Memories From the Set

Arrow's Charlotte Ross Previews Mama Smoak's Return, Revisits NYPD Blue, Days of Our Lives, Glee and Other Roles

Arrow Preview Donna Smoak

This Wednesday on Arrow (The CW, 8/7c), Charlotte Ross reprises her role as Donna Smoak — only this time, viewers can expect to see a bit more of Felicity’s mother, who thus far is slated to appear in at least three Season 4 episodes.

TVLine spoke with Ross not just about Donna’s latest check-in on her daughter (and any other “relationships” that might blossom during her stay), but also her career at large, as she entertainingly recalled in our “Memories From the Set” slideshow.

TVLINE | What brings Donna back to Star City?
I’m happy to say that it’s because she and Oliver have been talking on the phone. Their relationship has progressed and he has asked her to return to Star City.

TVLINE | The last time we saw Donna, she nudged Felicity to follow her heart, so she must be happy with how things turned out with Oliver.
Yes, it used to be that she just wanted Felicity to get a boyfriend! [Laughs] She wanted to help her change her hair Arrow-Donna-Smoak-Returnsand her wardrobe, but that evolved to me seeing my daughter feel vulnerable and scared and really start to fall somebody. And even though Donna’s had a lot of hard knocks, she knows that you have to put yourself out there and walk through fear and the unknown to really find true love. Of course, nothing could make Donna happier than seeing Felicity truly, truly happy with someone who really loves her. Donna obviously really cares for Oliver now, so she is very supportive of their relationship.

TVLINE | We’ve got you around for a small stretch here. Does that mean we’ll delve a bit deeper into who Donna is and who she isn’t?
I would love to; I’m up for that. When I came on this show, just like with any new character, they have a good, strong idea of what they want, but then they see what works and what doesn’t. I’m really grateful that Emily [Bett Rickards] and I from Day 1 have had this natural chemistry. I feel like she “gets” me, and I “get” her, and we just love doing our scenes together. [For Donna and Felicity] it has grown from this bit of animosity, after we hadn’t seen each other for a long time, to, even though we’re really different, now liking being around each other. We’ve grown more and more into friends, organically. What’s also grown, which maybe wasn’t originally there, was this idea of me being involved with other characters on the show. And I’m going to meet [Quentin] Lance in this week’s episode….

TVLINE | There we go. Under what circumstances do they finally meet?
You’ll have to tune in to see! But I will say that it’s another example of how strong the fans’ voice resonates. Paul [Blackthorne] and I did this selfie in a trailer last season, and the fans started this whole #SmoakinLance hashtag — and we were giggling because we haven’t even met on the show! And yet the fans had us already ‘shipped! I had dinner with [showrunner] Andrew Kreisberg a few months ago and I kept saying, “Is this really going to happen?” and he said, “We’re gonna do it, and we’re going to see where it goes.” The thing is, Paul’s character has had so much to deal with that’s so heavy, I think the fans want him to have some happiness. And just like with Felicity and Donna, while it’s not a natural pairing, sometimes differences are what pulls people together. They both love their children, they both have had to overcome a lot of pain and heartache, so there are things that could possibly connect them.

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TVLINE | Will we learn anything new about Donna in these upcoming episodes?
You definitely learn a bit more about my relationship with Felicity’s father. You already know that he didn’t treat me well, that he wasn’t nice — but to what degree of how bad or evil was, we really don’t know. But as her relationship [with Felicity] progresses, the conversations can get a bit more scary, more intimate for them. Donna has a lot of experience to share with her, and in that she can also talk about what it was like to be with her father.

But wait, there is much more! In the slideshow below, Charlotte Ross reflects on many of the TV roles she filled before Mama Smoak, from a (controversial) NYPD cop to that Salem, USA “bitch you love to hate.”