After a tragic shipwreck, billionaire Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was considered dead. He washed up on a remote island and spent five years honing his survival skills — including his prowess with a bow and arrow — before being rescued. Back home in Starling City, he quickly realizes the mistakes of his past — and the wrongs of his family. Feigning his former playboy persona during the day, he secretly takes on the persona of the vigilante Arrow at night to make amends and bring justice to his hometown.
Oliver is a pretty complicated guy. “When I looked at the pilot, I saw four different roles,” Amell says. “Normally they break down sort of day-by-day when we’re shooting the episodes — I will have a day where it’s fake Oliver in the real world right now, and then there will be an island day [flashback], and there’s an Arrow day, and [reconnecting with ex-girlfriend] Laurel days. And it’s a really fun exercise. It keeps me on my toes.”
To nail the physicality of playing the modern update on DC Comics avenger Green Arrow, Amell’s training included parkour. “That was when the training became intensive, because it was all of these muscles that I didn’t even know existed, let alone had used before,” Amell says. “My coach, Paul Darnell, was actually the double for Henry Cavill in ‘Superman,’ and he just had me doing things that I had never even considered immediately. To get [the intense action scenes] into the pilot right away was really cool.”
Prior to taking the role of Arrow, Amell had never picked up a bow and arrow.
“I have a wonderful coach, Patricia Gonsalves, and she started my training by showing me a 45-minute video of all the ways that archery has been done badly on television and in film,” Amell says. “The first thing was getting the form. And I really like archery. I mean, I enjoy practicing it when I have time off. It’s an interesting sport.”