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DANIELLE PANABAKER Not Just A Flash In The Pan

Danielle Panabaker
Danielle Panabaker

If Danielle Panabaker’s face seems familiar that’s not surprising; her CV’s mighty fine. Currently appearing in TV show The Flash, the actor’s popped up here, there and everywhere on the small screen: Bones, Grimm, Grey’s Anatomy, Medium and Summerland (and that’s just a taste). She voiced a character on Family Guy for an episode, even appeared in an episode of Mad Men. 

“I was a huge fan of the show from the beginning and I was so excited when I got that role,” enthuses Panabaker. Was the costuming fun? “Oh my gosh, the costume was amazing. Janie, the costume designer over there, is absolutely incredible.”

Then there are her noted roles as Julie in Shark and Penny in Justified. “I loved being on that show too,” says Panabaker. “It was something like the antithesis of what I’m doing on The Flash, you know? I spend an hour in hair and makeup on The Flash, and when it comes to Justified, it was no makeup whatsoever and the ugliest, dumpiest suit they could find.”

Fans have praised Panabaker’s portrayal of bioengineer Dr. Caitlin Snow on The Flash and she’s been nominated for a Teen Choice Award (Choice TV Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy). Perhaps part of the success of her performance is the actress’s obvious intelligence; Panabaker graduated high school at fourteen. In response to comments on her character’s independence and education, Panabaker says, “I love that about her, and I’m very grateful to the writers for giving me so much to play with her. It’s nice to show up to work and be challenged by the material.”

She says the auditioning process for the role was very quick. “I remember we were flying back from New York, I met everyone on Tuesday and by Friday I had the role.” When asked how far ahead the scripts are given out before a scene is filmed, Panabaker says, “I wish we got them before, further ahead. I mean, best case scenario we get them a week in advance, but you know, the season finale we started shooting on a Monday and we got it Friday night.” A day on set can be a long one. “We work an average of 14 hours a day, so those can be quite tedious but I’m lucky I don’t work all day every day, I think it’s much harder for Grant.”

Panabaker’s favourite Caitlin moment in season one was the karaoke sequence. “I think it was so nice to see something different from Caitlin, we get to see her loosen up a little bit and not be so in control.” Nice call; the scene she’s referencing really humanises the character. “It was a lot of fun. That’s a girl I’d be friends with.”

After the season finale the internet was awash with stills of the split-second Panabaker’s character appeared onscreen post her future transformation into supervillain Killer Frost. “I think its really cool,” she says, obviously wary of spoilers. “I’m really excited, we worked very hard on that costume, so I was excited for people to finally see it, and I can’t wait for us to hopefully see more of her.” Asked if she’s looking forward to kicking some butt, she replies, “Oh I can’t wait. I think I get jealous when the boys get to have all the fun.”

So who does she love sharing scenes with the most? “I love my Firestorm boys (Robbie Amell as Ronnie Raymond and Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein, the two halves of Firestorm). I always have a great time with Robbie, and I couldn’t love Victor more. I get giddy when he comes to set, I’m so excited to see him, and he just has the best sense of humour.”

The interview wanders into guarded territory when I try to clarify the involvement of her Firestorm boys in the upcoming Legends Of Tomorrow series. They’re in the spin-off, aren’t they? “I’m sorry?” They’re in the spin-off? “Um, Victor is.” She’s right, the trailer clearly shows Dr. Stein. It also shows a fiery blur in the sky, but no clear shot of Amell’s face, making it unclear if both actors will be appearing.

The statement is met with an uncomfortable pause. “Um, no comment.”

GILLIAN O’MEAGHER

Danielle Panabaker appears at Supanova Pop Culture Expo on Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28, at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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