Arrow premieres in just two weeks – Wednesday, October 10 on The CW – but beyond that, fans have a lot to look forward to, as characters from the DC Comics universe are coming in and out as early as the second episode, which features China White from Green Arrow: Year One. In following weeks (spoiler warning) we’ll be seeing characters like Deadshot and even a “well dressed man” played by Torchwood’s John Barrowman.
One of the most exciting additions to the show comes in the show’s seventh episode, which sounds like it is essentially the start of a two-part story. “Muse of Fire” is co-written by DC Comics’ Geoff Johns with the show’s executive producers, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, and it introduces Helena Bertinelli, the vigilante known as the Huntress, to the Arrow mythos.
The Huntress has appeared on live action TV before, in the campy Legends Of The Superheroes special as well as the short-lived WB series Birds Of Prey. However, in both instances that was a very different version of the character. This Helena/Huntress is the daughter of man involved with organized crime, who will be played by Jeffrey Nordling. She has no relation to a certain caped crusader, as she had in Birds Of Prey. This Huntress is played by Australian actress Jessica de Gouw, who, don’t worry, does have the right look and sound for the role. We spoke with her September 25 on a location shoot outside of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jessica is quick to point out the differences between Helena and Oliver. “Helena comes from a very difficult upbringing. They’re her family, but I think she differs from them in her ideals and what she thinks is right,” she says. “It creates a conflict for her, whereas Oliver’s trying to do what his father wants. Helena is the opposite. It’s pretty bold; she has to be a bold person to follow through.” That is not to say they have nothing in common; Jessica seems to imply that they actually do come together with some similarities. “They come from such different backgrounds and circumstances, but I think there’s something very similar about them, and I think that’s where that attraction comes from,” she says. “They find something in each other that they can relate to, and they can appreciate.”
Playing a vigilante means playing multiple versions of the same character, much like Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen/Arrow) does. “I play Helena, but I’m also The Huntress, so I have to be able to hold my own. The duality of the role, it’s challenging. I have to be able to kick butt and all of that, and I’m quite feminine in my normal every day [life]… the fighting and all of that is new and interesting for me, but it’s a good thing. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve kind of been thrust into it, so I might as well just jump in, right?” she says. Jessica teases that the Huntress is introduced into Arrow “with a punch.” “She comes in strong,” Jessica promises.
When we saw Jessica, she was in full-blown Helena mode, which still had some hints of purple within. This was an intentional choice from the show’s costuming people. “There are hints of purple in most things. Just a little dab here and there, just to suggest the right things, but it’s definitely part of her costume, certainly,” she says. Beyond wearing purple in a dress, might we see her in a full-blown Huntress costume? Jessica is purposely vague, and won’t give a direct answer. “You will see! It’ll be great, whatever you get to see. It will be fabulous. I promise you. I’ve seen it, so I can promise it’s really something. That’s all you’re getting,” she teases.
In a world where Anne Hathaway can put on a pair of tights to play a Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, did Jessica — who bears a bit of a resemblance to Hathaway — look to any TV or movies for inspiration? She tells us no, but there was one place she did look. “I went back to the comics. I think the comics is the best place to start. That’s where it originated; that’s what the fans want to see. That’s what I wanted to go for. I don’t think it helps to try and impersonate someone else who’s already done it, because this isn’t like anything else. It’s completely new, and it looks different, and it feels different. It’s not like other comic book things that are around, so why not just give it your own original spin?”
Disclaimer: Travel and hotel accommodations for our Vancouver trip were provided by Warner Bros. Television.