In the first season of DC Universe's Doom Patrol, April Bowlby captivated audiences as the Golden Age Hollywood star Rita Farr. Coming to terms with the demons of her past, Rita began to embrace a path of heroism. Now in Doom Patrol Season 2, Rita's ready to take everything she's learned and become the Elasti-Woman fans know and love from the comics. Last week we got a chance to chat with Bowlby, who shared her insight on what lies ahead for the queen of Doom Manor...
How do you see the journey that Rita's on in DOOM PATROL this season?
I think she's actually late to the game. I think she resisted so much in season one, and now that everyone is kind of broken, she's like "Hey, wait a minute. I can lead too." She probably also doesn't really want to be in despair. This is just coming to me now -- maybe she wanted attention and the only way to get attention was to be the person who resisted so much. Now that everyone is in the same mind frame as her, she's like "Wait, this is wrong. We need to get it together." I think she really stepped out of herself this season and she tries to deal with her pain with Chief by using that pain to better herself and possibly better the people around her. She's growing, and she's trying to embrace and heal her issues; and through that process is bringing the team back together. So she's kind of a light this season, which is unexpected. [Laughs.]
But most welcome... The last time we spoke you mentioned you didn't grow up with superhero comic books. Is there a level on which you identify with Rita because of that? Since she too is new to this world and is fascinated about the opportunity to be a superhero. Does that mirror your own journey?
Yes, absolutely. I feel like there's a lot of similarities between me and Rita. I think she's a bit of an introvert. She is new to this, and I think she kind of feels a little like an outcast. Even amongst the people who are similar to her. She's just really trying to find her way. I have the omnibus of the Silver Age Doom Patrol, which she was featured in a lot. But in the Grant Morrison version, she's really not present there. That is an exciting kind of twist -- that she now gets to create her own story. It definitely informs a lot for Rita just looking at the other characters' issues as well.
One of the best things about the show for longtime fans Is that it combines the best of both of those eras -- the Silver Age and the Grant Morrison -- into something new.
Something new! It's like a fusion, I agree.
How does the presence of the Chief's daughter Dorothy affect Rita this season?
The addition of Dorothy Spinner in our amazing season 2 has completely changed the series. It's like a completely new Doom Patrol. Because she's this child who could destroy the world, but she's still a child and all she wants to do is be loved and be taken care of and feel safe -- which really is what everyone in the house wants. I think Rita connects with her because she finds her to be hopeful. With children there's this natural innocence, and so Rita is very hopeful in this season. There's moments where Rita mothers Dorothy, and I think it helps Rita heal her issues in her past, like the betrayal she's done. I think there's this nice bond between Dorothy and Rita this season, even though Chief is still on the outside. That's saying a lot for Dorothy. She's such an incredible person that we can forgive the Chief for a moment so we can help her.
What's your favorite Rita moment in season 2?
I think it's in episode 7, but it could be episode 6. I'm not sure, but just keep an eye on those two episodes. You'll know it when you see it. [Laughs.] In the "Tyme Patrol" episode -- episode 2 -- I think Rita feels betrayed once again by the Chief. She actually steps up to him and she slaps him. I think for Rita that was a really big moment, and I think she just can't take any more betrayals. I really liked that strength in her. She's not going to do this anymore and she's going to start relying on herself.
In addition to her powers and personality, Rita is also known for her amazing wardrobe. Do you have a favorite outfit in season 2?
There's a favorite from season 2 that you have yet to see, and you'll know it when you see it. Again, it's probably in episode 6 or 7. [Laughs.] Episode 2 was a fantastic episode for Rita. She leads the charge against Dr. Tyme, she gets betrayed again by Chief, but she also has this incredible outfit. it looks very Scooby-Doo, with Daphne-style pants and a purple sweater with a little scarf. I really love that outfit.
If you could have Rita team up with any DC character who's not in the Doom Patrol, who would it be?
I think she would kind of enjoy Superman. I like that idea. He's so handsome, and she deserves a little handsome in her life at this point I think! [Laughs.]
She's definitely earned it -- and, like Rita, Superman is very classic... You did an amazing job of creating Rita's voice and mannerisms in the first season. Do those elements change at all as the show progresses, or do you see that part of Rita as a constant?
I think it might be a constant, but I do know that when she gets very vulnerable or she steps out of herself a little bit under extreme circumstances, I feel like the voice goes away, and she kind of becomes the opposite of a movie star. I just think her persona really is this protective bubble of the voice, like "Everything is going to be fine." It's only when things aren't fine that I think she wavers from it a little bit.
When you're not working on Doom Patrol, you've been sharing your favorite books on Instagram and via your 75 Reads podcast. Are there any titles you've read during quarantine that you would recommend to Doom Patrol fans?
Well, I don't know if Doom Patrol fans would love this, but I love it because I feel like there's a connection to superheroes. There's this book called Gods in Everyman and then Goddesses in Everywoman. It's a Greek mythology book about the gods and the goddesses and what they represented and what their part in the world was. I find a lot of connections to characters like Wonder Woman. There's just these incredible very similar superhero-ish powers. So that's kind of fun. We've kind of strayed from the David Bowie 75 Reading List this month because of all of the things that are happening in the world. So right now I'm reading The New Jim Crow, and it's really informative and kind of spine-chilling, and full of great information if you feel like taking a step to get educated in that way. We're going to do a podcast episode on that as well.
Thanks so much for your time, April!
My pleasure. Thank you!