Stephen Amell, the lead role in CW’s hit TV show Arrow, sat down with his fans at Phoenix Comicon to have a little Q&A with them. When he first walked out, Mrs. Blogadin didn’t recognize him. She claims it’s because he’s shorter than he looks on TV. While that’s true, I maintain it’s because he had his shirt on, and so frequently on the show – or on the cover of the same-named comic book – he doesn’t.
Frankly, if I had a chest and abs like him, I’d go without a shirt, too. Because damn.
What follows is a selection of questions, answers, and comments from Amell’s spotlight panel. Some responses have been edited for brevity, interest, or both. Amell also drops a few teasers and spoilers about season three of Arrow, so be sure to read through to the end!
Part of what impressed me about Amell is his general humility, which he immediately displayed upon greeting the crowd with…
SA – I’d like to thank you all for coming to the panel before Nathan Fillion’s panel.
This showed me two things – that he has a sense of humor, and that he understands his place in fandom. That’s not to say Amell is any better or worse a talent than Fillion, nor does it mean he’s any more or less worthy of fans than Fillion. It simply means that Amell is newer at this gig than some other folks in the business. Case in point – their autograph booths. Amell’s Saturday morning autograph session started at 11:3o, and the initial queue was capped at 10:50. Fillion’s session didn’t start until 1:30, but his identically sized queue was capped at 11:30, and by 11:45 the police were posted near his booth for crowd control. Amell’s going into his third year as a leading man. Fillion was a leading man back in 2002 and has been doing well ever since. Amell’s fandom will get there, provided the show does well and he continues to work at his craft.
SA – There were two things in the finale you hadn’t seen before. The fight that we did in the tunnel where we had a huge crane shot going over, an army of mirikuru soldiers, the trinity of fighters – me, Canary, and Roy [what about Diggle? Al Gul's daughter? Seemed more like a pentaverate of lead fighters to me.]…the scale of that fight hadn’t been done on television before! [I don't think he went on to the second thing. Either he forgot, or can't count to two.]
Q – I’m sorry!
SA – Sorry? Are you Canadian?
SA – John Barrowman talked to me about the difference between the fan base and how they appreciate your show differently between the first season and the second season. Once you get to season two and then season three, fans really get to invest, and its been neat to see how fans have reacted and bonded to the show.
SA – What’s wrong with Phoenix?
Fan – I’m in leather and its 107 outside!
SA – Yeah, but you’re committed!
Q – Are you going to be a recurring character in the Flash series?
SA – We have the same executive producers, same writers, shoot in the same city, I’m in the pilot (which was the coolest thing for me!), same director, same director of photography…I can’t
imagine that we wouldn’t have me cross over but I haven’t seen the scripts yet. [Pregnant pause, then whispers loudly into the mic] Yes.
A young lady – maybe 10 years old – steps to the mic wearing a pink hoodie and a recurve bow…
Q – Is The Arrow ready for a young sidekick? [She strokes her hair]
SA – Come on up and let’s see how we look together! [Hugs ensue. Cute moment.]
Q – If you could have been anyone else on the show besides Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, who would you have been?
SA – Deathstroke. I love villains. People always ask me what superhero I want to play. I want to play villains! I thought that Manu Bennett was phenomenal this year on the show and I’m acutely aware that a super hero show is only as good as the main villain. The reason The Dark Knight was so good was because of Heath Ledger as The Joker. I’d love Manu to be the Green Arrow and for me to be Deathstroke. It’d be really weird, but it’d be a lot of fun.
Q – What is your favorite weapon of choice besides fists?
SA – I shoot a compound bow now but I feel like a compound bow is cheating…So my weapon of choice would be a recurve bow.
Q – What’s your worst audition story?
SA – I had my cell phone go off in an audition, but my worst audition story for me personally was…first of all, I auditioned for Die Hard 5 nine times and that was frustrating. [It was frustrating for us to watch Die Hard 5, too, if it's any consolation. I watched it on principle of John McClane, but not even that was enough to the redeem the film.] When they decided to carry on Spartacus after Whitfield got sick, I flew to New Zealand for an audition for Spartacus…and it all worked out. I left Auckland thinking I was going to play Spartacus…I was like, “I got it!”…and I didn’t.
Q -What line from the show has Oliver said that is most important for him to grow as a character?
SA – Gosh, I wish I had gotten that question before-hand
Fan – Ummm..do you want me to come back in ten minutes?
SA – Yeah! I’ll think of it, and I’ll randomly go, “Quinn!” and I’ll give you the answer.
Q – Is there an overarching story written for the complete series, or does it go season by season?
SA – It’s a good question…the show is built to be five years; I’m under contract for six, so I would imagine it won’t end after five years. I would like to see the completion of the island storyline and really get to know why Oliver was the way that he was when we found him. It’s such a difficult shoot, though, that I can only think about the 47th episode which is the first episode of season 3.
Q – You say you like to do a lot of your own stunts. What was the hardest one?
SA – First episode, 2nd season, Dig and Felicity are on the island and I’m 60 feet in the air in a tree. I was supposed to swing down from the tree to Felicity and the director was like, “Bring in the stunt guy.” but I convinced him that I wanted to do that stunt. Then I get up into that tree and look down at the ground and where Felicity was going to be and was like, “Shit, this is really high!” All the stunts get bigger all the time, and there’s always an added quality to a TV show when you can tell that the actors are doing the stunts.
SA – Quinn! The flashback between Oliver and Moira where Oli learns he “lost the baby” and to see a different level of emotion from him. I thought that was the most important scene and stretch of dialogue.
Q – Are you gonna go on the American Ninja Warrior?
SA – Yeah, I probably should, but I’m hyper competitive and would want to win…bad! Does anyone know anyone at NBC? Or I’ll just put it on Twitter, but yeah, that’d be cool. I would do it…and I would win, I promise.
Q – What’s the bad guy’s name in the season finale? [The boy asking the question is about 8 years old.]
SA – Deathstroke
Fan – Oh…I thought it was Batman’s enemy.
SA – Listen, if you like some of the enemies that Batman has fought, you’re really gonna like season 3.
Q – Who’s in the best shape out of all of you and your castmates?
SA – I am.
Fan – Manu (Bennett) gave the same answer (at his panel earlier in the convention).
SA – He’s entitled to his opinion. I’m not the one that’s in prison on an island, though.
SA – No, I’m not taking my shirt off…I’m on vacation. [About two thirds of the fans in the room go home in disappointment at this response. He's a happily married guy, though...I totally respect him saving his abs for his wife.]
Q – What voodoo ritual or human sacrifice did…
SA – Wait a minute…hang on…I don’t know what’s going on right now but that’s the weirdest intro I’ve ever heard.
Fan – It gets better, I promise! How did you break the curse of Summer Glau? [Oh, SNAP! Never thought about it, but the fan has a point.]
SA – The long-winded answer is that it was just circumstantial. Summer’s great and incredibly talented, so what happened to those shows was no fault of hers, but things went well for us and it was just circumstantial. The short-winded answer is that we broke her neck before the season was over.
Q – Out of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, who would you most want to come into the show?
Q – Do you think that you’ll eventually get into the Justice League movie?
SA – I don’t know. I think the people that watched the Flash pilot and saw the scene where grant and I interact and he’s not even in his costume…that feels like the Justice League. I don’t know if we’ll eventually cross over into the movies, but that being said, we don’t need to. The important part is that the Arrow and Flash are able to stand on their own and be appreciated for what they are and the medium they are in. If they wanted us to be in the Justice League movie and it worked out, that would be something I am interested in, but mostly I just want season 3 to be better than season 2.
SA – Early on in season 3 we see a new superhero suit, so that counts for something. [Hmmm...does this mean a new character? Or just a new version of a current character's suit?]
SA – Thea will be coming back for sure. The question isn’t so much if she will be a villain, but will she be “the” villain. She vowed to never be weak, and I bet she will follow through on that.
SA – They call “doing archery wrong” – “Legolasing”
SA – On the show, I’m reaching for nothing, I’m nocking nothing, and I’m firing nothing because there’s no safe way to shoot arrows on a TV set. Guns, fine. Arrows? No. Even a rubber-tipped head would hurt really, really badly.
Q – How did you react when you saw that Malcolm Merlin was back in season 2 after you killed him at the end of season 1?
SA – There’s a great John Barrowman meme out there: I don’t always die, but when I do, I don’t.
SA – The way that the people Arrow’s working for (in season 3) convince him to work for them – nobody’s gonna see that coming. [Another teaser!]
One of the last fan questions asks Amell about the image/voice of a female we see in the A.R.G.U.S. holding cells where they keep the rest of the Suicide Squad. Amell confirms that, yes, that was the image of Harley Quinn, and the voice we here is indeed Tara Strong’s. The way he talked on the subject leads me to believe that Harley Quinn will absolutely be part of the series before all is said and done. I’m not sure that she’ll make it into season 3 other than more cameos, but I’d bet three figures that she has lines in at least three episodes before season 4 is done.
← Phoenix Comicon 2014 Panel: Fantasy Authors