For Caity Lotz, playing Arrow‘s Canary aka Sara Lance has not come without its bumps and bruises.
For though the actress has a martial arts background (in disciplines such as Tae Kwon Do and Muai Thai) and almost segued from a professional dance career (backing up the likes of Lady Gaga and Avril Lavigne) into stunt work, wielding a bo staff and the occasional makeshift kali sticks marked a teaching moment.
“I did a bit of training with our stunt coordinator, Bam-Bam [Bamford], but I definitely got bruises all over me,” she shares with TVLine. Anyone who has been in close proximity as the leather-clad avenger does her thing, however, came away unscathed. “I don’t think I hit anybody else, luckily. Just myself!”
Lotz, whose previous credits include Mad Men and a Bring It On sequel, didn’t quite know what she was getting into when she eyeballed a gig on the CW drama (airing Wednesdays at 8/7c). “I first came in to read for ‘Lisa,’ a very mysterious character that nobody really knew anything about,” she relates. “Even the [audition pages] were made up. It wasn’t until I met with the producers that I learned who I was actually going to be playing.”
Filling the role of Sara Lance — the presumed dead sister of Laurel and onetime hook-up of Oliver — would have been interesting enough. Fold in the character’s secret identity, as Canary, and you up the ante further. But then Arrow took things to a new level, by establishing the well-trained badass as a member of the League of Assassins, one of DC Comics’ most richly realized organizations. Lotz says she thus embarked on a crash course in DC mythology, capped by a screening of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, which costarred Liam Neeson as the fearsome Ra’s al Ghul.
As Canary’s story picks up this week, the League of Assassins’ Al-Owal (Homeland‘s Navid Negahban) resumes his determined bid to bring Sara back to the fold, where a certain someone awaits her return. There’s also an entertaining tease (Is League member Malcolm Merlyn alive?!) and the introduction of another DC Comics baddie. Says Lotz, “There are some interesting characters we bring in, including a pretty cool villain” whom she declined to name.
But what brought Sara, who in flashback is seen cavorting with Oliver aboard the Queen’s Gambit, to this dark place? What happened to her aboard the freighter that ultimately imprisoned Oliver? “There are a lot of mind games being played with Sara, by the people who have her,” Lotz previews. “That’s definitely influencing things” — including her shocking first words to Oliver upon their reunion.
Back in Starling City, in the present, can Oliver possibly convince Sara to reveal herself to her family? Coming out of last week’s episode, “She’s pretty against it. She’s afraid for their safety, and she doesn’t feel like she deserves their love, because of who she became,” Lotz explains. That said, don’t rule out some close calls, or more, just yet. Teases the actress, “You’ll just have to watch and find out!”