Best known to genre TV fans for his turn as bad boy werewolf Brady on season 2 of The Vampire Diaries , Stephen Amell is a different kind of hunter this autumn on Arrow , the new television take on DC Comics' modern-day Robin Hood, Green Arrow. With the show coming to Sky1 on Monday 22 October, the 31-year-old Toronto native tells SFX how his new show hits the bullseye…
Comic book fans are already excited about the characters that Arrow pulls from the DC Universe – Dinah Lance, China White, Deadshot, the Huntress… How does the show appeal to those who aren’t in the know?
We started with [executive producer] David Nutter, who is the pilot wizard. Beyond that, I’m very privileged. Our cast is incredibly capable. We started with really good actors. We didn’t focus on the superhero aspect and then work our way in, we focused on the interpersonal aspect and we worked our way out. That has allowed people to connect to all the fantastical elements of the show. I hope that that’s why it resonates.
Arrow takes a more realistic approach to superheroes than Smallville , in that Oliver sometimes kills the bad guys...
I’m just incredibly grateful – and I pinch myself all the time – to [network president] Mark Pedowitz and all the people at the CW. We’ve kept pushing the show and tried to make it more nuanced and more realistic. All we keep hearing from them is “Keep going, keep pushing it in that direction.” As excited as I am for the pilot episode, I watched a little snippet of episode 6 last night, and to see where the show has gone, now that the characters have some history and we have things to lean on in scenes, beyond the backstories that we build as actors… It’s so exciting. I’m excited for the pilot, but I want people to see episodes two, three, four, and on. Shooting the pilot, all we got to do was have me arrive at the island. I was really hoping that when we got to the island, we would see something that would be really catastrophic, and we would see him get whittled down to nothing before he rises back up to become what he becomes. So far, that’s what we’re doing. That’s really exciting. I keep saying exciting, but I am excited!
Were you a superhero fan growing up? Were you aware of Green Arrow?
I wasn’t aware of Green Arrow as a kid. My thing growing up was wrestling. I was a massive World Wrestling Federation fan, back when it was WWF. My parents wanted to punish me once, and they took away my wrestling magazines, which I guess stood in place of my comic books. I was aware of the genre. I loved Superman growing up. I saw a couple of those movies in the theater, and I watched Superman II 8000 times. I have a General Zod doll in my apartment that I got from DC Comics. I was thinking about this last night – I want to get on the phone and I want to get some posters from Geoff Johns to put up in my loft. At DC Comics there’s no lack of them… I’m a big fan of genre, but most importantly I respect how passionate the fan base is. And I’m excited to interact with them more than I already have been.
Arrow starts on Sky1 at 8pm on Monday 22 October.