On The CW series Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is still behind bars and unable to protect his family, his team and his city in the way that he’d like to. Meanwhile, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is getting in deeper when it comes to tracking down and dealing with the growing threat of Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) once and for all, and Curtis (Echo Kellum) goes undercover on a mission for ARGUS with Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson).
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, which was held at the Warner Bros. Television offices in Los Angeles, actor Echo Kellum, aka Mr. Terrific, talked about the changes of Season 7 and what new showrunner Beth Schwartz brings to the show, what it’s like to be living his dream of becoming a superhero, getting to be a part of Team ARGUS, whether Curtis prefers to be in front of the computer or out in the field, the dynamic between Curtis and Felicity, what’s it meant to him to work with Emily Bett Rickards, how Curtis feels about the new Green Arrow, his involvement in the upcoming “Elseworlds” cross-over episode, and his dream mission for his character.
Collider: I love the trio of Lyla, Diggle and Curtis. What were the Team ARGUS scenes like to do?
ECHO KELLUM: It’s definitely fun to work with Audrey [Marie Anderson] and David [Ramsey]. They are absolutely extremely talented and professional, but they’re also just so much fun and down to earth and silly. It’s always such a pleasure to work with them. It definitely feels different. That’s the thing I love about our show. You can really mix and match some pieces to get some different dynamics and gold, in a lot of aspects. In Season 4, I had never worked with John Barrowman until the last two episodes. It’s so funny that you can have an entire season and never see the actors, and then come in together and have these fun, interesting scenes with each other. It’s really cool.
Is it fun for Curtis to feel like he’s the one who’s sort of in charge of the mission because they’re relying on him to guide them?
KELLUM: Yeah, it’s really fun! I always love Curtis when he’s focusing on tech and that aspect. I always love him being in the field, too, but it’s nice to switch it up and have him be in charge, in the van and on computers, and telling them what to do.
Do you feel like Curtis is much more comfortable with hanging out in a van with computers than he is going out in the field and fighting as Mr. Terrific?
KELLUM: Just based on seeing his trajectory, going out into the field, I would have to say that he’s probably more comfortable in the van. There are less punches being thrown his way, so that’s always nice. But I really do feel like he was coming into his own in the field, too. If he had a preference, it probably would be behind the computer with tech. He can send the T-Spheres out.
When you think back to when you first signed on to be a part of this TV series, is where you’re at with the story and character now, in Season 7, anything like you could have imagined?
KELLUM: No way! You can think many different things, but until you’re actually thrust into it, you just don’t have the perspective. It’s interesting. But I really love where the characters went, and I love what the writers have done for them. It’s a blessing, just to get to see how it all has been playing out, over the last four years. There’s definitely been a lot of surprises, along the way, but I think they do such a good job with the show. I do my job, but then I get to go home and look at the rewards from the hard work that we’ve put in, and see how much the fans love it and reach out. It’s been really cool.
As someone who’s clearly a fan of this type of project, did you have any hopes or expectations when you signed on, and did you meet them?
KELLUM: Yeah. What’s funny is that, before I auditioned for this show, a couple of best friends and I had come up with this thing, called Let’s Take Over Hollywood. Basically, what that meant to us was working out every day, writing as much as we could, and really giving in fully to our careers. I went to the gym and was going hard and was like, “We’re gonna be superheroes!” And then, I booked this show. They said, “Well, he has the potential to be Mr. Terrific,” and I was like, “That’s pretty sweet!” And then, when it actually started happening, I was like, “I can’t believe it! This was a game plan of mine, two years ago, and now it’s actually happening and coming into fruition. This character is really dope!” It’s still very surreal. I look back now and I’m like, “Wow, that’s part of my life!” This is all still a shock, and I pinch myself. It’s one of the coolest things in the world, coming up and getting picked on for being a nerd, my entire life, to having the privilege to show people what I saw, as a kid. To get beat up and then rewarded for the same thing is really cool. I’m just in a constant state of shock that I even get to do this in my life, and to get to do it with such a cool character on such a great show, and run by a great studio and network is like all of the cherries on top. I’m just so grateful. And I’ve got a super suit. I literally have a suit that will forever be tied to me. That’s so cool, that I will be in the echelon of the DC comics lore.
As a fan, do you ever think about how you’re a part of the show that launched all of the other DC shows, and that you also get to have cross-over episodes that bring everybody together?
KELLUM: That is never lost on me. It’s very surreal. I’m still very close with my best friends, from when I was 9 and 10 years old. We still talk, almost every day, and every once in awhile, we’ll be like, “Dude, life is nuts!” This is really, really, really, really not something we thought would ever happen, getting to be on a comic book show for the comic books we used to read, as kids. I’m so fortunate, and I’m so thankful that I get to be in this position in life, where little kids get to look up to this character and say, “I wanna do that!,” or “I wanna act!” That’s the most amazing thing. That’s what I saw as a kid, watching people on TV, like Will Smith and Jim Carrey, when I said, “I wanna do that!” The fact that there might be a group of four friends out there who love comic books, watch the show and go, “I wanna act!,” that is one of the dopest things in the world.