It’s all about good news for Katie Cassidy these days.
Just as CBR News was sitting down with the actress to take about Laurel Lance’s long-awaited transformation from crusading D.A. into the full-blown superhero Black Canary (assuming the role from her late sister Sara), even more glad tidings came Cassidy’s way as she learned that “Arrow” had just been renewed for a fourth season.
To say Cassidy was in an upbeat mood was an understatement, especially after having the thrilling prospect of becoming TV’s incarnation of comics superstar Black Canary — first dangled before her by the producers when she first entertained the notion of joining the series two and a half seasons ago — finally came to pass, as she reveals in her chat with CBR.
CBR News: Congratulations on the renewal! What does it mean to you to know that this cool job of yours is going to keep going?
Katie Cassidy: I love it! I mean, we have such a wonderful cast and such a wonderful group of people — honestly, you become a family. I’m so happy and grateful and lucky to be working with everyone.
Speaking of the family, tell me what it means for your character to be without Oliver this season.
On January 21, you will see Laurel in the suit and becoming Black Canary — but just because she suited up doesn’t necessarily mean she’s good, first of all. But it’s part of her journey. In Season Three, she goes from avenging her sister’s death, to honoring to her sister, to basically becoming her sister, but her own version of it. And she really steps up to the plate, I think. Now that Oliver’s gone, [she] takes the reins and is like, “I got this.” She’s a strong woman, and I think she’s going to kick some butt.
Your costume’s been a long time coming, From the beginning of the series, everybody wondered if, when, how? So what did it mean for you to finally get to this point?
Yeah, I mean, it’s truly an honor. When I originally sat down and met with Greg [Berlanti] and Mark [Guggenheim] and Andrew [Kreisberg], they pitched me the characters attached to the show. And they had said Black Canary, and I was, like, over the moon. I wanted to do something action-packed. I thought that was great. And then it’s television — anything can happen. But Season Two, obviously, they brought my sister back, and she was the Canary. It was disappointing at first, but they explained to me, and it really made sense.
I’m actually happy that it worked out this way because they were like, “You can’t just come become a hero overnight. You have to earn it.” Oliver was on an island for five years. Laurel can’t just all of a sudden wake up one day, put on the suit and turn into the Black Canary. She has to earn it. I feel as though Season Two, she really hit rock bottom, and the writers really wrote for me, which I totally appreciate. She’s earning it. She’s training. She’s fighting. She’s following her heart, and she’s going out there on the streets. She’s doing what she believes in.
Tell me about the suit itself, the good things and the things you need to work with?
Honestly, I have to say, there’s nothing about the suit that is that uncomfortable. It’s actually quite comfortable. And shooting in Vancouver, where it’s freezing — it’s warm! It’s always leather. Yesterday, we did a bunch of shots, and I was inside here in the costume, and I had some fighting sequences. I was drenched in sweat. Because in Vancouver, it’s cold, and it actually works out perfectly. If there’s anything, I’d say that it could be adjusted — I have this, like, garter that I wear, and leather stretches. It has a tendency — it’s starting to sort of get a little bit looser, so I’m constantly like pulling it up. But it’s pretty comfortable, and it looks amazing. I love it.
And the wig?
The wig is great. I’m really happy they went with a straighter version — it was my idea to go with a straighter version! I think the wig’s awesome.
The last time you and I talked, you were teasing that you were getting ready for the physicality of the role this season. How has that gone for you? Has it been fun?
Yeah, absolutely. I trained like crazy. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible, and it was my decision to really [push it] — like, when you see that boxing scene, I wanted it to be me. I didn’t want it to be my stunt double. I wanted it to be as real as it possibly could be. I love being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. I love working out. I was like very excited about it. I have three trainers: a weight lifting trainer, a boxing trainer, and then Callanetics. I was working out like five to six times a week, almost three hours a day for a bit, so it was pretty intense. But it was almost like therapy. Like that release, you know, with boxing, I love it. It’s so good. It’s so fun. Now, obviously, I don’t have to go that crazy because once you build up that muscle, to sustain, it is easier. It’s just a matter of getting it. So it’s not as intense any more, but it was hard. Once we started shooting, it was hard, but I was game and ready to go and thrilled that I’ve been given this opportunity. This is honestly a dream of mine, so I couldn’t be happier.
How much do the repercussions of Sara’s death continue to play out?
I think Sara’s death — and especially being the one that witnesses it — that’s what’s moving Laurel and motivating her and driving her. I think that Sara will always be very much a big part of Laurel, no matter what.
Who have you gotten to play with in the back end of this season that you haven’t spent a lot of time with before?
In Season Two, it was great to finally be in the Foundry — and the Lair. It was so cool. I was in there a lot, and it’s awesome. I loved being a part of the A-story. I love working with Emily [Bett Rickards]. She’s wonderful. Our characters, we have a really, really incredible interaction in Episode 13, and she is just wonderful. So I love working with her. I love working with Colton [Haynes] and David Ramsey. I don’t really work with the three of them that often — or haven’t. Now, I work with them a lot! It’s great.
Oliver’s love life is always complicated, but he and Laurel have a history, and the characters from the comics have a legendary history. Do you still hold hope that, should he not in fact be deceased, their relationship will be rekindled?
I’m not really sure — I don’t think Laurel’s even thinking that. For me, personally, I don’t want to say I’ve forgotten about that, but her headspace is so not there, so my head space is definitely not there. I don’t know whether the writers decide to play that out or not. Who knows?
Is there something about the comic book character that you would still like to play or bring into the show?
Obviously, the Canary Cry! We haven’t seen that yet. But I do feel like maybe at some point, Laurel will have her own version of it, and maybe it won’t be necessarily in the same form [as the comics].
Katie Cassidy makes her Black canary debut on the January 21 episode of “Arrow.”