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"When you play a superhero, your name will forever be on a list that never goes away. It's like you Google Batman, and there's a list of actors who've played him, and this will never be taken away from them. So just the fact that I'll forever be part of history, as DC Comic's Stargirl, it's such an honour," said Brec Bassinger, who plays the eponymous character in the superheroine series Stargirl.
Stargirl is the latest addition to the Arrowverse (the group of shows that started with Arrow, and includes The Flash and Supergirl), that comes just in time to fill the void after Arrow finished its series run earlier this year. The show features Courtney Whitmore which gives the titular character her powers — even while she has to deal with her personal life being uprooted as she moves to a small town with her family, a modern-day town that looks like it came straight from the 1980s.
"We took a lot of inspiration from the '80s films. Our cast and crew went to this theatre for a party at the beginning of the season and watched Back To The Future. (Stargirl) takes a lot of inspiration from the '80s, like being family centric."
Bassinger's favourite superhero from the DC Universe is Batman. "I'd like to say Stargirl is my favourite superhero, but I'd be a little biased," she laughed. "I grew up watching the Batman franchise, and Batman's relationship with Joker is absolutely insane."
But when it comes to a favourite superheroine, her pick is Wonder Woman for being around for so long, and for the fact that she and her costume radiates this air of being a powerhouse. "Plus the movies are awesome," she added.
Stargirl is also famous for having an adult sidekick, S.T.R.I.P.E. In the series, S.T.R.I.P.E. is a large robot that's piloted by Stargirl's stepfather Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson). As can be expected, there are a lot of CGI effects, ranging from S.T.R.I.P.E. to the shenanigans of the Cosmic Staff.
"It's a learning experience, having a scene partner that isn't there," explained Bassinger. "So for S.T.R.I.P.E., they have this 16-foot. pole with this cardboard cutout head, and it's not the same as having a real robot next to you. But executive producer Greg Beeman would come on set and go 'picture this, the ground is shaking' and it was nice to have someone describing (what the scene should be). And now that I've seen the episodes, with all the CGI added in, I know the caliber of things, like how giant the robot is."
However, they do have practical effects for the robot S.T.R.I.P.E. "They actually built a S.T.R.I.P.E., but clearly I don't get to fly on him. But it's in the background of some scenes."
As for the Cosmic Staff, there was a steep learning curve, as the weapon moves with a mind of its own. "At the beginning they had to constantly remind me, 'Brec, react to it, move it up and down, you can't just have it lying there like it's dead' and I was like okay. But now every time I would get a script, I would highlight my lines and highlight every time the Cosmic Staff is mentioned, like it's another character. And then I would highlight everywhere I think the Cosmic Staff would have a reaction, like it's a line. So I gave it 'lines', I gave it a 'personality'," said the Stargirl star.
Stargirl first appeared in a cameo at the end of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover and it was established that she is from Earth-2. "As of now, I don't think there are any specific plans for Arrowverse crossovers," said Bassinger, "but with DC Comics anything is possible." But Supergirl is on her wishlist. "I'd love to see Supergirl (cameo in Stargirl) because I feel they're female powerhouses. And also I've watched interviews of Melissa Benoist (who plays Supergirl), and she seems so nice, I just want to get to be her friend personally."
But what makes Stargirl different from Supergirl? Well, there's the '80s tone of Stargirl's home town of Blue Valley, compared to the metropolitan vibes of Supergirl's National City. Then there's the fact that Stargirl has to balance being a superhero along with the craziness of high school, and none of the other Arrowverse shows feature a school-going superhero. So even though they are both powerful, dominant female leads, there's a stark difference between the pair.
On the villains front, Bassinger has two favourites. "There's only a small glimpse of him in the first episode, but I found the Shade to be very intriguing," said Bassinger. "There's this big shadowy hand that grabs the original Doctor Mid-Nite in this big battle between the JSA (Justice Society of America) and the ISA (Injustice Society of America), and that's the Shade." The Shade is traditionally a villain with the power to control and create shadows in the comics, but it has yet to be seen what his full incarnation will be like on Stargirl. "But also Brainwave (a villain with mental powers). His story arc for this first season blows my mind, no pun intended.
One thing's clear about both the actress and the character — they're both good-natured and kind. But if Bassinger could steal one prop from the set, what would it be? "Funnily enough, I have the Cosmic Staff — (executive producer) Geoff Johns gave me one of them. So the next thing I want, which I don't think I'm going to get, is Pat Dugan's old red and white car. That car is gorgeous, it's from the 1960s, and it's a classic car."
It's obvious that a new superhero team, the Justice Society of America, will be formed by the end of the season, as Bassinger shared some spoilers. "You'll see she grabs this band of misfits, and they each bring something really special to the team, and Courtney brings leadership in her role," revealed Bassinger.
Stargirl airs every Wednesday, 7.50pm on Warner TV (Starhub TV: 515, Singtel TV: 306). .
Marcus Goh is a television scriptwriter who writes for “Crimewatch”, as well as popular shows like “Lion Mums”, “Code of Law”, “Incredible Tales”, and “Police & Thief”. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.
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