A Chat With Larry Teng

Running this website is a labor of love. Sometimes, however, we are gifted with incredible opportunities that make us feel like we are on top of the world. Today is such an occurrence. is proud to share with you our exclusive interview with Season 1 Co-Executive Producer Larry Teng. You won't want to miss this: You'll be returning to Supergirl in season 2 to direct a few episodes. What can you tell us about season 2?

All I know right know is that I'm directing episode 6 and the finale of season 2, so I'll be there in the beginning and in the end and I'm looking forward to working with everybody and I'm definitely going to miss them for the bulk of the year for sure. On Monday, June 6th, the Executive Producers and The CW, were excited to announce that Superman will be making an appearance to start season 2. What are your thoughts about Superman showing up in Supergirl?

I'm very curious to see who they're going to get [to play him]. I think its going to be a really nice way to open up the show and I really think its going to define itself as its own entity which is great! In season 1 the most paramount thing was to make sure that this was Supergirl's show, I mean its called, Supergirl. It was always about a feminist hero and we never wanted to take away from that. We didn't want Supergirl to have to have Superman's help. We wanted her to define herself and who she was on her own terms. I think we were successful in doing that. But it was always important for her to exist in this world and have him be a tertiary character in our universe. I think its important. We wanted the fans to really latch on to that and believe her struggles as she's looking into who she is and and what she can do... I think Zach Synder tried to touch upon it as well. In our way, we want her to wrestle with what it's like to be a person who has god-like abilities, a person who can move mountains, how do you use that power and how does [this character] define morality. To me that's interesting. She lived the first 20 plus years of her life trying to suppress all this and now to basically come out of the closet if you will, now she's in a state of transition trying to figure out who she is and how she fits in. That's a really relatable hero journey that I think the fans can get involved with. I think that Melissa is completely amazing at her job, she's truly a sympathetic character, she plays Kara incredibly. I think Chyler as the sister is amazing. The show is built on a very strong foundation, and we're really looking forward to what season 2 is going to bring. Christopher Reeve is hailed as the actor to portray the most accurate and caring Superman on film to date. Melissa Benoist is often compared to Christopher Reeve's Superman and is easily becoming the definition of who Supergirl is. How does the the Donner Superman influence your Supergirl?

I think a lot of that has to do with Greg's, Andrew's and Ali's decision to make it the Richard Donner version as opposed to the Zach Snyder version. I think the Superman franchise has always worked best, in my opinion, in the Donner brand. It really works with the character and the way Christopher always played the fish out of water, it was just so endearing. I mean how do you hate the guy? He's so easy to root for... I am more of a fan of the older version than the newer.

0651 teng The rumor mill is hard at work suggesting that Supergirl wouldn't have survived at CBS for another season. Is there any truth to that and are there positives in moving to The CW?

If you analyze the entertainment business in general, as a network you only have so many nights a week and so many spots to fill. You can't really count Saturday nights on CBS, but you have day programs, 8 o'clock, 9 o'clock, and 10 o'clock so with 6 nights a week you are looking at 18 spots, 18 shows. Once you factor in the shows that are definitely coming back like your Big Bang or your NCIS New Orleans, those 18 spots start to get a lot smaller. So in terms of strategy, and again I'm not privy to anything behind closed doors, this is just me speculating and having worked in this business, this is my own analysis, to shift the show to another network not only allows the show to continue but allows CBS to pick up a new show they really like. It creates air time for those shows. Then again, if [CBS] had to pick it up and keep it going then maybe that Jason Statham show doesn't get picked up. So strategically it worked out for CBS, it worked out for The CW. It was very obvious that The CW would be a natural fit for the show, clearly given all the DC properties on that network, they should just change the name from The CW to DC. Adding to the rumors, many have said to expect a scaled-down version of Supergirl in season 2. Do you have any information on that?

The truth is that last year The Flash being in Canada, the currency conversion and their tax incentives, they actually made the show, if I'm not mistaken, for more money than [Supergirl] did, for [more budget] money to spend on [The Flash] than [Supergirl]. The rumor of the show scaling back, none of that is true. In some ways, the show is going to be bigger and better than it was before. Canada affords it that opportunity.

0651 teng2 Is there anything about working in Vancouver, Canada besides the tax credits that Supergirl gets?

I think there is an infrastructure in place because all the Berlanti shows are up there, Riverdale is going to be up there as well and that's going to be a plus. I think just to have access to all those casts, and if they choose to do crossovers, whether its two episodes, three episodes or four, series crossover, whatever they want to do, the possibilities are endless and the coordination is a lot easier now because when we did the crossover for us, negotiating time for Grant to fly down and not being able to bring certain Canadian crew to the states because of work visas and things like that it became really challenging. Luckily for us, we had some people on our staff that worked on Glee who knew Grant so that really helped in the behind the scenes transition with him coming to our show. But now, its like if these guys only have to drive 20 minutes instead of fly three hours, its going to be a huge plus for them, its going to make that universe bigger. I also think they are going to promote and swap people across more from the crew, so you have people who are familiar with the universe, people who are familiar with the quality of sets that we expect. You are going to be directing episodes from season 2 and you are currently working on Animal Kingdom, are there any new projects coming up that fans can catch you on?

Sure, so I'm working on Criminal Minds that I've worked on before. I'm working on the new Lethal Weapon show, I'm working on Training Day which is new, I'm working on APB which is new too. I'm working on Quantico again too. I'm reserving some space for some other shows on the back end but for now for 2016, I'm going to be working on Criminal Minds, Lethal Weapon, Supergirl, Training Day, and APB.

0651 teng3 As season 2 is being planned and written currently, is there something you would like to see in season 2?

I want to see how she grows into her civilian life. I want to see the promise of what we set up in the finale. I want to see what she's gonna do and if she's going to choose to be out in the field or what that next step is for her. To choose to want to work for someone like Cat Grant and to be her assistant and to be a person that helps facilitate the strong female entity like Cat Grant and then to have her say you've done your time now you get to go out and do your thing, I would love to see what that thing is. That excites me. As far as Supergirl is concerned, I want to see her continue to have her judgement tested out in the field because the world's not black and white and the show and the comic books and the heroes in general are better when they are in a situation where they have to make the impossible choice. To see heroes come out of that and see someone sacrifice ... I am excited to see her do more of that. To see Supergirl again and what challenges await her. For [Kara] to end up in the finale in the place she was, basically willing to sacrifice herself to save a planet that she is really an alien to and she wasn't born into, showed tremendous growth. Where do we go from there? I'm excited for what Ali and Andrew are going to come up with. You've said before the Supergirl has a 10-day shoot period before. Is that standard in TV, or is that a little long?

It is a little long. Its a very nice luxury to have. Typically shows will prep for 7 days and shoot for 8, that is the standard. On basic cable shows, you're looking at 7 day prep, 7 day shoot. We basically have two days allocated to stunts. We have two or three elaborate fight scenes per episode and all the wire work and again, it's like Grant doesn't have to get on a wire he just has to run on a treadmill. The logistics of executing his material and demonstrating his power is a lot ... easier isn't the right word but it's not as complicated. Where as for Melissa, to be in that harness and to be on a green screen stage, we don't have a lot of time for her to rehearse because she is always working. So basically on the day she is getting there she's learning the scenes and learning the fights. She has to be in insane physical shape to pull that stuff off. Its a little trickier. You can't just bring her up there and keep her up there all day. Its an enormous amount of pressure to put on your physical body. So those days where we are doing just the flying sequences, it takes more time to do than a normal scene by a factor of 4 or 5 even. Its about 40 - 45 minutes a shot.

0651 teng4 Is the 10-day shoot period expected to continue in season 2?

Yeah, its sort of the pattern for the show. And again, we really make the show work in that pattern. The way to do it is when you shoot 8 days and start shooting your 9th and 10th day, you are already shooting your next shoots for day 1 and 2. So there is always that overlap happening. It allows you to maintain a schedule that is normal looking, but we are giving the show those extra days. It take a lot of coordination between the line producer, the person in my position, Ali and Andrew, the people who write the show, to make sure they are not in every scene so when Melissa starts the next episode she can still help finish the last episode. So we have just one question left for you, can you tell us who is in the pod?

I know, but I can't tell you. Oh my gosh you do know! Not even Melissa knows!

Ha ha ha, I do know but I can't tell you.

We want to thank Larry Teng for his time and his incredible insight. It was an amazing opportunity for us. Also, check out his interview with our friends over at Supergirl TV Talk for more information about his time on Supergirl season 1!

As always, let us know what you think in the comments below and the forum! Also, if you can, visit our support page and help us keep advertisement free!

Eric Johnston
Author: Eric JohnstonWebsite: https://supergirl.tvEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Executive Editor/Owner
About the Author
Eric is the primary author for He has been covering the Supergirl show since 2014, but been a fan for decades. "Hope, Help, and Compassion for All, El May Arah!"

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