg.

Question: With some actors being separate with voice work, how is chemistry between actors/characters established?


Joivan Wade: Cyborg was not involved in the pilot and entered in episode two. That actually was testament to what actually happened in real life. I wasn’t around for the first episode and as soon as I came on set for the second episode, in the same way that Vic comes into this family of the Doom Patrol, Joivan came into this family of amazing talent and great people. It feels like a family on set every day. It’s a blast. We play charades when we're off takes to keep our energy up. Constantly hanging out outside of work and just building that. You’re gonna see that on screen.

Diane Guerrero: Everyone’s really dedicated. Even our actors who are playing with [stunt doubles]—Riley is playing with Brendan and Matt who’s playing with… Different Matt. We work with them every day because they're in the suit. They're so dedicated and I love that about this cast and crew, is that everyone really loves the story and then when we get together with Matt and Brendan, it’s weird. We play charades. I just want everything to be fun or else I just get really bored. It's good to just keep the mind going and the body going.


Brendan Fraser: Early discussions were how are we going to find a working process to understand how to fill in those blanks? April and Diane were great. They came and we recorded probably the first two episodes. That set a template for everyone to kind of understand and truthfully, we just taught one another what the voices of the characters were.


Jeremy Carver: I think sometimes there can be a slight misperception about what it is to be a suit actor. We did a wide casting call for the people to play Negative Man and Larry and Cliff. Riley Shanahan and Matthew Zuk, they both are tremendous actors. I'm staring at them every day on the monitor but seeing an incredibly moving amount of soulfulness to each of them. When you have people like Matt Bomer and Brendan Fraser to come in and do clean up, they're giving them a tremendous platform to work with. Like Brendan was saying, early on we had a lot of discussion on how to deal with this and both sets of actors sat there studying one another to make sure they were in sync before we really got this show launched. I think we're all pretty hopeful that it’s paid off.


Negative Man.

Question: How difficult was it to get this project up and running?


Sarah Schechter: DC and Warner Brothers have been incredibly supportive. I think what's great about comic books is the variety of stories being told. They were really supportive and Greg and I were so fortunate to find Jeremy and trick him into doing this. Because his voice is so special and what he's brought to it. Ultimately, any show that works for any audience is because there's some emotional truth there and I think there's a lot of emotional truth here. I think that this show is really sophisticated, smart, nuanced, and dark, and it’s really fun to do it, and it’s just a reflection of the source material. It definitely was part of the sales pitch, when we talked to Brendan and Matt. But to be honest I think it was as soon as—at least speaking for Greg and myself—we read Jeremy’s script. The script is so good, the writing is so good. I think actors really—you guys tell me if I'm wrong—but my experience tells me that actors like good scripts. We're so fortunate to have this cast, they're so incredible talented and it’s really just a testament to Jeremy’s words.

Question: How expensive is this show?


Jeremy Carver: Warner Brothers and DC are very serious about putting that money up on the screen to give you a premium viewing experience, and I think you can see from what you've seen so far that it has a healthy budget, compared to other programs.


Crazy Jane and Robotman.

Question: How will this show fit in with the film DC universe and its characters already out there?


Joivan Wade: I think what's really exciting is the fact that you've got the CW world in its own universe but this new DC universe is another opportunity for us to be able to cross over and essentially live in a world which hasn't been seen. And I think when it comes to Cyborg specifically, we're in a world in which Cyborg is a different version than we've seen already. And it's a great opportunity for me, personally, to be able to have my own take on it, and really bring it to life in a way that hasn't been seen yet. And you know this is an earlier Cyborg. It's a version of him in which is coming into his powers and he's a long way off from the Justice League. You can really see a clear distinction between this version of the character and other versions.

Sarah Schechter: I think DC has made a decision, quite smartly, to separate the feature world and the television world. I don't think there's been any confusion, and I think especially, comic books have always had multiple versions of the same character, created by different writers, different artists, with different adventures. I think it's really fun, I think that the two work really nicely together, and help fans to experience fully the characters that they love.


Timothy Dalton as The Chief (center).

Question: Will you be adhering to storylines presented in “The Comic” that include Doom Patrol’s inception and other characters like Celsius, Tempest, and Negative Woman?


Jeremy Carver: I think the show is dipping into different versions of the "Doom Patrol" from the years. A great jumping off point is the Grant Morrison run in the '90s. We dip into the Silver Age where we are seeing the Celsius and Lodestone characters. We're going to see some other characters such as Danny the Street. We're going to see one of my more beloved characters, the Beard Hunter. In terms of where we're going with the storyline, we’d rather let the story grow itself week to week and let the fans discover the show for themselves.

Question: How difficult was it putting essentially four different origin stories in the pilot?


Jeremy Carver: Because we were dealing with two characters who you couldn't see, one wrapped in bandages and one inside a robot’s body, I felt it was really important that you get a very good grounding of not just those two characters, but all the characters so that you are fully behind everybody in this story. You needed to feel the people who were under those bandages and inside that robot’s body. We keep going to their backstory. There's a lot to unpack over the season and we are playing across the different eras from where these people have come from. We are telling a much larger story against a much larger canvas that we just start to hint at in the pilot.


Question: Why did you decide to start from the perspective of the villain [Mr. Nobody]?


Jeremy Carver: From a story perspective I thought it would be fun to start with the basic notion of someone telling a fairytale, but from the villain's perspective. And it's not just for show in Episode 1. It very, very much goes to the heart of what Mr. Nobody's intent is this season. And then of course when Alan agreed to come and play him, that made everything ten thousand times better because I've long been a fan of his.


Alan Tudyk: I really like the writing for the voiceover of the show. Since he is the villain and he has distain for a lot of these characters, he doesn't hide it. He's not this omniscient character who's like, "And then this happened." He's saying, "Oh, God, another team of superheroes, shoot me!" And it’s appropriate that he’s the narrator because he’s in here trying to narrate everyone’s life and doing a good job of it, coming in and puppeteering.


EPISODE GUIDE


If you want to know nothing about the episodes at all, skip this section. Provided by DC Universe, this episode guide includes general episode descriptions and specific plot details.

The first season consists of 15 episodes, with new episodes being released on Fridays at 9am ET/6am PT. The final episode of the first season is scheduled for release on May 25, 2019.


"Pilot" (Premieres Friday, February 15, 2019)
In the series premiere episode, the team – tired of being stuck in Doom Manor – decides to visit the local town while The Chief is away. However, this seemingly harmless field trip leads to some grave consequences, including an encounter with the mysterious and powerful Mr. Nobody.

"Donkey Patrol" (Premieres Friday, February 22, 2019)
Following Mr. Nobody's capture of Niles Caulder and the destruction of Cloverton Ohio, The Doom Patrol investigate the mysterious albino donkey and discover it is a door to another universe, one where Mr. Nobody is in control. Cyborg aka Vic Stone, a part man/part machine hero from Detroit who has his own complicated relationship with Niles Caulder, joins the search. Guest Stars: Phil Morris, Julie McNiven, Kyle Clements.

"Puppet Patrol" (Premieres Friday, March 1, 2019)
Following their only lead in the search for Niles Caulder, the Doom Patrol set out for Paraguay where they discover Dr. Von Fuchs (guest star Julian Richings) the Nazi doctor who transformed Eric Morden into Mr. Nobody and learn the connection between Niles and the two villains.

"Cult Patrol" (Premieres Friday, March 8, 2019)
As the team recovers from the fight at Fuchtopia, Willoughby Kipling (guest star Mark Sheppard), a magician and an old friend of Niles Caulder's, unexpectedly conscripts the Doom Patrol into helping him avert the end of the world by stopping a nihilistic cult. Unfortunately though, the Doom Patrol fails and the Apocalypse begins!

"Paw Patrol" (Premieres Friday, March 15, 2019)
With the Apocalypse in full swing, the Doom Patrol must work with unlikely ally and a very special pug to save the world. Guest Stars: Mark Sheppard as Willoughby Kipling, Julie McNiven as Sheryl Trainor, Lilli Birdsell as Martha / Mother Archon, Ted Sutherland as Elliot Patterson, Jeanette O'Connor as Marilyn and Ezra Buzzington as Dr. Bertrand.

"Doom Patrol Patrol" (Premieres Friday, March 22, 2019)
Following a clue left by Mr. Nobody, Jane, Larry and Rita visit a school where Niles' previous team of heroes, the original Doom Patrol has retired. Meanwhile, Cliff and Vic tenuously bond over their mutual "father issues."

"Therapy Patrol" (Premieres Friday, March 29, 2019)
After a violent outburst from Cliff, the team engages in some self-led group therapy – leading to some growth within the group as they are knit closer together.

"Danny Patrol" (Premieres Friday, April 5, 2019)
A sentient, gender-queer, teleporting street named Danny who's being hunted by a secret government agency, the Bureau of Normalcy, needs help from Niles but gets Vic and Larry instead. Meanwhile, Cliff and Rita track down Karen, one of Jane's personalities, who's a hopeless romantic with the power to compel people to fulfill her wishes. Guests: Brent Bailey as Doug and Alan Mingo Jr. as Morris Wilson/Maura Lee Karupt.

"Jane Patrol" (Premieres Friday, April 12, 2019)
As a result of the team's previous group therapy session, Jane retreats to The Underground, a treacherous place deep within her own mindspace. There, she encounters the various facets of her many personas and journeys to discover the dark traumas of her past.

"Hair Patrol" (Premieres Friday, April 19, 2019)
Vic and Rita find the mansion infiltrated by Ernest Franklin (guest star Tommy Snider), a dangerous man called The Beard Hunter, who's been activated by the Bureau of Normalcy to find Niles Caulder. Meanwhile, we learn the tragic love story between Caulder and an immortal woman named Slava (guest star Pisay Pao) that started Niles on the path towards the man we know today.

"Frances Patrol" (Premieres Friday, April 26, 2019)
While Larry pays a visit to his lost love, John ­ both in real life and in the Dreamscape ­ Cliff travels with Rita down to Gator Country to reconnect with his daughter, Clara, after 30 years. Meanwhile, Jane and Vic pursue the "Hero of the Beach" aka Flex Mentallo. But Vic's worried that his operating system (Grid) might have its might have its own agenda. Guests: Kyle Clements as John Bowers, and Bethany Anne Lind as Clara Steele.

"Cyborg Patrol" (Premieres Friday, May 3, 2019)
With Vic captured by the Bureau of Normalcy and being held at the Ant Farm, his father, Silas Stone (guest star Phil Morris) hatches a plan to break him out with the rest of the Doom Patrol. As you can imagine, not everything goes according to plan.

"Flex Patrol" (Premieres Friday, May 10, 2019)
After escaping the Ant Farm with Flex Mentallo (guest star Devan Long), the Doom Patrol tries to restore his memory and abilities in order to find the Chief. Meanwhile, Rita confronts her doubts with the help of a stranger and Larry realizes how tied he is to the Negative Spirit.

"Penultimate Patrol" (Premieres Friday, May 17, 2019)
With the help of Flex and Danny the Street, the Doom Patrol enter the White Space to rescue the Chief from Mr. Nobody. But Nobody offers them a deal that's hard to resist.