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Caity Lotz Previews Her Legends of Tomorrow Directorial Debut

Legends of Tomorrow -- "Mortal Khanbat" -- Image Number: LGN505a_0467b.jpg -- Pictured: Jes Macallan as Ava Sharpe -- Photo: Jeff Weddell/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Jeff Weddell/The CW. Jes McCallan in the Caity Lotz-directed episode of Legends of Tomorrow “Mortal Khanbat”

You might have noticed on last week’s Legends of Tomorrow, that intrepid Captain Sara Lance was gone for most of the episode seeing to business in Star City. Well, there was a behind the scenes reason for that: Caity Lotz needed the time off from acting to prep the next episode, “Moral Khanbat” which will be her directorial debut.

We talked with Lotz recently about the different challenges of directing versus acting and why most of the really important work on an episode happens before the actual shooting starts. Also: Doves!

“I loved it. I loved it so much,” Lotz said of directing and stepping behind the camera in general. “It was awesome.” Directing gave Lotz a way to flex other muscles, which was a very rewarding challenge. according to her.”

“Acting is so kind of creative and one side out your brain,” Lotz explained, “and directing is creative but also very logistics, planning, timing, prepping.” She found that directing was “very practical, and to be able to use both sides I really liked.” It was also fun to be in control too! “As an actor you just kind of … stay in your lane of what you’re doing is your and like your one job, but all the time you’re like “why aren’t we doing this?” Lotz shared. “And finally I was in the director’s chair and all the things I wanted to do I got to do. ‘No, we’re doing this!'”

Working with her fellow actors in a new and different way was also ver warding for Lotz. “It was really fun … a lot of time directors don’t work with the actors too terribly much because they have so much on their plate already and actors, you know, they know their characters better than the one director who’s coming in to direct one episode and doesn’t know the show maybe that well.” But when it’s a co-star, it’s a bit different. “Since I’ve been working with everybody for so long to able to work with the actor,” is very rewarding.

As to the content of the episode, it has a lot to do with Matt Ryan’s Constantine, who we left literally dying at the end of last week’s installment. Lotz teased: “Matt Ryan has a big episode … emotionally and that was really fun to get to direct him.” But what of the main adventure for the Waverider? Well, the episode is entitled “Mortal Khanbat” and ahead of it, the writers gave Lotz a small heads up. “They gave me a hint: John Woo.”

The hour will be very much a send-up of some of our favorite pulpy action movies from a specific era. “Like 90s action. Very specific,” Lotz said of the tone. But will there be … doves? “Of course there’s doves!” Lotz laughed when we asked. “You don’t do a John Woo style episode without doves!”

Did Lotz get to direct herself very much? Not really, as she wanted to focus on the direction only, but if she gives it another go, she thinks she can act more next time. “Now that I’ve done it one, I’m like “okay, I can do this more. But being the in the prep episode—the episode before—would suck,” Lotz explained, thanks to how much time directors in prep have to spend in meetings and scouting and more. “You’ve got so much to think about and so much work, and the idea of doing that would be incredibly stressful,” on top of acting. “When you’re directing you’re just on all the time. It’s exhausting but great.”

We’re looking forward to seeing what Lotz has cooked up for us tonight!

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 9:00 on the CW with episodes available to stream for free the next day on the CW app.

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.