Actor Hartley Sawyer’s role in the series Flash has gone from questioning actions to self-realization and finding oneself.
The Flash is a fast-paced superhero series that follows the high-speed adventures of Barry Allen (played by Grant Gustin). With season five about to premiere, we catch up with actor Hartley Sawyer — who plays Ralph Dibny in the show — to find out what fans can expect from the epic DC Comics drama…
What is Ralph’s main focus in season five of The Flash?
In season five, I think Ralph’s main focus will be finding his place in the team. Last year, it was all about, ‘Am I a hero? Can I do this? Can I not do this?’ This year, it’s about finding his place and finding out what that means to him and what he can bring to the table.
Where do we find Ralph at the start of the season?
Every year, it’s immediately back to business for the team. It’s exactly the same for Ralph, too. He’s an extremely resilient guy and he’s been through a lot but he’s going to spend a lot of time figuring out, ‘Okay, who am I now?’ Who he was last year is very different from who he is now. It wasn’t a development from boyhood to manhood but there was definitely some kind of development. It’s going to be fun to see where he goes next.
Ralph evolved from a down-on-his-luck private detective into a full-on superhero in season four. What challenges will he face now?
Even though he’s come so far, people still don’t take him seriously, and that’s fair. He understands why people don’t take him seriously, but he’s going to struggle with that because he will want to be taken more seriously as a hero and also as a member of the team. It’s easy to write him off, but he has a lot to bring to the table that we haven’t explored yet. For example, the detective aspect of the character. That’s something I’ve wanted to explore for a long time. That’s something that we’re definitely going to get into this year.
Does the mysterious arrival of Nora West-Allen (played by Jessica Parker Kennedy) make Ralph want to use his detective skills?
Well, Ralph’s definitely going to get into that with Nora. He’s definitely going to have some questions about what’s going on there. He’s going to be sceptical of her but not in a malicious way. He’ll be thinking, ‘Wait, I think there’s more here than she’s revealing.’
Are fans going to see more of the Ralph and Barry dynamic from last season? At first, the two characters couldn’t stand each other but then a bromance blossomed…
We’re not going to see too much of them together in the first part of the season because Barry is going to be up to his eyeballs with his daughter, Nora. Barry and Nora will be busy figuring out their relationship. That will be Barry’s priority.
What do you think of the relationship between Barry and Ralph?
It’s been fun to see them evolve. Barry and Ralph can be more self-sufficient now, although I would love to do more scenes with Grant. Unfortunately, everybody can’t always get loads of time with Barry on the show. It would be nice to see their relationship develop and we’ll get to see them together this season, but not as much as last year.
If Barry is going to be busy, who would you like to see Ralph interact with in season five?
There is going to be a lot of Ralph and Caitlin (played by Danielle Panabaker) in season five. I think they have a really discreet relationship and friendship, which is fun. There’s also going to be a lot of Ralph and Cisco (played by Carlos Valdes), because they are both bachelors and single. We haven’t talked about it, but I would love to see Ralph and Joe West (played by Jesse L Martin) hang out more. There’s a lot that could happen there. Joe’s known Ralph for a really, really long time. He knows exactly who he is and what he’s capable of doing. He was the first person that ever defended Ralph to anybody.
Ralph had a major impact on Joe West, when he was about to cross that line…
What a great scene. It was so pivotal for the character. That was something that really drew the line in the sand for a lot of viewers. It also drew the line in the sand for me as an actor. I felt, ‘Cool, this is going to dig into who this guy really is. There’s a lot more there than just the wackiness.’ I would love to see more of Ralph’s relationship with Joe. I always love working with Jesse. I’d love to see more of them together.
How new does this season feel?
It feels like there’s a natural progression towards this season. I know the tone and the scripts change every season but the reason why this show works well is because the people in the cast work well together.
Is that the secret behind the success of the show?
These relationships are always there and that’s why the show worked in the first place. These people are all really good. You can see that when you watch the show. When I watched the show before I joined the series, I always found it cool. When I started working on the show, I didn’t expect it to be as great as it was — but it was phenomenal.
How much have you enjoyed interacting with the fans of the show?
That’s been really fun, too. I did my first convention this past summer and I was super nervous about it — but it was one of the most incredible experiences that I’ve had. It was amazing because there were so many people coming up to me saying things like, “I love this. I went through this really hard time in my life, but the first time I smiled again was when your face fell off in that first episode.” It’s great to hear things like that. What more can you ask for? Forget your worries. Tune it out and enjoy yourself. That’s very, very special to me. My experience with the fandom comes down to the fact that they love the show. I grew up as a comic book fan, too. That’s what I keep thinking about. I love all this stuff. I’m really excited to be a part of it.
(The Flash Season 5 airs on Colors Infinity every Wednesday at 10 pm.)
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer