Playing the little sister to a TV show's main character can relegate you to episode-ending scenes that consist of hearing about how amazing the lead's day was -- but in the case of Thea Queen, and Willa Holland, Arrow has injected her right into the action ... although, that could potentially seal her fate in the all-bets-off season finale.
At least that's the sense I got from, first, The CW's finale synopsis, and then my interview with Holland, who readily admits fans won't know which way is up for the entire episode. Not only does she serve up a mean tease, but Willa got real about her TV history and her upcoming feature film, Tiger Eyes, the first Judy Blume book to ever be adapted for cinema!
ETonline: I loved watching the show slowly evolve into an ensemble this season -- was that the plan all along?
Willa Holland: Originally, Katie [Cassidy, Laurel], Colin [Donnell, Tommy] and myself signed on as series regulars, but we all knew the show was Stephen Amell-based. So we waited for things to start rolling for us, while being surprised and excited by everything we were given along the way. I mean, we were sitting there, like starving children, waiting for the writers to feed us and then we all got these amazing meals. It's been such an amazing experience.
ETonline: The big push for Thea has been since the introduction of Roy Harper, played by Colton Haynes. What do you like about their relationship?
Holland: I love that Roy kind of made Thea realize she wanted to be virtuous. She got her head screwed back on her shoulders thanks to him. Seeing how reckless he's been with life choices despite having so much potential, Thea realized she didn't want to be reckless anymore. And she didn't want him to waste that potential either, so now she's trying to coax Roy into thinking that way too. It's slowly becoming a healthy relationship for both of them.
ETonline: Last we saw, Thea and Roy set out to un-hood The Vigilante. How close do they get to that this week?
Holland: We get pretty close. They're definitely on the trail this week -- especially in one scene, which is amazing because it's not only the whole cast together, but has Roy and Thea right in the middle of all this Hood-ness without any idea! And Oliver is none too happy to see them in that moment. But, I still have to admit, we still have not uncovered his identity.
ETonline: How do you think Thea would react to learning The Hood's identity?
Holland: I still haven't quite come to a clear-headed decision about it. We're all on the fence between two ideas: either she'd be so resentful for him keeping this secret or she would be so in awe of what he's accomplished. It could really go either way. I'm still trying to sink my teeth into that idea.
ETonline: The CW's description of Sacrifice, the finale, included this line: "After hearing of the danger in The Glades, Thea races to find Roy, inadvertently putting herself directly in the line of fire for Malcolm's devious plan." That makes me think Thea is going to die...
Holland: You should be very worried about her -- but you should be worried about everyone. They worded that tease very much towards Thea, but every character has an insanely nailbiting moment.
ETonline: How much of the finale will be spent watching from the edge of my seat?
Holland: Probably the entire time [laughs]. Especially the last 15 minutes, but I would be surprised if it wasn't the whole episode.
ETonline: How cool is it to be on a show that developed a super passionate fanbase so quickly?
Holland: It was quite amazing, I have to say. I've done quite a few TV shows and those are what I get recognized for on the street, and at times, I will totally admit, there has been some reluctant behavior for me when people have come up to me. But no matter what mood I'm in, if a fan comes up and mentions Arrow, it makes me instantly happy. I'm so proud of this show and I'm really stoked that fans were so enthusiastic about the show so quickly. I mean, I got recognized for Arrow at the airport when I was headed to Vancouver to shoot the second episode. That was kind of crazy.
ETonline: Given that, were you looking to do TV?
Holland: No. After my other TV stints, I decided to take a sabbatical and decided that when I came back, I wouldn't do any more television. For about two or three years I didn't audition for a single one. Then I got Arrow, and it was pretty awesome. I swear, it was the only pilot I looked at in three years and it was a godsend. I wanted to put on a cape and shoot an arrow -- I mean, Thea isn't going to do that any time soon, but the potential is there, so I couldn't turn down that option!
ETonline: You also star in Tiger Eyes, the first feature film to be adapted from a Judy Blume book. How was making that movie?
Holland: It was awesome. It's actually the first project I was number one (on the call sheet) for and my hat is seriously off to Stephen Amell now. I didn't have to do half the physical work he did, but waking up at 6 a.m. for an 18-hour day where you're in every scene, is a lot. But it's so worth it when it's an interesting piece of material, and you have a crew as phenomenal as we did in New Mexico. It was so amazing working on this film.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.