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Interview: Danielle Nicolet on Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Flash season six

With the latest episode of The Flash, “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2” setting things up for the biggest Arrowverse crossover to date, we had the chance to talk to Danielle Nicolet, who plays Cecile Horton, about Crisis on Infinite Earths along with what to expect in the second half of The Flash season six.

So we have a couple of quick questions from fans for you just to start things out. Has a script for the show ever made you gasp at what the showrunners have planned?

Yes! Funny story, and should the writer’s room ever hear this podcast they will all be falling out of their chairs laughing. The show has lots of crazy things that happen all the time. Most of the time, we have a heads up that they’re coming, but for me personally one time early last season, I went into the writer’s room and I said to the writer, I only ever ask one thing of you and if you’ve never do this to me, I promise you I will be so relieved. I said number one, please never make me perform a scene where I’m giving birth, it’s my greatest fear as an actor. There’s no way to give birth and look attractive at the same time. And number two, please don’t ever make me say the words, “lets party”, that line is the bane of my actor existence and there’s no way to successfully deliver that line, and not sound like a ridiculous person! Needless to say, two episodes later I got the script where Cecile is giving birth on camera and the very next episode after that I had to say the line, “lets party” and I swear they did it just to troll me. So yeah, for both of those episodes I got the script and I gasped, but not in a good way!

So who’s the funniest member of the cast?

Carlos, it’s such an easy answer! Runner up is Tom, but both Carlos and Tom make a great comedy team already. So usually if you’re lucky enough to be in a scene with both of them, you know that you’re going to get team Carlos and Tom comedy all day. But yeah, Carlos is ridiculously funny and very, very quick, quick, witted and dry. And also one of my favorite people in the World.

Which metahuman power already seen on the show would you most like to have?

I make no secret of this, I would love to have an episode where Cecile and Killer Frost switch powers. Mostly because Cecile’s whole sort of thing is she feels everybody’s feelings and she’s very sweet and kind, and in tune with everyone. And I just think it would be hilarious to see Cecille switch with Killer Frost as she has no empathy for anybody and she’s just very mean and very impatient and also a real butt kicker. As you know Cecile’s powers are passive and most of everyone else’s powers are active and I’d love to have an opportunity to play an episode or two where she gets to have the active butt kicking powers. And come on, who wouldn’t like to ride an ice wave, that would be amazing!

If you weren’t on The Flash, which other DC show would you like to be on?

I’m going to say Supergirl mostly because Melissa Benoist is the nicest person I have ever met and I would love to just have multiple opportunities to hang out with her. And I love the whole overall tone of Supergirl, there’s a real hopefulness about the show that I really like. All of the DC shows kind of have a different tone about them, some are more family-oriented while some are a bit darker and some are a neat combination of both. And one of the biggest things that I love about Supergirl is its tone and it has a lot of comedy in it, and it has a real kind of heart-warming nature about it, but there’s still some really solid filling. Also Jon Cryer as Lex is everything!

I feel like The Flash and Supergirl are all quite similar tonally.

I do too, I think if you paired up any of the shows, I would say The Flash and Supergirl makes the best siblings, in terms of tonality. I feel like on both shows the characters are also really, really well-developed and well fleshed out.

Who on Team Flash do you look forward to sharing scenes with most?

Oh gosh, truly, that’s an incredibly hard question to answer because I love everyone so much for different reasons. If I absolutely had to pick, I’d have to pick a pair as I couldn’t narrow it down to one person. Actually, I’m not gonna pick, I’m just gonna say that I have all the fun in the world working with Tom and Carlos because all of the comedy, I also have all the fun in the world working with Candice because I think she’s such a terrific dramatic actress and I really know when I work with her, it’s gonna be compelling. And I love working with Grant because he is silly and ridiculous and my little brother who I have horrible inappropriate jokes with all the time. Jesse is my TV husband, and the relationship we have on TV is the relationship we have in real life, so I always feel so safe and comfortable and happy when I’m around him. And Danielle is my running partner and hanging buddy, so when I’m working with her it’s honestly like going to work and kicking it with your girlfriend. And Hartley is just so silly, and I just have so much fun with him. I wish I could say there’s somebody that I work with that wasn’t fun or didn’t make me feel like I was a better person in some way being around them but I’m very fortunate in that respect, definitely.

And you all have the cutest dogs as well!

I think we’re having a cute dog puppy competition right now. We’re going to try and make it happen next week because I think we have a scene where the entire cast is at Star Labs together, which doesn’t always happen, and we all bring our dogs to work. Danielle and I said we have to put together some kind of Christmas cards like the Flash Christmas that doesn’t have us, it just has our dogs, as every single one of us has a dog – even Jesse has a new puppy! But every single one of us has the world’s cutest dog, and I have to make a family Christmas card with all of that.

Last fan question, what has been your favorite moment on the show so far?

My favourite moment on the show, me personally in terms of what was fun for me to do, was the episode where Cecile was going into labour and she was taking on everybody’s personalities, including the pizza guy, and everyone who was coming around her. So on a personal level I just had so much fun shooting that, we all laughed until we cried that episode and so, yeah, I think that was probably my favourite. But there are a lot of good moments to choose from for sure.

I really relish the opportunities that we all have some time to time to infuse comedy on the show, because by nature a comic book show is not comedic, but historically, comic books always have this deeply entrenched element of comedy and sarcasm. And I think our writers do such a good job of giving each of us the opportunity to play that and so yeah, that’s always kind of the funnest part for me to have when I get to have those moments and they can just go completely off the rails. For me, that episode, I think was my favourite to perform.

So in the most recent episode, The Last Temptation of Barry Allen part two, you have this amazing adventure scene where you had to kind of escape Bloodwork’s zombies. What was it like to film that scene?

It was a hard and incredibly fun at the same time. I don’t know if you noticed, but that entire scene, from the moment Camilla and Cecile leaves to Cecile’s office, all the way to the very end of escaping the zombies, we did that in one continuous take. That scene alone took one entire day, we practiced it for four and a half-hours, and then we shot it for another five hours – I was very, very sore and bruised the next day. Not only did we have to play the emotion of it and the sort of scary movie elements, we had to factor in everyone’s shadows. We had our amazing cameraman, Chris, shooting that on steadycam the whole time, along with someone behind him arranging and pulling the cords ’cause the camera’s plugged in, and we had our entire stunt crew that were playing zombies that were trained to attack us, each one of them with their shadows on the wall were completely choreographed, and had to be rehearsed endlessly in order for it to happen on time. And by the end of five hours I think we’ve got maybe five takes that went off without a hitch. And I’m surprised we got that many to be honest with you, because it is not easy. I think that scene clocked in it at like only three and a half minutes!

It was a super experience and on top of it, the director of the episode, Michael Nankin, my understanding is he only decided to shoot that as a one continuous take that morning. He is a force to be reckoned with! It was one of the cooler experiences of my career as an actor as I had never done anything like that before, definitely.

And you have the biggest crossover coming up with Crisis on Infinite Earths cross, how excited are you to see it and for us to see it?

I’m extremely excited to see how it came out. I’m extremely excited for everyone to see it, because to us, experientially, it’s chaotic! There are five shows going at the same time, some of those shows we all shoot on the same lot location in Vancouver, others shoot elsewhere in Vancouver. Black Lightning shoots in Atlanta though, so some of the cast members flew up to Vancouver to work. And so we all don’t know what’s going on with each other, everyone has all of the scripts for each show, but you would imagine that we all know we’re coming on crossover at certain point in every season and you would imagine that there comes a day where we all sit down in some giant meeting and everyone gets their scripts for each episode of the respective shows and we all read them together and everyone knows what’s going on and that you have this kind of harmonious creativity – the opposite of that is true! You have no idea what’s going as everyone’s script on each episode comes in at a different time, so essentially for us it’s episode nine of season six of The Flash. But it’s also episode eight of Batwomen, an episode of Supergirl and also the series finale of Arrow, and it’s a lot of chaos going on and so everyone just kind of holds their breath and jumps, and you go where people tell you to go, and shoot what people say tell you to shoot and you just know in the end, people smarter and wiser will make it come together and edit it in a way that will be exciting and make sense. You have a lot of faith in producers of these shows who very much know what they’re doing!

Was there a moment where you nerded out at all? Because there’s just such a huge cast from such a wide variety of the shows, even the older shows.

I’ve had a couple of nerd out moments so far! The first time I met Wentworth Miller, I think my knees buckled just a little bit. I’ve been such a ridiculous fan of his for such a long time, I happen to think that the first season as Prison Break might well be one of the greatest seasons of television ever made. So when I met him the first time I got a little weak in the knees and a little nervous in the hair and makeup trailer. I think the first time I met him was the season four crossover during Supergirl, so he was a big exciting one for me. I also have a deep and unabiding love for Brandon Routh and so the first time I met him I was super excited and thrilled and then every time I’ve been around him since, which is a lot, I’m in awe of his face because no human being is born that handsome and yet there he is, actually, came out of the womb looking like Superman, and he also is as nice as Clark Kent is in real life, and I’m always just really taking a back by that.

In general, we have these network dinners every year that happen up in Vancouver with the network executives who run everything, have kind of like a giant open door dinner at a restaurant. We also, this giant room and we come in and those of us on all the different shows get opportunities to meet each other and hang out and those are always the coolest nights for me because I get to see everybody that I don’t normally just get to see on The Flash. You have this really interesting group of folk from the CW shows that, all of a sudden, will be sitting around having dinner this year. It ended up being a little group that moulded together was like me, Molly Ringwald (of Riverdale) who I was so pleased to finally meet, Jesse, Brandon Routh and a couple of new kids from Nancy Drew and half the cast of Riverdale. It’s just such a funny sort of magical kind of separate CW world.

I saw some of the set videos from Crisis on Infinite Earths and it just looks like you have to so much fun on set, there’s some clips of you guys dancing and singing!

Yeah, that’s kind of a normal day at work for us anyway. Everyone gets really excited and pleased because truly, we all know one another but we don’t get an opportunity to hang out, we work kind of crazy hours on all these shows, and even though we’re all working in the same city, we don’t necessarily get these opportunities to be around one another. And Candice was so excited to go over and do Batwoman for a couple of days and hang out with everyone and meet the cast in theur work setting, and yeah, it’s always kind of that way. I wish I could complain and be like it’s terribly hard but it really is fun!

So what can we see for Cecile in the second half of this season of The Flash, as she’s evolved so much throughout the show?

She has yeah, and I’m really pleased about it. For the back half of the season, we’ll be seeing her finally finding her groove in her new job, and she’s finding a real sense of satisfaction in what she’s chosen to do in being a meta-defense attorney. And also I think what will be seeing from her, and not just at the end of this season but also going forward on the show, is Cecil working as a meta-defense attorney is a real opportunity for her to kind of be the introductory pathway for the bad guys, if you will, that we always have on the show. So there has to be a route for them to be introduced and I really like that she’s becoming that route – good guys and bad guys. And I like that via Cecile’s new job that we’re learning that sometimes the bad guy isn’t always all bad and sometimes a good guy is not what they seem, and I think we’re going to see more and more of that as we progress through the season. I wish I could tell you with what big challenge we’re going to be coming up against after Crises but I can’t, but it’s really, really good. I think the fans are going to be very pleased to see what we as a team, the challenge that we face as we round our way to the end of the season. You know we’re overdue at this point in the season for our big bad challenge that’s going to come after crisis.

I love how Cecile and Ralph team up in regards to her work as a defense attorney, I think that’s a really fun aspect of the show.

Me too, and I know me and Hartley really enjoy working together, I think we have a really nice chemistry with one another, and it makes sense, it makes just sort of intuitive sense, oh I really did not mean to make that Cecile pun, but I feel it makes intuitive sense for the show that with the Cecile as an attorney and going from being a prosecutor to a defense attorney, with her powers and Ralph as a detective with his powers, I think it just always makes more and more sense for our characters to be teamed up and doing sort of the detective work of the show together.

And yeah, you’ll definitely see more of that as the season goes on…

Do you have any other upcoming projects in the pipeline?

Other than The Flash, which is rather time consuming when you’re dealing with Crisis on Infinite Earths, I’m really excited as I did a film which I shot over hiatus between season five and six, that is coming out in the Spring. It’s a comedy called Faith Based which is very much not The Flash! It’s a wacky screwball comedy about a couple of idiots who decide to create a get rich quick scheme by making a faith-based movie, and it is the worst and most faithless faith-based movie you can possibly imagine. I play Tiffany, one of the two idiot’s ex-girlfriend who ultimately becomes the producer of said horrible movie and I think that people are really going to like it. It’s really light-hearted and it’s got some comedy greats in it like David Koechner and Margaret Cho and Jason Alexander, it just goes on and on and on. And I’m really excited for it to come out in spring and for people to see it and to revisit my comedy roots a bit, Tiffany is not Cecile – she is very, very light on empathy.

So basically the complete opposite!

Yes – she’s basically Killer Frost in a comedy!

“Crisis on Infinite Earths” kicks off with Supergirl on December 8, followed by Batwoman on December 9 and The Flash on December 10, finishing off with an Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow double episode on January 14, 2020.