May 1, 2016
'Arrow' Star Paul Blackthorne Was Left 'In A Dark Place'

The loss of Arrow actress Katie Cassidy and her character Laurel Lance/Black Canary hit everyone hard, fans and cast members alike, but perhaps few were affected as deeply as Cassidy's on-screen father, Paul Blackthorne. On Arrow, Blackthorne plays Quentin Lance, father to Laurel, and the actor now reveals that he has taken the character's death especially hard, feeling as devastated as he might feel if he really had lost a daughter.

Arrow Actor Paul Blackthorne Mourns The Loss Of Laurel Lance And The Departure Of Actress Katie Cassidy

Paul says that learning of Cassidy's death onArrow was a profoundly sad moment for him and reveals that he and Cassidy had developed a close working relationship. Blackthorne adds that he hoped their acting chemistry could be felt on Arrow, through the years of them developing a father-daughter relationship. Like Blackthorne himself, his Arrow character was seen trying to cope with the loss of Laurel Lance in a compelling story arc, which found the elder Lance trying to bring his deceased daughter back from the dead.

"It's pretty taxing. You sort of go into a dark place for a few weeks," says Blackthorne of the "Canary Cry" episode, which featured Laurel's funeral. "It's pretty heavy on a personal level for a few weeks. When that last scene sort of happens and then you're done, you sort of realize how heavy it was after it was done. It's pretty exhausting."

The loss will stay with Blackthorne for sometime, but the Arrow actor reveals that his character will find other diversions to distract him from his grief, including a new romance. Drawing Quentin's eye will be Charlotte Ross (NYPD Blue), and Blackthorne says he's enjoyed exploring the relationship, following Laurel's death, because working with Ross has been a great joy.

Paul Blackthorne Is A Champion In Real Life

He may not be a superhero, but Paul is a champion to the animals he seeks to protect in real life. When Blackthorne isn't acting on Arrow, he's working to help save our planet's wildlife and environment. Just last year, the Arrow actor launched a T-shirt campaign to raise awareness about elephant and rhino poaching. The campaign raised over $100,000 and the proceeds went to organizations dedicated to protecting the animals.

This year will see another T-shirt campaign, this time to benefit the Save The Rhino International organization and joining Blackthorne on the project will be Aaron Ramsey. The Arrow actor will also be traveling to Vietnam to further help to raise awareness about rhinoceros poaching.

"I've always been a lover of nature and wildlife, ever since I was a kid rummaging around in bookstores for National Geographic magazines and pinning to my bedroom walls," Blackthorne says.

Blackthorne's trip to Vietnam will serve two purposes. First, the Arrow actor plans to speak with area doctors in the hopes that the myth that rhino horns contain medicinal value can be dispelled. Paul will also speak to the townspeople and do all he can to convince them that rhino horns should not be used as a status symbol, though the high price rhino horns fetch may make that argument a hard sell. Blackthorne definitely has his work cut out for him, but he feels that the rhinos of Vietnam need his attention most of all.

"When I discovered a few months ago that 90 percent of the rhino horn that's poached in Africa is ending up Vietnam, I decided it was good idea to focus on that," says Arrow's Paul Blackthorne.

The next episode of Arrow, entitled "Genesis," will air on Wednesday, May 4 on the CW network.

[Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]