It feels as if the shows that make up the Arrowverse have all been leading up to Crisis on Infinite Earth’s for a long time.
Well, we are finally in the home stretch of what is sure to be an epic crossover we will be talking about for years to come.
With that in mind, we had the chance to speak with LaMonica Garrett, who has been playing The Monitor since the Elseworlds crossover last year and will also be playing the Anti-Monitor in the near future.
We discussed The Monitor’s role in the Crisis, as well as things to come, for the actor.
The ending of Arrow Season 8 Episode 3 was crazy. We saw in a flash of light that Future Team Arrow and Present Team Arrow are now together. And, I’m guessing it’s because of The Monitor. Why would he do that?
I think everything that The Monitor does, there’s a greater purpose for it. Whether it’s to get more of what he needs out of a particular character, or to just, you know, even disrupting, that would get something out of a particular character that he needs to be fulfilled before the Crisis starts.
So, pretty much everything he does is leading up to the Crisis, and he needs all hands on deck, and the right mental state to approach the crisis. So, it’s not just physical, it’s mental, and his main subject for the Crisis is Oliver Queen.
The last time we saw The Monitor was at the end of Arrow Season 8 Episode 2. Where is he going to pop up next? The Flash, Arrow?
He’s making his rounds, and I think that the way they spring out The Monitor in different TV shows in different times, it’s not over-saturated till you get sick of seeing him. And, right when you forget about him, he shows back up.
They do a great job of that because whenever you see him, it’s reminding the audience, as well as the characters on the show, that this Crisis is looming. The closer it gets to the Crisis, you’ll start seeing more and more of him.
Oliver doesn’t really trust The Monitor anymore because of what he read in the League of Assassin’s records. How will The Monitor’s relationship with Oliver play out moving forward?
I think that’s the fun thing about it. If Oliver was all in on what The Monitor was doing and telling him, it wouldn’t be as much fun to see what happens with it. So, naturally, he has people in his ear like Diggle telling him don’t trust this guy, you create your own destiny, you don’t have to listen to him.
And, he’s one of his close friends. You have people around you, telling you otherwise, and you’re already starting to doubt. And, now your kids get pushed into this timeline, that might be the final straw. He’s not in a good place right now, so I think it’s natural for him to distrust The Monitor.
But, The Monitor knows what he’s doing. It might not be the right way of doing it, but it’s all for a greater purpose.
As the audience, should we trust The Monitor?
I don’t know if I would not trust him, I don’t know if I’d be all in with him. It’s like one of those situations that you keep an eye on.
He’s kind of rated R, not PG-13. It’s like, I don’t know if I trust this guy yet, but I’m gonna see how this plays out a little bit further.
That’s true, cause it’s still a little early before the crossover. A lot can happen.
Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff that’s gonna happen before then. So, you can’t be all in on hating him right now, and then he does something and turns everything around. Oh yeah, I liked him all along anyway! No you didn’t.
I wanted to talk about Harbinger because we saw at the end of Arrow Season 8 Episode 2 the meeting between Lyla and The Monitor. What was it like bringing that iconic duo from the comics to life?
That was one of my favorite moments this season, as far as what The Monitor was involved in. When I read that, I got really excited because that was my moment as the actor and as The Monitor of like, alright the Crisis is really about to be here. Because Harbinger and The Monitor are two of the key figures in Crisis.
Them meeting for the first time, that was a wild moment for me. I knew it was coming because I filmed it, but when I watched it — when Lyla is walking, and she’s speaking to someone, The Monitor coming out of the shadows — that moment was like, yes, the Crisis is here. That was awesome.
And, [as for] their relationship, more will come from who they are when the Crisis starts, and that’s part of the fun. You’re laying all these breadcrumbs, culminating into something big later on.
Will we get to see the pasts of Lyla and The Monitor at all?
You will get to know more about who The Monitor is and where he came from. A lot of that will fill in the blanks for other pieces that may be missing. But, you’ll get to know who The Monitor was back in the day, how he became who he is, and what he is about. You might even feel some empathy for him, some compassion.
Did you study a lot of the comics to get a feel for who both The Monitor and Anti-Monitor are?
I was familiar with both of them. I was familiar with Crisis from back in the day. And, after I found out I was playing The Monitor, I went back and read Crisis all over again. That was pretty much The Monitor’s story. He appeared a little bit before Crisis, and then that was it during Crisis.
But, with the Anti-Monitor, I have been really familiar with him. He’s been wreaking havoc in the Green Lantern world through animations and the cartoons. He’s been around.
And, now what’s awesome with the comic books, even with the new Justice League, they brought back The Monitor. They brought back the new 52 Anti-Monitor, not the one from Crisis. So, it’s great that they’re both coming back into the comic world.
In the comics, The Monitor is killed by Harbinger, who is being possessed by the Anti-Monitor, while The Flash and Supergirl also die. Basically, a lot of people die, and a lot of crap happens. How much would you say Arrowverse’s version of Crisis differs from the comics, and how is The Monitor different?
They did a lot of things pretty much identical to the comic books, as much as you can. It’s hard to adapt everything to the screen. But, without saying what’s going to happen, they hit a lot of things on the head. Some stuff they couldn’t do.
I think the way it plays out will be very satisfying for the audience. Die-hard Crisis comic book fans, they’ll see a lot of similarities, and some stuff, just for the sake of story, they had to deviate from onscreen. But, it’s still a great story and makes sense in the way it’s told.
People will be happy.
Yeah, I think there’s a lot to be happy with. There will always be someone saying, oh they should’ve did this, they should’ve did that, but you can’t do everything and you can’t please everyone.
But, as a fan, when I was reading the Crisis episodes, I was very excited.
I know with Avengers: Endgame, not everyone was able to read the whole script and this kind of feels on the same scale as that. Were you able to read the entire script for the crossover?
Yeah, I read all five of them. And, each one just got more and more…like the layers were unpeeling. Even as a fan, you know when you might read in the trades like oh this person is attached, this person’s now attached, there were people in the Crisis crossover that are attached that I had no idea.
I didn’t see the Deadline story or Variety or TV Fanatic, and that excited me when I read the scripts. Like, oh wow, they went there! I would get excited by reading it, so I know, when it comes on, it’s gonna be epic.
Every time we see The Monitor, he’s usually pretty somber and predicting death. Does he ever let loose, have some fun? Does he ever smile?
[laughs] Yeah, during the crossover you’ll see a side of The Monitor you never thought you’d see.
You’ll see a way different side of him and, like I said, you might even feel some compassion for him because of the situation he found himself in. You’ll definitely see a lighter side of him. He won’t just be the Debbie Downer in everything during the Crisis.
Going over to the Anti-Monitor, can you say when we get to meet him?
I don’t want to give that away, but I think it’s just like when The Monitor was introduced right before the crossover last year. That teaser with John Wesley Shipp when he destroys Earth-90. That came out of left field, and it was exciting. Jaws dropped when that scene happened, like what’s going on? Who’s that?
I think, the Anti-Monitor, he has a moment when he does make his appearance. His presence is already being felt on the current episodes. And, when it gets closer and closer, his presence will really be felt, but I think when you finally see him, it’s all gonna pay off in that one moment. It’s an awesome scene.
For the Anti-Monitor, why now? Why does he feel as if this is the time to start destroying the infinite Earths?
Because he was made aware of it. It’s just like in the comic books, he was completely unaware of the existence of certain universes in the multiverse. So, now that he’s been made aware of it, he has to destroy it.
He’s not doing things for a greater cause, like Thanos got rid of half the world so that the other half would be prosperous and would have more resources. The Anti-Monitor is not about that. He’s just about killing everything and making one world under his thumb to match his identity. It’s just pure evil.
He just wants to see the world burn under his watch. And, that’s fun to play as well.
When did you first find out you were going to play The Monitor ahead of last year’s crossover?
I didn’t know when I was auditioning for it, I didn’t even know I was auditioning for The Monitor. After I got the role, I still didn’t know. They were so close to the vest with it. I got the role, and they called and said alright we’re going to fly you up to Vancouver to start the fitting process.
I’m like, alright cool, but who am I playing exactly? My manager had to call over there, and they called back and told me The Monitor and immediately I was like wow. That was a big moment. And, they really kept everything close to the vest. I didn’t know exactly what was going on.
I didn’t know that Crisis was the next crossover until I saw it on TV like everyone else. My phone starting ringing, like man, they’re doing Crisis! And, as the actor, I’m like great, I got more work. I’m not unemployed.
Then, midway through shooting this season, one of the producers, Marc Guggenheim, told me, have you seen the specs for the Anti-Monitor? I’m like, no, I was wondering who you guys cast. And, they’re like, you’re playing the Anti-Monitor. Like, wait, what? I’m playing both?
That was one of those moments where I gave him a hug, and I started getting right into the energy I need for the Anti-Monitor, and the director, James Bamford, was like slow down, there’s still a lot of Monitor left so curve that energy, we got to focus on this right now. Like, yeah you’re right.
Was it hard to separate the two? Cause they’re two completely different characters.
I prepared for it, asking a lot of questions of who the guy is and what he wants and what’s gonna happen if he doesn’t get it. Once you do all the work, the preparation leading into it, then they kind of separated themselves on their own. Because they are very different, if they were similar, it would be a little more challenging.
Were you a fan of the Arrowverse before you booked the part?
Yeah, I’ve watched The Flash, I’ve watched Arrow. And, it’s funny, I auditioned for a handful of roles over the years on all the different shows. You get close and you don’t get them, you’re a little bummed out, but everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that.
If you would have told me then that you’re not getting these roles now, but you’re gonna be The Monitor and the Anti-Monitor, I would have said alright, I’ll wait. It’ll be worth it in the end, and it really paid off. This is a tremendous experience
In your preparation, were there any specific episodes or seasons of the shows that you had to go back and watch?
No, it was more reading, reading the comic books.
What was it like getting in and out of the Anti-Monitor makeup?
The first mold they make where they pour all the goop on you, and you just have to sit there, that was challenging. You have to sit still, it was like 90 minutes, and once the stuff starts getting hard, it kind of compresses on you. So, if you have any claustrophobia, you just gotta sit there and take it. Getting out of that, that was fine.
The day-to-day stuff like them putting the Anti-Monitor face on, before work in the morning, I would have to get there at 4 AM, and everyone else started at 5:30 because it takes a couple of hours to put it on. So, that was patience. There were times I was playing the Anti-Monitor in the morning and The Monitor in the evening.
So, two hours to get in, twenty, twenty-five minutes to get out, and then they would shuttle me to the next set. That’s like an hour to put the braids and the mutton chops in, and like ten, fifteen minutes to take it off. So, I spent a lot of time in the chair. But, the team around me was great. I loved all the people I worked with, so we just sat in the chairs and had fun.
From last year, what was it like putting on The Monitor costume for the first time?
It was surreal. They had the DC reps there, they had all the bigwigs there when I finally got fitted for everything, and I put it on for the first time. A couple of people teared up, and I didn’t seen it yet because I don’t have a mirror in front of me. And, I’m like, what, what?
I wanna see what it looks like! When I finally got to a mirror, I was like this is unreal. It looked like a spitting image of the comic books.
The writer for Crisis, Marv Wolfman, I met him in San Diego at Comic-Con. He was saying how amazing of a job I’m doing and how great the suit looks. And, it’s one of those suits, you know? When you’re working with a bunch of different actors, and everyone is suited up, it’s kind of like a throwback suit.
You come in and it’s clunky, regal, and everyone else’s suits are streamed fit, aerodynamic, and all nice and perfect. And mine is just different. So, I think I appreciate that about it. It sets itself apart.
Filming the Crisis, did you have a favorite person to act opposite of or someone that you didn’t expect that you would be filming a scene with?
I just enjoyed everyone’s energy. And, I worked with people I didn’t get to work with on the first crossover. Like, Caity Lotz, I didn’t work with her. I didn’t work with Ruby [Rose] before, and it was fun playing off of them.
And Brandon [Routh], I didn’t work with him before. And, his suit, the Kingdom Come Superman is probably one of my favorite suits of the new suits. It was amazing.
Yeah, I freaked out when I saw that picture for the first time.
Oh my goodness, and he’s Superman. No other person should be in that suit.
Do you have any other future projects coming up outside of the Arrowverse?
Yeah, Call of Duty just dropped. Modern Warfare, the new video game, I did some work on that. That’s fun. I haven’t gotten it yet, but I will shortly.
I have a film coming out called Primal with Famke Janssen, Kevin Durand, Nicolas Cage, [and] Michael Imperioli. That will be out November 8th in select theaters and on VOD.
And, I have a film coming out called Clemency that will be in theaters December 27th.
Big year for you.
Yeah, it’s a fun year. Things are happening.
Be sure to keep watching Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, and all of the Arrowverse shows on The CW to see Garrett in action!
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