When Arrow debuted and Katie Cassidy had been cast in the role of Laurel Lance, the assumption was that she would become the Black Canary. The assumers, however, were thrown off when the character appeared on the show in the form of Caity Lotz as her sister Sara – that is until Sara was killed off and Cassidy’s Laurel picked up the mantle. We spoke to Cassidy about what it was like to don the suit, avenge her on-screen sister’s death and the changes ahead for Laurel.
The episode ’Left Behind’ ends with a very quick sequence in which you show up for the first time as Black Canary and kick some ass. How does it feel to be an actress playing that?
What do you mean? I feel like a badass! It’s a dream come true; it’s something I’ve been waiting for. For a while before Arrow I was really trying to get into action and doing more physical roles. I’m very healthy and I live a healthy lifestyle, and as far as training and working out and incorporating that into your job goes, what more could you ask for?
When you’re standing on set dressed in that outfit, with the blonde wig and the mask on, is it transforming at all?
Oh, absolutely. It’s not even that costume. No matter what character I play, for me personally, as an actress the wardrobe is definitely a part of my creative process. It’s definitely a transformation,, whatever the wardrobe may be. Again, putting that costume on, I think anyone would feel pretty tough and badass.
With Laurel picking up where Sara left off as the Canary, and her motivations for doing so, does that play into your psyche at all in evolving the character?
Absolutely. I think there’s a nice journey for Laurel this season. She does it for her sister, but also for everybody else. She sees that this city needs help, and the thing that’s different about Sara and Laurel is that Sara didn’t have a choice. She went to that island and became the Canary out of a need for survival. Laurel does have a choice, but she’s so strong, driven and passionate. She cares about the city so much that she’s willing to do whatever it takes. So avenging her sister’s death is a huge part of it, but this also comes from what’s inside of her.
Was this change in the character something that surprised you?
When I sat down and met with [executive producers] Andrew, Marc and Greg, they told me this is where the character was going. But this was before we even shot the pilot, so I was definitely looking forward to it. But as we always said, and they said, every character has to earn it. You can’t just all of a sudden overnight become a superhero; you have to go through this journey. In Season Two, Laurel definitely hit rock bottom and was able to come back on top. So now, in Season Three, and after losing her sister, she goes from avenging her to honouring her to becoming her. It’s been amazing.
Arrow is airing now on Tuesday nights on Sky1 in the UK. Read all about the rise of TV’s Justice League in issue 103 of SciFiNow. For more on the comics that inspire the series, pick up our 100 All-Time Greatest Comics bookazine now!