Supergirl may just have the best casting on television. When The CW show isn’t casting actors who have previously starred in a Supergirl or Superman on-screen universe, it’s nabbing the best actors from the stage. One such example is series star Jeremy Jordan, best known for his charismatic work in Broadway musicals like Newsies. Another is the actress cast to play Jordan’s mom in tonight’s Supergirl episode: the Oscar-nominated Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird, Roseanne).
“Oh, I was like, ‘There’s no way Laurie Metcalf is gonna do this show,'” Jordan told Den of Geek of his first reaction to hearing of Metcalf’s casting as Winn’s estranged mom. “‘No way she’s gonna be my mom. Come on.’ But, no, it was great. It turns out she’s a big fan of the show and she watches it with her daughter. They love it, and so she was super into it.” (According to a Vanity Fair profile, Metcalf accepted the Supergirl role so her daughter could meet her superhero idol.)
Metcalf’s introduction to the show as Mary McGowan, Winn’s estranged mom, happens to not-so-surprisingly coincide with a Winn-centric episode that gives us greater insight into the complicated character’s dark past. As revealed in the trailer for the episode, Mary abandoned Winn when he was just a child because Winn’s father, the psychopathic Toyman, threatened to kill Winn if Mary didn’t stay away from him. The episode’s emotional thrust comes in Winn trying to come to terms with the reasons behind his mother’s absence from his life.
“It is a weird beginning for Winn,” said Jordan of the backstory reveals that come in “Schott Through the Heart.” “I guess I always just expected Winn’s mom to have gone into a weird depression or maybe become an addict or just not taking care of herself after his dad went to prison, but the idea that she’s a fairly normal human being who just got put in a horrible situation was really strange to me.”
Jordan said he is a fan of the writing because “it gives Winn an excuse to not feel completely the product of two heartless insane people.” There are some beautiful Jordan-Metcalf scenes that explore this very idea, as Winn learns what kind of person Mary is and Mary learns what kind of person her son has grown into.
“I was just the lucky recipient of her, in terms of being the character that she most relates to in the show,” said Jordan of the experience of working so closely with Metcalf. “We had a great time. We’re both theater actors, so we really latched onto each other in that sort of way and got along great … You can’t really asking more than to have juicy material with a great actor. Not to say because I think our whole cast is great. But it is nice to get to do that with somebody as seasoned as Laurie.”
“Schott Through the Heart” airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Stay tuned for more insights from our interview with Jeremy Jordan.