Interview with Nicole Maines of “Supergirl” on The CW by Suzanne 10/14/21
I’m not ashamed to say that I worked very hard to get this interview for the last year or so. I’m glad we finally got the chance to chat over the phone! She is really great on the show, and as a person, and as an advocate for LGBTQ++ rights. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
NICOLE MAINES ISN’T DONE WITH DREAMER! That’s what she keeps saying, anyway, and I think if she says it enough, perhaps she will get the chance to reprise her character (or keep writing about her).
Suzanne: Are you still in Palm Springs… I saw on your Instagram…?
Nicole: Oh, that was a couple of weeks ago. No, no, I’m in Los Angeles.
Suzanne: Okay, back in LA. Is it nice out?
Nicole: I don’t know. I woke up at noon.
Suzanne: Oh, well, that’s good.
Nicole: I’m unemployed. [laughs]
Suzanne: I understand, believe me. So, there are just five episodes left of Supergirl. How do you feel?
Nicole: I mean, I’m excited. I mean, especially the next episode. That’s our big Nia episode. It’s Nia, who’s back.
Suzanne: Oh, good.
Suzanne: So, how do you feel about the show ending though?
Nicole: I mean, it’s bittersweet. I’m excited for what’s gonna come next and what new opportunities are there for me, but this was home for three years, and I miss the people, and I miss the crew, and I miss getting to be Nia and getting to play around with Nia
Suzanne: Right. Oh, I forgot you were only on there for three years. I watch the show religiously, I promise. You seem like you’ve been there forever, like everyone.
Nicole: It felt like I was there forever. I mean, I really, really loved and I do love that character and to be her, and that was my first sort of initial thought when they gave me the call and told us we didn’t get picked up for seven. I was like, “I’m not done. I have more to do with her.”
Suzanne: Do you think fans will be happy with the way it ends?
Nicole: I think so. I think we have a really, really fun ending, and getting to shoot that last episode was really fun. And we have some stuff that I think people have been wanting for a while, and it’s going to be great.
Suzanne: Oh, good. Yeah. As long as they don’t kill off Supergirl, I’ll be happy. I’m not happy about the way they ended Arrow. Too depressing… but that was a more downer show than than yours anyway.
Suzanne: I don’t know if anybody has died on Supergirl?
Nicole: Yeah, Astra died.
Suzanne: Oh, her mother, right.
Suzanne: Aunt, right. Oh, well, she was a villain anyway. Well, the nice thing about most of these kind of shows, they can always bring them back again.
Suzanne: So, what did you find most challenging about playing Nia/Dreamer?
Nicole: Oh, gosh, I mean, where to start? I think the hardest part, for me, was finding my sea legs and coming onto the show pretty new, pretty green and trying to keep up. Everyone on our show is so stupid talented that it’s intimidating. And for someone who didn’t really have a lot of experience under my belt and didn’t really have a lot of formal training to fall back on, it was really scary. It felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants at all times, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It was the perfect first show for me, and, I don’t know, as soon as we were done, I was like, “Okay, now I’m ready! This is just rehearsal. Let’s go back. Let’s do it again. Okay, now I’m ready.”
Suzanne: Well, it probably added to your character though, because, she was pretty insecure and everything when she first started.
Nicole: Exactly. I was able to bring all of that energy into Nia. That was really nice, because, simultaneously, with me going coming on to Supergirl and sort of finding my sea legs there, she was coming into CatCo brand new, and she was finding her sea legs as a superhero. So, I was able to bring that energy to the character, and I think it really worked. I hope it worked.
Suzanne: No, it did.
Nicole: Nobody told me otherwise.
Suzanne: Well, they would have told you if you weren’t doing it right. So, I think that’s good.
Nicole: I hope so. [laughs]
Suzanne: So, what was the most fun part of playing her?
Nicole: Oh, gosh. Getting to create a superhero. I mean, that is a dream come true, just getting to watch her powers evolve, and watching her fighting style evolve was so fun. Getting to do the Hurricanrana in fourteen, everyone was calling it the Black Widow move. [laughs] It was f – sorry, excuse me, I don’t know if I can swear, but it was fucking cool!
Suzanne: It’s fine.
Nicole: Getting to kind of see where she came from and now seeing her kicking all of this butt was so much fun, and getting to be a part of that and getting to help shape this character. And now I have this character who is forever part of me.
Suzanne: Yeah, it’s it’s a shame. I mean, obviously, I’m upset that they canceled the show, but it’s a shame that they cancel it now that she’s finally got hold of her powers and everything.
Nicole: I know, I’m like, “You haven’t really seen Dreamer at 100%.” We haven’t seen Dreamer not struggling for a second, just like, be Dreamer. So, if I could have done anything else, I would have wanted to show just what a full power Dreamer can do and what Dreamer at 100% looks like.
Suzanne: Well, is there any chance of her showing up on a crossover with the other shows or joining Legends of Tomorrow or anything like that?
Nicole: I mean, never say never. I haven’t heard a dang thing, but I’m ready. I am here waiting to take your calls. Please call in. [laughs]
Suzanne: Right. And what was the most fun part of playing her?
Nicole: Oh, my gosh, I mean, getting Dream energy was really fun. Getting to do all those blasts and getting to come up with the choreography for it was really fun. I think one of my favorite moments was, and I’ve said this before, on the 100th episode, when I put up that giant shield against Reign, and the wind and the fans were blowing and debris was going everywhere…I felt so cool in that moment. That was the kind of stuff I loved, getting to be a superhero. That was the best part.
Suzanne: Is that what you’ll miss the most?
Nicole: No, I think I’ll miss the people the most. I think it’s the people the most. I just saw Staz. He came and visited me for a couple of weeks. We saw Jesse while he was down here. So, it was good. I [had just been] with Katie. So, I keep in touch with all of them.
Suzanne: Good. Good.
Nicole: I really miss them, and I miss having the Superfriends together.
Suzanne: It’s so funny that they started calling them Superfriends on the show. [laughs] You know, the old cartoon. I don’t know if you ever saw it.
Nicole: Oh, yeah, I know, I know. I thought it was great. What a great revival.
Suzanne: Yeah, people of my age and slightly younger grew up watching that.
Nicole: We all have hoodies that were made that have the Superfriends on them in that Golden Age comic style, and it has the logo [for] Superfriends on it, and I wear it all the time.
Suzanne: That’s neat. Were you a comic book fan before you joined the show?
Nicole: Not too much, honestly, no. I read comics, and I had some comics, but I wouldn’t say was a comic book fan or a comic nerd. This show definitely changed that, and I still have a ways to go. I’m still not by any standards like an aficionado, but I definitely developed a new appreciation for it. And after writing Dreamer into the comics, my relationship with that has definitely changed in a much more “hungry for more” way.
Suzanne: Yeah, I read that you wrote part of the the Dreamer story for the pride comic book. Will you be writing some more?
Nicole: Well, not part of it. I wrote the whole thing.
Suzanne: Oh, the whole thing, okay.
Nicole: I wrote the whole thing. They asked me to do it, and it was a really great experience. I got to play around and pull a bunch of different things that I wanted to do. We have some nods to the Nolanverse Batman movies. I got to have fun. I did not realize, however, that people thought that the comic was set in the Arrowverse still. I had a lot of people lamenting that. They’re like, “Oh, we really want her to be [in] the DC Comics universe, and this is clearly still the Arrowverse.” I was talking to my editor about it a little while ago, and we were like, “It is?” We had every intention of it being in the DC Comics universe, and I think what happened was I made a mistake. In the title in the location tab, I wrote “National City” instead of “Midvale City” which I had not realized not being a comic book fan at the time and just not properly knowing my stuff. I take credit for that. I did not know that in the comics Supergirl is in Midvale City and not National City. I didn’t know that there was a difference. If anyone asks, I’m just saying that National City is Dreamer City.
Suzanne: People always find something to complain about. So, I wouldn’t worry that much about it.
Nicole: Oh, who knows, but yeah, so for anyone wondering, that was DC Comics canon; Dreamer is DC Comics canon, I swear.
Suzanne: So, do you know if there’s a plan to have a Dreamer comic or have her join any of the other DC Comics?
Nicole: I mean, I have plans. I don’t know if anybody else [laughs] has plans, but this is at any given moment. This has really unlocked something in me that just as I was writing it, it just occurred to me – not occurred to me, but it just felt right, and it felt like something that I was supposed to be doing and and building this superhero up and being on the show and knowing what her potential is that we never really got to fully explore with Dreamer just being Dreamer. I want to get to explore all that, and I want to get to show people what this character can really do and just how powerful a superhero she really is. And we’re going to be seeing that more and more. We’re going to be seeing that in this coming episode even. Someone was posting – in the promo, you’re seeing this kind of tug of war, energy battle between Nyxly and Dreamer, and someone pointed out, they were like, “Dreamer’s holding back Nyxly,” which was two the Totems powering her, and they’re like, “If Nia’s holding all that back, she’s a god.” And I retweeted that, and I was like, “Yes! This is what I’ve been saying!” I’m shocked that no one stopped me, but I guess they haven’t stopped me, because I’m right, [but] I’ve just gotten unapologetic about it. I’m just honest. I’m just honestly saying, “Dreamer is the most powerful character in the Arrowverse.”
Nicole: And I’m like, “Please, if I’m wrong, feel free to show me,” but I’ve done my work. I’ve shown my work, and I’ve done the math, and I’m like, “Show me where my math is wrong.”
Suzanne: I think you could definitely make a case for that. I think that’s something they should have done the next season, if they had another season, is something where Supergirl and Dreamer are fighting.
Nicole: Oh, I had a whole pitch, and there were different ways we could have done [it]. I think it would have been interesting for sort of the darker side of Dreamer that we got to see a little bit in “Reality Bytes” and show the difference in philosophy between Dreamer and Supergirl, and then we could kind of explore that [relationship]. Okay, so what about when the mentor and the mentee disagree on the no killing rule? Because dreamer had very good reason and motivation for wanting to kill the transphobe in “Reality Bytes.” I think that would have been interesting to explore, but I also understand. We also kind of agreed and we’re like, “I don’t know if the trans superhero should kill anyone.” From a storytelling perspective, on the other hand, that would have been a really, really interesting thing to explore and explore that moral gray area.
Suzanne: Well, I’m sure at some point they will have a trans character that can do things like that. I remember that one of the soap operas a while back, they had a black person that was a villainness, and it was the first time they’d ever done that on a soap opera.
Nicole: It’s a question of [unintelligible] representations, how to frame these characters, and are we responsible for keeping them in a positive light? I’m of the opinion that I don’t think we should limit these characters to their identity and limit their character arcs to that identity. I think it’s important that we’re showcasing trans people as three dimensional people, and that includes their flaws, and I think that if Dreamer had gone through with that, that could have been a really, really interesting narrative, even bringing into it her powers and her seeing the future. And if she sees the future, why wouldn’t she, you know, just nip this in the bud? There’s so much down the road that she has to deal with, she’s like, “If I can stop this person from hurting anybody, why shouldn’t I?”
Suzanne: Is she seeing the future or a possible future?
Nicole: Well, that’s the question. Another thing we could have explored is in the comic books, of course, Nura Nal’s power. Dreamgirl was always infallible. You didn’t always have the context for her dreams, but her dreams always came true. And I think with Nia, it’s much more of a possible future that she can now take steps to alter that course, if she chooses, which I think, from a storytelling perspective, is a little more interesting.
Nicole: Just because we already know what’s going to happen. [laughs] Why are you watching the show?
Suzanne: Yeah, and the comic books, at least the ones when I read when I was growing up, they were a lot more simplistic than TV is today. So, you can do that without – you know what I mean.
Nicole: [unintelligible] kind of have to add a few extra layers.
Suzanne: Yeah, audiences expect more now.
Nicole: Give me a couple more twists and turns.
Suzanne: Yeah. So, have you been doing anything besides sleeping in and going to Palm Springs since you wrapped Supergirl?
Nicole: I mean, just planning, lots of auditions. But I’m planning. I have all of these ideas for Dreamer. I have all these ideas for Nia, and it’s just lots of plotting on my part.
Suzanne: Are you going to be maybe writing something up?
Nicole: Maybe, who knows. I would love to continue. I would love to get to do another DC pride issue; I would love to keep that going. And this is the thing with representation, and this is where the next step is going to be. You can’t just tap the balloon once and let it sink; you have to keep it in the air, and I think that’s how representation is. So, now, the next step, it’s not a question of…“Is Dreamer gonna pop up next?” It’s, “Where? Where [unintelligible] this character next?”
Suzanne: And I’m definitely looking forward to that.
Nicole: Me too. So, to all those reading, I assure [you] she’s not done.
Suzanne: And this is your first ongoing TV series, right? Your character has the romance with Brainy. Was that your first onscreen romance as well?
Nicole: No, no, right before Supergirl, I had done a movie, Bit, and I had the pleasure of having a romance with the lovely Zolee Griggs. So, that was fun. So, that wasn’t like my first, but it was fun, and getting to do those things with Jesse was really nice, too, because he’s just so great. He’s frickin’ talented and hilarious, and getting to do those Midvale episodes, especially, was some of the most fun I’ve had on that show, because we really just got to ham it up together.
Suzanne: Oh, yeah, those were fun.
Nicole: We both love to do [that]. We had such great comedic chemistry that we didn’t always get to play on in the show, and so having those two episodes is a great opportunity to [be] like, “Okay, let’s like Brainy and Nia be like be [unintelligible].
Suzanne: Yeah, they definitely had some of the comedy relief.
Suzanne: So, you don’t have any other projects coming up that you can talk about?
Nicole: Not yet, but hopefully, soon. Stay tuned. Watch [unintelligible].
Suzanne: No, definitely. I just have two more questions. What shows do you like to watch for fun?
Nicole: Well, my favorite show is Supergirl, airing on Tuesdays on The CW at 9/8 central! [laughs] I’ve started Squid Games. I know I’m a little late, sorry, but started that, loving it. I was watching that. [It] was like “green light” and they kept running, and I was like “You guys! Stop running! It’s not working!” I love any show that I get to scream at the TV.
Suzanne: You’re supposed to wait until you’re old to do that. And anything else that you’d like to say to your fans?
Nicole: Just thank you so much. Thank you for making this character a hit. Thank you for loving her and supporting her and being excited about her, and if you want to see more of her, say so. Talk about it with your friends. Talk about it on social media. Let people know what you want to see, because I am totally down. Keep going.
Suzanne: All right. Well, I really appreciate you calling me.
Nicole: Yeah, of course. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Suzanne: Oh, yeah. No, I’m a big comic book fan and especially a CW superheroes fan. So, I love it.
Nicole: Yeah, it was really fun to get to do that. I mean, my era was like [unintelligible] back in the day, so to be on Supergirl was insane.
Suzanne: Oh, cool. All right. Well, thanks a lot.
Nicole: Thank you.
Here is the audio version of it.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
Proofread and Edited by Brenda