On CBS’ SUPERGIRL, which has its first-season finale Monday, April 18 at 8 PM, it looks as though Supergirl, aka Kara Zor-El, aka CatCo executive assistant Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), may finally get together with ace photojournalist James aka Jimmy Olsen, played by Mehcad Brooks. She’s confessed her love for him that’s grown out of a crush, his adoration of her is obvious to anyone who’s seen them together, and they’ve kissed – and then unfortunately the Kryptonian Myriad plan was unleashed, so James is currently mentally enslaved by Kara’s angry uncle Non (Chris Vance), along with nearly all of the other humans in National City. It’s up to Supergirl to save him, since her cousin – and James’ best friend Superman – is also under Non’s control.
This isn’t Brooks’ first genre outing. He was previously on TRUE BLOOD – as Eggs, who coincidentally also was subject to supernatural brainwashing. The Austin Texas native was also a series regular on MY GENERATION and NECESSARY ROUGHNESS.
In conversation, Brooks is happy to declare his D.C. comic book fan credentials.
AX: Were you a Supergirl/Superman/Jimmy Olsen fan before this?
MEHCAD BROOKS: I was a Superman fan, for sure. I was a Batman fan, ARCHIE comics, actually. I grew up on those three, mainly, so I got the hand-me-down comics from my brother.
AX: Having been around Superman for so long, and now being around Supergirl, does James have any kind of superpower envy?
BROOKS: Mehcad does, for sure [laughs].
AX: What power do you want?
BROOKS: If I had to choose one? Flight. Or really, the GREEN LANTERN ring. Because you can do anything with that one – you can fly with it, you can pick up stuff, you can throw things, you can shoot lasers from it – it’s pretty amazing. So I would choose the GREEN LANTERN ring. And you can take it off, and you’re normal again.
AX: But does James Olsen as a character have any lingering wistfulness about it, or is he just like, “It’s cool there are these powers in the universe, it’s cool I’m in on the secret of who has them”?
BROOKS: Superman and Jimmy Olsen are best friends. So there’s definitely this, if you have a best friend who’s changing the world, there are obviously going to be some things that you may be happy about – you’re happy, because you’re happy for them – but you may feel sort of inadequate in some ways, right? And so I think that there’s a piece of Jimmy that wants to be loved and liked for himself, and appreciated for his talent and what he’s doing, rather than the fact that he’s Superman’s best friend. So there’s a bit of that. There’s no jealousy or envy between Jimmy and Kara, though.
AX: So is one of the things James likes about Kara the fact that she’s very impressed by him professionally?
BROOKS: He loves Kara before he meets her, because he’s talked to Superman extensively about her. Superman actually – as we know from the pilot – asked him to come out and look after her. And Jimmy has a lot of anecdotal and specific help that he can give to Supergirl, because of his proximity to Superman. So that’s a good thing. I think she’s enticed by that, he’s enticed by who she is, and really, what she could be, and he’s going to try to bring that out of her.
AX: To the best of my knowledge, I think this is the first time in a comic book-affiliated network show that there’s been interracial romance where the lead woman is white and the man is black. Is that something that you’re excited about, or do you just feel like it’s the same as any other storyline about budding romance?
BROOKS: Right, there’s attraction, for sure. Honestly, I know this sounds weird, but I don’t see race that way, I really don’t. I see someone’s intelligence, I see someone’s personality – I think that we are some of our actions. We’re not the sum of our aesthetics, we’re not the sum of how we look. I’m from a biracial mother, I have white people in my family, I have black people in my family, I have Latinos in my family, and we just don’t look at it that way.
At some point, it has to stop being your fault that someone has a problem with you [the reporter] being a woman. And at a certain point in time, it has to stop being my fault that someone has a problem with my race. And it’s not [another] person’s fault that someone has a problem with their sexual preference, so on and so forth. So it’s almost like I can’t take [someone else’s] prejudice, bigotry, and make it my issue. It has to be something that [the other person must] get over. For instance, there are going to be people who say things. Fine. They’re going to find something to say about anything. Why would I decide to listen to one of those things?
AX: How does James feel about Cat Grant, who is his and Kara’s sometimes inconsiderate boss, played by Calista Flockhart?
BROOKS: Yeah, Cat’s claws are definitely out, but so are her whiskers. She can be a sweetheart, and Jimmy I think is impressed by her in some ways, and [finds her] is an acquired taste in some ways.
AX: Do you miss NECESSARY ROUGHNESS at all?
BROOKS: I think you always tend to miss a show that you’ve stayed on for awhile, and became close with the cast, and close with the crew, and close with the producers, so yeah, obviously, I miss that, I miss MY GENERATION, I miss every show I was ever on. These are people that I really grew to like and be close to.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about SUPERGIRL?
BROOKS: It is absolutely the best show I have ever been a part of, by far.
This interview was conducted during CBS’ portion of the Television Critics Association press tour.
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Article: SUPERGIRL: Mehcad Brooks on his relationship with Kara – exclusive interview