Grant Gustin‘s memory of the first-ever Arrowverse crossover isn’t as geek-tastic as one would expect.
In the first part of the inaugural Arrowverse crossover, which aired in 2014, Arrow‘s Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) traveled to The Flash‘s Central City and joined forces with Barry Allen (Gustin) and the then-newly formed Team Flash to take down Ray Bivolo, a metahuman who could control people’s emotions with colors. In typical comic book team-up fashion, things went sideways, and the Arrow ended up fighting the Flash because the latter got whammied by Ray.
While the ensuing alleyway brawl between the two superheroes looked pretty awesome on television, the experience of shooting it definitely wasn’t for Gustin because The Flash had just debuted and they were still working out some super-suit kinks.
“We blocked it in the daylight, and I remember there’s paparazzi pictures of us blocking it. Stephen is standing in his Arrow show jacket and I’m glued into my mask [looking] so unhappy watching this stunt rehearsal,” Gustin told EW in July. “They hadn’t figured out how to do my mask yet. So for the first nine episodes, I was glued in for like 12 hours at a time. Like, I’d eat lunch in my mask.”
Things got even harder later that night before they actually shot the scene when a still masked Gustin was sitting in a nearby hotel room reading the script for The Flash‘s midseason finale, “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” which was the first time the Flash and Reverse Flash faced each other.
“I don’t remember exactly what the moment was in that script, it’s toward the end. I just remember sitting on the bed in my mask, like needing to go up for that fight scene and I was sobbing because it was so emotional. Just my whole mask was getting spongy, and it was terrible,” he said with a laugh. “So it wasn’t glamorous that first day of the crossover. I just remember being tired and beat down and mad about being in the mask and excited for the next episode.”
He continued: “That’s what this experience is, though, every year. It’s amazing. It’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, and it’s definitely not as glamorous as everyone thinks it is,” Gustin said.
As all of the Arrowverse actors will tell you, the experience of shooting the crossover is grueling even without costume problems because they’re often working on multiple episodes at once, running in between several shows. It’s a test of endurance. That being said, it’s also hard not to geek out when you’re on a set surrounded by other heroes, even when you’re six seasons into this.
“[Portraying the Flash] has definitely become a job and it’s a grind and I work long days, as does most of the cast and all of the crew. But there’s always something in a season that kind of snaps you out of the fact that this isn’t normal,” said Gustin. “Like last year when we did the [“Elseworlds” crossover] and Tyler Hoechlin was working as Superman and I got to be on set with Superman for the first time. That was a big moment for me — and then being in the Fortress of Solitude was a mind-blowing moment.”
“Grant totally geeks out about Tyler in his Superman costume because he is to this day such a Superman fan,” Tulloch recently told EW, adding that Gustin isn’t alone. “There’s something about the Superman costume, in particular, because it’s just so iconic, that when Tyler walks onto set with the cape and everything, it almost takes your breath away a little bit.”
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” kicks off with Supergirl on Sunday, Dec. 8, followed by Batwoman on Monday, Dec. 9, and The Flash on Tuesday, Dec. 10. After the winter hiatus, the crossover will resume Tuesday, Jan. 14, with Arrow at 8 p.m., and conclude with Legends of Tomorrow at 9 p.m.
For expert analysis, interviews, and scene breakdowns, watch EW’s official “Crisis” after-show, Crisis: Aftermath, hosted by Kevin Smith and airing 9 p.m., immediately after Supergirl (Dec. 8) and The Flash (Dec. 10) on The CW.
Pick up your copy of EW’s Ultimate Guide to the Arrowverse on newsstands now, or buy it online