TV Source had a chance to talk to Byron Mann, the actor behind the mysterious island archer, a few weeks ago while he was filming episode 11 and get some insight into the reasons Yao Fei is helping Oliver. We also talked to Mann about his big fight scene with Deathstroke, what goes into shooting an arrow and we did our best to get some hints on what’s coming up next.
“Arrow” has been telling two distinct stories since the pilot. There’s the present day drama depicting Oliver’s transformation into the vigilante in the hood and then there are the trauma-filled flashbacks that show the viewers what he went through while stranded on the island for five years. Early on in the series, we were introduced to a mystery archer on the island, who seemed like a foe until he started helping Oliver learn to survive.
In episode six, we learned the archer’s name was Yao Fei, but so much of the character is still shrouded in mystery. TV Source had a chance to talk to Byron Mann, the actor behind the mysterious island archer, a few weeks ago while he was filming episode 11 and get some insight into the reasons Yao Fei is helping Oliver. We also talked to Mann about his big fight scene with Deathstroke, what goes into shooting an arrow and we did our best to get some hints on what’s coming up next.
TVSource Magazine: Why do you think Yao Fei wants to help Oliver?
Byron Mann: I think there could be a lot of reasons that won’t be revealed until a little later on. For now, I think a big reason is that I want to get off the island and I want to use him to get off the island. The island is not like Maui. Everyone [there] wants to get off the island.
TVSource: What was it like to film the fight scene with Deathstroke in episode 5?
Mann: We had to choreograph that fight for awhile because it was a complicated fight and there were a lot of moves. When we actually did it, it was very slippery because we filmed it inside the tent and on the tent, there was a covering on the ground and it felt like a slippery surface so while [we had to] try and stay firmly-planted and on top of that, you have to shoot an arrow every once and awhile. There’s some technique involved [in shooting an arrow] and if you don’t watch, you could hurt yourself because the arrow is quite strong. [The whole scene] was complicated, but we have really good people on the production helping so it was fun. I think [the actor playing] Deathstroke had it harder because it was hard for him to breathe [in the mask] so I really shouldn’t be complaining.
TVSource: Did you know how to shoot an arrow before this role?
Mann: I learned for the show. Who shoots arrows during the day? (laughs) There was an Olympic-arrow shooter who trained us. There’s a lot of technique and form and posture related to shooting an arrow. You have to do it right, otherwise the arrow will not go straight. [When] shooting an arrow, your left arm, the arm that holds the bow, has to be a little bit curved because if it’s straight, that string will snap back into your arm and it’s painful so your arm should be a little crooked. These are things nobody knows about [until they try archery].
TVSource: What’s the atmosphere like on set?
Mann: It’s filmed in Vancouver and I would say that it’s pretty packed; we have a lot of shots a day, but I think we have a very good cast and crew and we have top of the line people so that’s really good. Some crew members I’ve worked with before on other shows so there’s a familiarity there. The writers and producers fly up from Los Angeles almost every episode so if there are any problems, any issues, anything we don’t understand, they’re available to answer questions or sort out the issues. And it’s getting colder and colder. When I was wearing the suit when the show first started in August, it was great to have no sleeves, but now, it’s not so fantastic. Please give me some sleeves!
TVSource: Do you get tired of putting on the same costume every day?
Mann: No, I like the whole outfit; it’s kind of like a wild animal man. So that’s kind of nice. I don’t mind that. The suit is not put together randomly. It’s put together by an Oscar-winning costume designer, Colleen Atwood. She came out and did the costumes for production.
TVSource: What can you tell us about what’s coming up?
Mann: We’re shooting episode 1.11 right now and I’m telling you, when 1.11 ends, it will be a shocker. I mean, it was a shocker when I read the script. The way it ends, it’s revealing, it’s not what you’d expect, the rug gets pulled out from under you. Obviously, I can’t reveal details, but it gets better and better. I will say that the writing is fantastic. It’s very tight [with] shocks and twists and turns every episode and good characterizations. I’m very pleased to be on this show.
It’s a good group of people. So far my character has only interacted with Oliver Queen. People have asked me, ‘why don’t you start interacting with others, maybe having dinner with Laurel? Do you think Yao Fei would have dinner with Laurel?’ (laughs) It could happen I guess, but it’s going to be a very fast flash-forward.
“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. EST on The CW.