Beverly Hills, Calif. — Melissa Benoist was the first person who auditioned for Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. “To me, she’s the most evocative since Christopher Reeve in capturing that relatability,” said exec producer Greg Berlanti on Monday at Supergirl’s TCA summer press tour panel.
Benoist, who had a stint on Fox’s Glee and appeared last year in the film Whiplash, said as soon as she saw in her email a subject line with “Supergirl,” she knew it was something she wanted to be a part of. Calling the character a “beacon of hope,” with an essential “bravery and strength,” Benoist said she needs to feel that in herself when she plays the part.
“I really have to believe I’m a superhero,” she said.
The series, which debuts on CBS Monday, Oct. 26, is a hybrid of genre, emotion, romance and action, according to producers, partly workplace comedy but also with a major focus on an adult sibling relationship. “We always try to imagine what the show is when you remove the superpowers from it,” Berlanti said, adding that the action sequences are only worth the money when they inform the character. The "emotional dynamics" are what's important, he said.
It's that versatility that made Benoist the choice to play Supergirl.
Executive producer Sarah Schechter said Benoist has “strength, emotional depth and comedic chops.”
Fellow EP Andrew Kreisberg said she has “hope, heart, humor and instant likeability.
“One of the great joys of Supergirl is that she really loves being Supergirl," added Kreisberg, "because Melissa loves being Supergirl.”