“If you come into the series with a certain expectation based on what you expect from this network, just in terms of tone and just in terms of subject matter and the way that we deal with it, I think you’ll be very surprised,” The Arrow himself, Stephen Amell, said whenCelebuzz visited Warner Bros.’ Vancouver set of his new superhero drama.
“Whether you’re a television viewer that’s interested in interpersonal relationships or really kick-ass action, you’re going to get what you’re looking for,” he added. “The places that we’re trying to take this and the locations that we’re using and the unflinching nature of the storytelling technique is going to surprise people.”
What are some of those surprises Stephen Amell promises on Arrow?
1. Despite its hero having a notebook full of names of the corrupt businessmen he is supposed to “take down,” Arrow will not be a “bad guy of the week” procedural. “There are big baddies and there are sort of incidental guys on the list and the names have been crossed off in Act 1, names have been crossed off at the end of an episode, names have been considered and not crossed off. And there have been episodes where the book hasn’t even been opened. I like that we’re not married to one idea because that makes it more interesting,” Amell laid out the series’ structure.
2. The biggest problem thus far for Oliver has not been anyone he is supposed to “take down” at all, but instead the fact that he has returned from being presumed dead a much changed man, into a much changed family environment. “You see his trouble with Thea in the pilot, and you see potential trouble with his mother, and certainly Walter being his father’s CFO and now being his stepfather is an interesting transition… They’re a big problem for him and he can’t, going into Episode 8, he can’t continue. Something is going to have to [give], whether it’s bringing them closer, whether it’s giving up what he’s doing… something is going to have to change, because the way things are going right now, it’s deteriorating the relationships in his family.”
3. Oliver is not yet onto his mother’s true agenda and the audience might not be, either, not even after viewing the pilot. “We’ve had a lot of sweet moments,” he said of the Moira/Oliver relationship. “And you don’t think about it at the time, but retrospectively, when you think about the episode and how it’s going to play, and I’ve seen some stuff that we’ve done, you just imagine someone yelling at the television, ‘No! No, she’s evil!’ Which, I think, would be a mistake to assume.”
4. The first time the audience, and presumably Oliver himself, meets China White on this telling of the tale is in Starling City. “Oliver meets China White in Episode 2, but not on the island. I understand based on Year One that China White was a presence on the island. She may, in fact, be a heavy presence on the island, but we haven’t gotten there… China White is a fixture, in the moment, in Starling City,” Amell previewed.
5. The island is a “brutal” experience for Oliver, but watching him go through what he does there informs the lonely and serious man that returns to Starling City. “The hope that I had coming into the series is that his experience on the island would be really brutal and that it would strip him down to basically nothing so that he could be reformed with no traces whatsoever of the person that he was before he went there. And, so far, that has happened,” Amell was pleased to report.
6. Despite all the darkness of his methods and mission, Amell is allowed to slip some humor and lightness into his version of Oliver Queen. “I saw Greg Berlanti at the Paley Festival and he said to me, ‘Hey, anytime you’re funny, it always stays in the episode.’ Anytime that there’s any sort of levity brought into these scenes because we’re dealing with serious subject matter, he goes, ‘We always keep that. Keep doing that.’ And so, Amell is, most notably in a scene between Oliver and Diggle (David Ramsay) on Episode 5 that Amell teased could have been “heavy.”
7. Though Laurel (Katie Cassidy) may just be the true love of Oliver’s life, he pushes her away in the pilot because, per Amell, “he’s not very good for her,” leaving room for Helena aka The Huntress (Jessica de Gouw) to work her way into his heart? “She’s really wonderful and the chemistry so far has been great, because we get on in real life,” Amell said of The Huntress. “The dynamic that she brings into the show — specifically the way that we open the show — there’s a sequence that opens it and the fight that closes it and so much discovery in the middle of it, it really builds up.”
8. Despite The Huntress’ surprise appearance in Oliver’s life, and the fact that Oliver’s best buddy Tommy (Colin Donnell) has hooked up with Laurel since he has been away, neither Oliver, nor Laurel can fight the pull to each other. Perhaps it’s because they never really gained closure for the relationship? Or maybe it’s something much deeper than that. Amell added that their modern day relationship would be a “slow burn” that he hoped would be as epic as that of… Beverly Hills, 90210!?
“As Oliver, if I’m being truthful, I know what I did to Laurel and I know how important Tommy’s friendship is to me and if the best way for both of them to be happy is with each other, then I wouldn’t stand in the way. That doesn’t change how I feel, so that has all the makings of a really good love triangle. If we can get an eighth of the way towards Dylan-Kelly-Brenda… than that’s a good thing!”
Arrow will air on The CW on Wednesday nights at 8 PM starting Oct. 10.
Which side of Oliver Queen are you most excited to see come out? Sound off in the comments below!
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