The CW’s epic five-part crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths” kicks off with The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) sending Harbinger (Audrey Marie Anderson) to gather the worlds’ greatest heroes to prepare for the imminent danger that’s coming. Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), The Flash (Grant Gustin), Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), Batwoman (Ruby Rose), White Canary (Caity Lotz), The Atom (Brandon Routh) and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) must suit up for battle, or everyone and everything on their worlds will be gone.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Audrey Marie Anderson talked about how she found out the details of what she’d be doing in the crossover, getting her own supersuit, the relationship between Harbinger and The Monitor, how awesome it was to be on set with all of the superheroes, whether we’ll get a sense of what’s to come for Lyla Michaels and John Diggle (David Ramsey), and what it’s meant to her, to have been a part of Arrow for its eight-season run.
Collider: How did you find out about how this whole crossover thing would work – that you’d be in it, that you’d have this superhero identity, and that you’d have a supersuit? Did they unload all of that on you at once, or did they tell you about it in bits?
AUDREY MARIE ANDERSON: No, it got revealed to me slowly. Nobody just sat me down and had a meeting with me, at the beginning of the season, and said, “This is what we’re gonna do. This is what your arc is.” It was hinted at. The writers are very protective of the material and what they’re gonna do. They don’t want it to leak out, so I get it. But honestly, at the beginning of the season, I was thinking, “Oh, I wonder what Lyla is gonna be doing, this season,” thinking that I would just pop in and do my usual ARGUS bit. And then, they started dropping these little about what I was gonna do. Then, I was told I was gonna get a suit and I was like, “Oh, wow!” That was really fun, getting the suit. That was a great process. I loved seeing that all happen, and seeing the drawings. But it didn’t occur to me, until about four episodes in, that it was kind of a big deal. When I got the scripts, I had a lot of questions, just like everybody else. I didn’t really understand some of what was happening, with the relationship with The Monitor and Lyla. It was really fun, getting the answers and having everything reveal itself, once the scripts would come out. So, I found out gradually, over several episodes.
Having been a part of the show for so long, what was it like, at this point in the series, to get to create a superhero identity for yourself and have the suit? Is it cool to feel like you’re part of that club now?
ANDERSON: Yes, it totally is. I was like, “This is kind of cool.” At first, I was worried and like, “Oh, my god, am I gonna look good in my suit? It’s really tight, and there’s all that human stuff. Is it gonna look cool? Is it gonna look good?” Once I relaxed about that, it was really fun. I embraced it. At first, I was a little skeptical, but I really thought the costume was great. If you look at the images of Harbinger from the comic books, it’s a whole thing. It’s very stylized and, in my opinion, it doesn’t match up with who Lyle Michaels is on Arrow. And so, I really thought they did a fantastic job of taking the Harbinger concept, identity and the physicality of it, and matching it to like who Lyla is on Arrow. I was really pleased, ultimately, with the final product of who Harbinger is on this crossover. It was fun to get a supersuit and be a part of saving the world, in that way, rather than the typical Lyla Michael ARGUS way, which is fun, too. It was a bittersweet season ‘cause I got to do a lot of new stuff that I haven’t done before, but then there were a lot of final things. It was like, “This is the last time that Diggle and Lyla are on a mission.” There were a lot of lasts.
For those of us who will be coming into “Crisis on Infinite Earths” fresh, what can you say to tease what we can expect from the relationship between The Monitor and Harbinger?
ANDERSON: The relationship between The Monitor and Lyla is a tricky one ‘cause there’s a lot of things I can’t say. I can’t like tease too much ‘cause there’s a lot I can’t give away. It has this mystery. With that relationship dynamic, I had a lot of questions about that, too. You asked me previously about developing the character, and I was a little bit on the hot seat ‘cause I was getting bits and pieces of information, and I didn’t really know, initially, how I was gonna play all of that. What is that transition, going from Lyla Michael to the Harbinger. She’s never been a superhero, and I didn’t have a ton of history, initially. But honestly, once LaMonica [Garrett] and I started doing the scenes together, a lot of things really fell into place. Even I, the actor, thought that their relationship was one thing, and then I discovered that it was something else. Sometimes I would discover that while doing a scene, so that was a lot of fun. It was great. There was a lot of discovery in it. And then, the scripts would reveal what was going on. I had a bunch of questions and I went on my own little journey with it. Sorry, I can’t tease too many specific things.
One of the things that we do know is that Harbinger is the one responsible for bringing all of the heroes together. What was it like to get to do those scenes, where you have to be the one to let each of them know what’s going on? Did you get to have a fun moment with each of them?
ANDERSON: Kind of, yeah. I can’t really explain it. Yes, there are these little moments. Each superhero, or character, reacts in their very specific way to it, so that’s a lot of fun. That’s one thing that I really enjoy about the crossovers. The tone of Arrow is very different from the tone of The Flash and the tone of Supergirl. It’s always been like really interesting and a fun little thing to do, when you take this character that’s developed in the Arrow tone and put them in this completely other world, like The Flash where it’s always lighter. It’s always really fun to go on the different shows and be that character, but in a different world.
Since we have seen some group photos, did you have a moment when everyone, or a big group of you, was together, where you looked around and it just felt really surreal?
ANDERSON: Yes, it feels totally surreal, but it’s also just really awesome. I’m not a big picture taker. I don’t take a lot of pictures or post a lot of stuff. I’m not very good at it and it’s just not my personality. But I definitely took pictures. This time, I was taking a lot of pictures. It was pretty cool. And I have kids, so I knew that they would like love to see it.
Obviously, there are a lot of storylines to address and wrap up, but by the end of Arrow, will we feel as though we have some sense of where life could go next for Lyla and Diggle?
ANDERSON: Yes, you’ll get that. They do a good job, towards the end, of really buttoning up a lot of things. You’ll definitely get a sense for where they’re going and where they might pop up again. There’s definitely a sense that you might see something with them again. I don’t know what. I’m not teasing anything. But I’m just saying that there’s just that sense that you can imagine what they’ll be doing.
What has it meant to you to have gotten to be a part of this series, working with this cast and crew, and to be a part of this show that really started so much of this universe that now exists because of this show?
ANDERSON: Well, I don’t think I ever expected to be on eight seasons of Arrow, to be honest. I came in at the very end of Season 1. It was a phone call, where a writer called me up and said, “Do you wanna be on the show?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure!” It was really just a one-off. So, I came on, just to guest, and before I knew it, David [Ramsey] and I did a scene, we had a lot of fun, there was a lot of chemistry, and they brought me back. And then, this whole thing developed. I don’t think I ever really expected to keep going. I kept thinking, “Well, they’re gonna kill me off. Something’s gonna happen, and then that will be the end of it.” But they never did. So, for me, to be on a show for seven years that we’ve been shooting, that’s a long time. Obviously, there are shows that have gone on longer, but that’s pretty rare. It’s the longest run I’ve ever been on, on a show.
When I think back to what my life was and what I was doing, in my personal life, seven years ago to now, there’s a big arc, and that’s true for everybody. You watch everybody grow and go through things in their lives, and whether you intend to or not, you care and you get close to them. For me, personally, I’m gonna really miss seeing these people. That’s what it boils down to, at the end of the day. I wouldn’t have kept going on the show, if I didn’t really just enjoy doing it and being there. And so, it’s nice, but it’s very bittersweet, at the end, to say goodbye. Everybody knows there’s a shelf life and it’s gonnna end, eventually, so it’s bittersweet. And as far as the superhero world goes, I wasn’t really exposed to much of the comic book world. This was my entry into it. I didn’t read them, growing up. I’ve learned a lot, as we’ve gone down the road, so I’m actually continually surprised by how important or what a big deal something like this crossover is. It was LaMonica who told me that they’ve never televised a version of “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” I was like, “Wow, that’s huge!” I learn new things about it, and it’s really cool that I’m a part of it. We’re making history here, and that’s really cool.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” airs across the Arrow-verse on The CW, with Part One on December 8, Part Two on December 9, Part Three on December 10, and Parts Four and Five on January 14, 2020.