Season three of The CW’s Arrow has featured one big game-changing event after another, with the midseason cliffhanger finding Oliver Queen/Arrow (Stephen Amell) clinging to life. At the TCA winter press event, Amell wouldn’t give any hints as to how Oliver will recover when the series returns from its midseason break on January 21, 2015, but he did joke that he hopes Arrow survives as he loves playing the character. Talking to a small group of journalists, Amell also chatted about Oliver and Felicity’s relationship, his workouts, and his hopes for future Arrow/The Flash cross-over episodes.
Stephen Amell Interview
When they made the DC movie plans at the same time that The Flash debuted, you were supportive of them giving Grant Gustin a chance at the role in the film. Now that they’ve established a separate movie and TV universe, have you made peace with that idea?
Stephen Amell: “I was always at peace with the idea. I was disappointed with the timing of the announcement. It’s not about whether I support Grant in the movies or me in the movies, it was more just about I just felt the timing of the announcement was bad. I wasn’t mad, per se. But I’ve spoken a lot with DC about how having a separate universe and focusing on each of those spots being the best that they can be is just as advantageous or possibly more so as having to focus and worry about constantly cross-breeding or cross-pollinating everything. So, I’m fine about it.”
Now we get to see both approaches.
Stephen Amell: “Absolutely. I mean, a lot of people have said, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a good show, but boy they’re just sort of tied to the films and sometimes it can be a hindrance.’ So, I like our position.”
Oliver’s probably going through one of the most transformative periods of his life right now. Can you hint at all about how that will change him?
Stephen Amell: [Laughing] “No. No, I can’t.”
What do you think it’s going to take for him to survive this?
Stephen Amell: “We just saw him fall. We’ve seen Oliver survive, so whether he went straight off the cliff, whether something broke his fall, whether he hit the ground… You know, we have mystical herbs on the show that have healing powers. We’ve seen a Lazarus Pit, although that’s not something that’s going to be used for Oliver. I hope he survives. I like playing him.”
The last thought he had was of Felicity. Can you talk about their relationship?
Stephen Amell: “Both Laurel and Sara were elements of his past. Obviously Sara and Oliver tried to rekindle things, but both of those relationships really rely heavily upon the type of person that he was before he left. As he has become more accepting, less introverted, less damaged by what happened to him the five years that he was away, the guiding principle in that transformation has been Felicity.”
Did you always know that relationship was going that way?
Stephen Amell: “No, and neither did the producers, by the way, but those things happen along the way. Emily [Bett Rickards] and I, our characters work well together and as a result that’s the direction that we took. Before this season, when I said, ‘There is one woman in Oliver’s life this year and that is Felicity,’ I don’t see that changing.”
We’ve really seen the evolution of all these characters and storylines. What’s that been like for you to be at the center of all this?
Stephen Amell: “It’s been wonderful because every time we are given permission to bring someone like Grant [Gustin] on as Barry Allen, and then you see some of the guest stars that we’ve been able to get on our show have been wonderful. Getting John Barrowman was such a coup in our first season, but then you see on The Flash Wentworth [Miller] and Dominic [Purcell] and Victor [Garber] and I feel like every time that happens – and Brandon [Routh] for us, certainly – every time that happens that’s a vote of confidence.”
What do you think of John Barrowman appreciating the results of your working out?
Stephen Amell: “I love John so much. You know, David Ramsey and I and Emily and Colton [Haynes], we have a particular type of fun. But I’d say that my most educational experiences on set, both in a real form in terms of growing as an actor but also just enjoying myself, come with John.”
When do you find time to work out?
Stephen Amell: “I went so balls to the wall with the training for the pilot, and the pilot is this stand-alone event where we have 17 days to shoot one episode, I have a month to prep, and I have so much adrenaline that I’m able to work out every day when we’re filming. Whereas the season is a 23 episode marathon with eight days to shoot, travel. I worked until 4:00 in the morning on Saturday, I had to travel for work yesterday and now we’re here, which is lovely, but I have to pick my spots. I have to get notice from the producers if and when I’m going to be shirtless on the show so that I can ramp up, because I can’t go through a process where I maintain that pace from the pilot. It’s impossible.”
With the introduction of Brandon’s character there is a love triangle that developed. Would you like to see that continue?
Stephen Amell: “Well Oliver would have to certainly come back. I’m envious of Brandon’s character because of how fun and carefree he is, despite the fact that he is doing what he’s doing because of a tragic event in his life that happened actually quite recently. But the big thing is that I just enjoy Brandon personally and he and I have only worked together one day. It was the third day that we shot this year so I’m hopeful that sometime in the future we’ll be able to get to do more stuff.”
Do you have a favorite episode thus far?
Stephen Amell: “Well, I’m always going to be a slave to the recent, to the new. I’m so proud of our midseason finale this year. I think that the episode when Moira died last year was our show’s execution at its finest. I have no doubt that towards the end of this season…and they do happen toward the end of the season because there’s just more at stake and you’re getting the opportunity to pay off more things. I have incredibly high hopes for our 14th episode this year. I think that if you’re a fan of the show and have been a fan of the show from the beginning, and have been paying attention, you’re really going to enjoy that episode.”
Would you like to see a more integrated universe between The Flash and Arrow?
Stephen Amell: “It’s fantastic. We were doing some promotional things yesterday and we got to do some stuff together and there’s just something about the chemistry between the two of us and the differences between the characters where we each get to shine a light on the other one, and I think that light is always really illuminating. I do hope that we get more opportunities to cross-over, and I know that we will.”
How do you stay focused outside of working out?
Stephen Amell: “John mentioned it earlier that this really is a dream job. I always try to remember it. I’ve been able to remember it more so recently because of how much time I’ve had away from the show. That perspective has given me a lot of room to appreciate it.”
– By Fred Topel
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