‘Arrow’ at Paleyfest: Star Stephen Amell, Producers on Show’s Complicated Character, Stunts and Love Life

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The CW’s Arrow is ready to aim. Taking a realistic approach to the fabled DC comic book character, The Green Arrow,  the show uses its dark and intense tone to let you know that this hero isn’t really a superhero at all. He’s just seeking justice. After all, he has no powers.

Arrow focuses on billionaire Oliver Queen (played by the charming and hunky Stephen Amell) and his return to Starling City after he was presumed dead following a violent shipwreck five years ago. Life on an island alone has changed Queen and he’s out to seek revenge and redemption as the vigilante Arrow. With a bow and arrow, some amazing abs and a list of people to go after from his dead father, Queen/Arrow is out to right the wrongs that are plaguing his city.

On Saturday, Amell and executive producers Marc Guggenheim, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg were on hand at The Paley Center for Media’s Fall TV preview panel to discuss what you really need to know about the show.

So go on and read our top 5 highlights from the panel below.

Amell was born for this role: Not only was Amell the first person to audition for the role of Oliver Queen/Arrow, but he was actually the first person to audition for any role on the show. The producers were absolutely floored by what they saw.

“Literally we started seeing other people and every time somebody left the room we were like, ‘That guy’s not Stephen,’” Kreisberg told the audience. “The whole way through we only ever went with Stephen and said ‘He’s our guy.’ Everyone just felt the same way about him.”

Oliver is a complicated guy: With so many layers to the character, Amell could be playing any of four different versions of Oliver on the show. Depending on the show’s shooting schedule, he could be doing so all in one day.

There is, “the Oliver who just arrived on the island who’s very innocent and doesn’t really know anything and is very scared and lost. Then there’s the Oliver who comes back who’s very damaged and soulful,” said Kreigsman. “Then there’s the fake Oliver that the damaged Oliver is pretending to be. Then there’s the character, the Arrow.”

Although Amell says he doesn’t have a favorite of the four to play, he did acknowledge, “As dirty and cold sometimes as the island is, it’s really fun playing the young, vulnerable, scared Oliver.” Executive producer Guggenheim joked that for those scenes, “we already told the visual effects guys you need to de-ab him.”

So is that really Amell doing all those stunts? The actor revealed, “In the pilot, I did a lot of stuff. I am young and naïve and bullheaded and I want to do everything. But I understand that hopefully we’re in this not for a pilot but a season and many thereafter and I’m doing less now because of logistics.”

While he continued to say that it’s tough for him to watch sometimes (he’s super competitive), he thinks that stunt double Simon Burnett really makes him look great.

Kreigsman chimed in, “It’s actually hard to watch sometimes, because he would do everything if we would let him. There are times where we will be up there and we’ll be watching the stuntman and he’s off in the corner like ‘It should be me.’”

Oliver’s “Arrow” won’t remain a secret for long. Executive producer Berlanti teased the crowd with the information that Oliver will be revealing his secret alter ego to another character pretty early in the series, though he obviously wouldn’t say who. “That’s exciting and interesting to us, because it makes the show more interesting,” he said.

He also said, “It alleviates us having to do voiceover so much, because he can actually tell someone what he’s thinking as opposed to just thinking it. Who that is and why he chooses to do that are great and provides for some great scenes.” Ok, so now our minds are in overload trying to figure out whom that may be.

The love of Oliver’s life. Oliver’s ex-girlfriend  Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) was able to get over the loss of Mr. Queen pretty quickly when he disappeared — considering he was cheating on her with her sister, who died in the shipwreck. So what’s in store for the two former lovebirds? And will Laurel become her comic book character – The Black Canary – at some point?

“For right now, Laurel is who she is: She’s the love of Oliver’s life and a public interest attorney but there are Easter eggs throughout the coming episodes,” Kreigsman teases, “that might give you a glimpse of an alternative future that might come to pass.” How’s that for a cryptic response?

Arrow premieres Wednesday, Oct. 11 on the CW at 8 PM.

Will you be watching the show when it premieres? Let us know in the comments below!