Why Zack Snyder Screwed Up By Not Casting Grant Gustin As The Flash, According To Tom Cavanagh

DC’s planned, feature-length The Flash movie is standing at a strange crossroads. The film has a star (in Ezra Miller), and a release date of March 16, 2018. But the film recently lost its director when Seth Grahame-Smith walked away over creative differences. And people on the outside still can reconcile the fact that Grant Gustin, who’s crushing it as Barry Allen on The CW on a weekly basis, wasn’t considered for the big-screen role.

One such vocal defender of Grant Gustin’s talents is The Flash co-star Tom Cavanagh, who appeared on the Nerdist podcast Puck Soup and criticized Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder for his excuses as to why Gustin wasn’t considered for the Flash movie. Cavanagh defended his young co-star’s talents as an actor, and took a few delicious swipes at Snyder in the process:

Here’s what I’ll say about him not being The Flash. The first thing is that for Zack Snyder to say ‘that’s not really the universe that we’re building,’ it’s excruciating for an actor. Because you’re like, ‘Uh, what about acting?’ He’s a clean-cut guy and winning, yes, because he’s acting that. He’s not Barry Allen. He’s Grant Gustin. He created that thing. If you want [your Flash] to have long hair and be a slacker, believe me, Grant can play that. He makes it look easy and makes everyone think that’s what he is because he’s an incredibly skilled talent. That’s why he has that job. That’s why people like the show.If Zack Snyder were to read him for [The Flash], he would be shocked. It’s crazy for a big-time Hollywood director to say ‘that’s not the universe.’ It’s a huge misstep on his part. If you’re a director, and you’re worth your oats, then you should be able to, given an actor with talent, mold him into what you want, and Grant could do that.

"Worth you oats!" Let’s all make a concerted effort to use that spectacular dig in conversation at some point this weekend. But it’s impossible not to understand exactly what Tom Cavanagh is saying about Grant Gustin. Yes, his version of Barry Allen on The CW’s The Flash is a clean-cut do-gooder. But it’s because he’s being asked to play it that way for the benefit of the show, and because he’s a talented performer, he pulls it off. Could Gustin switch gears and play a slacker millennial Barry Allen, which is what we are hearing might be the focus of The Flash’s 2018 movie? Of course, and it does suck that he wasn’t really even given the chance to audition for a role that, in some way, he’s already playing.

At the same time, it’s true that Zack Snyder shouldn’t be obligated to use Gustin just because there is a successful take on The Flash happening on TV at the moment. It’s a complicated dichotomy that DC has to work out as they attempt to explore characters like Barry Allen or, eventually, Green Arrow. How do you do them differently, so that fans of the TV shows avoid comparisons that may end up damaging one project, or the other.

Tom Cavanagh goes on to say that, in the moment, he told Grant Gustin that the actor shouldn’t pigeonhole himself into playing The Flash. He says that he has the chops to appear in a Spielberg war movie, or any type of drama he so chooses. Why would he want to still be playing Barry Allen a few years? The debate rages on. What do you think? Weigh in below, as always.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.