Raucous applause greeted the cast of Legends of Tomorrow Saturday in the Hilton Grand Ballroom Saturday evening. Almost more impressive, however, than the palpable fan-love was Falk Hentschel, Casper Crump, Ciara Renée, and Arthur Darvil’s mutual enthusiasm for each other. This is a cast with impeccable chemistry and comical rapport whose witty, manic banter—which focused on everything from porn to poop—has to be seen to be appreciated.
Hentschel (Hawkman) has got some smooth dance moves—including a killer moonwalk—he can perform on a whim. Crump (Vandal Savage) is as devilishly delightful as his villainous character, and Renée (Hawkgirl) is wonderfully candid. And, of course there is Darvil, who is a storytelling wizard with a fantastically expressive voice. He may have voyaged on a TARDIS in that other show, but he reminded the audience that it’s better to be a captain than a companion.
“I love being on the Waverider,” he said of his turn on Legends as the rogue time traveler Rip Hunter. Yet, Hunter, he joked, is not very good at his job. Darvil also joked that he never bothers to learn Hunter’s lines when asked about his favorite.
Renée had a quick answer: “Three months ago I was a barista,”—a line she constantly delivered during Legends’ first season.
Crump liked Savage’s dramatic, “You might be the time master, but I am the master of time!” declaration, while Hentschel focused on Hawkman’s propensity to die many deaths and reminisced about trying to be emotional during one such scene as sand and dust were trickled into his eyes.
Darvil is hoping that season two will showcase a more fun side of Hunter and recounted how, when Legends was first announced, he did panels at conventions without knowing anything about the show. “I had to apologize to the producers afterwards,” Darvil remembered, “because I just made stuff up.” He was also sporting a mustache at the time, prompting him to jest “I’ve been doing lots of porn recently.”
As flippant as the panelists were, they don’t pull elaborate pranks on set but would love to try some wild ones (ie, dress up as each other’s pet or saranwrap a car). They also mulled over their character’s theme song and funny side effects they could experience from riding in the Waverider—like developing uncontrollable legs, a habit of always shouting, or constant farting.
Renée described Hawkgirl’s alter ego, Kendra Saunders, as a sad trombone (waaa waaa) Debbie Downer-type, but also celebrated her kick-ass martial art moves, saying she learns the fight combos on the fly. “On the fly,” Crump chimed. “’Cause you’re a hawk!” he exclaimed while flapping his arms behind her.
Legends may be a sci-fi show focused on superheroes and supervillains, but Hentschel, Crump, Renée, and Darvil are accomplished actors who regularly do theatre, which Crump called a different animal requiring bigger expression. It is very hard to switch from stage to TV, Crump said, and he often finds himself looking into a camera during a first take and thinking, “Sh*t! Sh*t! Sh*t!”
Darvil, who recently appeared in the musical Once, added, “I go a bit mad if I don’t do [it].” He draws on his theatrical training for TV, such as when he works against a green screen. “I spent all of my youth acting to a chair,” he said about learning how to deliver a line. When he has to act to something that will be added later digitally, like the Waverider’s AI system Gideon, he imagines a chair in the empty space where it will go.
When discussing the future of Legends, which exists in the same universe as Arrow and The Flash, they were demure, refusing to give away potential plotlines. “There’s no one I’d like to work with,” Darvil deadpanned when asked about crossing paths with actors from the Arrow-verse. Instead, they preferred to focus on perfecting their respective characters.
Hentschel—a self-described smaller guy (whose hunky façade overlays a thoughtful soul)—said fan outcry at his casting for the physically threatening Hawkman made him study the character’s psyche. He researched who Hawkman would have hung out with during his 4,000 years. Both Renée and Crump wanted to respect the integrity of the comic-book rendering of their character but to also make it their own, especially since the show casted with an international focus to appeal to an increasingly globally minded audience.
“I’m not that,” Darvil thought when learning that Hunter was originally an old American guy. “I can’t do that.” But Hunter was obscure enough that Darvil could take liberties, like using his own British accent.
In filming Legends, they get to learn DC comic lore and experience life in different eras, which merits episodes with amazing costumes. Hentschel said he believes Hawkman loves ancient Egypt or Scotland because he enjoys wearing skirts and kilts—an upgrade from his normal near-naked costume, which makes Hentschel “fucking cold” all the time.
Crump—a dark-bearded fellow whose serious gaze masks a frenzied funnyman—would like to see Savage in the age of the cavemen.
“Can we just imagine I’ve said something clever?” Darvil asked (a line that subsequently became a running gag answer given by his cast mates) before deciding that Hunter probably loves Medieval England. In the new season, though, Darvil disclosed that Hunter’s costumes will get more awesome (and more steampunk), reflecting all the styles and clothing the time master has picked up from his travels. In fact, Falk, Crump, Renée, and Darvil all agreed on the importance costumes serve in setting a mindset. “You feel like the character,” Darvil said, “wearing them.”
But, playing dress-up doesn’t come without pain and sacrifice. Crump’s coat weighs close to 40 pounds, and Renée’s corseted costume is impossible to sit in; she uses a “leaning board” to get off her feet between takes. Hentschel’s helmet is very comfortable, but his pants are too tight. He showed the audience how high he could kick while wearing them. It was about 10 inches. Crump also had a tight-pant conundrum when Savage appeared on The Flash; the pants weren’t his normal ones, meaning they were too small. They made Savage look like a belly dancer.
Crump then recalled his most memorable on-set slip up. It was a scene with bombs and explosions that had to be done right the first time due to expense. All Crump had to do was stab a guy. Naturally, he dropped the knife. Renée’s most memorable slip-up was really a series of unfortunate mishaps during a live production: she got lost in the sequencing of scenes, was caught on microphone sweet-talking a dog backstage, and missed her stage entrance. She could barely laugh her way through the telling of it.
“I punched a guy in the face by accident,” Darvil said before joking that the guy deserved it and adding, “I’ve basically hurt myself in every fight scene I’ve done.” This has left him with a malfunctioning left thumb that is no longer double jointed.
When asked to choose a mundane superpower, the mania of the panel peaked. Hentschel wants to be able to do the splits between two chairs, Jean Claude Van Damme style. Renée wants to snap and have a clean apartment. Crump wants to be able to change his baby in the middle of the night without getting up—which his cast mates claim is already happening (it’s called “the wife”).
But Darvil. Darvil would like to be able to go to the bathroom remotely, saying nature’s calling is so inconvenient, say, when watching Game of Thrones.
Then, from the mess of laughter and poo jokes rang one perfect pun: “Winter is coming. And Arthur is going.”
At the end of the hour, no one wanted to leave. Not even Darvil, who exclaimed, “No, let’s stay forever!” If only he could have turned back time like his Legends alter ego, everyone would still be at the Hilton. I’d put money on that.