I recently had the chance to chat with the amazing Keiynan Lonsdale, who just joined the cast of CW’s The Flash as Wally West. Keiynan is an Australian actor who is best known for his roles as Oliver Lloyd in the Australian television show Dance Academy and as Uriah Pedrad in the Divergent film series. His CW character Wally West is based on the DC comics character of the same name and is the recently discovered son of Detective Joe West who will be joining the cast as a main character in the second half of the current season.
What first drew you to acting?
It wasn’t until I was about 18 when I started taking it seriously. I was doing a musical in Australia called Fame. Obviously a musical involves dancing and acting, and acting is what I had the least experience in. But for whatever reason it was the acting that felt the most comfortable. So it was what I was most looking forward to during every show. From there I did a few short courses and started auditioning and started convincing myself that I could actually become an actor.
What made you come to America for acting? I know we have a lot of very talented Australian actors in the US, but what drew you here?
I think it’s just the fact that in Australia, there’s some really great productions but there’s just not enough. And for me, I really wanted to work, it was as simple as that. I was only going to a few auditions a year (in Australia) simply because there wasn’t enough casting going around for someone of my ethnicity or the roles just weren’t right. Where, as opposed to being in L.A., there would be maybe three auditions a week at times. So, it just made sense. (laughs).
And now you have two different markets that you’re open to, so that always helps.
Totally, yeah. I also go back and work in Australia whenever I get the opportunity to.
Were you a comic book fan growing up?
No, I didn’t read comic books growing up. Now that I have started to read them though, I wish that I had been introduced to a lot more of them as a kid. I think I really would have loved them.
Had you seen The Flash before you were cast as Wally?
Yeah, I watched the first season and I really liked the show and became a huge fan of it. So it’s an awesome coincidence.
The Flash is already in its second season, and a lot of the cast have been working together for a while. What was it like being one of the newcomers in the cast? Was it intimidating or exciting?
It was a bit of both. It’s definitely intimidating joining any project where everyone has a pre-existing dynamic and a relationship. That’s just how it is and I’ve dealt with that a lot in my short career so far. But it was mostly exciting. Everyone made me feel really welcome. I felt like I was part of the family pretty quickly because everyone made quite a conscious effort to include me in a lot of things and get to know me. It was really cool and it’s been pretty great.
Has Wally known about Iris and Joe this whole time or was he unaware?
He was unaware. It’s news to him as well.
Quite a big shocker there.
Definitely. It’s a lot to take in. (laughs).
The winter finale left us on quite a cliffhanger with the Christmas party. Can you tell us a little about what prompted Wally to show up?
I think it’s the fact that you get this crazy information and how can you just sit on that and not do anything about it, you know? I think there’s also the fact that his mom is ill and we know that she came to the town because she really wanted Joe and Iris to know Wally. I believe that she would have had a strong influence in having him go and meet them. I think it was also for Wally to make sure that if he was gonna have an interaction with his father, it would be on his terms. It would be his decision, and it would be him going there. This is such huge information that he hasn’t been able to control, so if he can control one thing, it’s making the decision to go and introduce himself.
All the fans have been super excited about Wally’s introduction to the show and his dynamic with Joe and Iris. Everyone wants to know: what can we expect from Iris and Wally’s relationship?
It’s been tough. Obviously in the comic books they have a really great relationship, but in order for any relationship or friendship or family bond to be strong and actually mean anything, they have to go through issues together. They have to go through good and bad times together. So you’re going to see that happen. You’re gonna see them go through ups and downs, which hopefully in the long run will only bring them closer. But yeah, it’s going to be quite a conflicting relationship for them both. At this point, they’re not kids but they’re also still getting to know each other. For me, with siblings, growing up with them, there’s always a little bit of tension and a little bit of competition, so it’s going to take some good and bad experiences for them to forge a proper connection.
Of course it’s always a little bit awkward when someone is your sibling and you’re supposed to be close to them but you’ve grown up not knowing of each other’s existence, so I’m super excited to see that play out.
Also, off of that, what can we expect from Wally and Joe’s relationship?
It’s gonna be really–I can’t even wait to watch. It’s not easy, at all. His father is a complete stranger to him. It’s not a good feeling, you know. So, I think at least on Wally’s side, he is really hesitant to trust anyone at this point. Even though he knows that Joe didn’t know about him either, it still doesn’t make it okay. I think Wally is going to make it difficult for Joe, I think he is going to make Joe work really hard. (laughs). Which he should!
Yeah, it’s difficult for both of them.
Yeah, it’s quite emotional.
It’s going to be very exciting–it’s going to be good television!
Yeah, exactly! (laughs).
What has been your favorite part of playing Wally so far?
I think it’s been the scenes with family members. I think that’s such a cool thing. As an actor, I could be wrong but I don’t think I’ve ever played someone’s brother or someone’s son. I’ve never gotten to work with those types of characters before. It’s so fun because family is such an important thing and it’s one thing to have scenes and storylines with friendships or with love, but it’s a whole other thing to have storylines and characters involved in terms of family. I think it’s such a huge, important thing and it’s really fun and emotional to play.
Will we see Wally meet Linda anytime soon?
I really don’t know. I mean, I hope so. It’d be really cool and a really nice nod to the comics. Both of the characters now exist in Central City so it would definitely make sense. But, I think at this stage at least, figuring out all the family issues is the first priority. We’ll just have to see what happens after that.
Yeah, that makes sense. That’s something we can look forward to maybe in like a little bit of the future once we’ve got Wally settled in and everything.
The showrunners have teased Wally becoming Kid Flash maybe sometime down the line, how would you like for Wally to get his powers? Do you want them to be through an accident like Barry or something else?
I like the idea of an accident. I think that’s always cool. I think it would be–I don’t know. I don’t know what to say cause I don’t wanna say something that could be my guess and then the writers are like “That’s actually what we’re doing” (laughs). But yeah I would like it to be an accident that no one’s expecting. I think that’s more interesting to watch. So, I think that could be really cool. Or maybe, he’s had this speed this whole time, you have no idea! I have no idea. (laughs).
Ooh, that’d be really cool!
It’d be crazy!
Are you familiar with Teen Titans and Young Justice?
I am a little bit. DC actually just sent me some Teen Titans comic books. It’s really cool. And I watched–the fans asked me to watch the Young Justice television show, so I have watched that.
Since Wally has been a part of both Teen Titans and Young Justice, what would be your dream team for Kid Flash?
I like Aqualad, so that’d be cool. And I also want him to work with the Flash. I think the dynamic of having Kid Flash and the Flash together would be really cool. Yeah, I think that would be an awesome team.
If you could play any other character in the DC Universe, who would it be?
Probably Aqualad. (laughs). Because of his hair. It’s awesome.
Will we see Wally interact with Barry? I guess he would see him at the Christmas party, but will we see him interact with either Barry or the Flash? What can you tell us about what their dynamic is going to be like?
That obviously is something definitely to look forward to. The interaction with Barry and Wally is something that people definitely have to see. But, in terms of their friendship, it might be kind of non-existent because Wally is, not threatened by Barry, but he feels as though Barry is in his position as Joe’s son. And that’s something that Wally doesn’t quite understand yet.
Yeah, I was thinking that, speaking on your earlier point about family, there would be a little bit of a tension there because Barry is kind of like a son to Joe, which Wally should have been.
Definitely. It creates a little bit of a tension and conflict.
And then will we see him interact with the Flash?
Uhhhh…you hope so. (laughs). I’m sure that that’s something that we can look forward to.
Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so I have to ask: what is something you are nerdy about?
Probably–I really like this game called Final Fantasy. So, my whole life, I’ve played that game. I have Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, XII, XIII, and XIII-2. Maybe a couple of others. So that’s probably my most nerdy feature.
Don’t forget to tune into to the CW on Tuesday, January 19th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT to catch the midseason premiere of The Flash.