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Rapaport Casting Stories – Barry Allen, Iris West and Cisco Ramon

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Rapaport Casting Stories

Though Grant Gustin already had a following from his time on Glee, it wasn’t until he became The Flash that he simultaneously became a superhero and a star. As we begin season 2, it is impossible to imagine anyone else as the speedster. One man saw the potential in the young actor, utilizing a gift in casting that has served the CW so well for years. David Rapaport, the CW’s casting director since 2008, has helped cast some of the most notable characters in recent television and he opened up to Buzzfeed to discuss some of the more notable experiences, including our favorite cast members from The Flash.

“I saw Grant Gustin on Glee and thought, Wow, this kid is a star. There’s something really, really special about him. Then I cast him in a very similar villainous role on 90210, but every time I brought him in, he was this nice, goofy kid and he just wasn’t playing these characters based on who he was. So when The Flash came up and we wanted this relatable, goofy guy who became a superhero, he just made sense to me.” said Rapaport.  “But we had to see a lot of people. We saw Andy Mientus, who we ended up casting as The Pied Piper, and Jeremy Jordan, who we ended up casting on Supergirl. I sent an email to Greg (Berlanti, executive producer of Arrow, The Flash, The Tomorrow People, Supergirl, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) about a year ago with all the people on our shows who had read for other roles and Grant Gustin had read for Thea’s boyfriend in Season 1 of Arrow, and I thought, How screwed would I have been if we cast him then?!?

barry allen and iris west

Though it seems Rapaport had his eye on Gustin for the role of Barry, Iris and Cisco were a bit more tricky. “(Iris) was a really hard role to cast. We had seen Candice initially, but I think we were too early on in the process to cast her so we ended up testing Keke Palmer and this other girl, but they felt a little too young next to Grant. When building an ensemble, you have to do those chemistry reads to find out who works best together. We went back and looked at the tapes and Candice shines — when she smiles, it’s out of control — so we thought, Let’s do another chemistry read and we’ll bring Candice and one other girl in and it was just magic. Everyone in the room looked at each other and we all just knew it. It just made total sense.” said Rapaport of Candice Patton, Barry’s leading lady.  And Cisco? “I saw a ton of people for Cisco. We cast him out of New York. He was in Once on Broadway, but I don’t think he’d ever been on TV before. It was one of those things where we saw the tape, and sometimes it doesn’t translate on tape, but he was so natural and funny and brought so much more than we ever even imagined to the character. We had some guys here that could have done it, but not in the way he’s played the role. To me, Carlos was such a standout of the first season.”

After one season under its crimson belt, we wouldn’t have the casting in The Flash any other way.

A big shout-out from TheGeeko.com to friend-of-the-site Echo Kellum who will be making his debut on Arrow this Wednesday October 14.  We had the privilege of interviewing Echo where he spoke about the audition process with David Rapaport casting for the role of Arrow’s Mr. Terrific .  Check it out here.  Kick some a$$ Mr. Terrific!

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 on the CW Network.

Feature Image by Zap2it. Barry and Iris Image by Jack Rowand/The CW Network.
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