During Dragon Con, I got to interview Katie Cassidy, one of the stars of the CW hit “Arrow.” Katie plays Laurel Lance, an attorney and former girlfriend of Oliver Queen. She is now part of Team Arrow as the Black Canary. “Arrow” airs Wednesday nights at 8 pm on Atlanta’s CW.
How’s Dragon Con going for you?
Katie Cassidy: Well, it just started maybe 30 seconds ago (it’s 10 am). We flew in late last night, and I had training this morning.
How’s training going?
Katie: It’s good, it’s really good. I brought my trainer with me because I am the type of person that if he’s not here, I’ll just go “Oh, I am just too tired this morning.” But it’s really good and hard, but I love it. It’s awesome.
Have you had to ramp up the training because your character is now part of Team Arrow?
Katie: Oh, yeah, absolutely. During the second season, Mark Guggenheim and I had a discussion about the physicality of the role and the difference between Laurel in season two from the start of the season till the end. You saw her go from being an alcoholic and a drug habit, being a disaster all day, every day, which is challenging as an actor. It was really nice to have that story arc where I came out the other side and go from rock bottom to sober. Then at the start of season three we talked about how much more physical Laurel would be. So I upped by training,, especially during the hiatus. When I first started working out it was working out five days a week, three hours a day. It was just with weights or cardio; it was a mixture of things; an hour of weights, an hour of kickboxing, then an hour of yoga. I wanted to make her character as legitimate as I could make her.
Do you do a lot of your own stunts?
Katie: I do as many as they let me. You know, they, obviously, aren’t going to let me jump off the top of a building. I would love to, and it would be fun for sure. But they let me do as much as I can and my stunt double, Atlin, she’s fantastic. I always say that she is really good at morphing herself to the actor. She was also Caity Lutz’s stunt double. Caity and I have different mannerisms. When she doubles for Caity, she does a great job turning into her character. Then when she doubles for me, it’s the same result. When they shoot stunts and do the giant master shot, it’s usually the stunt doubles because they want the action to go all out. And that’s totally fine with me. I talk to her about keeping the style similar between when she doubles for Caity and when she doubles for me since the two characters are sisters. It helps create that sisterly bond.
How comfortable is the Black Canary costume?
Katie: It’s very comfortable. I love our costume designer, Maya Mani, she let me have a little input in designing the costume. I was really happy that I wasn’t fully exposed that I wouldn’t be running around in a corset and a bustier. I saw what Caity went through when she was wearing her costume. She was freezing all the time in it. They let me incorporate a few things like I wear some motorcycle gloves that are fingerless. They let me put little touches here and there. And I got to do a lot with the makeup. We probably had six different tests of what I was going to look like as the Black Canary. Looking at the tests, I looked so masculine and intense. So, I asked them if we could make it a little more girly, sexy, and not so harsh. And at first that was Marc’s (Guggenheim) least favorite look, and then our makeup artist and Greg Berlanti pleaded their case and were like, “She looks better this way!” The suit is masculine enough, so they let me incorporate a lot of the details of the makeup.
Is that where the dark lip comes in?
Katie: Oh that was me!
So after two years of seeing everybody else get into costumes and having fights and being able to do all that was it exciting to be able to get in there and join in?
Katie: Oh my gosh, yes, absolutely! I met with the CW even before “Arrow” was around. I told them I wanted to do action. I have always worked out. I told them I want to do some badass, kick-ass action show. If you guys have one, let me know. So “Arrow” came about and I met with Greg, David Nutter, and Marc Guggenheim and they pitched me the show. They told me that Laurel Lance is Black Canary, and Black Canary will be appearing sometime in season one or season two. But its television and anything can happen. But I am grateful and glad the way that they went about it. It gave my character some place to go, and when you’re on a show season after season after season, I’m so lucky that I’ve had this wonderful arc that they wrote for me. But yeah, defiantly after the seasons it was a little frustrating for me. I wasn’t apart of the “A” story and wanted to be in there. And then when Caity Lotz came on, who by the way I love, she’s amazing. It was definitely hard because I didn’t know, they hadn’t told me that she was coming ’til like a week before, and I was like … I mean I didn’t say this, but I thought this in my head like, “Pretty sure they sold me the show where I was supposed to do that!” And then I was like, you know what, just have to have faith, and I trust them. They know what they’re doing. It’s television; I’m a professional. I tried to handle it in the best way possible, and she was so great. It was also good just watching, I think because we were still just trying to find our legs Season 1 and 2. And it’s obviously been an honor and I’m so happy and lucky, and I’m so grateful to finally a part of Team Arrow! The one thing I will say, though, is when you’re a superhero and you’re on our show, you work until four or five in the morning, so now I’m nocturnal.
Do you and Caity get to do any training together? Did she give you any pointers before you took over the mantle?
Katie: Not really because while Laurel was out there fighting, she was fighting with her heart without the know-how. So I tried to play it as legitimate as possible. I was on “Supernatural” for a year, and they had put me through fight training, so I knew how to sell some stuff. But I have a feeling that she and I will be training together, which will be a lot of fun. She’s become a really good friend of mine, and I totally look up to her. She is badass, and I always feel like she is a stunt, woman. She is just so good at it. She is dedicated, and I am too, so whether it’s on-screen or off-screen, we will be training together.
Any possibility of a White Canary / Black Canary teaming up on “Arrow” or “Legends of Tomorrow”?
Katie: I can’t tell you. What I can tell you is that the universe they are creating with the three shows that are all shot in Vancouver, so it’s defiantly a possibility that everyone could crossover to each other’s show. You would think that with them being sisters that it would happen. I just like having more people in Vancouver. Danielle Panabaker is a dear friend of mine and is actually my roommate. I’ve known her for a very long time. So it’s great with her and Caity. When we were first shooting season one or two, it was just us and a little lonely. But now it’s awesome, and I am so happy.
So how many months do you live in Vancouver?
Katie: Around ten and half months. So I live there almost year around. In fact, I sold my house in L.A. I have an apartment in Vancouver. I love it. It’s beautiful.
Are there going to be more story lines for Laurel that doesn’t involve a love interest?
Katie: I’ve like the direction that they have gone with my character. They have created a character that isn’t “the love interest” or “the girlfriend”. I have my own storyline, and my character isn’t just there to serve as the love interest. Hopefully, they will cast someone to be her love interest but I feel that I have my own identity away from Team Arrow. I don’t think they will bring in one anytime soon because Laurel’s whole focus is on Team Arrow. Owning herself as Black Canary and proving something to herself. I think she is just living in that world and is supportive of Oliver and Felicity. I love Emily! On Twitter, they call us Kanly, a combo of Katie and Emily.
Thank you and have a great time a Dragon Con.
Katie: Thank you.
“Arrow” airs Wednesday nights at 8 pm on Atlanta’s CW.
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