Who knows what fear lurks in the minds of men on the island of Lian Yu?
The Shado knows.
All kidding aside, Shado is a major character from the Green Arrow mythos, brought to life on Arrow by the talented Celina Jade. Shado’s presence has changed the dynamic in the island sequences, and we’ve been fortunate enough to interview Ms. Jade about playing the iconic role. Shado plays an important role in the island happenings in the season finale, which kicks off tonight with the first part of the story, which is titled “Darkness On The Edge Of Town.” (The actual finale airs NEXT Wednesday, on May 15).
So, here’s our interview; with our questions in bold and her answers in regular type. If you like the interview, please just link to it rather than reproducing elsewhere. And our huge thanks to Celina Jade for taking the time to talk with us! (Disclaimer: This interview was conducted right as production on Season 1 was wrapping, a few weeks ago. So, there was talk of a wrap party being in the future, where now, it’s actually happened!)
GATV’S CRAIG BYRNE: It seems like you all have quite a team up there. Can you talk about your camaraderie with the rest of the Arrow cast?
CELINA JADE: We get along great. It’s funny, because the island scenes are done on completely different days, so I haven’t really had the opportunity to meet everybody in the city. It’s as though we’re on two completely different productions in some ways. But working with Manu [Bennett], and Byron [Mann], and Stephen [Amell] has been really fun. They’re truly cool people to work with. I’ve learned a lot, and they really do take care of me.
It’s been really cool. The action sequences are really fun. Stephen’s really good at looking out for me, if we’re doing action, he’ll tell me to be careful, and stuff like that. It’s been really fun. I’m the only girl, so I’m with a bunch of boys, but I’m used to that, because I’m sort of a tomboy myself.
I can’t wait to go to the wrap party and meet all of the main cast who are in the city, as well. I’m excited.
What is the relationship like between Shado and her father, Yao Fei, at this point?
Shado used to be a lawyer, and her father was a general in the military. He basically was framed for something that he didn’t do, and was banished to the island on Lian Yu. So, he was there, and she’s been as a lawyer trying to fight to gain his release, but the whole time in China, she had no idea where she is, and all of the sudden, one day, these guys show up at her apartment, saying “look. We know where your dad is,” and she lets her guard down. Next thing you know, she ends up on the island as Fyers’ bait to use [against] Yao Fei.
In my mind, Shado really, really admires her father. She’s an only child; China has a one-child policy. He never had a son; he trained her in all the skills she knows. She’s an incredible martial artist and archer. You can tell by how she trained Oliver that she’s not just a skilled martial artist, but she also understands the philosophy behind martial arts, like the discipline of the mind. She’s quite a centered person. She has a lot of strength, which she got from her father. I think that her priority for the longest time is “I need to free my dad,” and now that she’s on the island, she actually has a chance to free her dad, and escape this island, and hopefully be with family again.
Did you work with Byron on The Man With The Iron Fists at all?
Yes! I actually met him on The Man With The Iron Fists. Again, I was the only girl. That’s what happens when you’re doing martial arts stuff! There are not a lot of women who want to get banged and bruised up. So, yeah. I met him on The Man With The Iron Fists. He’s really cool. He’s a great guy. It was hilarious when I found out that I was playing his daughter. I came on set; we’re in make-up, and he’s there and I go “Hey! Good morning Daddy!” [laughs] I’m like “What’s up, Daddy?” and he played straight into it. He goes “You have a tattoo?”
I was like “Oh, yes, Dad. I’m really sorry I got it. I didn’t want you to find out.” He goes “Put your clothes on!” [laughs] But, yeah. He’s fun to work with, and a good guy, and it’s very funny that I’m playing his daughter.
How does Shado’s presence change the dynamic between Oliver and Slade?
We have yet to find out. The producers are really good in terms of keeping me on my toes. But I think the dynamic is quite interesting. Because she’s the only girl, there is a little bit of a hint of jealousy, that Slade thinks “That girl. Why does she believe in Oliver? This guy can’t fight, he can’t hold himself against anybody at the moment…” There’s also definitely a competitiveness that goes on between Slade and Shado, that is flirtatious but at the same time hard core. Slade’s going to be like “Who’s this chick? She shows up on the island, she’s just as good of a fighter as I am, we’re quite on par with each other,” and she’s got these really bizarre teachings that Slade is very, very skeptical about. I just think the dynamic between the characters is really cool, and the fact that Shado can play somebody in Oliver’s life where she helped him, I like to think that she helped him find the hero within himself.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to teach somebody martial arts, but when you try to teach somebody martial arts, a lot of times there’s a lot of doubt that comes with it. “I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I can kick so high. I don’t want to get punched in the face…” but because her teaching methods are so different, it actually takes away the doubt that comes with learning. Also, the pressure of being on the island and trying to get off of it… so I think that her philosophy is so different that Oliver can learn, and without knowing it, he’s actually training, and he’s becoming stronger, and he starts to realize “You know what? I can do it.” And the beauty of when a person or a character feels “I can actually do this,” the learning curve starts to really propel.
You’ve talked a lot about what Oliver can learn from Shado, but what can Slade learn from Shado?
A sense of humor? No, I’m joking. I don’t know. That’s a good question. I need to think about that.
Do you think we’ll ever be able to see Shado’s backstory being told on screen?
She’s talked about her backstory a little bit in Episode 19, about her father and stuff like that. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Season 2 yet.
In the comic books, Shado is a much more ruthless, hardened character. Do you think that this version of Shado might be at that point at some time?
I think it’s possible. I like to think that Shado’s character has some story to tell. She is on the island. A lot is going to happen on the island. That’s going to definitely mold her character. Whether it becomes more like who she is in the comic books, or not, it’s hard to tell, but I like to think that you’ll see her grow a lot.
Did you have to do any archery training in order to play Shado?
Yes. I did have to do archery training to play Shado, absolutely. I’ve done a lot of action before; I’ve never had to do archery, but my father actually was a very keen archer when I was a kid. He still has, ’til today, a collection of bows and arrows, but then his bows are like 100, 150 pounds to pull, so there’s no way I could pull it. But I learned a bit of archery when I was a kid, because of my dad, and being on this show has been really cool, because one, my dad has another thing to make fun of me for. He’s now like “Okay. Not only are you following in my footsteps in becoming a martial arts actress, but you’re also doing archery now. Everything you thought was only Dad’s thing when you were a kid, you’re actually going to do now.” So yeah, I’ve been doing training, and it’s fun, because it’s not just learning archery; it’s learning how to be on your feet and moving, and shooting things at the same time. I really would love to get a hold of a bow and arrow and ship it back home, except I think Immigration would probably stop me, and I would have a lot of explaining to do.
Is there any possibility we might someday see Shado in Starling City, and not on the island?
I hope so. I don’t know. I hope so. I think that would be so cool. But at this moment, I don’t know yet. We haven’t spoken about Shado’s character development. I am grateful that she is still alive. I hope I don’t pick up the next episode script, open it up and go “What? I’m dead? Huh?”
We joke about it, because I asked “if somebody really gets killed off, what happens?” and then they said “well, you know, probably the producers would call you up and say ‘we really enjoy working with you, but we’re killing you now.” So I said, “oh, well that’s easy, then! Whenever I get a call from a producer, I’m just going to refuse to pick up!” [laughs]
I saw on your official website that you have a music album. Can you talk about your music, and where people can purchase it?
Yeah. I just released my album independently. It’s on iTunes, so you can buy it on iTunes. It’s my first ever self-written album. It’s cool, because whether somebody finds it tomorrow, or twenty years down the line, it’s there. It’s not like the old days, where you had a CD and once it’s sold out, it’s sold out. It’s cool, because I’m growing up, and my music’s going to grow with me. Who knows. Maybe my next album will be completely different than my last one. I really enjoyed with Kevin Corrigan, who was the producer on the album. He was very, very supportive, and we wrote it together. Whenever we had a creative block, we went for a walk, and just made it happen, and now I have an album.
Is there anything you’re allowed to tease about the finale?
The season finale is incredible for the island. It is intense, is all I can say, and I think fans are going to love and hate the last episode. They’re going to love it, because it’s amazing; but they’re going to hate it, because the pain of waiting for Season 2 is going to be intense.
Let’s put it this way: I think Arrow’s going to go out with a bang.
What do you have planned for your summer hiatus?
As soon as I’m done, after the Arrow wrap party, I am flying straight back to Hong Kong. I am arriving 8AM on Tuesday morning, going straight into rehearsals for a musical which I am going to be performing in. We have fifteen shows starting May 16th, so yeah, it’s going to be rehearsals every single day.
It’s the first time I’m leading a musical, and I’m working with some absolutely incredible actors from West End, and an award-winning musical director. They’re so incredibly talented. So, yes, I’m going to be doing that, and trying to hold my own, projecting over 30 people, and also making sure I’m not singing out of tune. [laughs] I’ll be doing that, and then hopefully I’ll have a little bit of time; I really would like to take time off to go somewhere quiet, and meditate, and just cut myself from the world, and then come back in July for Season 2.
Do you have anything else you would like to say to the fans who may be reading this?
Enjoy the Season 1 finale. Waiting for Season 2 is going to be painful!
Our thanks to Celina Jade for doing this interview. You can find her on Twitter: @CelinaJade. Don’t miss Shado in a new Arrow tonight at 8PM (ET) on The CW!