All signs point to Harkavy's recently introduced character Dinah Drake being poised to assume the heroic mantle once assumed by sisters Sara and Laurel Lance: She's got the badass bona fides as a former undercover cop; she's a metahuman with a sonic scream, like her comic book counterpart; she's learning the vigilante way as the newest member of Team Arrow; and she shares a name with the earliest, 1940s incarnation of the superheroine.
Of course, in the Arrowverse, anything's possible -- there may be another identity in store for Dinah, or she could befall an abrupt end. But Harkavy's most certainly prepared to suit up in Black Canary's leathers should that call ever come, as she explained to Moviefone.
Moviefone: I know you have secrets to protect, but tell me what you're able to tell me; give me a little tease into the next couple of weeks, for Dinah in particular, on "Arrow."
Juliana Harkavy: I think Dinah's theme for this season is that she's finding her place, and she's settling in, and she's becoming stronger and better as she works with the team. So that's just going to keep happening.
She's going to be able to use her power more and more, because she's training, she has Curtis and Felicity, all of these technical people there who are helping her in every way, and then you have her training physically, so she's just going to keep getting stronger, and help the team -- just keep helping out the team.
It's interesting, because there are certainly indicators that Dinah's going to go a certain place and perhaps assume a certain superhero identity -- Black Canary -- but she's not there yet.
No. It's taking her some time. I think she's still learning. She's still becoming a part of the team and finding her footing. I think that she also knows, Dinah knows that, again, she's familiar with loss. The team just lost Laurel in a big way, and they're dealing with that, and she doesn't want to fill her shoes, and she's empathetic towards what they're going through.
So if it happens, I think it's going to take some time, and I think that it should take time. I don't think it's something that should just kind of fall into her lap. She's developing her strength in all areas.
We've heard that the show's most recent Black Canary, Katie Cassidy, is going to be coming back to the show. That must be kind of an exciting prospect for you, to potentially share some scenes with Katie.
I am so excited! I honestly, I can't wait. We've spoken. She's the sweetest ever, and I'm just excited to learn from her. She's been part of this forever, and she's just awesome, so I can't wait to share some screen time with her and just be some badass girls together, it'd be great.
Either a team up, or throwing down against each other. I think it'll be something to see.
Exactly, yeah. Either one would be great.
Tell me how much you're enjoying this gig. What are the things about it that you're really loving being a part of the "Arrow" ensemble?
The whole thing is just, honestly, it's a dream come true. From the part itself being a dream role, really, to just the cast and crew of producers just being some of the kindest, warmest, most welcoming people I've ever worked with. Overall, it's just been one of the most incredible and positive things to ever happen to me, really.
Tell me a little bit about getting the part. What they told you when they first approached you, and what you kind of had to wrap your head around as far as playing Dinah. What was that process like getting on the show?
For the audition, they didn't tell me that the character would be Dinah, and they didn't really give me any information other than, she's a vigilante and she's a badass. That was pretty much it. Then they gave me two really great scenes to audition with.
I kind of appreciate that now, because I think if I had known at the time, it would have just been a lot of pressure that would have made it difficult to maybe perform. Yeah, I found out after I booked the role. They sort of had a "Okay, sit down -- we have something to tell you" phone call, and they told me, and it was amazing. It was really exciting.
How badass-ready were you when the part came your way? Were you already pretty well-trained, or did you really have to hit the gym and take some classes to be able to pull off the physicality?
I felt ready enough that I knew I had some physical background. I had been going to the gym a lot, and I did feel prepared. I felt strong when I began. I was still only at about 60%. When I came in, they really gave me a trainer, and they really took it seriously, and helped me get on track with my fitness. I felt confident, but then I got here and they really helped me get to the point I needed to be at.
Tell me about that side of it. You dive in, you start changing your body, you start being able to do a lot of things you couldn't do after a few weeks time. The show's on a TV schedule, but does movie-level stunt work, and you throw yourself into the part of the choreography that you've got to pull off. Tell me about that experience.
That's been one of the fun things about the whole experience, is the physical challenge, and feeling myself get stronger. It's been transformative, I think spiritually, as much as it has been physically. I really learned how to meditate, and how to find my center, and just feel strong from the inside out.
It's something that I didn't expect to come with all of this. I thought I'd get strong, and go to the gym, and I'd get in good shape. But it's really helped me become a happier person, too. So that was a really nice outcome that surprised me.
Was there a stunt where maybe normally they would have called in the stuntwoman, but you were able to say at some point, you know what, I think "I got this -- can I try it?"
The more that we do, the more I ask if I can do this! A lot of the times they will let me. Unless it's something that's really out there and I need to be like wired up, and I'm going to just hurt myself -- like, there's no question. They work with me, and they are excited that I want to do as many of my stunts as I can. I have a couple of women who do stunts for me. They're absolutely incredible. My goal is really to be at that level where I can pretty much do anything on my own. I think it's important.
I've had some funny talks with your producers in the past about you poor actors, those of you who have powers, trying to figure out how to act out your powers moments. Tell me about figuring out how you were going to pull of on camera the sonic canary cry.
Every time that I have to do a cry, I really tried to focus, and I really tried to have it come from a place of her pain, and her personal struggle, I think that's what the fuel is behind that scream. That's what she was experiencing at the moment that she got the power.
So I tried to sort of like really just put my heart into it, and not just make it a physical thing, but put all of her pain, and like all of her power into that scream. So that's usually what I'm thinking about when I'm doing it.
What was your way into her, emotionally as a character? What did you key in on once you knew you had the part?
This moment where she sort of became a meta, and was when she experienced a terrible tragedy and lost the love of her life, and lost her partner, and he was shot right in front of her. That's something that just made me sort of open my heart to her right away.
And I also had recently lost a very dear friend, so I was also dealing with my own mourning, and my own loss, and I was able to, especially that 511 episode where you actually see the flashback, and you see her dealing with that, I was able to really use it in my own life, and connect with her, and find this common ground.
Tell me about working with your fellow actors, the members of Team Arrow. Is Stephen Amell the quarterback for the team among the actors, as well as on screen?
He is, yeah. He really is. Stephen is an incredible leader in everything that he does. I think that's sort of just in his nature. He's efficient, he's smart, he's aware of sort of everything that's going on at once, beyond just what he's focusing on in that moment. It's a gift that I think he has.
I definitely look up to him as a leader while we're shooting. I think the rest of the cast does, too. He sets the precedent for the rest of the show. Absolutely, yeah. Stephen is definitely our quarterback.
On camera and off camera, after five seasons, it's a well-oiled machine. Every member of the team knows their job pretty well. So for you to step in and be the newbie -- give me a little sense of that experience.
It was terrifying at first, to be honest. It was really quite intimidating coming in after five seasons and being so completely green. Nobody treated me like I was a newbie. Everybody on it really just welcomed me in right away and were so warm.
It was incredible coming in for the first time and seeing this thing, which obviously already has so much momentum behind it, so much life behind it, and jumping on to this moving piece has sort of been one of the biggest adventures of my life.
It's been really cool coming in fresh at this point, because I think for them, too, it's nice to sort of have that element of newness around where like, I'm not aware of how everything works. I had my moments, my learning curves, and I've hit my roadblocks and my stumbles. I think it keeps it exciting for everyone, because they can teach me, and they do all the time.
"Arrow" airs Wednesdays on The CW.