‘Arrow’ Vet David Ramsey Directs a ‘Superman & Lois’ That Changes Everything

Preview
Jack Rowand/The CW

The CW’s superhero shows may not have had an official crossover this year because of COVID, but that is not stopping Arrow‘s David Ramsey from paying every one of them a visit. On May 25, the Star City O.G. launches an impressive run through the Arrowverse, first as director of an epic Superman & Lois (on which he’ll guest star later), before taking his John Diggle to Batwoman, The Flash and Supergirl, which he’s also directing, and Legends of Tomorrow, where he’ll direct and play a mystery role.

One might think he’d need maybe a Green Lantern ring to pull off such an itinerary, but according to Ramsey, all it took was patience. “[Exec producer] Greg Berlanti asked me about this right after Arrow ended in November of 2019,” notes the jacked but gentle giant. “All of this was supposed to be in 2020, but obviously 2020 fell off the map, you know?”

David Ramsey John Diggle The Flash Arrow Crossover

Once TV production ramped back up in Vancouver, challenges remained. “We didn’t know how it was all going to work out because there were changes happening with Supergirl and obviously COVID began to change things in terms of access to directors.” With two-week quarantine protocols in place for anyone heading to the shows’ sets and schedules impacted by a few shut-downs, Ramsey admits “it became a logistical sort of nightmare for a while.”

Still, it sounds like the wait will be worth it. Ramsey reveals that Diggle’s journey from show to show is directly tied to his final moments in Arrow’s January 2020 series finale, which saw a meteor dropping a glowing green something in his path just as he and the family were headed for Metropolis. Could it have been an invite from the Green Lantern Corps, as fans have pretty much assumed since the scene? “We don’t quite get into it yet,” he teases. “He’s hearing voices and having terrible headaches. The voices are debilitating and they become louder and louder and louder. We eventually hear what the voices are saying to him. And the assumption is that it’s coming from part of the consequence of rejecting this cosmic offer.”

If that sounds major, just wait until you see what Ramsey delivers from behind the camera with tonight’s Superman & Lois. Because this hour is—and we do not say this lightly—a game-changer. “It was really funny too, because I wasn’t told about the scale of this episode at first. [Showrunner] Todd [Helbing] didn’t tell me,” Ramsey recalls. “So to be given this script—which is really a premiere or crossover-size episode, or even finale-size one, it’s really big—for your first time on a show? I called Todd after I saw the scripts and I said, first of all, ‘Thank you.’ It was a really great honor to do this episode.”

Superman & Lois + Wole Parks

Bettina Strauss/The CW

Without giving anything away, we can say that the hour, titled “The Man of Steel,” digs deeper into the backstory of Lex Luthor (Wolé Parks) and his vendetta against Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) for destroying his Earth. It’s filled with some amazing, even haunting, action sequences. But Ramsey also relished the chance to bring more of the show’s emotionally grounded authenticity to the forefront. “This is such a performance-oriented episode, so as a director, it was about letting the actors dig in and they did. I really didn’t have to direct them, they just found it. They were just there. And as an actor, that was a pleasure.”

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Additionally, he confesses to being blown away by young Kents Alexander Garfin (Jordan) and Jordan Elsass (Jonathan). “You wouldn’t even know they were that good when you’re talking to them, because they are kids!” he raves. “They are sitting there having fun and then, all of a sudden, you turn on the camera and their eyes. Light. Up. The casting was really, really, good. I mean, really good. The camera’s pushing in on their faces and they’re not blinking, they’re holding it. And they’re just absorbing every emotional beat.”

Superman & Lois + Tyler Hoechlin

Bettina Strauss/The CW

“It was just so rewarding,” he says of his experience in Smallville. “And you know, this honestly is the future, I think, of where the Arrowverse shows ultimately go. Not only in the look or the scale but also in the writing. I just think everything is different.”

Superman & Lois, Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW