The big bad of DC’s Stargirl has finally arrived. Spoilers for this week’s episode past this point, but thanks to an epic battle between the Justice Society of America and the new Young Injustice Society of America, Eclipso (Nick Tarabay) has broken free of the Black Diamond, and is ready to wreck havoc on Blue Valley.
“This is just the beginning of Eclipso,” Tarabay ominously teased to Decider. “There’s way more to him.”
Like this episode wasn’t enough? In a matter of minutes after emerging, Eclipso killed poor Isaac Bowin (Max Frantz), sucked Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy) into a dark portal of goo, broke The Shade’s (Jonathan Cake) powers, and seemingly shut down Courtney’s (Brec Bassinger) cosmic staff. And though the staff hurt him, he’s transformed back into a small little boy, who walks through Blue Valley cackling at the end of the episode. Yikes.
To find out more, we chatted with Tarabay about getting cast, his approach to the iconic DC Comics villain, and much more.
Decider: What was the casting process like for Eclipso? Did you have to growl into a rock for a while until they said, “This is our guy”?
Nick Tarabay: [Laughs] It was quite the opposite. Absolutely, quite the opposite. I was taking a vacation in Greece, I was on Naxos Island. My manager sent me this audition, not knowing that it’s based on a DC story, or anything like that, he just saw the sides. And there was almost a part of me… I was just in the beginning of my vacation, and there was a part that was like, “Ah, do I want to do another audition?” I was like, “No, maybe I should pass.” But I was like, “No, you know what? Let me do it.” I read the sides. I thought the sides looked really good and interesting, still not knowing what the character is, at all.
So here I am on an island in Greece. I had to redecorate my room, too, so I can film this thing with my iPhone. So I had to put books on top of books and put my iPhone, call my friend in Amsterdam so she can read with me because of the time difference, and then edit and do everything. And then the internet over there is pretty bad, so I had to find… It took me a couple of hours to actually be able to send it to my manager. But that’s it, I did it, and not knowing what it was. My research and my preparation was completely different because obviously I didn’t know who the character was. I sent it, and about a week later, I think, Geoff [Johns] wanted to talk to me.
So we did a Zoom call, because now I was on another island on Greece. So here we are, we were talking… We’re Zooming, we’re talking for about an hour and we started chit-chatting. And I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to talk with Geoff, but he’s just an absolutely wonderful, wonderful person and absolutely talented. So we started talking, and then that’s when I realized, “Holy shit, this is a DC role. And this is Eclipso, based on a comic book character.” And then he starts showing me some images of him, which I couldn’t see because I didn’t have my glasses, but I was like, “That looks cool,” not even seeing the prosthetic, what it looks like. I was like, “I think that looks cool,” and all I saw was purple. I was like, “Oh, that’s great.” But luckily, that was it, after that I got the offer.
So it was hard for me to actually prep from a technical point of view, but not so much from an artistic point of view. Because when I talked with Geoff, I think we saw eye to eye on who the character was and what his background was.
Since you’ve already played a villain in the Arrow-verse, and I know they’re on different earths and all that continuity stuff, but did you have any hesitance jumping back in and playing yet another DC comics based villain?
No. None at all. No, actually, none whatsoever. I actually also felt, with Captain Boomerang, I felt like he could have been a bigger role, and he was supposed to be a bigger role, but then they did the movie so that conflicted with the TV show. And so, no, that was not even an issue. Every character has his own life, has his own world, has his own pulse. So I don’t look at it that way. It’s not like I had something against DC where I was like “No, I don’t want to work for them.” DC is a comic book [company] that I absolutely love. I grew up watching Superman and Batman and all this stuff. I’m a big fan. So never an issue.
The way that we’ve encountered Eclipso on the show for the first five episodes has been this voice off screen, other than little Brucey, right at the beginning of the first episode. And then finally we get to see you in person here. So for us, the voice is first, and then we see your physicality, your physical take on it. What was first for you? The voice, the physicality, or was it kind of all at once?
I did not actually record the voice until after I filmed everything. So for me, Nick, when I actually landed in Atlanta and they had to do a test shoot with me, as far as under the costume, I was already prepping all of this stuff. So I started with physicality right away. But for me, the voice is part of the physicality because… I had an idea, I did some research on it, but I didn’t want to get too much into it because I wanted to have my own thing.
But once I was under the costume and under the prosthetics, I had to throw most of my homework away because I was like, “Oh no, this is going to be different now.” So I had to change my voice. Me and Geoff had to sit down and we talked about how animals work. So, I had to make it more of an animal. So he was smelling everything for the first time, he was breathing everything in the first time, he was actually feeling his own skin. And we tried to do it with Episode 6, where I’m looking at my own arms and I’m looking at my own power and I’m savoring all of this, because he’s got a big ego to him. He loves being great and he loves being strong and he loves eating and feeding. So I have to do that through the animals. So yeah, the physicality and the voice came together, kind of.
I did want to ask you about the look of him, because obviously it’s so imposing. It’s pretty much straight out of the comic books with a couple of little tweaks. One thing that stuck out to me in particular, at least in this first scene, he’s very shiny and wet, which as a viewer, for some reason, it’s particularly gross to see. Were there different levels of sliminess of the mask that they played with? It’s almost like he was just born.
Depending on where we add the lighting, and the environment that we’re in… Sometimes we have to put a little bit more, sometimes you have to put a little bit less. But the first episode that you, the audience sees Eclipso, 2×06, I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s pretty much giving birth to something because he’s never been outside of the diamond and he’s never been in a live-action before. So this is the first time. Earth will never be the same because evil just gave birth to this thing.
What was it like going up against Jonathan Cake as The Shade?
Oh, it was wonderful. It was a great. I wish I would have played with him more, but it was a big, big scene. It took us almost two days just to shoot that scene. But Jonathan, we had a mutual friend before, so we kind like, “Hi,” “Hi,” before that. I got on set and it was straight to business, which is my ideal set. We go, and we work. And he seems to be open and available to play. And we played, so I hope it came out right. I still haven’t seen the episode, so I hope it came out right.
Eclipso versus Cindy was pretty brutal. What was filming that like?
Well, Cindy was really great because you get to know where Eclipso is at, where his mind is at, and what his goals are. Because all along, if you notice, I think that there were a couple of episodes before when she tells him, “I’m the boss, I tell you what to do, blah, blah, blah.” And he was like, “Of course, I’m here to help you.” And all that. And then you see where his alliance stands, where his mind is, where his goals are at… He is his own man, truly. He is his own man. So Cindy was a great introduction bridge to Eclipso.
Pat, at the end of the episode lays out Eclipso’s plan, which he says is “Corrupt, feed, gain power,” and then something after that. Is there more to his plan? Or is it really as simple as all that?
This is just the beginning of Eclipso. There’s way more to him.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
DC’s Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Where to watch DC’s Stargirl