Updated: October 9, 2012 7:44PM
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Spending hours a day fighting, kicking and lifting himself with rubber bands, Stephen Amell came to a conclusion.
“There’s no faking it for this show,” he says.
The 31-year-old Canadian, who stars as the mysterious superhero in the CW’s “Arrow” (7 p.m. Wednesday, WGN-Channel 9), portrays playboy Oliver Queen, who is stranded on an island alone and then returns to civilization with revenge in mind.
The evildoers who murdered his father and left Oliver for dead will pay. Each episode will flash back to a time when Oliver was on the island and then bounce back to the present, when Oliver is engaging in a secret agenda as an arrow-slinging vigilante.
“Arrow” is a reimagining of the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow. In the same vein as “Smallville,” “Arrow” will not directly recognize Oliver Queen as a superhero and will never refer to his alter-ego as Green Arrow.
As a result of his stress, Oliver is a character full of rage, “and that’s something we deal with starting with the second episode,” Amell says. “There’s a lot to explore there.”
In the comic books, Green Arrow isn’t nearly as angry. He has been a member of the Justice League of America and can be a whimsical and even egocentric sort. His self-confidence is one of his strongest straits.
Amell loves the fighting sequences and does his own stunts — for the most part. “There were about three scenes in the pilot that I didn’t do,” he says. “If I hurt myself in any way, they’d have to scratch [the episode] and redo everything. They didn’t want to risk that.”
Producers are fully aware of the risks.
“It is a little frightening when your star is doing a quarter of his stunts because there’s no second string, so it’s a little daring, but it’s one of the things I think makes the show incredibly unique and a lot of fun,” says producer Greg Berlanti.
After years of doing cameos and landing a part on HBO’s comedy-drama “Hung,” Amell was eager to take his career up to leading man.
When the script for “Arrow” came to his manager, Amell got a call from him, telling him that this particular project was exactly what he always wanted to do: the physicality of a role along with a character of depth.
“I remember him calling me and saying, ‘This one is important. You really want to do your best and get this,’ ” Amell said.
Of course, that made Amell think to himself, “OK. Now I know I’m not going to get the part.”
Scripps Howard News Service