Arrow Exclusive: Emily Bett Rickards on Felicity in the Field, A Romance with Oliver and More!
Felicity Smoak won us over the minute she began appearing on Arrow, but life is about to get a lot more complicated for our computer expert.
In fact, life-threatening danger is right around the corner upon the return of this CW smash, with Miss Smoak right in the middle of it.
In this week’s episode, “Home Invasion,” Deadshot returns to stir things up for Ollie and crew, while in the May 1st episode (“The Undertaking") Felicity leaves the computer for a change and goes out in the field.
Last week, I sat down with Emily Bett Rickards to talk about what Deadshot does to our heroes, how Felicity will cope with being in the field and whether she’s on board with a possible Ollie/Felicity romance...
TV Fanatic: Deadshot is a big part of the next episode and I know Felicity becomes involved in the hunt for him but does she come face-to-face with him? Does she interact with him at all?
Emily Bett Rickards: No. She’s got a big involvement in what happens about whether Deadshot is caught or not and we get to see tension around Deadshot and within our trio within Diggle, Felicity, and Oliver and that’s what the episode revolves around Deadshot seems to get in the way of our groove.
TVF: So is Deadshot trying to get into your heads just so he can screw with the dynamic?
EBR: He’s doing it unintentionally, but it’s happening.
TVF: In the ‘Undertaken’ episode when Felicity goes into the field, how was that to play?
EBR: I love Felicity when she’s not in the Foundry. I love her in the Foundry but she even says ‘re-circulate the air and no coffee. What’s going on down here?’ She’s obviously frightened. She’s out in the field but she secretly loves it. She probably watched a lot of spy movies. I mean, she knows what’s going on.
TVF: Does she find that she’s more capable than she might realize?
EBR: I find she is capable. She does find herself becoming more comfortable out on the field as time goes on and it’s interesting the way that she’s being written and the way I’ve looked for little treasures in the script and things.
When she starts to play a character when she’s out on the field she’s more comfortable. It’s really interesting because then you see Felicity slip through and then she kind of composes herself back and it’s like ‘okay I can do this,’ I can be somebody else for 20 minutes or whatever.
TVF: I know you’ve been getting questioned a lot about Olly and Felicity. She definitely, you can tell, has moony eyes over him. Duh?
EBR: How do you not? He’s a babe for one, but he’s also opening up to her, which is not something that he normally does. She can feel that, I think. We can feel that when somebody opens up to us when there is sort of a brick wall usually. Also, he saved her life when she had a bomb collar around her neck. He’s going to save her life again in future episodes so her heart’s pounding a little bit.
TVF: If you were in the writers' room would you want something to happen or do you think it’s better to tease it out?
EBR: I don’t know. I mean, it would be awesome to see. I think the tension is also very intriguing for audience members. I think that’s always a great thing even when you reading a book or watching a show [and] you’re just waiting. Is it going to happen or you’re just heartbroken or left at the end of a movie or something like that, elated or that sort of thing. Yeah, I’m not sure what I would write. I’m not the writer.
TVF: And all this about Ollie and Felicity but what about Diggle? He’s got those big arms.
EBR: They’re actually the size of my thigh. They’re huge. Why not with Diggle right? David Ramsey!
TVF: You said Ollie saves her life again. Does he end up having it jump in and help her in “Undertaken?”
EBR: He does have to help her. She’s out on the field, but she is five foot five little blonde girl so you know she can’t really take down any big muscular guys or anything like that if this were to happen.
TVF: Felicity is always so together and focused at work. Do you think her home life would be the opposite of that?
EBR: I always wonder when I play a character if I would be friends with them or whether or not they would be friends with me and I think I would probably be friends with Felicity because she’s really smart, but she probably wouldn’t be friends with me because my apartment is a little messy.
TVF: Ever since Felicity began appearing, the fans have just gone crazy for her. Does that add any pressure to you?
EBR: No. I never dreamed in a million years that this was how it was going to be. Pressure? No, it’s just really nice. It’s a compliment to the writers and to the team and I’m really grateful, as well. I think it’s fun.
TVF: Who do you think is the bigger fashionista? Felicity or Emily?
EBR: Oh, we’re different. I own leather, I'm pretty sure she owns nothing leather. One of the first episodes working with David, I was leaving set and I said good bye to him and I was dressed in my regular clothes and he looked at me and he goes, “Oh, my gosh I had no idea that was you.” I think I was wearing a black leather bomber jacket you know, something normal in Vancouver cold weather. He just had no idea it was me.
TVF: A lot of the characters on this show have secrets. Do we know if Felicity has any secrets?
EBR: We don’t really get into when she has secrets besides the fact that she’s carrying this huge secret that she knows who the vigilante is…but she’s got her own little secrets. Everyone does, but she’s open with all of them. We don’t really get to see her devouring or holding any back quite yet.
TVF: You came on the show it had already been airing. What was the biggest surprise working with Stephen?
EBR: Working with Stephen was great. He has been continuously offering his help because I’m green to the industry. Well, since Felicity has become more popular there are new avenues that I’m searching and he’s been such a great help. Everyone on this show has been like, ‘anything you need just talk to us.’ Everyone has been really helpful. I think I’m surviving.
'Arrow': 'Olicity,' Felicity's First Solo Mission And More Intel From Emily Bett Rickards And Marc Guggenheim
"Arrow" returns on April 24, and as the episode's title "Home Invasion" suggests, things will hit close to home for Oliver (Stephen Amell), and his allies Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).
The Huffington Post recently caught up with Rickards and executive producer Marc Guggenheim to preview what's ahead in the final four episodes of Season 1 and discuss the show's compelling relationships, including the unexpected popularity of what fans have termed "Olicity," the chemistry between troubled vigilante Oliver and tech-guru Felicity -- despite Oliver already being caught up in a potent love triangle with his ex-girlfriend Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and best friend Tommy (Colin Donnell). Superheroes really are chick magnets.
But first things first: Guggenheim previewed what fans can expect from "Home Invasion," which will see our hooded hero "torn between the two closest people in his life ... Diggle and Laurel. It’s really about, 'Where do Oliver’s deeper loyalties lie?' The choice that he makes in Episode 20 will have far-reaching consequences for the remainder of the season."
That conflict stems from the reemergence of Deadshot (Michael Rowe), the assassin who killed Diggle's brother. "In Episode 16, Diggle learned that Deadshot, who he previously thought Oliver had killed, was still running around alive. So, he’s been kind of obsessed with finding his brother’s killer and bringing him to his version of justice. That all comes to a head in ["Home Invasion"]," Guggenheim said. "But unfortunately, it comes to a head at the same time as Laurel is facing a new problem of her own. So Oliver finds himself torn in two different directions."
And while Laurel is never far from Oliver's mind, it's obvious that the writers are also paying attention to the sudden popularity of the "Olicity" dynamic. Guggenheim was recently teasing fans on Twitter with Oliver and Felicity quotes from upcoming episodes, and the executive producer admitted, "That's just been so much fun to do ... I had no idea it would be engendering such a response."
As for whether fans would be satisfied with those lines in context, Guggenheim was coy. "I think there’s a lot of really great moments between Oliver and Felicity in the final four episodes of the season. That’s really what people will respond to. There’s a scene that they share in Episode 22 where just the chemistry is just so palpable. I was actually just on set telling Stephen that you really feel there’s a lot of chemistry and heat between the two of them. So, the shippers are only going to get louder post-Episode 22."
Still, the EP added, "the final four episodes really are about this love triangle of Oliver, Laurel and Tommy. That’s the love triangle that we began the series with so we felt it appropriate to finish the season with a focus on it. That love triangle really starts to come to a boil with Wednesday’s episode, Episode 20. That kicks us off for the remaining three episodes of the season after that. The truth of the matter is that we sort of have to play that out first before we can play out Oliver and Felicity. But I love the fact that people are shipping them. It really is exciting. There’s nothing but love for Felicity among all the people involved in the show. So, stay tuned. But in the meantime, I gained a lot of satisfaction by teasing people."
Read on for our conversation with Rickards on her reaction to the Oliver/Felicity shippers and what's ahead for our favorite IT whiz, including a solo mission and characters she's hoping to work with.
People have really embraced Felicity so passionately, both in terms of her character and her chemistry with Oliver. What's your reaction been to that, being at the center of it all?
It’s so interesting to me because before Felicity, I haven’t been able to explore a character on TV as well as this, and seeing that evolve and watching the fans' reaction, watching the show, knowing what we felt in the scene, knowing what we felt reading it, is all strange along the same lines. It’s really interesting to see what people can pick up on. Because as Felicity, my first scene I ever did -- that I thought was going to be the only scene I was going to do with Oliver -- obviously I was thinking, “OK, Felicity thinks he’s hot.” He walks in there and he’s got that jaw and I’m sure he’s got abs, and I’m in glasses and a really unflattering pink-colored shirt -- which is flattering for Felicity. [Laughs.] I’m glad they want that to happen, because it’s the girl behind glasses trying to win the superhero, and that’s just sort of sweet. It would be nice for it to happen, but it’s also nice having the tension, because everyone loves the tension, the tightrope.
Marc has been teasing the fans on Twitter, throwing out Oliver and Felicity lines from Episodes 21 and 22 ...
He is good at that isn’t he? He has some good lines coming out.
Do you think they'll be what fans are expecting, in context? Do you think they'll be satisfying or disappointing when we actually see them?
I don’t think even I can guarantee Felicity’s delivery on any of these lines, because a lot of them are momentary. They only happen once a certain way, because they are all very unfiltered, those lines that Marc's giving out, with the underlying double entendres ... I think they'll always be happy with how they come out -- I sure hope so.
What can you preview about this week's episode and what Felicity will be up to when Deadshot resurfaces?
She’s doing her thing behind the computer. She’s tracking people, she’s finding people, she’s trying to help the team, and she’s also trying to keep the camaraderie and relationship between Oliver and Diggle and Felicity strong. She doesn’t want it to falter or tip more. With tension -- and breaking through tension -- in any sort of relationship, friendship, family, love, that sort of thing, you get through tension and it makes us stronger. I think what Felicity would always rather do is avoid tension completely. We get to see the balance of Felicity, Oliver and Diggle’s trio waiver. The scales are tipping.
Are the guys actually going to come to blows with Felicity caught in the middle?
Yeah, Felicity gets to spend a little bit more time with Oliver, which I’m sure everyone will be happy with, and she gets to spend time with Diggle too, and she’s trying to be neutral -- she's Switzerland. She knows that they need to figure it out, but she’s just trying to help it move along faster, because there are lives at stake. “Come on, guys! There are people going to die here. There are arrows being shot, and somebody has a gun!"
Next week's episode, "The Undertaking," will see Felicity's first mission in the field alone. What can you reveal about that?
We get to see her out in the field and she’s playing a character, which is also kind of fun. The character has a name actually, so that’s kind of cool. We get to see her sort of step across dangerous borders, and she’s voluntarily putting herself out there. She does volunteer herself to do it. It is extremely dangerous. She has her superhero on standby, but that is the last resort. Her going out on the field is a last resort, and Oliver coming into the field that she’s on is also a last resort, so there are stakes and danger with both situations. We do [also] get to find out a little bit more about Walter [Colin Salmon], and I think the audience will be really happy with where it leads.
We've seen Diggle and Oliver trying to train her in hand-to-hand combat. Is she going to be fighting while she's out in the field?
Not quite. She doesn’t get into close quarters combat quite yet. I think what the training with Diggle and Oliver is doing is building her confidence as well. Just being able to protect yourself in any sort of way or feeling strength, you do become more confident, and I think that’s really important for her. She does volunteer herself in this episode to go out on to the field, and that has to come from confidence. It has to come from some sort of self-security in some way. In Episode 3, there was no way that she was going to be, ”Hey, I’m going to go out and look at a gun." She would be like, “I’m never going to look at a gun ever.”
We don't know much about the penultimate episode, "Darkness on the Edge of Town." Is there anything you're allowed to tease?
The finale …people think it’s going to be big. It’s going to be huge. [Episode] 22 could be a finale -- 22 is also huge, so if you think 22 is huge, what is 23? I don't know: it's enormous.
Might we see a Dark Archer encounter before the end of the season? Obviously, she wouldn't be going head to head with him, but perhaps crossing paths?
We don’t see them going head to head. We do see Felicity learning more about the Dark Archer, as Diggle, Felicity and Oliver learn more about the Dark Archer ... There are episodes that are going to revolve around the Dark Archer, which is really fun, but no.
Felicity has mostly been involved with her core trio so far. Have you had the opportunity to work with characters outside of Diggle and Oliver in the final few episodes?
No Roy, no Thea -- hopefully in Season 2. We do get to see Felicity meet more characters out and about. I was thrilled, personally as a selfish Emily Rickard sort of thing: ”I get to work with more of the cast!” because we hang out, but working with them is totally different. So yeah, Felicity does get to meet more characters, and that’s exciting. It's just nice to see people meet ... I always find it really interesting watching people meet on the street, do you know what I mean? And we never actually get to see it unless you’re really looking for it, and you never really know who the people are, so it’s always interesting in a show or a movie to see characters meet, just cross paths, or say hi, or “Sorry, I bumped into you.” Those things are always really cool. I love that sort of stuff. Felicity gets to say hi to Laurel at some point, but you’ll have to watch for that.
As the freshman season wraps up, Felicity returns to the field, and the deeper she goes, the "more emotionally involved" she gets, Rickards tells THR.
Felicity Smoak isn't just an IT girl, she's turning into one valuable asset on Arrow.
After starting off on The CW superhero drama as a supporting player, the doe-eyed, socially inept tech whiz aiding Oliver Queen/Arrow (Stephen Amell) with his technological inefficiencies became a fan favorite, to the point where producers made Felicity part of the series' central mythology -- and promoted actress Emily Bett Rickards to series regular status.
For Rickards, the response was a shock to the system. "I didn't really understand what a fanbase meant," Rickards admits to The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm glad I'm playing a character who's intelligent and brave and facing huge situations, and being real in how she's facing them."
One of the few people aware of Oliver's double life, Felicity will be facing another big test when she heads back out onto the field, a task she's (hopefully) better prepared for in her second go-around. In a chat with THR, Rickards previews Felicity's return to danger, more "Olicity" moments and why viewers should prepare themselves for the final episodes of the season.
The Hollywood Reporter: Congratulations on becoming a series regular for season two. Have you thought about what next season could bring for you and your character?
Emily Bett Rickards: I get to learn more about Felicity. It's funny when I wrapped on Friday (April 12), I was like, "Wait a second, so am I saying goodbye to her for three months? How does that work?" I'm playing with that right now. I'd be so sad if I had to say goodbye forever. I'd probably be crying right now.
THR: Can you talk a little bit about the Oliver and Felicity moments? Those tend to bring out another side to Oliver that we don't see a lot of.
Rickards: The moments between Oliver and Felicity, they're interesting because they really organically happened when Stephen and I are on-set. Stephen and I don't talk about "Olicity," and Felicity and Oliver don't talk about Olicity. It's really interesting. I've never been able to explore a character this deeply especially going into the second season. Those moments are proof of a friendship, which is important in any relationship too, that's just going to grow and become stronger and more honest.
THR: Felicity gets back into the field in an upcoming episode. What should we expect there?
Rickards: She ventures out once again. We saw in episode 15, she was all dolled up in an art gallery with her bomb collar and that was the first time we saw Felicity in the field, which she didn't quite like because she had a bomb collar around her neck. She volunteers to do it again in episode 21. There's a huge period of time [between], and she's been training with Diggle (David Ramsey) and Oliver, learning more and she's significantly more involved since [episode] 15 for her own morals and judgments. She's changing in how she looks at things. She's becoming more emotionally involved in what is going on with the undertaking, the book, the Glades. She wants to protect people who are going out in the field. She puts her life at risk. She's not working behind a computer, she's dealing with people, which is hard for her.
THR: With her being so socially awkward?
Rickards: She's extremely socially awkward, but I think that's why it's so important for her to go out. You go and you face your fears, and that's maybe the simplest fear -- not to be underrated -- because there are lives at stake and there are guns all around. There are a lot of armed people around, lots of danger when she goes out and she's doing it by herself, so that'll be interesting for the audience.
THR: Will she get herself into a bind?
Rickards: She needs help and she gets help. You've seen her do a little bit of training. You've seen her fall on a mat with Diggle and Oliver, but what we can expect, looking at Felicity she's not going to be able to take on a big, bulky guy. There's just no way. She's going to need help if she gets into a terrible situation which might happen.
THR: Will different shades of Felicity be uncovered?
Rickards: What I like about when she goes out the second time, she is able to fully commit. She becomes braver, she realizes she can play a character and do this, that she doesn't have to be herself.
THR: It seems like on any given day, one other person is let in on Oliver's secret that he's Arrow. Is there a limit to how many people can know?
Rickards: In "The Huntress Returns" we had Felicity, Diggle, Tommy (Colin Donnell) and Helena (Jessica De Gouw) all on-set and in the same scene -- we're coming in and out of the Foundry -- and you could just see Oliver be like "There are too many people who know my secret!" That's extremely dangerous for his protection and our protection. He's playing a dangerous game with people he's telling.
THR: How would you describe the final episodes of the season?
Rickards: When we get to episode 22, Stephen has said this too: It is so big that it can be the finale. You would expect that to be the end, and then we're going to episode 23, and it's even bigger. If we ran both episodes 22 and 23 on the same night, there'd be a lot of strokes happening. [Laughs]
THR: Any specific moments you can point to?
Rickards: There are some Olicity moments, don't worry, and there's a really nice Diggle/Felicity moment too. You get to see her be introduced to a few more characters on the show. I can tell you she doesn't meet Roy [Harper, played by Colton Haynes]. People are expecting her to meet Roy in this season and she doesn't.
THR: Where does Felicity end up at the end of the season?
Rickards: The season finale's called "Sacrifice." If the audience wants to play treasure hunter and really look at the title, every single character in the show is sacrificing something huge. I think every scene you break down, there's a huge sacrifice. You guys will be invested in it, and heartbroken and moved and hopefully you don't have a stroke.
THR: Have the producers given any clues as to what's in store for Felicity and Oliver's partnership in season two?
Rickards: What I know is she's a strong part of that team. She is Team Vigilante, Team Arrow. She is that and I know that. I haven't been given any clues about Olicity, I don't know who Felicity is going to be meeting.
THR: What do you want to see in the new season?
Rickards: I want to see Felicity's home life. I would love for the fans to see her -- for my own selfish purposes -- do some combat. I would love to work with our stunt director.
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She's great and I hope they continue to develop her character in season 2.