Coming off a year in which Felicity alternately mourned and felt betrayed by Oliver,
Emily Bett Rickards was promised “lighter, more jovial” times ahead. Season 4 indeed delivered on that, but also so much more.
With the IT whiz-turned-tech titan poised to get blindsided this Wednesday (The CW, 8/7) by the news that fiancé Oliver has a kid out there, TVLine invited Rickards to take stock of her Season 4 storylines to date, tease Felicity’s reaction to the William reveal and wrap her brain around one wild flash-forward grave theory.
TVLINE | Felicity this season has experienced domestic bliss, near-death, paralysis, the return of her long-lost father… and a to-be-broken engagement. Did you know Season 4 would serve up so much drama for her?
know. Although I was promised a happier season — and the writers delivered on that, since Felicity does have a more jovial and positive look at life than she did last year — I wouldn’t have been able to predict we’d pack in
many big life changes for one character in a season. It sort of asks the question, “Does everyone goes through such impactful life changes every single year?” Do you ever just get a year of, “Oh, it was such a lovely year, actually! Thank you so much for asking. I didn’t do anything, nothing happened to me”? And would we enjoy that or not?
TVLINE | Did you have any concerns about Felicity and Oliver going into the season as a happy couple?
I did. Stephen [Amell] and I wanted to keep the relationship real and grounded but also interesting to watch on TV — which is hard to do, because we’re interested in people being “tortured and not together,” or “together but something’s wrong” or “someones keeping a secret.” We do play those things, but Stephen and I really wanted to make it important that when they are together, they are happy, that it is a healthy, communicative relationship, or we show them working
that. I feel like the real struggle in our day-to-day lives is something we sometimes ignore on television — maybe it’s not interesting to watch, but we can only hope that it
. Although then we just stick a dagger in it and everyone’s happy again.
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TVLINE | Donna (played by Charlotte Ross) has had a greater presence this season. What avenues has that opened up for you as an actress?
I mean, besides just working with Charlotte, because we love to work together, it’s so rewarding as a character to have your mother in a scene with you, to have your mother in your life. Because no matter how old you are, you always feel like a child around your parents. Sometimes you’re giving your mom advice or something like that, but still, they almost have this magical power they can put on you and then you just feel like a “young human” again. It is so awesome for me as an actor and for Felicity to have her mother around, because you get to play different parts. You even get to use different parts of your vocal range, because you talk to your mother so differently than you talk to anybody else. That’s something mothers can always hold onto, even if their kids grow up.
TVLINE | Curtis (Echo Kellum) is also new to the mix this season. What do you think he brings out in Felicity?
First of all, he brings out all of my laughs. I adore him. As opposed to being attracted to each other in an opposites sense, they get to vibe on the same level, which I think is so rewarding for both of them, because they don’t get that from a lot of people. I like how that can snap each other out of it when they’re not focused, to keep each other on task. And then when they’re
focused, they really care about each other. That is a relationship I’m hoping we can explore a lot more.
TVLINE | You had a chance to act opposite yourself this season. Is it trippy to see the end product on-screen?
much fun to do, and exhausting to do, and rewarding to do…. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, I felt so fulfilled. But seeing it and wanting to be able to do it again, it’s not so much “trippy”
but being like, “Oh, that’s how that works.” Ali Liebert (
) was my scene partner [alternating as Goth or regular Felicity], and it was so awesome to work a character with another actor I’ve trained with before, to have these beautiful sense of, “We’re molding together these scenes.” Ali’s such an amazing actor, so it was a treat. It was like I was throwing confetti in the air every time we yelled “cut,” it was so much fun.
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TVLINE | It may not be for the long-term, it seems, but how did you prepare for the paralysis storyline? [Showrunner] Wendy [Mericle] told me you were excited for the challenge.
I was excited for the challenge, I was excited for change. I’m so expressive with my body, as an actor, as Felicity, that I was worried about getting in a chair and then not being able to use her entire body. But I talked to a woman who had become paralyzed in her 20s in a snowboarding accident, and that conversation was really eye-opening. She was very generous and giving with all of her experience and information. It made me upset that we didn’t have more time to show what [the acclimation] would be like, because that’s not what our show is about. It made me feel apologetic [because] this takes over your life and we were only able to show that in a minute. I liked that Felicity’s mindset — and obviously it would have taken a lot more time [to accept], I cannot stress that enough — was, “This is what my life is now and I’m still going to my goals and dreams come true.” I was proud of her for that, and it was something they promised at the beginning of this season, that Felicity would be lighter, that she is going to be headed in that direction but nothing is going to stop her.
TVLINE | What can you tease about Felicity’s reaction to the news about Oliver’s son William?
I feel like we saw her in the crossover episode react in a certain way, and we’ll see seams of that play into this reality, this timeline that we watch — which is interesting to think about, that we’re not watching all of the timelines all the time and yet they’re happeninnnng! [
] I think we all know Felicity’s heart pretty well, and we know that she tries to be as honest as possible all of the time. I feel like that’s something she respect in her friends and in the people she surrounds herself with, and with that said, when she finds out this information that she
TVLINE | How did you find out that Felicity would not be wearing her engagement ring in the flash forward, and what was your reaction?
It literally said in the script, “NO RING,” and I was like, “OK….” Filming that scene, we knew virtually nothing about what it really was about. [
Ed. Note: At the time, the identity of the person in the grave was not set in stone
.] Your character knows what’s going on but as an actor you don’t, so it was about trying to get as much information from the writers and potentially where this story is headed…. Everything’s going to make sense in the end, but at the same time, I found filming that eighth of a page to be very… I couldn’t stress myself out about it, but I found it difficult. Because I like to know what the authenticity is.
TVLINE | You almost have to play it down the middle….
Yeah, or play both extremes. I think I’m always going to feel like, “Oh, that was a cheat, because if you had known this….” But as for having no ring on, that was a huge question of, “Well, what is their relationship and why are in this car together?” Obviously they’ve stayed in contact without this ring on, so what does that mean for them? What is the weight between them? Is it their relationship, is it the situation they just went through? What are they talking about in this scene?” Because the scene wasn’t about the ring. And yet the ring fills this underlying space in the middle between them.
TVLINE | Have you seen the fan theory that Felicity
in the grave and that Oliver is hallucinating her there in the limo?
is that?! Like, not “cool,” but no, I hadn’t even thought of that…. Who do
, or for any other show? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.
Man, I wish they asked EBR to do more press. This is one of the most thoughtful interviews with a TV actor I’ve read in a long time.
Thanks for this interview! It’s always so great to read what Emily has to say. She’s always thoughtful and insightful about Felicity. Fantastic. I really hope Felicity doesn’t react the way she did in 4×08 though. I want a more realistic in-character reaction because that didn’t feel like Felicity.
Forgot to add that I’m still totally team Olicity, even after they break-up. <3
Agree w/everything you said, particularly about #408. Oliver and Felicity love each other. I’m hoping they can work through/move passed this (horrible) storyline.
I believe Felicity wasn’t necessarily upset about Ollie having a son, but the fact that he hid it from her even after they had agreed not to keep secrets. That’s what sent her over the edge. She felt betrayed when she found out in the last timeline and I believe she’ll feel the same in this one. But who knows, perhaps she’ll see things a little differently after her injury??
I just haven’t been feeling Arrow this year. It’s the Flarrowverse show with the least priority at the moment. The combination of the lame villain, the crazed focus on the couple, the mishandling of supporting characters to mostly prop up Ollie’s bad decisions and the very abusive fandom that spews hate at an actress and any of her fans are slowly turning me off. I wish the show would do a hard reboot back to Season 1-2 days. I’m hoping with the whole grave thing, the show delivers something that will really help Oliver grow as a character and a hero.
You shouldn’t let fandom drive you off a show. I try calling out anyone who may blur lines between real life and fiction but at some point, it became background noise. Also because of the fact that I’ve seen way more hateful fandoms than this one and that’s including the extreme misogyny in the comic book circles. But I’m curious to know what your other criticism is about. Oliver’s relationships have always been front and center since s1. This season they’ve addressed each and every one of his relationships (with felicity, thea, laurel,diggle, lance) while branching out to supporting characters’ important relationships i.e laurel & sara, diggle & his brother, felicity & her mother, lance & donna, thea & roy. Plus I’m pretty sure Oliver is the only one in this show who actually suffers the consequences of his bad decisions.
i enjoyed. good questions, good answers. Thanks Matt.
Insightful answers. When you know your character, it shows on screen. Thanks for the interview!
ps: can we please stop with this ghost theory when the EPs shot it down right after 4×10 aired?
Emily is so smart and puts the motivation of her character across so well. She’s truly so talented and a joy to watch. Oliver and Felicity have been through so much and in my opinion worse than some kid. Will it be a rocky road sure but I have faith in them.
always love her interview i hope she does more
Awesome interview, Matt. I’ve been waiting and wondering when we’d get an interview from Emily since all of this began. Great questions. I think I’ve figured out who is in the grave. But I do wonder if the show will chicken out and have it be a non core cast member? That would be disappointing. I’m looking forward to seeing Stephen and Emily play out these Oliver and Felicity scenes surrounding this lie. I’m not fond of this plot, it’s just weird to me. But I suppose we shall see how it unfolds. Also, I’m amused by those that think it’s still Felicity in the grave. A ghost? Really? OK. LOL
Yay for Arrow interviews! Emily Bett RIckards is such a wonderful actress and human being! I love how much she loves Felicity and Olicity! Love everything she said about Felicity, Donna, Curtis, and Olicity! So hopeful and wonderful! Olicity are soulmates! Love Emily Bett Rickards so much for this interview! Thank you so very much for giving us this interview! Emily Bett Rickards interviews are the best! Only thing better would be a joint Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell interview! It would be amazing if someone could make a joint Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell interview happen! But still so appreciative of this interview!
Thanks for the interview, love her eloquent and thoughtful reply. I like that she put so much effort into the paralysis storyline and also talked to someone going through it. I really wish they could have shown more but this is Arrow and am grateful they handled it a bit better than I expected. As for the child storyline, logic doesn’t work when reasoning the fact that Oliver didn’t tell Felicity so I am ready to move on from it to whatever the next step is but I hope no one justify Oliver’s excuse again and Felicity is given the opportunity to feel whatever she wants to feel regarding this lie.
I wondering if Felicity and Oliver are still together but maybe she gave back the engagement ring because they need to fix things between them first after she finds out about Oliver’s son.
I love this interview with Emily! It’s extremely thoughtful, I’d love to see more interviews with her.
for olicity fans the most important thing is that they are both in the same car together
Great interview. Emily Bett always has great articulated answers.
Great interview, Matt! Emily is so eloquent and well spoken, is always a delight to read her interviews! She knows her character and Olicity relationship really well!
nice interview Matt Thanks. I adore Emily she is clearly very dedicated to her craft. It’s too bad she is wasted on a character I find insufferable.
Awesome interview. I loved her thoughts on the paralysis and how she thinks there should be some more focus on it. I agree with her. Also, I laughed at the hallucination theory. Come on, everyone knows that’s the kind of things certain haters spread around because they are still in denial. Felicity is not going anywhere. The EPs already talk about her father returning in season 5.
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