How will he cope with the realization that not only has he lost one daughter, but that his other daughter and her chosen company in the form of the Arrow withheld that information from him and even lied to his face, with Laurel impersonating Sara? It's key to the rest of Lance's season, according to Blackthorne, who told ComicBook.com in an interview that the trust between himself and Laurel is "shattered," and that the distrust there will creep out and infect his relationships with Team Arrow as well.
Blackthorne joined us to talk about what's going on in his character's head, how he approaches constructing a character like Lance and what's next.
How do you see Lance reacting differently to losing Sara this time? Last time, he spun into depression and addiction but in the interim, a lot has happened.
Yeah, absolutely. I think that was one of the things that destroyed Lance when he heard the news, was not so much just the news, but knowing the effect it had on him and his life when he heard that news before. Does that make sense?
So the dread that he suddenly feels of not only has my daughter died -- for real this time, definitively, it seems -- when this happened to me last time, my world fell apart. My marriage fell apart, my personal life fell apart, every relationship I had fell apart. That was the immediate kind of dread that hit Lance I think when he heard the news, apart of course from the tragedy of the news.
But Lance this time is a better man in a better place and he's learned to be with himself, and he's grown somewhat. So I think the biggest challenge -- although the rock in his life, Laurel, is clearly crumbling beside him in terms of their relationship. The trust is shattered. She's run around, in Lance's eyes, trying to be something that she's clearly not, i.e. the Black Canary. She's lied to him. Their relationship is shattered. He's on his own now, and probably more vulnerable than ever but at the same time probably stronger than he was before in terms of dealing with it. I think he will do everything he can to keep it straight, keep it real and deal with it as a man should. Hopefully, he'll stay strong during this one.
Is this really a him-and-Laurel issue, or will this affect his relationships across the board with Team Arrow? It doesn't take a lot of brains to figure out it was probably Felicity and not Laurel who made the voice box.
Yeah, but I think essentially the next obvious person that he's going to look at as to not telling him the truth is the Arrow, so I can imagine their relationship is going to change somewhat. There's going to be trust issues between them.
So between his trust breaking down with Laurel and his trust breaking down with the Arrow, and certain other events that are coming Starling City's way, there's going to be major repercussions because of all this. So obviously it's all been very buddy-buddy up to now, but things have changed and relationships are fractured. So as events pile up on Starling City, this is going to have a tremendous impact on those.
You have a very compact performance as Lance; you have to do a lot with not very much screen time a lot of the time. Is that something that gets harder as the relationships grow and get more complex?
You appear to be suggesting a result-based approach to the scenes, I think. I could be on the stage or onscreen for ninety minutes solid or you could be on the screen or onstage for ninety seconds. No matter how long you're on there for, you've still got to present a real character and the circumstances that character finds himself in.
If he's going to be in a story, you've got to make him part of that story and you've got to justify it so I don't really think about it. I just think, what's going on with this character? I create a lot of backstory myself in terms of keeping the character alive and breathing and on its feet.
I do the same with Laurel -- Katie Cassidy and I, we do a lot of that work together. I think that's hopefully what it is that you're seeing, is that you're seeing live, breathing characters because of what goes into it in that respect. Especially when you're dealing with family relationships, where there's so much dynamic in any family, let alone one in Starling City. The work that Katie and I put in together really helps ot make you feel like these characters are living and breathing and there's a real relationship going on.
We just do what we have to do, really. Create the characters and the words that are put on the pages by these amazing writers help tremendously because they write these characters with a lot of depth. We just have to sort of take the ball and run with it. So we have fun with it.
You've said a couple of times that you'll have some trust issues. That's been explored with Thea. How will Lance's journey and the approach to that differ from what they did with Willa last year?
First of all, the show could be renamed "Secrets," couldn't it? It's basically all about secrets. So that's obviously, thematically, a huge part of the show.
With regard to how it's been written for other characters or how it's been performed for other characters, that's nothing to do with how I would approach it. I would just say, well, what's in front of Lance's nose here, from an acting point-of-view, and just sort of creating the reality of that as Lance would perceive it.
Maybe it's the wrong thing, maybe it's the right thing, I don't know. But I don't think too much about how anything is being perceived; I just want to find the gritty, dirty reality of it through Lance's eyes.
You've had a couple of scenes lately that people have been anxious to see: where you yelled at Laurel, for instance, and when you outed Roy as Arsenal. Do you think ahead, "How would I do that?" before they eventually come on to you?
Yeah. I remember doing a medical show years ago and I got a CPR scene. And I was the doctor doing CPR and so I was going, "Oh, my goodness! It's a CPR scene! I get to do one of those famous CPR scenes!" You know what I mean? Or you're the detective jumping out of a helicopter scene. there are those exciting moments.
But to be honest, the scenes that are written, there isn't any classically cliche kind of scenes that I've experienced through Lance. Every script had a huge surprise. Corners get turned that you didn't even realize were there, and when they come, it's like "Oh, this is interesting." And obviously that's one of the joys of doing a long-running show, as this is becoming, is that there are so many surprises around the corner.
So, you know, for example in one of the episodes coming down the line, I have a scene with Ra's al Ghul. And the last people you'd expect to see in a room together are Lance and Ra's al Ghul. And I'm looking at this guy in his costume and jewelry and I'm like, "What, is this guy going out dancing or something?" I don't know the context to who he is in his world. He's just a guy wearing far too many clothes and flashy jewelry as far as Lance is concerned. So, you know, that was a nice little scene.
In The Flash, we did a little crossover with The Flash and so I got to do a nice, sort-of buddy scene with Joe West, who's the cop over there. So they write some really nice, juicy sort of interesting stuff. I have to say, every script you look at it and you're like, "Oh! Nice scene." I feel very fortunate in that respect.
Lance has been really instrumental to all the police storylines this year. Has it been gratifying to have come to the end of his journey of recovery and stability?
Yeah, I guess. Lance is a bit disgruntled that he had to be promoted, in one sense, to being a captain but in his mind it was almost a reduction in his mind as a human being. Obviously he was deemed to be not well enough to go out in the field and now he has to do the coaching role from the sidelines and be the captain and do all the boring stuff as Lance sees it.
Going back to the scene you had with Roy, do you think it's safe to assume at this point that Lance knows who Arrow is? The way he was utterly dismissive of Roy begs the question.
Yeah. I mean, Lance hasn't really concerned himself too much with who the identity of the Arrow is because while he thinks he is doing good out there, he doesn't care who he is. And it would probably be just...ignorance is bliss. The guy's doing good, let him get on with it. He's been accepted by the police force in an official level, so just let him get on with it. there's no need to know. But of course as the trust issues develop between Lance and Arrow because of the Sara situation and then other situations occur, I think Lance is going to be a little bit more keen to confirm in his mind who it might be, so we shall see what happens there.