Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Questions with ARROW Star Willa Holland

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Heroes are carefully crafted from the brutal sands of time, and in the CW series ARROW, Oliver Queen was forged by five harsh years trying to survive on an island hunted and tormented by oppressors at every turn.  It steeled his resolve to return home and eradicate the evil festering in his home city so that those he loved would be free of such fear and domination. Fortunately for Oliver, he has a few key friends and family watching his back along the way. At last month’s WB Mondo International Press Tour, stars Willa Holland shared insights into their heroic characters and few teasers about what’s upcoming on ARROW, and what the shows they love watching on DVD.

Maybe you could talk a little about Thea’s crush on Tommy.  That seemed to come out of nowhere.  It was absolutely adorable.  He shot her down so beautifully.  But yet, what does she see in Tommy?
WILLA:  I think it was something that just kind of ?? at that moment, she had never really thought of Tommy like that, and it was something that kind of just got put ?? instilled into her brain.  She totally thought he was talking about her.  So it was just something that it kind of came out of left field for her.  And she acted upon it not necessarily in the best way, and I think it’s been put to bed for the moment.  I definitely think she learned her lesson that time, I think, is not going to approach it.  And if she does, she’s going to do it a lot smarter next time.
How are you most like your character and what are the big differences?
WILLA:  I love my character.  I absolutely do.  Because she is not your typical teenage celebutante billionaire, not that there’s that many of them.  But she’s very grounded in her own sense.  Before Oliver left, I like to think that Thea, when she was 12 years old, was more like a bookworm and kind of like a smarter child out of the bunch and always kind of looking up to Oliver but also seeing what bad he was doing and knowing to stay away from it.  And then the second that he disappeared, having your father taken away from you and your brother, like those two main male figures, I think she tried to kind of relive in their ?? put herself into his shoes and try to live her life vicariously through what he left behind, through all the partying and all that. I like her a lot.  And how am I different from her?  I definitely never went through that crazy, crazy partying stage.  I played the characters that did, so I never really needed to do that too much.  And in this industry, you know, even at the age 14, it’s not unheard of to be invited to the Chateau Marmont for some party or something like that, and they actually let you go, even though at the Chateau, you’re legally not allowed to stay at that hotel unless you’re 21.  So how could somebody underage get in there?  But anyway it’s just ?? you know, growing up in Hollywood, you kind of succumb to this, so I think I did the best to steer clear from it.  But it is very interesting playing characters that do go into that, because I want to bring people away from the negative outlook on girls that are going through that situation.  Because they always think that they’re just spoiled and have everything offered to them and the reason why they’re doing that is because they just have the opportunity to.  But I think that there is more to it.  I think they are acting out.  There are reasons why they are doing this.  Because they actually do have everything handed to them on a silver platter and they could be living life perfectly, going to Harvard on the perfect A?track, but they choose not to for a distinct reason, and that’s actually to piss off their parent, but for a reason.  There is a reason for all those things, so yeah.
So did you ever rebel against anything growing up?
WILLA:  I did rebel against my mother.  My way of rebelling against her is I had a boyfriend that was a little older than I was at the time.  But it’s not like I ever really went out clubbing or anything like that.  My way of rebelling was by, you know, going to hang out with him instead, without her permission.  And I would ?? you know, I’d sneak out of the house and stuff like that, but I’ve never really party?partied.  And I’d also steal my mother’s clothes, not that I knew what they were, the labels or anything like that.  But I’d borrow her clothes sometimes.  She’s just got the biggest closet, and she’d never noticed they were gone, I swear.
A lot of people are watching TV shows these days by buying a whole set on DVD and powering through it and getting to see the outtakes and special features.  And your show is probably going to be one of those shows where people will be able to get that first season and watch it that way.  Have you watched shows that way?  What do you think of the idea of people watching your show on home video?
WILLA:  I have watched a couple shows like that.  I discovered my obsession with BREAKING BAD that way.  I started the first and second season on DVD.  I was sick and watched it all within maybe four days.  It was a really long four days, but it was amazing and I loved it, because you just kind of like swarm in everything.  And then all you want to do is watch it over and over again to get bits and pieces.  And I think ARROW would actually be a very good show for that, because there’s a lot of things that I even find myself, when we’re filming, I’m like, oh, oh, oh, God, okay, this makes sense now.  It’s like there are so many levels to the show, and it’s kind of hard to pay attention to everything when we’re going through it.  We got a shoot this whole hour episode in eight days, so it’s not necessarily the easiest thing to do.  So there’s a lot of things going on that keep us distracted.  And especially when we do the read?throughs.  It’s kind of like an eye?opening experience.  And then we watch the show after maybe a couple weeks later, and it’s like, wait, I read script, I shot it, and how did I not notice that?  It’s kind of interesting, but I enjoy it.  I enjoy these little gems.  They’re like little Easter eggs that you can never keep yourself away from.
How do you compare the hero of ARROW with the other superheroes?  What do you think is special about him?
WILLA:  Well, ARROW is necessarily a vigilante, he doesn’t actually have superpowers.  Like Batman, he’s kind of just using his own awesome physical abilities that he’s acquired over the five years on the island and that crazy salmon ladder thing that he can do.  But I think that what makes him different is the fact that Oliver attacks these things ?? he’s very smart about this.  He’s had this kind of five year revenge plan that he’s kind of worked up to the T.  And even if things don’t necessarily go as planned, you always see him consistently adapting, and I think that’s something that I enjoy about his take on a superhero, is that he’s very reactive and able to adapt and he’s reactive and able to adapt.

ARROW airs Wednesdays at 8PM on The CW (7PM on CTV in Canada)

Tiffany Vogt is the Senior West Coast Editor, contributing as a columnist and entertainment reporter to She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).

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