Melissa Benoist on her Supergirl series: 'I don't want it to be campy’

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Jul 2, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT (Updated)

The superhero genre is getting a little bigger this fall, and Supergirl's Melissa Benoist is feeling the pressure to do the DC hero justice.

Benoist chatted with Entertainment Weekly about her new CBS project, and the big challenges to make sure the rare female-led super-series actually turns out good. The pilot is excellent (Black Widow/SNL jokes aside), and Benoist seems to be taking the responsibility very seriously. She knows it's not often that a female hero makes it into a headlining role, and she wants to make sure Kara Zor-El is up to snuff.

Just because Kara is bulletproof, that doesn't mean she can't be a relatable role model. It's all about finding the creative balance. Here's an excerpt from her comments (though the full interview is well worth a read):

"I do think there's a lot of pressure. I want to do right. Of course this is a broad statement, but I want to do right by women. I want to portray someone they can relate to and look up to that's not a trite or a shallow depiction. I want her to be complicated and flawed. I guess I just want all women to feel like they could be Kara and Superwoman as well. I don't want it to be campy. I want it to be grounded and human. That goes for anybody. It doesn't matter what sex. It doesn't matter if it's women or men I inspire, I just want to inspire people in general to realize their strengths and their potential, and that you can do the things that you feel like are impossible to accomplish…

What I love about Kara is that unlike Kal-El, Superman, he came from Krypton when he was a baby, so he has not much recollection of where he comes from and his planet, but Kara was 12 or 13, she was an adolescent and grew up on Krypton, so she knows what she's missing. When she gets to Earth, she's not used any of her powers for years. There's a lot of room for mistakes. She's got a lot to learn when we meet her in the show. That's what makes her so relatable. She has so much power that's locked up inside of her. She is really figuring out how to break free and get to know who she is."

After helping launch both Arrow and The Flash over at The CW, Supergirl producer Greg Berlanti knows how to do small screen superheroes right. This show definitely has its own tone separate from its CW brethren, but Supergirl seems to be taking itself seriously in all the right ways, while still embracing the fact that (yes) it was inspired by a comic book.

Supergirl premieres Monday, Oct. 26, on CBS.

What do you think of Benoist's approach to the material?

(Via Entertainment Weekly)

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