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Arrow Interview: Cassidy, Harkavy & McNamara Discuss Series | CBR

After eight years and five major crossovers, Arrow concluded in the wake of the multiverse-shattering “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” The show leaves behind a massive legacy: the Arrowverse, an inter-connected network of series like The FlashSupergirlDC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman. Additionally, The CW has a few more potential DCTV shows in the wings, including Green Arrow and the Canaries, which could provide a fresh start for a few Arrow stars if picked up to series.

Ahead of the home release for Arrow: The Eighth & Final Season, series stars Katie Cassidy, Juliana Harkavy and Katherine McNamara spoke to CBR about their time on the show, as well as their future in the Arrowverse. They shared their favorite moments from the series and which scenes shocked them the most, and they addressed how having so many women in front of and behind the scenes helped them bring nuance to their roles. They also offered an update on Green Arrow and the Canaries‘ pickup status, pitched their own crossover and more.

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CBR: Have you heard any updates on Green Arrow and the Canaries?

Katie Cassidy: No!

Katherine McNamara: No, not that we know of. I mean, the world is so topsy-turvy right now. I don’t think we’re going to know anything for a while. But in the meantime, we have the Arrow Season 8 and The Complete Series DVDs and a bunch of new content for you!

Cassidy: Deleted scenes! Bloopers! Very exciting.

McNamara: And much, much more!

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Arrow featured multiple complex women in its core cast. What did that enable you to bring to the characters you played?

McNamara: I think it’s nice, because it sort of provides an opportunity for diversity in those badass female characters. It allows us to show all of us are so different, and all of our characters also represent strength and present strength in different ways. So, as you see the characters develop and the relationships develop, it kind of presents this image that badass, strong, independent women can be anyone. It’s not just one type.

Juliana Harkavy: Yes! Hear, hear. I think it’s important that we’re taking advantage of this, that this is something in our universe where we have all of these strong women and we’re using them. We’re not just sort of letting them fall to the wayside and have B-line stories. We’re making them the hero. And the fact that Green Arrow can be a woman? It’s freakin’ dope!

Cassidy: On top of what both of these ladies just said, I totally agree, but what’s so much cooler also is that these women not only kick butt on our show, who are strong and badass women, but we support each other and lift each other up. You know, women being jealous of other women and all this competition — it doesn’t have to be that. We all are stronger as one, anyway. So I think that has been such a special thing, and seeing that with Green Arrow and the Canaries, I feel like we demonstrate that, which is a good thing for the world to see.

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What’s your favorite memory from set?

Cassidy: For me, it was putting on the jacket for the first time in Season 3. I put it on in my trailer and I cried. Well, I think that was at the end of Season 2, actually. But the first time I put it on, I cried! [laughs] It was really exciting. So I’ll go with that.

McNamara: It’s always amazing when you look at things over the course of a series, because you sort of see it in bookends. So my first episode and then one of my last episodes kind of stand out. In the first episode, I was in this free bar cage, fighting. I had a great scene with Jules [Harkavy] and got to start that family chemistry with Ben Lewis, who plays my brother on the show, and it was such a strong start off in the series and such an explosive way to jump in.

Then later, in Season 8, I had a very similar fight in a cage, but then I’m fighting alongside my father and it was one of the first times I got to actually fight a lot with Stephen [Amell], and that was as the series was coming to a close. So it’s always interesting to see that, but it just shows how much the characters are able to grow, even though I’d only been a part of the show for two seasons.

Harkavy: There are so many good memories. It’s really hard to pick one, but definitely meeting both of these women stands out in my mind. They were really monumental moments, when Katie and I met and then when Kat and I met. It was like the beginning, the middle and the future coming together, and I feel like we all represent that. It just worked really beautifully together. So I guess, the highlight was the entire thing. The fact that it even exists was my favorite parts of Arrow, I’d say.

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What was the most shocking moment on the series for you?

Cassidy: I got killed off! That was very shocking! I was really shocked, and I’m clearly still upset about it! I’m not really. That was sort of — look. I talk openly about this, because it’s the facts. I mean, I was really sad, because I had grown to love these people and they’re my family and I really didn’t want to go! But I was like, “You know what? From a producing and writing standpoint, it makes sense.” I understand killing off a main character is a platform for all the other characters to react to that in such a huge way.

So I said to Marc Guggenheim, the last day on set, he said, “Would you ever come back and play with us? If we wanted to do flashbacks.” And I was like, “Yeah, absolutely. I signed onto the show because I believe in the show, and I understand why you did this. Am I sad? Yeah. But I’ll get over it. And also, I will forever believe in the show, you know? I love these people and yeah, totally. Just call me!”

So yeah, shortly I came back, and it was exciting to be able to play with everyone again. But for me, that was my shocking moment. I was like, “Wait, what?!”

What’s also funny, is earlier in that season, I was like, “Nobody’s in the grave! No one is going to die! You guys, it’s fine. Everyone relax.” And all the other actors were really nervous it was them. I was like, “Pfft.” [laughs]

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McNamara: That’s what I love so much about Arrow in and of itself, though, is that the characters — even the lead characters — are always in peril and they always get into new situations where you really do question it. Even in “Crisis [on Infinite Earths],” I think probably the most shocking thing for me was “Crisis” actually killing Stephen in a very final way.

Although I would probably say that the biggest shock for me was finding out who my character actually was, because when I initially auditioned, I didn’t know I was auditioning for the Olicity baby. I had just been told it was a rookie cop, because they often disguise the sides so the storylines don’t get out before the season is shot.

It was a rookie cop with a dark past, and I went, “Okay, great. What research do I need to do to figure out how to be a cop? And what kind of education, and what training, and do I need to be working out” and all these things. And then I get a call from Beth Schwartz, who was our showrunner at the time. She said, “Hey, we’re so happy to have you on the show! By the way, everything you know is a lie. You’re Oliver and Felicity’s kid, and you’re a street fighter.” I went, “Huh?!”

So in the end, it all worked out, but I knew I had a lot of work cut out for me, and at that point I didn’t even know my character’s name. I didn’t know who she was, what her past was, what had happened to her. The only thing I knew was that I had to somehow amalgamate these two characters.

Harkavy: And return the police uniform to Amazon! [laughs] I didn’t know I was going to play Dinah Drake, was all I was going to say. It’s a thing!

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What other Arrowverse show would you like to revisit?

McNamara: I’d love to go back to The Flash! I think there’s something that’s really interesting about — and I got to say a little bit in the crossover — with Sara Lance and Barry Allen, but those are the two characters that know Oliver Queen and Felicity so well, and the fact that they can kind of see those tendencies in Mia and know when to kind of reign her in and calm her down and when to encourage her — it’s sort of a fun brotherly relationship, or brother/sister relationship. Now it’s Uncle Barry and Aunt Sara and how they’re going to help guide Mia into this new world.

Cassidy: I think it would be really cool to — I mean, I hope Green Arrow and the Canaries goes, but also it would be really cool to do an all-women — like, Batwoman, Supergirl, for all the women to get together on all the DC universe shows.

Harkavy: A crossover over with the women!

Cassidy: Yes!

Harkavy: That would be so cool.

Cassidy: Pitched. Done.

Harkavy: I love it.

Cassidy: Let’s just make sure we put it out in the universe.

Harkavy: Yeah, all the Legends girls: Sara, Ava, Zari. Legends, I want to cross over with.

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All of you came into the series at different points, so I’d love to hear a little about how you got your roles.

Cassidy: I basically got a call from [Arrow pilot director] David Nutter, I read the script, I saw that they hired Stephen, I refused to read any other pilot. My agent and my manager were really mad at me, but I was like, “This is the role I have to play. This is all I want to do.”

Then I met with Greg [Berlanti], Marc and Andrew [Kreisberg]. They said, “You’re the Black Canary — in Season 1 or Season 2, we’re not sure yet.” I was totally on board, and then I had a private, secret taping/testing, but it wasn’t really a test, even though it was. David Nutter had called me the night before and was like, “You are born to play this part, Laurel Lance. Just come in and be you, and just don’t worry about it. You know what you’re doing.”

So I did, and it felt like it was the worst audition I ever had in my life… in fact, Greg got up, said something to Sarah Schechter in the middle of my taping — whispered something in Sarah Schechter’s ear — and left the room! In the middle of my scene! And not in a rude way, but I guess he what he did is he saw — I did one scene, I started the second scene and he had seen enough and I guess he whispered to her, “She’s the one.” And then he has like 30,000 shows on the air, he probably had to go sit in on another audition. [laughs] But I was like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing that he just walked out!”

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McNamara: Well, I only had one audition as well. I had just come off of Shadowhunters. It was just announced we weren’t going back for a fourth season. So I was excited to get back to auditioning again, and Arrow was, I think, my second audition back, and I was coming back from a comic con in Australia and had gotten sick in Australia, so I had a cold, I had no voice, I was congested as hell and somehow, Beth [Schwartz] and all of them saw through that and later, of course it was revealed, who I was auditioning for, but I’m glad they had a bit of imagination.

Harkavy: Oh my god, auditioning sick is a trip. You really have to find your strength. It probably helps!

It was also my second audition back from a bit of a hiatus, and I had been living in Florida, had just moved to LA again. I had grown up in LA, but I had just moved back, and I didn’t know what I was auditioning for. I just remember, after my first audition, I sat in the car and I had this vision of Dinah come into my head and I kind of realized, in my first audition, what I had been missing. I looked at myself in the mirror and I spoke out loud to myself and I said to myself, “Juliana, if you get a call back for this, this is going to be yours. This is your role. You’re going to get it. So decide right now if you want this or not.” And I got scared, and I decided that it was going to be mine, and I knew that it was my role, my story to tell.

I went on the callback. I remember saying the F-word in my audition, which was not written in the script, but we did it again and I was in the moment and I just cursed. We cut, and I was like, “I am so sorry about that!” And it was Wendy [Mericle] at the time, she was like, “It was my favorite part!” [laughs] And I was like, “Oh, these people are great!” And then I got it. Yeah, I cursed in my callback, I didn’t know who I was going to play, but I couldn’t stop crying when I found out I got it.

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How did having a woman showrunner affect the atmosphere on set?

Cassidy: Oh, it’s totally awesome.

McNamara: Yeah! It’s always great to have some women at the helm! You know, getting to work with female directors and showrunners and all that — it’s always a slightly different vibe, but it’s amazing to see a woman take charge in that way and to see everyone respect her and not treat her any differently than they would a man in that position. That’s the most refreshing thing, I find, is that it isn’t different because no one sees them as having any different kind of authority than anyone else in that position would be. That’s kind of the equality that you see.

Cassidy: I think also it’s nice because it’s refreshing, but also she’s so fair. She sees everyone. She genuinely is such a sweet, kind person and she’s patient and she’s cool to hang out with! She’s just awesome, and she’s a hard worker. I don’t know how she does it all, but she does, and people respect that. I’m proud of her.

Harkavy: Yeah, I’m so proud of Beth. She’s the best. We’re so lucky. It’s so important to have women support each other, you know? We really need each other. It’s hard enough. We’ve really embraced our sisterhood and womanhood and I think that’s why this is so important and having a female showrunner is awesome. When you’re surrounded by women all the time, there’s less pressure. I love men — don’t get me wrong — but you need women for your soul to be fulfilled and to have the support that you need as a woman.

Arrow: The Eighth & Final Season is now available on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD.

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Arrow stars Katie Cassidy, Juliana Harkavy and Katherine McNamara reflected on their time in the show, as well as their future in the Arrowverse.

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