After directing two episodes of "The Flash," filmmaker Kevin Smith is ready for his "Supergirl" debut and he's shooting for the stars with the midseason premiere of the CW series. "Supergirl Lives," which Smith admits is a nod to an unproduced "Superman" script he wrote once upon a time, takes the Girl of Steel off Earth for one of her first interplanetary adventures. It was a tall order for the director, but one executive producer Andrew Kreisberg was confident he could knock out of the park.
"He says, 'We're gonna take a journey. This will be our first journey into outer space, and we're going to do it by way of a "stargate" kind of thing,'" Smith recalls Kreisberg explaining. For the director, he fears being the one to make the show jump the shark. Kreisberg, on the other hand, wants to "see how far we can take the show."
And take it far is exactly what they did.
"I'm telling you, when we're working on the episode I kept turning to Eric [Carrasco], who wrote the episode, and was like, 'This is nuts, dude. I know we're not making 'Star Wars' -- but this is the closes to making 'Star Wars' I've ever come in my life.'"
By his own estimation, the episode includes intergalactic slavery, "people in rubber masks," and laser gun fights. "Motherf***ers get shot with lasers!" Smith exclaims. While "Supergirl" has always gone above and beyond when it comes to the stranger and more outlandish corner of the "Arrow"-verse, this is a huge shift even for it.
Luckily for Smith, he doesn't feel out of his depth with the material. While his first stint on "The Flash" was the dialogue-heavy Season 2 episode "The Runaway Dinosaur," his next outing was "Killer Frost" -- which was loaded with superpower battles and lots of visual effects. "Thank God I had that 'Killer Frost' episode. If I'd gone from that first episode of 'The Flash' right to this episode of 'Supergirl,' I would've been mindf***d."
Still, it's not as if Smith would have floundered in the "Arrow"-verse, regardless of which episode he was helming. While he will endlessly give all the credit for the episode to his cast and crew -- claiming time and again that he's more of a cheerleader on set than anything else -- what he brings to the shows is undeniable.
Screener had the opportunity to be on the "Supergirl" set when Smith directed this particular episode, and it was a truly unique experience. From the multiple rounds of applause for practically everyone working on the show, to the '80s rock music playing in between takes and reminders of how thankful the fans are for the episodes, Smith was more than a cheerleader -- he was a source of inspiration.
"We work crazy long hours, and the energy that he brings is only positive," star Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers) says. Mehcad (James Olsen Brooks elaborates, "Kevin is an actor's director. He's a crew director. He's a lighting director. He's a camera director. He's everything. He's everybody's favorite. And he makes you understand that it doesn't have to take eleventy-billion hours to get the right thing."
So while Smith may not want to take much credit for what he brings to this superhero TV universe, he's definitely not someone any of the producers, writers, casts or crews are taking for granted. After all, he's already booked his next trip to National City to direct his second "Supergirl" episode...
"Supergirl" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.