The Black Canary To Fly Into Town

Katie Cassidy is a third generation entertainer. Following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Broadway performer Jack Cassidy, and her father, David Cassidy (“The Partridge Family”), Katie has acted in films such as “When a Stranger Calls,” “Taken” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” But she is actually more known for her television roles in shows like “Supernatural,” “Melrose Place,” “Gossip Girl” and most notably, the hit CW show “Arrow.” In the show, which is based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow series, she plays Laurel Lance, assistant district attorney by day and masked vigilante The Black Canary by night. Cassidy, who is currently filming in Vancouver, Canada, took a break from beating up bad guys to talk to us about her upcoming appearance at Wizard World Louisville. The actress will be appearing at the convention with four of her “Arrow” costars.

16411529316_d09b525465_o 2An early welcome to Louisville! It seems like the whole “Arrow” crew will be here. The Green Arrow himself, Stephen Amell, was the first that signed on – did he talk the whole gang into coming?

Yeah, we’re shooting in Vancouver, and we’re all really good friends – we’re in our fourth season, and we’ve became really close. And he just said on set one day that he was going and asked if I wanted to, and I was like, “Absolutely!” We’re so excited. It’s going to be awesome.

So far this season on the show, your character, Laurel, has been able to come out swinging as the badass she is. How does that feel, to have worked your way up to where you are now?

It’s awesome. The thing that I love about my character in the storyline is that they really made it, in my opinion, as realistic and legitimate as possible. Laurel had to hit rock bottom before coming out the other end, and for me as an actor, it was great because I actually got to go through season two and season three in training. When I wasn’t shooting, I was physically learning how to fight, and obviously, you don’t get good overnight. So it was okay to sell the fact that Laurel was a beginner and she was fighting with her heart because I was a beginner. It’s fun when I see females characters kick some ass; it’s always fun to watch, and it’s certainly fun to play.

At what point did you find that your character was going to go down this road? Because for the first couple seasons, we assumed your on-screen sister, played by Caity Lotz, was the hero from the comics.

Yeah, it’s interesting because when I initially met with [show creators] Marc Guggenheim, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, part of what I wanted to do, my big thing, was that I wanted to do action. I wanted to do something action-packed since I love working out; I like being healthy, and I like strong female characters. They pitched it to me and that I would become The Black Canary, and obviously, it’s television and anything can happen. It didn’t happen like I expected it to, but I also think it turned out for the best. It gave my character a good arc and journey and gave me somewhere to go with her. As an actor, it’s been challenging at times and difficult, but I think it was certainly well worth the wait. I really think good things happen to those who wait.

Katie Cassidy as The Black Canary.

Katie Cassidy as The Black Canary.

I was actually at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con when you and your co-star Stephen Amell premiered “Arrow” to a group of almost 5,000 people. Going back to that, I’m sure you had an idea and hoped it would be big, but did you have any idea it would lead to two spin-off shows [“The Flash” and the upcoming “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”] and be one of the top shows on the network?

I knew we had something. I didn’t know if the world was ready for it. I didn’t know if it would work – timing is everything, but I definitely knew we had something really spectacular and had the chance to be something really special. It’s timing – everything has to fall into place – I think that we have very talented writers and producers, a wonderful cast and everything sort of aligned. I didn’t think it would turn out to be as big of a success that it’s been, but also my instinct when I read the script was that it was something that could become something really huge. You’ve got to have luck on your side as well. So everything has seemed to work out.

Before acting, you were a competitive gymnast. At what point did you realize you wanted to shift your focus to acting?

Well I was always in theatre when I was a kid, so I feel like it wasn’t a decision I consciously made. I’m third generation in my family to be in the creative business, so it was just in my blood I guess since the day I was born.

See Katie Cassidy and her “Arrow” co-stars Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, John Barrowman and Paul Blackthorne at Wizard World Louisville, which takes place the weekend of November 6 at the Kentucky International Convention Center. Hours are Friday 3-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Weekend adult tickets are $79.95 in advance or $90 onsite. Single day tickets range from $39.95 to $49.95. VIP tickets are $199.99. For tickets and more information, visit wizardworld.com/home-louisville.html.