On October 14, The CW hosted an event for the launch of its new fall season, which also showcased Shethority, an online collective that provides a positive space for all women to discuss the unique challenges of the female experience in today’s world, and debuted the #CWOpenToAll initiative that reinforces the network’s commitment to inclusion and representation.
Collider was invited to hang out on the red carpet to chat with the arriving talent, where we got a few minutes to get some scoop from Legends of Tomorrow actress Tala Ashe and co-showrunner Keto Shimizu. During the interview, they talked about what to expect from Season 4, Zari’s journey, the interaction between Zari and John Constantine (Matt Ryan), the female camaraderie on the show, favorite time periods this season, and finding your voice in a still predominantly male industry.
Collider: What can we expect from Legends of Tomorrow this season?
KETO SHIMIZU: It’s gonna be a crazy, crazy ride! It’s so much fun! I feel like this season is even more crazy. We’ve really hit our stride. This season brings together so many wonderful elements. It’s so fun, but also really subversive, in the best way. Every episode is gonna be so different from the last one, and the next one. The genres that we’re playing in, it’s just explosive and hilarious and also gut-wrenching, at times.
Tala, what’s to come for Zari, this season, especially after such wild events last season?
TALA ASHE: We talk about Beebo a lot. It’s hard not to. No, I don’t know that we talk about Beebo a lot. It’s a season of magical creatures, which has added this really fun element to the show. More and more, the show has been moving towards anything can happen, but now with magic, anything really can happen. That has been fun. Every script I get, I’m so excited to read and see what the writers have come up with. For my character, she’s really a part of the team, this season. In some ways, that’s lovely because it allows us to see this different side of her, with a community and friends, not that we lose the wry, sardonic side of her. It’s been nice for me, as an actor, that my character has been more open to relationships with people.
Because she was the one who was so emotionally closed off from people, what’s it like to get to explore some of the new team dynamics?
ASHE: Zari has a couple of episodes where she’s working closely with John Constantine, who also is very closed off, so it’s two closed off people. It’s interesting for Zari to be in a dynamic where she’s poking him and is like, “Hey, this is a facade. What’s really going on with you?” She’s been on the other side of that coin, so it’s fun. As an actor, it’s nice to be able to bring in other things that she can play.
What do you enjoy about the female camaraderie on this show?
ASHE: I think it’s really important to show that, and to show that women can be friends and support each other. On our show, there is some friction between Maisie [Richardson-Sellers’] new character and Zari because she has the body of Amaya, her old friend, but even in that instance, it’s human conflict. It’s not about women being catty, which we’ve seen enough of and we don’t need to see any more of.
Do you have any favorite time periods, this season?
SHIMIZU: I love them all so much! We have a great episode in Salem this year, and we’re shooting an amazing one right now in Mexico City in the ‘60s with Lucha Libre. It’s been all over the place. It’s the best to be able to write for all of that.
As a female in a still predominantly male industry, when did you start to feel like you had a voice and that your voice was being heard?
ASHE: It’s work that’s ongoing. I’ve been lucky with Legends, where I’ve had showrunners who have been very open to collaboration. That’s not always been the case on other shows. Statistically, it’s still mostly men running things, and mostly male producers, so we have a lot of work to do. It’s wonderful that we’re starting to see more representation on screen, but we also have to change who’s behind the camera. It starts with writers, casting, directors and producers. We need more representation in all of those arenas.
SHIMIZU: I’ve had a lot of people help me, along the way. I was lucky enough to be a part of Writers on the Verge, which is NBC’s diversity writing program, and that really helped launch my career. I’ve been incredibly blessed with every room that I’ve been in, and when I was just starting out, I had some really great mentors who really helped me find my voice and made the room a safe space for me, when I was still super shy in the room. For instance, John Wirth on The Cape took me under his wing and was like, “Hey, Keto, come to editorial. Come to set.” He let me take everything in, and I learned so much. And then, after that, I was on Being Human and Anna Fricke and Jeremy Carver were incredible mentors. They gave me my first script, and they were so nurturing. By the time I got onto Arrow, I was ready. I had all of this momentum, and I felt very much like my voice was heard and that people wanted to hear my opinions and stories. I’ve been really lucky, ever since, to have that be the case.
Are you seeing more female directors on the show?
ASHE: Yes! I know that that’s important to (executive producers) Phil [Klemmer] and Keto [Shimizu]. We have wonderful female directors, and it’s really fun to have that because there’s a lot of men around.
Legends of Tomorrow returns for Season 4 on The CW on October 22nd.