Katrina Law recently spoke to HitFix Harpy about her character's tumultuous journey on “Arrow” season three, if she'll be on “Legends of Tomorrow”, and the moment she knew the “Arrow” fandom would explode.
HitFix Harpy: After reviewing “Arrow” season three, it feels like out of all the characters, Nyssa had the most challenging season. She lost the love of her life, she lost her position as Heir to the Demon, she was forced to marry Oliver, and she lost her father.
Katrina Law: I know, I know, I know – the writers really gave it to Nyssa this season.
Looking back, what was season three like for you, as you walked Nyssa through all those experiences? Let's start with Sara Lance's (Caity Lotz) death – how did you approach that?
Going into the season I had no idea where they were going to take the character. When I got my first script for 3.03, my first line was, “Where is she, where is Sara?” And I wondered, where is she? Then they told me: she was dead. Everything was a complete surprise. I was like, “Wait, who killed Sara?” I was in the dark as much as everybody else. So for me it was great journey and a great ride – Nyssa is so enjoyable, she's so much fun, I love how her world is black and white, and because of Sara Lance, she's starting to see more shades of gray. I also love her relationship with her father, Ra's al Ghul (Matt Nable), and I love her relationship with Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy).
Speaking of Katie Cassidy, Nyssa and Laurel's scene over the milkshake was so tender and honest, it was one of my favorite moment of season three.
So many people really like that scene. I love working with Katie Cassidy, she's a beautiful woman inside and out. She's so focused and professional when she walks on set, and working with her is just a joy. We just had fun with that scene, and you get to see two women bonding. It may have even been the first time Nyssa got to smile. I remember thinking, “How much would Nyssa actually smile?” I think watching Nyssa grow as a human and become more well rounded is something a lot of people can relate to.
You didn't know that Sara was dead until you filmed your first scene of the season, but did you know that Nyssa was going to be replaced as Heir to the Demon?
I knew nothing – (laughs) – I remember I was in my backyard [reading the script] and Ra's said “Now the two of you are going to get married…” and I remember stopping and staring at [the page] and then I began giggling maniacally for 20 minutes because I just heard the fandom exploding. The”Arrow” writers very successfully did that. Later, when I got the script about having to kneel down in front of Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) I remember, even as I was reading it, I vomited a little bit in my mouth, and thinking, “Ew, I do not like this at all.” It was one of the first times I actually felt like my character, like I was having a visceral gut reaction.
I felt really bad for Nyssa when she was replaced as Heir to the Demon. She gave her entire life to the League of Assassins with the hope of one day leading them, and then Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) shows up. What was it like getting into Nyssa's head and processing not only being replaced, and but also being forced to marry a man even though she was a lesbian?
The great thing about Nyssa's wedding to Oliver Queen is that while a lot of the audience, especially the LGBT community, thought it was homophobic, I don't think Ra's was acting out of homophobia. I don't think he cared if Nyssa loved men or women. What he essentially cared about was Nyssa producing an heir, and there's only one way to do that. I don't think that's how Nyssa saw it, but that's how I saw it. Also, people being forced to marry people they don't want to marry is still happening. You have young girls in India being married to 40-year-old men, so it's happening today.
Wow. I had been wondering if Ra's' issue with Nyssa was her sexuality, but you're right, it's all about Ra's asking, “Can my bloodline be continued?” I had never thought about it that way.
The other thing is, the only reason Ra's was giving the title to Oliver was because of the prophecy, “He who survives the sword of Ra's al Ghul must become Ra's al Ghul.” So through tradition, Ra's had to give up the title. [The marriage] was his way of keeping his own place through the lineage.
Nyssa was back in episode 4.03 of “Arrow”, in which Laurel, Thea and Malcolm brought Sara back from the dead. I don't feel like there was any time spent on a reunion with Nyssa and Sara. Was a reunion scene cut from the episode?
No, nothing was cut. I think at that point Sara was so out of her mind, and Nyssa knew that going into it. I don't think Nyssa had any joy seeing her beloved brought back just to see her as the shell of who Sara used to be. That being said, who knows what the future is going to bring. I know a lot of people would like to see flashbacks of how they met and how they were trained together.
I think fans would really like to see Nyssa on “Legends of Tomorrow”. Would you want to be on “Legends” to explore that reconciliation with Sara?
I would love to. I thought the Sara/Nyssa relationship was so interesting, the way that two lost souls found each other and healed. I believe if they did ever see each other again it would be a very bittersweet meeting because a lot of stuff has happened. I think they need more time to go off and heal by themselves, if they ever get back together.
If you could write an alternate universe happy ending for Nyssa and Sara, what would it look like?
There would be cotton candy clouds, we would have unicorns as our thrones, I would be Ra's al Ghul and she would be my queen – there would be lots of glitter and hugging – (laughs).
That sounds amazing. I think people would really like to see that as well. Can you say if Nyssa is going to be on “Legends of Tomorrow”?
I really don't know. They don't tell me anything so I don't even have to try and lie to you – (chuckles).
Besides “Arrow”, what other projects are you currently working on?
I had a couple of Hallmark Christmas specials come up over the holidays, and I shot an episode of the sitcom “Uncle Buck”. After that, we shall see what happens.
Lastly, I know you and a lot of the “Arrow” cast are involved in charity work, are there any charities you would like to share with our readers?
The main charity I work with is called Kitt Crusaders. I got involved with them when two alley cats that lived near me need to be taken care of. Kitt Crusaders found out, nursed them back to health, and returned them to me for free. I ended up adopting them for many years, and they never asked for a dime in return. From there I started brainstorming how I could support them, so I started taking photos of my celebrity friends, having them sign the photos, and then selling them. All the proceeds go to help Kitt Crusaders save animals from kill shelters, keeping animals off the street, finding them forever homes. It's a great organization, and I love working with them.
“Arrow” returns to The CW Wednesday January 20, 2016.