Now that Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) is suiting up as Black Canary, Episode 311 (called “Midnight City”) of Arrow will see Arsenal (Colton Haynes) and Diggle (David Ramsey) confront her about trying to step into her sister’s shoes and warn her to stop before she gets herself killed. Never one to shy away from a fight, Laurel’s mission to avenge her sister and protect her loved ones is only just beginning.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Katie Cassidy talked about how getting to step into the Black Canary suit is everything she’s waited for and wanted, what an important part of Laurel’s journey Sara (Caity Lotz) is this season, the coolest thing about getting to be an active member of the DC superhero universe, how empowering it is to put on the full Black Canary look and get to kick some ass, that Roy Harper will be the first member of Team Arrow to support her, and that she thinks it would be cool to see Birds of Prey for at least an episode. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: When I first spoke to you about Arrow, before the pilot had even aired, you talked about your desire to eventually take the Black Canary path with your character. Is it bittersweet to get that opportunity on the heels of having lost part of the show’s family?
KATIE CASSIDY: That’s a really interesting question. It is bittersweet because I, personally, love Caity Lotz. She’s such a wonderful actor, she’s a good friend, and we had a really great time together. It sucks when cast members have different storylines and those storylines take them elsewhere. Losing her was definitely the bitter side of it, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean that she’s not coming back, or that we haven’t seen her back or will see her back. The sweet part about it is that this is everything that I’ve waited for and wanted. This is the reason that I initially had signed on to the show. But I understood where the writers and producers were coming from, saying, “You can’t just, overnight, become a superhero. You have to earn it. You have to hit rock bottom.” And I absolutely agree. It would have been a mistake to throw Laurel into the suit in Season 1, or even in the middle of Season 2. I think she really had to earn it, and I feel like, at this point, she really has. As much as Sara is gone, she is very much a part of Season 3. Physically, maybe not so, but emotionally, for Laurel, Sara is very much a part of her journey in Season 3.
What’s the coolest thing about getting to now be an active member of the DC superhero universe, and what’s the most daunting thing about it?
CASSIDY: Well, the cool thing, for me, as an actor, I like to be as true and honest as possible, and I’m into real fight training. I love that shit. Bring it! I love it. I’ll do as much as I possible can. I want it to be as realistic as possible. I know there’s a time when safety comes first, and my stunt double will step in and make me look great, but at the same time, physically, I have trained enough. Even before this, I have done action shows and movies where I’ve had fight training and I know how to sell it to the camera. It’s a very good team effort between actor, director, stunts and the writers. The best part is that, in all reality what now, if anyone wanted to mess with me on a daily basis, as Katie Cassidy, in real life, I can defend myself and probably kick some ass. And it’s tough because a lot of the time our show takes place at night, so our schedules are flipped and we’re shooting overnight. I’m actually more of a night person, so it doesn’t bother me as much, but the back-and-forth is where it can get tricky.
What did you think of the full look, the first time you put it on and saw the suit, the wig and the mask together? Is it just really empowering to put all of that on and go kick some ass?
CASSIDY: Oh, yeah, absolutely! It was definitely a collaboration. It was hair, make-up and wardrobe, and the producers let me put my touch on it. The suit itself is so masculine and so strong that I needed something to balance it out, so that it wasn’t too much or too overwhelming. I wanted the make-up and the hair to be a bit softer and more feminine, so that it was a good balance. With all of us, we came up with a really fantastic look. It’s really fun and, the second I put that suit on, it definitely helps tremendously. For me, as an actor, with any character I’m playing, wardrobe brings a whole other aspect. Once I have the clothing on, it helps the transformation.
How will Laurel’s transformation into Black Canary affect the dynamic within Team Arrow? Will they mostly be supportive, or will they continue to be concerned about and for her?
CASSIDY: At first, there’s definitely a lot of resistance. They’re concerned that there’s this crazy woman going out there and acting like her sister. They think she’s off her rocker. But it’s actually Roy who sees that, even though she’s sloppy and not trained, she’s actually doing something. She has a lot of heart, soul and passion, and she’s a fighter. He’s actually the first one who comes and supports her. Eventually, I think they’ll come around to it ‘cause they see how much she cares and how much she wants to avenge her sister’s death and honor her sister’s death.
What would you say Laurel’s goals are, as Black Canary, and where does her moral compass lie? Does she see a very clear difference between deciding someone’s justice and having it just be about revenge?
CASSIDY: I can’t answer that question. It’s always changing and evolving. The beauty in our show is that our writers are so smart. They’re constantly flipping things and changing things. I always say, “Expect the unexpected,” because that’s how I feel when I’m reading the scripts. I’m like, “Wow, I didn’t expect this! It’s genius that they came up with this.” So for her, you’ll see her go from avenging her sister’s death to then honoring her sister. I do think she’ll find within herself why she wants to do this and be there. She’s choosing to do this. Sara didn’t have that choice. She was with Oliver on the island. This is Laurel’s choice to go out there and say, “Okay, I want to do this, not only because of my sister, but because of the city and the people I care about.” She has very strong morals and values, and an enormous amount of integrity. She’s very driven. She’s an extremist. She’s going to give 100% of herself. In Season 2, at rock bottom, she certainly gave 100% of herself. Now, she’s coming out on top. It’s a nice journey and transition, and I think everyone is going to be really happy with the way she comes out of it all.
CASSIDY: Yeah, absolutely! I definitely think the fans would also really love it, and we always like to make our fans happy. I think that would be really cool.
How do you think Laurel and Sara’s father will react to finding out that he’s lost one daughter in this suit, and now the other daughter is taking her place?
CASSIDY: Well, we may or may not have shot some of it. It’s hard for her. She sees her father and cares about him. She’s worried about his health. She’s caught between a rock and a hard place. She feels guilty, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to physically or emotionally hurt him more. When she decides to tell him and what she decides to tell him, I can’t tell you. You’re going to have to watch.
We know that Laurel will be tracking down Vertigo soon, and since her biggest fears revolve around her sister, she’s going to have to face that. What was it like to shoot that and have Caity Lotz back on set? Does it make you wish there had been some way to keep Sara alive, so that the sisters could team up together, in some way?
CASSIDY: Having Caity Lotz back, in general, is lovely and wonderful. I love her to death, personally. She is a wonderful person. The chemistry between us is on screen and off screen. We got along really well, and she is missed, absolutely. It was lovely that she comes back, and maybe she’ll show up more. Who knows? Everything just has to fall into place, and that takes time. It’s all about the timing. You saw Tommy in Season 1, and hats off to Colin [Donnell] for really taking one for the team, at the end of the season. He was a series regular, and then was no longer on the show. It was sad to see him go, but he was so much a part of Season 2, and still is so much a part of Season 3. We talk about him often, and he comes back. And I feel like Caity certainly made her place and put her stamp on it. She is a huge part of Season 3 for Laurel. Whether she’s physically there or mentally there, for Laurel, it’s all about where her mind is. It’s all about her sister. I often will talk about her or think about her. She definitely plays a huge role in Season 3, whether she’s there or not.
Arrow airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.