2015 Comic-Con - Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment PanelIt runs in the family: she's faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound just like her famous Kryptionian cousin. But as both a superheroine and as a young woman still coming into her own, "Supergirl" has a lot to learn about the world.

For the new CBS series debuting in the fall, actress Melissa Benoist ("Glee," "Whiplash") takes on the iconic mantle of the Ingenue of Steel and her alter ego Kara Danvers, and during her first trip to Comic-Con International in San Diego she revealed all sorts of Super-details, from learning to throw a punch during her super-workout to dancing through the sky to a particularly constraining portion of that caped costume.

Moviefone: Taking on this character, there's all the comic book history, there's Helen Slater's interpretation from the '80s, the animated version, Laura Vandervoort on "Smallville" -- what do you want to make out of this?

Melissa Benoist: Wow! Well, obviously, there's a daunting feeling to arrive at a point where this is a character that is so developed and so many people already love. So there's responsibility, and I arrive wanting to just stay true to a lot of that. But what I want to bring is: I love her humanity, even though she is an alien. I love that she really has a lot of discovering to do and growth and makes mistakes. I think she's so relatable, and I just want to stay true to that.

Did you audition with a Kara scene or Supergirl scene?

I'm trying to remember. I think the auditions were Kara and Jimmy. Kara and Winn, for sure. And Kara and Cat. So I don't think there were any Supergirl [scenes].

Once you got the role, did you immediately run to the gym?

[Laughs] Kind of!

What did you do to get in Supergirl shape? Did you have to step up your workouts?

Oh, yeah, I did. I immediately [did] -- I am such a pacifist in my everyday life. I don't think I've ever hit anyone before, and so I definitely had to learn technique. Like, how to actually punch someone and not hurt yourself more than you're hurting the person you're punching. And so boxing was part of it, and core work and Pilates and biometrics -- a lot of it.

Did it change your mindset, getting yourself physically transformed?

Yeah, yeah, the motivation there, and the drive, it definitely affects. Because I don't have a choice, and I can't sit down and be like, "Oh, I'm done. I want some popcorn." Like I have to stay on top of my game.

What about the wirework for the flying sequences?

It's hard. The wirework is really difficult, but so fun. And when you get it right, watching the result is exhilarating. It's a really, really cool feeling to know what it felt like, the energy I had to exert to create those flying scenes. And then the way they look is really rewarding.

How did it feel to see yourself in the costume?

There's this internal feeling. Something changes. It's this transformation, almost, to the point where I don't recognize myself when I'm in it. I feel like a different person.

On a practical level, what do you love about the costume and what do you not love?

That's a really good question [laughs]. I love that -– I grew up as a dancer, so it feels like a leotard and skirt and tights that I wore when I was a ballerina. But what is impractical or sometimes painful -- even though I think I'm very lucky in terms of my suit; I know a lot of people have masks that sweat and don't breathe at all -- mine has a corset. My cape is a corset, and so that sometimes when I'm on the wire is like... it's constricting.

Are you doing your own stunts?

I'm trying to do a lot of them because I want to. I think they're so fun. There are some that I just can't -- I really could get injured. But I'm trying to. My stunt double is amazing. She was Jen Garner's on "Alias." She's all over the place, and she's so cool. I wish people could see what they go through. It's insane.

Are you trying to bring that dancer's grace to the flying and to the movement?

Of course. What I think is cool is to try to bring kind of a femininity to her strength. You see Superman and it's obviously this solid thing. But I do like the idea of bringing in like a grace to it, and a fluidity and kind of this femininity to flying. It's fun.

When you did this pilot, did you think this was a show that would get a series order?

Yes and no. I think I was 50/50. I really believed in it. And I think I knew deep down that people would like it, especially like young girls. That's who I really wanted to affect. But, of course, there's always that moment where you're like, "Oh, man, I don't know what's going to happen." But now, I'm fairly certain that people are really excited, from what everyone's been saying.
categories Interviews, Tv News