Arrow is one of the most highly anticipated comic adaptations to hit the small screen in quite some time. Fans of Smallville expecting Justin Hartley to walk easily onto the new series were surprised to find a stranger in their midst. From co-starring roles as a prostitute on Hung to a firefighter on Private Practice, Stephen Amell takes on the role of the Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, and Katie Cassidy comes off a long line of less than savory characters to play the sweet girl that got away, Dinah “Laurel” Lance. Find out what they had to say about the show and their characters after the jump.
STEPHEN AMELL (Oliver Queen/Arrow)
Question: From prostitute to Oliver Queen:
AMELL: Not that different! Well, the first iteration of him. What was really cool for me when I read the script was there were like four different characters in there. There’s Oliver before the island, there’s Oliver acting like the old Oliver after he gets back, there’s Arrow and then there’s Oliver Queen without the suit on, which is not technically really that different, but as an actor, that’s a really cool thing.
Can you talk about Oliver’s return to Starling City and his interactions with his mom and his sister, specifically?
AMELL: It’s really hard for him. It’s one thing to have that first initial hug after you get away and it’s another thing to deal with people have a very different expectation of you. My sister’s 17 and I left her when she was 12. It’s going to be really challenging. I just read the second episode and it’s going to be something I’m going to have to continue to struggle with.
It’s pretty challenging physically, obviously, and using the bow and arrow, you have to be proficient. Had you used before? How long did it take you to master?
AMELL: As enthusiastic as comic book fans are, archery fans are just as enthusiastic. They are very territorial when it comes to their sport because, according to our archery coach, it has been portrayed poorly on television. She never even taucht me how to aim. We focused exclusively on form and and gripping the bow the right way and gripping the string the right way. We decided the most expedient way look like an expert archer was to become an expert archer. It’s good. It’s fun.
What would you like to see from your character in your first season?
AMELL: We have his list. I’d like to see him come clean with a couple people close to him. Not necessarily reveal what he’s doing, but the basis of the show is caring about the interactions with the people closest to him. He did some bad things before he went away and he deserves his comeuppance a little bit and there are people who deserve to give it to him. I’d like to see him get it. I really enjoyed The Avengers but when I was watching it, I was trying to figure out what the stakes were. I mean, they shoot someone with a nuclear bomb, and it was cool, but where where the stakes? I think it’s most interesting when you see somebody get knocked down and they rise back up again. Finally, I hope we’re able to draw the line with Oliver where he has to make decisions that everybody is not going to agree with. It would be silly to think that he could take such a big thing without there being collateral damage somewhere along the way. Not everybody has to like Oliver, but I hopefully they respect what he’s doing.
Oliver has had a lot of turmoil in his life and it seems like he’s only getting peace through the Arrow. Are there going to be any other outlets where he makes peace?
AMELL: Not yet. Our director on the pilot said when he was talking about one of the scenes, it’s not his quote but it’s a good one, that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy. All he’s got right now is hate and rage and we haven’t even gotten into the mythology of what happened on the island. He didn’t go from pre-island Oliver Queen to Arrow. He went from pre-island Oliver Queen to nothing, and then he had to be built back up.
KATIE CASSIDY (Dinah “Laurel” Lance)
Laurel seems to be somebody who really wants to do good by people with the CNRI and things like that. Can you talk about that and why it’s so important to her?
CASSIDY: I feel like at a really young age she sort of had to take care of her sister and her father. She seems to have lost her mother at a young age and became a caretaker. After taking on that role she wanted to become a lawyer and she tries to see the best in everyone. I think she’s very, very driven, has a good heart and really really strong morals and values and wants everyone to live up to them as she does. Oliver and her obviously had a pretty huge history and as angry in her heart as she has been at him, she does have it in her heart to forgive him, but has to go through the process to get there.
What attracts her to Tommy Merlyn?
CASSIDY: I think Tommy was there for her when Oliver disappeared. It affected both of them and it was a huge loss and they sort of leaned on each other as a shoulder to lean on. I think when they grew up together it was the three of them. He was the best friend. Once Tommy disappeared, she looked to him and he was there, he took advantage, but he was there. He’ll never be Oliver to her, nobody will ever be Oliver but Oliver. I think there were a few nights, maybe they were romantically involved, but for Laurel I don’t think it was ever anything too serious.
As we know, the comic book universe is very wide. Is there any chance that Laurel might end up being Black Canary or if not a super hero at least join the fight?
CASSIDY: Please take notes! Katie wants to fight. I think that she does get involved in the action story part of it. As Oliver is out there plotting and fighting crime, she will become a part of it, but as far as becoming a super hero, I don’t know.
If there was something that you wanted them to write something into the script for you what would it be?
CASSIDY: I don’t know. Probably that! Maybe if Oliver sort of took her under his wing and teaches her. That would be awesome.
So how is your character feeling about her sister now? It’s been five years since her supposed death. Is she coming to terms with that?
CASSIDY: You know, as much as one can. Having been betrayed by someone and then losing them. I have two sisters and thinking about that, if one of them betrayed me that way and then died, I think I would quickly forgive her. Whatever she did to me wouldn’t even matter. If I saw that dude again and one of my sisters was gone, yeah, it would not be good!
Was there anything you were really excited about doing in the pilot as an actor?
CASSIDY: Just someone real, and grounded and centered. For me, Laurel is almost angelic, if that makes sense. She is just so pure and honest, and I’ve played so many bad girls in the past it’s nice to get to be able to play a character like this.
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