Amell (and his abs) are everywhere thanks to 'Arrow,' but actor says life hasn't changed that much
While filming the pilot for “Arrow,” star Stephen Amell knew the show had what it would take to hit the mark with viewers. But it wasn’t until the premiere scored a ratings bull’s-eye last week that he knew for sure the series was on to something special.
Not only was the first episode CTV two’s most-watched series premiere ever with 1.1 million viewers, but the show, based on DC Comics character The Green Arrow, was also the most-watched telecast of any show on America’s CW network in three years.
“It’s amazing,” Amell tells CTV.ca during a recent promotional stop in his hometown of Toronto.
“But the best part about it was that (after I found out about the ratings), I went in to shoot a scene and I just took a moment and told the crew, who are mostly, if not all, Canadians, and that really resonated for them.”
Amell adds it’s validation that they are doing something right and gives everyone involved in the show, which is filmed in Vancouver, an extra boost to keep working as hard as they have been.
“It’s nice now because being on the air every week and having such a positive response is really replenishing when you’re working hard,” he says.
“It started raining in Vancouver last night and I don’t think it’s going to stop until April so it’s going to be some long days and the reaction was very helpful.”
In “Arrow,” Amell stars as spoiled billionaire Oliver Queen, who was shipwrecked on a remote island and presumed dead for five years after being in a boating accident that killed his father. Once he returns home to Starling City, he uses his newfound survival skills and immense strength to make amends for his former actions and to fight the ills of society with a secret vigilante persona (the green-hooded Arrow).
Though Amell is now at the helm of a hit show, the actor has previously said he struggled for years trying to find a name for himself in the business and it wasn’t until he moved down to Los Angeles intent on pursuing a career in acting did things start to take off.
He eventually landed roles in shows such as “CSI,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Private Practice” and now his “breakout role” in “Arrow.”
But even though he’s getting recognized more, his Twitter followers have increased by about 50 per cent since the show aired and there are giant billboards of him (and his now famous abs) everywhere in sight, Amell says life hasn’t changed all that much – yet.
“People keep saying it will change when it goes on the air but I don’t know what that means so I don’t know how to answer the question,” admits Amell.
One thing that has changed, however, is his free time. As the star of the show, Amell is required to put in long hours on set and has also had to commit to a strict training regimen, which has involved basic fight training, archery lessons and parkour.
Even though he does many of his own stunts, Amell says there are times when a stunt double has to step in.
“I’m doing as much as I can. There’s some impressive workout scenes – those are always all me, there’s some more fighting in civilian clothes and those always have to be all me but when it comes to ‘Arrow’ stuff, logistically it’s impossible to have me do everything.”
While he enjoys playing both Oliver and Arrow equally, Amell admits that the days where they have to shoot scenes on the island where his character was shipwrecked are “pretty rough.”
“There is no good way to fall on rocks. It would be nice if it was the island from ‘Lost,’ in Hawaii, but it’s Vancouver, it’s forest and it will rain and that’s just the way that it is.”
Amell promises more will be revealed as to what really happened during Oliver’s time on the island in future episodes.
“We are headed there and it’s gnarly there. It’s not good.”
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!