This Thursday’s episode of Smallville, entitled “Siren,” not only introduces us to the Black Canary, but also marks the long-awaited return of the Green Arrow to the series.  This is the first time viewers have seen Oliver Queen since the season 6 episode “Justice,” and the new installment promises to get them up to speed on what the Justice League member has been up to for the past year.

To prepare for tomorrow night’s episode, BuddyTV spoke to the Arrow himself, Justin Hartley, and got the scoop on his return appearance, as well as whether he’d consider his own Smallville spin-off.  Continue reading for the full transcript of the interview as well as the mp3 audio file.

Hi, this is John from BuddyTV and I’m talking to Justin Hartley, who makes his return to Smallville this Thursday as the Green Arrow.  How are you doing, Justin?

I’m doing really, really well.  How are you?

I’m doing great.  Now it’s been about a year since fans have seen you on Smallville.  When returning to the set, is it difficult to get back into that rhythm you were in with the actors and on the set?

No, not at all.  I don’t know if that has to do with this particular show or if that’s just kind of the way things are. I’d imagine it has to do with the cast and the crew of each particular project, but for this one no, not at all.  I just kind of walked right back into it.  The only thing I had to make sure I was doing was keeping myself in semi good shape, you know what I mean?  You don’t want to show up and bust through that costume.  It was great.  Everybody’s really fun, really nice, and I had a wonderful experience.  The show is great.

This is just a one and out episode right?  You’re just returning for this one, you’re not coming back for an arc?

Well, I don’t know.  I never ask and I never presume that I am, but I never rule it out or anything.  I just know that it was one so far and I would gladly come back, but I just always wait, and like I said I never really ask what the plans are.  I just go at it.  I just agree to do what I agree to do, and then go at it and don’t really think past that.

In this episode, the Green Arrow has been away for a bit with his Justice League.  Do we find out what’s been going on with the Green Arrow for the last year?  Where he’s been, what’s been up to?

We do a little bit.  They do a really good job of kind of explaining everything without having to spend half the show explaining it, because then it becomes a bunch of exposition and stuff like that.  Basically what you find out really quickly through another character is what he’s been doing, what he’s been up to, and why he’s back.  You find out all this information really, really quickly throughout the first five, ten minutes of the show. Probably five minutes of the show.  Then from then on out it’s all about that particular show and what’s going on then, which I think is great.  It’s not like a reunion.  That’s what I can’t stand about Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family wants to talk about what they’ve been up to for the past year.  It’s like let’s get on with it, you know what I mean?  Carve the turkey.

This episode also debuts a new superhero into the Smallville world, Black Canary, who comic fans know has a lot of history with the Green Arrow.  How familiar were you with the history in the comics, and do you pay any attention to that back story for feeding into your performance on this show?

The first part of your question, I was familiar to the point. . .the second part of your question kind of answers the first part.  I absolutely pay attention to that.  That’s pretty much how I do all of my research.  I think that’s important.  You’re not creating a brand new character, you have to kind of serve everything that’s been written about, or the whole mythology of the character kind of as you do it.  Smallville kind of takes a couple steps away sometimes from the characters the way they’ve been written, but you still have to honor the whole mythology of the character, no matter who you’re playing.  Especially someone like Green Arrow, who’s been around for awhile.  I was familiar with the Black Canary, the relationship and all that kind of stuff from reading the comics.  In doing my research it was all about the Green Arrow, so I really didn’t pay that much attention to the particular character of the Black Canary until I got this script, then I found out that she was gonna be in the show and I went back and did more research about that.  I was never really like a huge comic book fan until I started doing all this kind of stuff, and you get sucked into it really quickly.  It’s pretty fascinating. I guess that’s my long answer for you.

Everyone knows that you were supposed to be in the Aquaman show, but because of the whole CW merger that sort of disappeared.  I think a lot of fans would love to see a Green Arrow spin-off, or see more of you in the Justice League.  Is there any talk, or do you have any opinion on whether that would be something you’d be interested in?

It’s always great to hear people say stuff like that, because it’s very humbling for me.  In anything, but especially in my career, which is something I’ve chosen because I love it so much.  To hear people say stuff like that, if you can reach even a couple people who think you’re doing something worth watching, that means a lot.  Like I said, I don’t ask any questions and I don’t presume, but I have an opinion and of course I would love to do that, that would be great.  Can you imagine that job?  Your job is basically to dress up like a superhero, play a superhero, just kick ass.  That’s your job.  I don’t know if it gets much better than that. That’s my opinion, but I don’t know about any talks or anything.  I’m sure some people are talking one way, some people are talking the other way, and some people don’t care either way.  But I just don’t really ask.

That’s probably a good way to go at it.

Yeah, because then you don’t get disappointed, you don’t get your hopes up, but at the same time you don’t have to be ready for something.  I’m not going to pry, you know what I mean?

Since you’ve been off the show for over a year, have you been doing other projects?  Other TV, moving into film?

Yeah, I did some independent features, I did a couple of short films.  My gosh, I’ve done some television guest spots, I’ve done some indie films, studio films, pretty much everything you can imagine.  I just did a web series with Rosario Dawson, which was kind of cool.  I’ve done everything you can imagine except theater, which is one of the things I kind of wanted to do, to get back into, but I just haven’t had time, which is kind of a blessing.  If you’re busy in this business, you’re lucky.  Eventually I’d like to dabble back into theater a little bit, but yeah, I’ve been pretty busy.  It’s amazing when you’re not on a show how many different projects you work on throughout the year.  It’s incredible how many people you meet.

– Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of the CW)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.