‘The Flash’: Danielle Panabaker Is 'Blown Away' to Be First Actress in CW's Arrowverse to Direct! (Exclusive)
By Leanne Aguilera
Step aside, Killer Frost – actress Danielle Panabaker is making an even cooler move in tonight’s all-new episode of The Flash!
In addition to appearing on-screen as Caitlin Snow in episode 518, “Godspeed,” Panabaker took on the additional challenge of stepping behind the camera for her directorial debut – and only ET has all the scoop straight from the star about her killer new role.
“I think I’ve always been fascinated by everything that goes into a movie or an episode of television and it’s something that I’ve paid attention to for years,” Panabaker, who has been acting since she was 15 years old, dished to ET during a live interview on our YouTube channel on Tuesday morning.
Panabaker revealed that after watching her Flash co-star, Tom Cavanagh, do an “incredible” job while directing an episode back in season three, she was inspired to pursue this new path.
“I started asking questions and saying, ‘Is this something that I could do?’ So in season four, he directed episode four and then I shadowed him,” the 31-year-old star explained. “It was really educational and informative and then I really started to feel, at that point, I started to feel like I was ready to take it on.”
Now here’s an amazing fun fact: Panabaker is the very first actress from any of The CW’s super shows – Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning – to also direct an episode.
“I didn’t realize that until you said it at Comic-Con last year!” Panabaker said when we congratulated her about this boundary-breaking accomplishment. “I was blown away. It’s crazy. That never occurred to me while I was trying to direct.”
“But since the announcement was made that I was directing, I’ve really been impressed by the number of women who have reached out to me and said, ‘I’m interested in directing. How did you do it?’ And being able to sort of pay it forward and support them in that – it’s been great. It’s been something that I wasn’t expecting at all.”
One thing that Panabaker was expecting was the challenges that would come with directing herself in the episode.
“My first day directing was the day I was directing myself. There was only one day in the episode where I had to direct myself and everyone said, ‘Try and make your first day easy!’ But because of scheduling, we couldn't do that,” she recalled. “So my first day was not only directing for the first time, but also directing myself – which I didn't love.”
“I really just wanted to be the director,” she continued. “I just wanted to sit and watch the monitors and make sure I was getting the performances I needed and the camera was getting what I needed it to and it was difficult not to be able to watch that.”
Panabaker joked that of all the stars on The Flash, she was definitely the worst person to direct. “She forgot her lines a couple of times,” she said with a laugh. “She might’ve been a little distracted, but that’s OK.”
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST/PST on The CW.