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Interview with actress Caity Lotz from the 'Machine' and the CW's 'Arrow'

By Amanda Ostuni,
Lotz talks Arrow, The Machine and more

Actress Caity Lotz was embedded deeper into the universe of the CW show Arrow with the February 5 episode that focused on her character Sarah Lance, also known as the Black Canary (for now). The episode, which featured the most information to date about Sarah's past—before, during and after the island—and a kiss between her and the eponymous hero of the show, also known as Oliver Queen, gave a clear sign that Lance (and thereby, Lotz) will become a more stable and significant presence on the show, at least for the time being.

But while Arrow fans will get to see more of Lotz on screen as the crime-fighting partner (and former and potential future love interest) of Oliver/Arrow, played by Stephen Amell, that's not the only place Lotz can be seen in 2014. She also stars in The Machine, which will be released on VOD April 8 and theatrically April 25. The film is about computer programmers who build a self-aware artificial intelligence being with good intentions, but run into a problem when Britain's Ministry of Defence attempts to use the technology solely as a weapon. Lotz's performance in the film earned her a British Independent Film Award nomination.

Prior to her roles in The Machine and Arrow, Lotz was best known for her starring role in the British horror flick, The Pact, her role on Mad Men as Stephanie, niece of Don Draper's wife, Anna, and for her turn as Officer Kirsten Landry on MTV's short-lived mockumentary comedy/horror show Death Valley.

Lotz talked to TheCelebrityCafe.com about her upcoming film, her experience on Arrow, and other aspects of her career.

TheCelebrityCafe: Tell me a little bit about The Machine—what drew you to the role?

Caity Lotz: I play two different characters, which is something I've always wanted to do and one of the characters is Ava, the artificial intelligence scientist, and then the other is The Machine. And I guess what drew me to it was just the chance to play two different characters and the fact that one of them wasn't even human and so it would be pretty challenging, so I was excited about that.

TCC: What do you think audiences will like about the film?

CL: I think it's a really interesting sci-fi film. You don't see too many low budget sci-fi films, but this one, it's kind of amazing what they were able to achieve with the effects and all that. And I think it's a cool take on The Machine because instead of like a Terminator emotionless killing thing, it's a lot more complicated and emotional and really develops throughout the film.

TCC: How does it feel to have received an award nomination?

CL: Yeah, that was really cool. I wasn't expecting anything and just to be nominated and kind of recognized a little bit for the role, it felt great because I really worked hard for this one. I put a lot into that character and it was a big challenge, so it was cool.

TCC: You seem to take on a lot of tough girl, action roles. Is that a coincidence or is that something you particularly enjoy?

CL: Well, I grew up as a dancer so I've always been really physical. And I also studied martial arts and it's fun for me to be able to, I like being able to use those skills and it's still very much a part of me, dance and movement, so I like the chance to be able to do it. And I guess tough, or strong characters are always fun to play.

TCC: Growing up, were you especially drawn to action movies?

CL: I love thrillers. I really, really like thrillers; they're like my favorite movies to watch. But I also really like dramas, that's another thing that hopefully I'll be able to do some more. I think the action and stuff is because I'm so physical that it kind of led to that.

TCC: What was it like getting to use those dance skills for your role as Stacy, the B-Boy choreographer in Battle of the Year?

CL: It was fun and I actually had worked with most of the dancers on the film, all the B-Boys, like I had gone on tour with a couple of them. We back up danced together with Avril Lavigne, so I knew most of everybody, so it was fun shooting with them.

TCC: How does it feel to have become a frequent presence on Arrow?

CL: It's really exciting. I love working on the show. It's so much fun. It's a lot of work but we have a blast and the cast and the crew and everybody's really cool. The fan support's really awesome for the show too so it's fun to kind of be involved in a show that has people the fans really care about and interact with kind of so it's been awesome.

TCC: So the fact that Sarah Lance is the Black Canary right now instead of Laura Lance stirred up some conversation, and in the last episode Sarah and Oliver's kiss probably upset the fan base that is shipping Oliver and Felicity. Have you ever faced any social media backlash over those things, or anything else?

CL: Yeah, we do. Me and Stephen Amell were talking about it last night, but we get it, we understand. We'd rather them get emotional about it because it's good that they care. It's like love it or hate it, but don't just be whatever about it. But it's like I get it. I read stuff because I try to keep up with everything and interact with the fans and stuff, so I read some of the stuff and I get it, they've got their favorites and everything, but I don't take it too personally.

TCC: Can you give us any teasers about Sarah's future on Arrow?

CL: I think we'll see some more of Sarah's kind of evolution a little bit on the island and there's some cool stuff with that coming. Yeah, there's some amazing action in the next few episodes, like what we've been shooting has been crazy. And I think everybody knows about the "Birds of Prey" episode which is what we're shooting right now and that one is going to be cool.

TCC: Does portraying Sarah before, on and after the island ever feel kind of like playing different characters?

CL: Yeah definitely, they're completely different because their reactions and kind of the way they think is different, and Sarah who she becomes, yeah she's very different from who she started as.

TCC: You've worked with a lot of guys like Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Josh Holloway (Lost, Battle of the Year) who know how it feels to be on shows with intense fan bases. Did they give you any advice about the experience?

CL: No, I don't think so, we never really talked about that. I don't see them as very big social media people, maybe they are, I'm not sure. But both of them were really awesome to work with, just really cool dudes.

TCC: It seems like you've been really busy lately. Does it ever feel like your schedule is overwhelming or is it never really a problem?

CL: It's not a problem. I think it's a little hard because we shoot Arrow in Vancouver and I still live in LA but I'm here so I'm like living out of a hotel for the last seven months or however long it's been. So that gets a little hard just kind of trying to balance two homes almost, or to have homes in two different places, but you get used to it.

TCC: Are there any roles that you particularly enjoyed or that meant a lot to you?

CL: I think Mad Men was a really, really cool opportunity for me, so I really appreciate that, and then of course The Machine. That movie was just so, it was such a challenge and such a fun part to be able to play that I felt really lucky to be able to have the opportunity to do such a cool character.

TCC: How did you come to land the role in The Machine?

CL: I had done a movie called The Pact which did really well in the UK, it was a pretty wide theatrical release there, and The Machine is a British production, or actually the director's actually Welsh, so not British, but so one of the producers, the executive producer Jamie Carmichael, he executive produced both of the movies so he talked to the director and stuff and they saw the film and they wanted to have me do it.

TCC: How do you compare film versus television, and do you have a preference?

CL: The major difference is film is shorter and TV can go on for years and the pace of TV is a lot quicker. You've got to do an entire hour in eight days versus a film, you do like an hour and a half in however long, more than that and it's a grueling schedule for TV because it's every day in and out in and out for, you know Arrow shoots nine months out of the year. And which do I prefer? I don't know. I mean I like them both, I think I need them both. I really like TV because you really get to know everybody and it's kind of nice to get into a schedule and have a habit cause you know what you're gonna be doing for the next few months and with film it's like after it's done, it's on to the next one. New crew, new director, new actors, everybody is new. But they're both fun. I like them both.

TCC: One of the few genres you haven't quite covered is romantic comedies. Is that something you would be interested in doing?

CL: You know, who knows? Right now I'm not like, 'oh my god I need to do a romantic comedy,' but never say never and I wouldn't mind it. But I think next I'd really like to do a good drama.

TCC: Do you have anything else coming up in 2014?

CL: Right now it's just The Machine and Arrow. I mean I'm on set everyday for Arrow so it's kind of been my life.

Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. EST on the CW. The next episode airs February 26.

Image courtesy of Gilles Toucas

 
 

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