Recently, we had the chance to talk with Katie Cassidy about Arrow, her acting career, and her new movie I Love Us.
Horror Geek Life: You have some family ties in the entertainment industry, so was acting just a natural career choice for you?
Katie Cassidy: It’s funny, I’m the third generation in this industry, and actually, my grandfather played the original Superman on Broadway, which is crazy, but I actually played Baby Jesus, so since I was out of the womb, I’ve been in this business. I was a theater girl, took acting classes. My whole life, I’ve just loved to entertain, so I always say it was in the gene pool, I just woke up like this. I really didn’t get to choose, clearly, this is what I’m supposed to do. It’s more than that, too, I feel like my purpose is to help people any way that I can and the way I know how to do that is by expressing it through creativity.
HGL: You mentioned starting in theater, but you’ve also worked in television and film. Do you have a favorite medium to work in?
KC: I mean, as long as I can relate to the character, there are layers there, and it’s a good project, somehow it inspires me or moves me, it doesn’t really matter what medium or genre it is.HGL: Speaking of genres, you have been part of some notable horror film remakes over the years, When a Stranger Calls, Black Christmas, Nightmare on Elm Street. Do you like working in the horror genre and do you enjoy it as a fan?
KC: To be honest, I got into horror because look, I’m a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, Stanley Kubrick too…I don’t know, there’s just something about it that I do like, but it was sort of a coincidence that I kept doing horror movies. When I first started acting, I had to work, I moved out when I was seventeen so sometimes, up until 23, I was just wanting to work, get the experience, meeting people, and if there was something appealing to me in a project, I would do it and gratefully so, and pay my rent for a long time. (Laughs) I do like the part of the horror genre with blood, guts, Tarantino-ish stuff, I think it’s really cool.
HGL: Tell me a little bit about being cast as Laurel Lance on Arrow. What was that process like for you?
KC: I read the script, I was actually in a really dark place in my life at the time, a breakup, I was just not in a good headspace, so I say in a way that Arrow kind of saved my life because I was just not in a good place. I read the script, the pilot, and knowing Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and David Nutter, who was directing, and these were all people I wanted to work with, and I’m very fond of. I read the script and was like okay, this is great, this is going to go. I called my manager/agents and I was like, I’m not going to read any more pilots and they were like what, and I said yeah, I’ve decided I’m not going to go out for anything else because this is what I want to do. I think my manager almost had a heart attack, but I said this is what I want to do. Then I saw who they cast as Green Arrow, and it was just who I pictured in the role and I thought, yeah, this is great. I had a meeting with Greg and the producers, with everybody, then I had to audition, which I’m glad I did because if they just offered it to me, it would have put way more pressure on me, and also my audition was strong. I got the role, moved to Vancouver, and had the time of my life.
HGL: I think what separated Arrow from a lot of other superhero shows was that the characters had some really interesting arcs, including yours. What was it like playing Laurel Lance, Black Canary, and Black Siren?
KC: It was a lot, to be honest with you. When I first met with Greg, this was before I had auditioned, they had said you will be starting as Laurel Lance and transforming into Black Canary, and I said, okay, cool. Cut to the pilot shooting, all of a sudden I have a sister, then she becomes the Canary, so I’m like, what? I mean, I was grateful to be there and it’s business, I don’t take it personally. It was disappointing, but I eventually got there! (Laughs) Season two was hard, my character hits rock bottom, I’d really dedicated myself to this character and I appreciate how much they wrote for me, the arc they wrote for me. I go into this deep dive into drugs and alcohol and hit rock bottom, and I was emotional and crying in almost every episode. I often try to stay in character on set, so many times I was crying by myself, I just got in this zone, and it really took a toll on me in general. Not for any other reason other than I wanted to do the best I could do for this character. I think you could even see if physically, I lost a ton of weight, because I was always stressed as my character. Season three, she’s at rock bottom, picks herself up, and starts training, and I started training in real-life because I wanted it to be as authentic as possible, so I got better physically, and I really love working out, especially kickboxing…and then they killed me off, which sucked. I was obviously really disappointed but again, tried to take it in such a way that I knew killing off a main character would create a bigger story to tell, but while it was disappointing I smiled, I nodded, tried to be professional about it. Then Andrew Kreisberg called me, it was about two months later and he was the showrunner on The Flash at the time, and he said hey, I was wondering if you’d like to be on The Flash as Black Siren, the doppelganger from Earth 2, and I said oh my god, yes! It was just supposed to be for one episode or something, but the fans were so supportive, lit up social media when I was killed up, again when I came back…then I got to direct and it opened up this whole world of creativity for me and honestly, I’m just grateful for all of it.
HGL: I enjoyed how so many strong female characters emerged on Arrow. Do you think women are getting better roles in the industry these days, both in front of and behind the camera, or do we still have a long way to go?
KC: I definitely think there are more opportunities for women now, but I still think there’s a long way to go. The opportunities are there, but they’re a lot of work, and you better have to have the heart for it. But having directed, and now I’m writing, that’s what I’ve been doing during the pandemic, I took some courses because I’ve been in this industry a while now, led a full life, I have a story to tell and I want to tell it. There are more opportunities now, for sure, both in front of the camera and behind it.
HGL: When Arrow finally came to end, was it sad for you, or was it exciting to be moving on to new projects…or maybe a bit of both?
KC: No, it was definitely sad, it still is talking about it, because I miss them so much. They all became my family, I saw them 8-10 months of a year for years, not consecutively because I died, came back, all that. Those last couple of seasons, we were so tight, but what’s cool now is going to conventions, because I’ve been able to see John Barrowman, who’s hilarious, I haven’t seen in so long, Stephen, David Ramsay…it’s like reunited with your family, I really miss them.
HGL: Let’s talk about your new film I Love Us. How did you get involved with this movie?
KC: Danny (Abeckaser, director), we have mutual friends and when I read the script, I thought it was awesome. When I talked to him, I said I’d really like to be a part of this, to help you with this, I’d really love to be a producer and he was like great, let’s go! It was during COVID, for only two weeks, it was so short, masks, everything, but I think it was the first time during COVID I was actually out. I think I left my home here in LA four or five times in twelve to fourteen months, it was just so sad.
HGL: Tell me a little bit about your character.
KC: My character is Laura, a mother of two. A few years prior to meeting Sammy, she lost her husband, so when they meet on the bus, she’s not looking for love. She’s a hard worker, a single mom, and Sammy sweeps her off her feet. He’s not looking for love either, in fact, he’s a criminal, so there’s sort of this crime/gangster/heist situation meets a romantic, funny at times love story.
HGL: The director, Danny Abeckaser, has a bunch of acting roles to his credit. Does that make him easier to work with, when he knows what it’s like to be in your shoes?
KC: I think Danny definitely knows what it’s like to be in my shoes. He’s the best, literally, when I met him I was like oh, you’re my homie, he’s like your best buddy. He’s so easy to talk to, open, kind, thoughtful, he works really hard, works quickly, he does everything, I love it.
HGL: So what other projects do you have coming up?
KC: I have a movie coming out with Mel Gibson in the first quarter of 2022 called Agent Game, a kind of suspense/action film. I wrote a pilot during the pandemic, I got the rights to a book, it’s a 6-book franchise and I’m going to co-write the back three with the author, but I wrote a pilot based on the first book. Also during the pandemic, I shot a short film, during the height of COVID, basically did everything with three people, and it’s called America’s Next Best President, I’m in the middle of editing right now. It’s tough doing so much, but I’m learning how to do it.
I want to thank Katie for taking the time to talk with us.