Kausar Mohammed on The Flash’s Fast Track and Muslim rep in media

Kausar Mohammed. Photo credit: Zahra Siddique.
Kausar Mohammed. Photo credit: Zahra Siddique. /

Say what you will about The Flash season 8,  but what most fans can agree on this season is that the introduction of speedster Dr. Meena Dhawan aka Fast Track has been a highlight. We’ve only had the fastest woman alive, played by Kausar Mohammed, for a handful of episodes, but I hope she sticks around for season 9.

The scientist is the third speedster to be in command of the Negative speed force. The first of which, of course, is Mr. Terrible himself, Eobard Thawne. Nora West-Allen used that particular speedway with disastrous consequences in season 5, but Meena seems to have gotten a handle on it thanks to her romance with a Thawne dealing with amnesia.

Ahead of the season 8 finale, I had the opportunity to sit down with Mohammed to discuss her role as Fast Track in a conversation that included manifesting a season 9 appearance for her, a tease for the final season of Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous, and a talk about Muslim representation on-screen.

Check out both the video interview and the transcript below!

Kausar Mohammed on playing The Flash’s Fast Track, Muslim representation in media, and Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous’s Yaz Fadoula

First of all, I have to say I really, really love Fast Track. Meena Dhawan is an excellent addition to the show, and it’s just been so great seeing you perform on The Flash.

Thank you! It’s been so much fun and also just seeing that people are resonating with the character has been all the more fun. So, yeah, I’m dually excited.

It’s been quite the journey for you though because, when we started the CW television year, we were with you as Soraya on 4400 and you didn’t have powers but you were a tech whiz. But now you do have powers as Dr. Meena Dhawan and you’re a speedster.

And I’m still a tech whiz.

Yes, you’re a genius actually. You leveled up as The Flash writers would say. So what was that journey like?

It’s fun. Yeah, it was funny because, in the 4400, I was one of the only characters who didn’t have powers. And then this comes around, and I definitely have them. But, I guess the nerd thing is sticking around. The tech person is sticking around. I am for it, but it’s also pretty funny because I am very technologically challenged in my real life. Thus is acting.

With your character there’s a nice balance of being a genius but also someone who’s new to the speedster world. So you get to have both sides of the line there.

One of the most freeing things was that in the first episode that I shot, where we reveal Meena Dhawan, the director was Danielle Panabaker. She was like, “You can practice your zooming but don’t be too good.”

The whole intention of it was that Flash helps Dr. Meena Dhawan get better. So when I was practicing how to zoom, I was also practicing how to make it look like I’m flailing and falling a little bit, too. So there was a natural progression in terms of learning about all that that I really appreciated. By the fourth one, I think my zooms were a little better. I hope!

You can definitely tell that they’re better! I also like that because we start at the beginning of Meena’s journey, we first have her disguise which I really liked. I wasn’t sure if that was a nod to her heritage because it’s a scarf and then a face covering. And, if it is a nod to her heritage, were you involved in that decision or was that always the plan before we got to the actual costume?

I think, and perhaps costume designer Kate Maine, who’s brilliant and amazing, is probably best to speak on that. I don’t think it was a nod to it. I think it was truly just trying to cover up. I think they were also pulling from their own inspiration. I think if it was a nod to it, I might have pushed back on it a little bit actually if there was that connection.

I did think it was interesting how they allude to [Meena’s] costume because we start with her in all black and, by the time we get to her full blown speedster outfit, it’s very much giving the Negative force that she is learning to be in command of.

That was a conversation with Kat Maine about black being this through line and silver. Small things, but even the jewelry was largely silver the whole time to sort of honor that. Seeing the progression of the outfit also felt like that standard superhero thing where they had the outfit that they made at home and they get a real one that’s made of tighter spandex and it’s their iconic outfit.

The Flash — “Negative, Part One” — Image Number: FLA819a_0492r.jpg — Pictured: Kausar Mohammed as Dr. Meena Dewan/Fast Track — Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW — 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
The Flash — “Negative, Part One” — Image Number: FLA819a_0492r.jpg — Pictured: Kausar Mohammed as Dr. Meena Dewan/Fast Track — Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW — 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

How did it feel putting on the suit for the first time?

It was very tight, I will say that. Whenever I was putting it on or taking it off, it totally was a 10 minute process, but so much fun. Honestly, even when I was in it, it was a very surreal feeling to look in the mirror and be like “Oh my god, I’m wearing this thing!”

It also made me feel like I could probably pick fights when I normally couldn’t. Or I could beat people up when I normally can’t in real life. But, you know, that’s that superhero confidence that goes with the suit.

That’s true, and you did actually kick a lot of butt in “Negative, Part One” right before things went left. It’s interesting how integral Meena is to the last part of season 8. Did you know going in that they were going to throw you into the thick of things and give you a romance? Or did that happen along the way?

I had no idea. Even when I got the sides initially, I didn’t know what I was sort of getting myself into, but it was so much fun. And, it was also just such a joy to have so many ups and downs within a character. Within four episodes, you really got to see the whole arc of her emotions. And, even in the next episode for the finale, you get to see an even bigger arc of it. From an acting point of view, it was a very juicy way to step into a role that I’m grateful for.

I expect that when we get to the finale, after all the screaming–which, by the way, Meena was a mood when Eobard, as we know him outside of her love, appears or rips his face off. It was a lot. What was it like shooting that scene?

It was very cold, and I think it was very, very early in the morning. One of our night shoots. But, also so fun! I got to scream bloody murder over and over again, so I enjoyed it. I think also just the moment of it is a big moment for Meena. This is the person she’s loved who’s gotten her through so much, so from an acting aspect it was really fun. Then on top of that, seeing how they put that together. How they worked with the VFX to make it look like a man was ripping his face off was very cool. It was also wild seeing the prosthetics on the floor. Not cute. Not cute when he’s ripping it off and not cute when it’s on the floor. Equally terrifying!

Can you tease a little bit about the finale? Emotionally for Meena, I know she’s been balancing the line of not letting the Negative force corrupt her as a person. Now that she doesn’t have Eobard, should we be worried about the direction for her character?

What I will say is that in the second part, we get to see a little bit more of all of Meena’s emotions and what she goes through. I think Meena’s purpose, internally as a person, is also shooken up a little. So, we get to see an exploration of that.

I’m excited, and I really do hope–I’m not sure if you can tell us or not–I’d love to see Meena in season 9.

I love Meena. She’s a very, very dear character to my heart. We’ll have to see. I know that it’s something I would be excited about.

I’m going to manifest it.

Thank you! We’ll manifest it. We’ll manifest it together.

Just to circle back to one question. And, I hope it’s okay if I ask this. You said you would push back if Meena’s disguise had been based on her heritage. What did you mean by that?

Absolutely. I think portrayals of Muslims in the media are already fairly stark and misrepresented. So often we affiliate the hijab, or the head covering, with Muslim women. It definitely is a part of our culture and religion, but also Muslims are not a monolith. We exist in so many ways with or without hijabs. I am a Muslim woman, I don’t cover. And, I also have many Muslim friends who do cover. But I think so often that’s all we see in the media.

So, I think my push back would be the questions of, if this is something that is inspired by the heritage or one ‘Is Meena Dhawan Muslim?’ which is not something that’s touched on in the comic books, so is that even a thing? Or are we conflating South Asians and Muslim folks? And then on top of that, if she is a Muslim woman, ‘Is she really one that covers all the time or is it something that’s being thrown into the disguise?’

I think it is an interesting thing because typically superheroes do cover up. I think it’s also one of those things where I’ve sort of gotten that before. You know if I’m wearing a head covering or a scarf on my head, people assume it’s because it’s a practice of me being Muslim when really maybe in that moment I’m just wearing a scarf on my head, and if I had lighter skin and different features that wouldn’t be the assumption.

So, I think my push back overall would be an intention of diversifying what we think of as Muslim and who we see of as Muslim and how do Muslims exist on our screens.

Okay. I think that’s some personal unpacking for me. I appreciate this discussion. One last question, I know you have the final season of the Jurassic Park animated series on Netflix, could you tease a little bit of what’s to come for your character?

I love the series. We’ve seen like four seasons of these kids essentially running for their lives from dinosaurs. We get to see what that leads up to in season 5. It’s also a totally different sphere in this Jurassic canon franchise as well as what they’re up against. And, as always, the animation is beautiful. And, as always, we get to see these kids experience things in a different way.

Personally, my character Yaz Fadoula, we get to see a side of her we haven’t seen before that I’m so so excited to share back and I feel that has been brewing throughout. So I’m so excited for everybody to check out season 5 of Jurassic 5 as well. Jurassic 5! I just said Jurassic 5, Jurassic Park.

This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.

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