Arrow Season 5 Finale Spoielrs

Arrow's Juliana Harkavy Talks 'Iconic' Canary Gig, Possible Black Siren Brawl

When The CW’s Arrow resumes Season 5, it will be all hands on deck as Oliver & Co. set out to find Adrian Chase aka Prometheus, who brutally bested his WITSEC detail upon realizing his jig as a mild-mannered D.A. was up.

Now among Team Arrow’s hodgepodge of assets is Dinah Drake, who slowly but surely has assumed the role of Black Canary (about a year, in real time, after Laurel Lance’s tragic death). TVLine spoke with newcomer Juliana Harkavy about whipping herself into crimefighting shape, the secret to the Canary Cry, Dinah’s dynamic with her teammates and the prospect of a showdown with her predecessor’s devious doppelganger.

TVLINE | When did your journey to Arrow begin? And what did it involve?
It began in October, and it was a really quick process. It was basically an audition on Tuesday, the callback was Wednesday, and at 4am Friday I had a car pick me up to take me to Vancouver. I had just moved back to L.A., so it was all sort of a whirlwind when it all did happen.

TVLINE | Did they tell you that your character ultimately would be inheriting the mantle of Black Canary? Which is kind of a big deal.
After I booked it, they sort of told me everything that the role entailed. I had no idea that it was this big or this iconic or this epic, so it was very exciting when I found out. I had no idea going in.

TVLINE | Caity Lotz of course brought dance and some martial arts skills to the role, and Katie Cassidy was no stranger to the gym during her run. Do you bring anything innately physical to the table?
Well, I was always an athlete; my grandfather and my dad are basketball players, and I played sports my whole life. I have done dancing as well. Not really much martial arts, but I felt confident in the gym. And when I got here, they instantly started to teach me all the techniques and put me with trainers…. But I did feel confident, physically, going in.

TVLINE | Had you ever thrown a punch in your life? Smacked somebody?
No. [Laughs] I joke but I’m sort of serious: I’ve always wanted to get into a fight. I know that sounds horrible, but I always had the desire to see what it’s like. There’s something that seems so fulfilling about punching somebody. It’s good that I got this role, so I don’t end up hurting anyone for real. [Laughs]

TVLINE | How has your fitness regimen changed since joining Arrow? I cruised your Instagram, and you seem to have a healthy perspective on the whole thing, how it’s not about being “skinny” but “strong.”
That’s exactly right. One of the things that happened after I got this job and learned I’d be training and learning bo staff, is they said, “We don’t want you to be skinny. We dont want you to lose weight and restrict food.” Bam, our stunt coordinator [James Bamford], has been my biggest supporter when it comes to that. He said, “I would almost rather you have no neck because you’re so muscular than come to me and be unhealthy because you’re trying to be skinny. Superheroes have muscle, they’re strong. You don’t have to worry about a number on a scale.” From that moment on, it wasn’t stressful, it wasn’t like I have to work out because I have look a certain way. It was because I want to be strong, I want to be a superhero, to be able to stand up there with these big guys. It’s been probably the most healthy I’ve felt, because mentally I feel healthier as well going into it.

TVLINE | I liked one photo you shared, showing off your new lats….
Thanks! I’m working on it. It’s just so fun to wake up in the morning and have new muscles on your body. It does make you feel like a bigger, better version of yourself.

TVLINE | Now a couple of months into your run, how would you describe Dinah’s relationship with Oliver, with Diggle?
I think that these are the people she’s allowed herself to get closest to in a very long time. This is the first group that she’s allowed herself to be vulnerable with. Oliver was the one who sought her out and let her in, so her connection to him in particular is a special one. She has a particular fondness for Oliver — not in a romantic way, but as a partner. And with Diggle, he’s the second in command, and that appeals to Dinah. She likes to sort of team up and go on runs with him. He’s a competent fighter and so is she.

TVLINE | It’s kind of like whereas Oliver brought Dinah in, Diggle has been the one who got her settled in and showed her how to be a team member.
Exactly. That’s such a good way to put it. It’s a really nice dynamic, and it does make it feel like a big family where we’re all working together and helping each other.

TVLINE | Well speaking of “family,” I almost feel like Dinah is a smart-ass big sister to Rene and Curtis.
[Laughs] For sure. I think Dinah is sort of used to being “one of the boys,” so she’s not afraid to tease them or play with them a bit and mock them. That’s definitely part of her character.

TVLINE | Burning question: On set, are you actually screaming when doing the Canary Cry, or just popping open your mouth?
That’s a good question. In the shot that you’re talking about (right), I was definitely just mouthing it. A silent scream. But when we’re fighting and it already has that energy behind it, I will scream. You have to pick and choose your screams so you don’t blow your voice out.

TVLINE | I think it was Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Chloe Bennet who said that it’s almost ridiculous to watch the filming of such scenes without the effects, where Daisy is just jutting her open palm at someone, looking angry.
It is! But one cool thing that they do on set is “blow people back.” So, nothing will come out of my mouth, but they’ll launch these dudes back like 15, 20 feet, which is really exciting. It does sort of feel like your really doing it in the moment.

TVLINE | Can we talk about the impracticality of Dinah’s wallet chain? I know it makes her look tough, but in close-quarters combat I’m just grabbing that and yanking her around.
[Laughs] You know, at a certain point it just gets annoying when you’re fighting dudes all day and you keep losing your wallet, misplacing your license. She’s over it. She’s a very practical, smart girl.

TVLINE | Whats the team’s next move against Adrian Chase? He just whacked the WITSEC guys and is now in the wind….
They’re on it. They’re on it. He’s in the wind, but something tells me that Team Arrow will find a way.  They want to get him, and I hope that they do.

TVLINE | There’s been talk that the next episode (airing Wednesday, April 26) could just as well be titled, “Team Arrow vs. Team Felicity.” Talk about that a bit. How does that conflict manifest itself?
Felicity has a lot of really good ideas, and I think that she might want to exercise them — regardless of what the team thinks. Felicity is always helping out, she’s always doing what the team wants and she’s always a team player, but sometimes we have differences in opinion. She’s extremely intelligent, so…

TVLINE | Is this about Team Arrow and Felicity and the Helix kids having different ideas about how to get Adrian?
It does involve all of that, yeah. But it’s more than that. Helix is definitely involved in Felicity’s approach to how she thinks we can best catch Adrian Chase.

TVLINE | In photos, Helix is all uniformed up, Felicity herself has on a fetch cap…. Will there be a physical skirmish, or more a war of minds?
It’s going to be a bit of everything, because we have the whole physical aspect, where we’re obviously going to be fighting, while Helix is more into mental games. It’s going to be interesting. There are a lot of layers to the conflict.

TVLINE | And what can you tell me about the season finale? I heard Marc [Guggenheim] say it doesn’t even take place in Star City.
It does not. And it is epic. It is so much bigger than I thought, than I imagined it would be. It’s just amazing. When I read it, it almost felt like doing a film. It’s really exciting.

TVLINE | Does Dinah get to bust out any new moves? Are there any “firsts” for you as an actress over these last few episodes?
Yeah, there actually are! She’s coming into her own. She’s getting stronger, she’s getting better.

TVLINE | Katie Cassidy Arrow Season 6 Katie Cassidy Sirenof course is due back by season’s end, and will be a regular for Season 6. Safe to say we’re fated for a Black Canary/Black Siren face-off at some point?
I actually don’t know if a face-off is in store, but that would be epic!

TVLINE | Lastly, how do you feel your reception from the fans has been? They can be a pretty particular bunch, and yet I actually feel like they’re OK with you — which often can be the highest praise.
They are, they really are. They’ve been incredibly welcoming and accepting…. I didn’t know what to expect after I found out what this job was, because it was bigger than I realized. The fact that they have been so gracious has been a blessing, because this goes back a long time, this story and these characters. They’ve been wonderful.

Want more scoop on Arrow, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. JCPrime1 says:

    Thanks for posting, Matt. I hope she becomes a series regular next season.

  2. Mike says:

    The new Black Canary is awesome! I’m exited to see her character develop further. I also like how she has subtlety gotten a more of a costume over the past few episodes and they’ve lightened her hair. I hope she is promoted to series regular for season 6!

  3. Lex says:

    I love Juliana’s attitude towards her role. She’s aware of the legacy of the character, but not married to it. She immediately owned the Black Canary, and found her place on the team like she was always there. I was surprised how smooth her transition was, but its because she recognizes established dynamics of both the team and the show, and fills in the gaps as needed. She offers Oliver some truth tea, schools Rene and Curtis on a regular basis, and still has fun with the role (as best seen in the Bratva episode). And who cares about the wallet chain? Jeans and a leather jacket have never looked so badass!

  4. David Hess says:

    Her potrayal of Dinah has a gritty side like Sara and a warm but tough side like Laurel had. She feels like Sara and Laurel combined, the best of both Canaries. (On a sidenote, does anyone think she’ll date Quentin, get married and become Dinah Drake-Lance? I, as a comic fan, have that hunch).

    • T.W.S.S. says:

      1) Arrow isn’t one for sticking to canon. 2) There’s no way they would pair Dinah with old-enough-to-be-her-father Quentin. 3) What man (besides Ron Swanson) would date a woman with the same name as his ex-wife and dead daughter?

      • David Hess says:

        The actors who play them are 32 and 48 respectively. That”s a 16 year difference, which isn’t the biggest difference for alot of couples I know of in real life. Besides, Dinah Drake is nothing like his ex, the name is the only thing they have in common.

        • Oh that’d be lovely. Let Quentin hook up with the literal replacement of his daughter that was murdered because of his stupidity.

        • T.W.S.S. says:

          Laurel would have been 32 this year (according to her gravestone), and I think it’s safe to assume that Quentin and Dinah didn’t have a teen pregnancy, so the character is likely older than 48.

          And that is a big age difference for a CW show that isn’t a total soap opera.

  5. Lizzie says:

    The actress seems really lovely! It’s a shame her character has been a little cardboard cutout so far, let’s hope they develop her more next season. I’m also pleased she said she wasn’t romantically interested in Oliver. Please thank the lord we might actually have a Canary that doesn’t sleep with him!

    Can’t say I’m excited about having two canary cries on the show next season but if Black Siren is there to be BC’s nemesis, it has some potential. Fighting wise, Dinah is miles better than Laurel so let’s hope they show that.

  6. I love the new Black Canary. She’s believable and likable, and bad ass. No toxic backstory either… a much more sympathetic character.

  7. datdudemurphy says:

    I’d be happy with a little more Canary, a little less Wild Dog.
    She needs a bit more screen time and development.
    But I do like her so far.

  8. Karen says:

    I don’t see a point to her with Black siren now a regular. I never cared for this OC character. Ring given a comic name just to try and out a band aid on a horrible received storyline aka Laurels death.

  9. Olicity4ever says:

    she is even worst than Katie’s Cassidy Black Canary

    • Sara Drake says:

      That’s because it’s not Felicity Smoak in a black costume as Black Canary. You Olicty people are so predictable.

  10. rtalive says:

    I love Dinah and Juliana is so talented. I would like more Green Arrow/ Black Canary dynamic with her

  11. saracanarythebest says:

    I love Dinah Drake, she is different from the previous Canaries but I love how she reminds me so much of the original Canary – Sara Lance. I hope they give her a bigger role and give her the mantle of the Black Canary at the end of the season. And I hope Black Siren will be there to be her enemy so Dinah can kick her ass, because if they kill another talanted actress it will be really sad.

  12. GreenArrow says:

    terrible actress:I hope she dies in season finale-autistic Black Canary-and she looks so ugly without makeup

    • Sara Drake says:

      Wow, insulting the actress. I’m hardly shocked after all you comic book fans can be quite the toxic trolls.

      She’s a decent Black Canary or one to head that route. Move on from the fact that Laurel isn’t coming back.

      If I was writing the show Laurel would have been dead by the end of season 2.

  13. Luis Roman says:

    I’d say she’s been a net positive so far. I like the attitude she’s brought to the team, and the fact that she’s unafraid to speak her mind. I like that Dig seems to be the character she’s most connecting with – it’s better if the entire world doesn’t revolve around Oliver. I’ll be interested to see how the writers integrate Black Siren into the show next year, and what it means for Dinah

  14. dancmh says:

    I hate the way the character was brought on. It felt very forced and borderline ridiculous. That being said, that’s not the fault of the actress and I think she’d doing a good job. I’d have preferred a redemption arc for a snarky Black Siren but I’m ok with giving Juliana a shot.

  15. JR says:

    As a long time comic fan, for me she is the first believable Black Canary. The others just didn’t fit the part.

  16. Joey Padron says:

    Great interview you did with Juliana. She’s doing great on the show this season. Can’t wait for Arrow to come back later this month!

  17. BeckyBoo says:

    I like Dinah, and Juliana’s portrayal of her. I found Dinah’s initial introduction a bit…convenient, but since then she’s started to fit in really well. I like the supportive way Diggle has taken her under his wing – she’s more vulnerable than she initially appeared, and I’m glad they didn’t make her too flinty. I enjoy her teasy / sibling-like vibe with Curtis and Rene.

    The new team members were a bit overbearing and overwhelming at the beginning of the season, which grated because it took focus away from the characters I want to see the most of, but I like the dynamic they have developed now – with OTA in the kind of parental roles, while the newer team mates fill the squabbly, snarky teenager-like roles.

    I don’t miss Evelyn, little traitor, and although I liked Rory and his friendship with Felicity in particular, his rags were too powerful and didn’t really fit with the ‘grounded’ thing they’re trying to go for, and the lair was just getting overrun with new people. I wish Thea had had more of a presence this season, she got massively shortchanged.

  18. Gift says:

    She is awesome hope to see more action from her. But I also miss Laurel.

  19. Liz says:

    Dinah would totally wipe the floor with Laurel

    • Ugh. She’s not Black Canary anymore than St Sara was. Black Canary is warm and loving and has been through hell and is much more than just a scream and a great fighter. Shame Guggenheim doesn’t get that and never got that. Of course Guggenheim doesn’t even understand Oliver Queen isn’t a more moody, murderous and less loving Batman

      • Sara Drake says:

        Man you are one unhappy troll. I take it you have never liked the show so there is literately point to you wasting time by commenting on this. Oh right that’s because your a troll.

        The show never was an exact duplicate of the comics. Go read them.

      • JC1 says:

        Huh. Never would I have associated the words “warm and loving” with Laurel.

  20. Must be lovely to be the daughter of a WB Vice President.

  21. JC1 says:

    I’ve been really impressed with Juliana in all her interviews. I haven’t seen enough of Dinah to make a call one way or the other, but Juliana seems awesome.

  22. cnith says:

    oh lord…PLEASE don’t let Laurel come back… ugh! I’ve had more than enough of her.