Actor Stephen Amell talks to Aref Omar about his riveting role as a multi-layered superhero in Arrow
THOSE who followed the early adventures of Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman in the long running TV series Smallville would have seen the Green Arrow in action as a guest character.
Fast forward to the present, and the hooded superhero who dispenses his
deadly brand of bow-and-arrow justice has scored a bullseye in a grittier retelling through the action-adventure TV series, simply titled Arrow.
"We tried to make Arrow as real as possible so nobody on the show has superpowers - we're looking at the humanity in Oliver Queen," says Canadian actor Stephen Amell of the Emerald Archer during an interview in London.
, 32, is excited about his
first leading role as the multilayered Queen, which is based on the DC Comics superhero of the same name.
explains that although there are similarities to Batman and even Robin Hood, the latest TV incarnation of the Green Arrow has a more edgier persona.
For a start, he
doesn't hesitate to kill criminals in the course of dispensing justice, unlike the Dark Knight of Gotham City.
"To me, more often than not, it's not that you're playing a villain rather you just have a different ideological standpoint than whomever your hero is," says Amell
, who's had guest roles in CSI, NCIS: LA, 90210, Hung, New Girl and Private Practice before hitting his
mark with Arrow.
"I played a fiercely loyal werewolf in Vampire Diaries who tortures one of the vampires to seek out information because one of the vampires killed one of his
kind, so technically this guy is a villain.
"But if it was called the Werewolf Diaries instead of the Vampire Diaries, who'd be the hero and the villain now?"
the lure of the Dark Side is an interesting prospect as well.
"Heroic roles are great but I like playing the villain too because if you do it right, they are the roles that are most memorable."
names Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Mission Impossible III, Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of The Lambs and Alan Rickman in Die Hard as some of his
favourite actors who portrayed memorable onscreen villains.
As for Arrow, Amell
gets to portray three distinct versions of Queen - as a stranded survivor on an island that viewers get to witness through recurring flashback sequences, as a merciless vigilante with a deadly aim and as a seemingly regular guy trying to pick up the pieces after being away for so long.
adds that there'll be a lot of surprises and some epic events as season one comes to a close.
Speaking of epic, Amell
, who stands at over 1.8m tall, puts his
well built physique to good use in Arrow.
Viewers will recall from the pilot episode during a training sequence where a shirtless Amell carries out an extreme gym regime, dubbed the salmon ladder.
"I had to get rid of gluten and dairy, and train hard for the show," he
"But truth be told, the salmon ladder is not the most physically challenging stunt I had to do on the show but it is the most visually impressive, and quite high up as well," says Amell
, who was not harnessed when he
pulled it off effortlessly.
explains that there were other harder stunts such as climbing up a rope in episode two, which was way harder but didn't look as impressive.
"As far as stunts go, I get to do as much as they let me," he
says that often times these are things that aren't as dangerous or impactful as the smaller things, which he
is allowed to do.
adds that the fight scenes are all choreographed with the right intention.
(From left) The Queen family - Walter (Colin Salmon), Moira (Susanna Thompson), Thea (Willa Holland) and Oliver (Amell) - share a house of secrets.
Byron Mann's mysterious Yao Fei (left) gives Amell's
stranded Queen some pointers on surviving the dangerous island.