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TCA 2012: 'Arrow' Executive Producers Discuss What Sets Their Green Arrow Apart From Others

(L-R) President of The CW Television Network Mark Pedowitz and actors Katie Cassidy and Stephen Amell attend the CW, CBS And Showtime 2012 Summer TCA party held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 29, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.

The CW’s Arrow will be nothing like the Green Arrow/Oliver Queen character on Smallville and it won’t be exactly like the comic books the character was originally conceived in either. Instead, the producers are bringing the character in a darker direction as he tries to right some of society’s wrongs while he’s dealing with his own demons. At Monday’s TCA press tour, executive producers Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti and the show’s stars, Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy, explained what sets their show apart from other versions.

(L-R) President of The CW Television Network Mark Pedowitz and actors Katie Cassidy and Stephen Amell attend the CW, CBS And Showtime 2012 Summer TCA party held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 29, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.The CW’s Arrow will be nothing like the Green Arrow/Oliver Queen character on Smallville and it won’t be exactly like the comic books the character was originally conceived in either. Instead, the producers are bringing the character in a darker direction as he tries to right some of society’s wrongs while he’s dealing with his own demons. At Monday’s TCA press tour, executive producers Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti and the show’s stars, Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy, explained what sets their show apart from other versions.

Guggenheim said that they will be taking inspiration from the comics, they won’t adhere to everything. One of the major changes that have been made involves Oliver’s home life. His mother is still alive and he now has a little sister. “One of the good things about Green Arrow is that it has an origin that is subject to a lot of interpretation,” Guggenheim said. “We can play around.”

While the pilot has received some comparisons to Christopher Nolan’s version of Batman, Guggenheim points out that there is a major difference. Arrow deliberately kills bad guys. Producers are very aware of the violence in the show, especially with the recent tragedy in Colorado, but Guggenheim defends Arrow’s choices. “When he kills, he kills for necessity. It’s not just random violence.” Guggenheim promises the show will face Oliver’s morality issues head on.

Amell said that Oliver is clearly suffering from Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder after being stranded on an island for five years and that it is a serious issue that the show will explore. “The most imminent danger to Oliver is himself.”

Kreisberg explained that the show would be telling two stories simultaneously each week; what is happening in the present and what happened when Oliver was on the island. The producers plan to show the island journey in chronological order and said the final flashback of the series will be Oliver seeing the boat that is coming to rescue him.

The island scenes are filmed in Vancouver and Amell is quick to point out that the island is nothing like the one on Lost (that series was filmed in Hawaii). “It’s always 51 degrees and overcast.” Amell also said that navigating the island would not be easy for Oliver and he would “fall down on a lot of rocks.”

To prepare for the role, Amell went through a lot of physical training, in addition to learning archery. His instructor started by showing him a 45-minute video of all the ways archery had been executed poorly in TV and movies in the past. Amell calls the (already-infamous) salmon ladder scene depicted in the pilot, “a chin up with a dance move.” Amell doing the stunt led to some nervous producers. “It’s a little frightening when your star is doing a quarter of his stunts,” Berlanti said. “It’s a little daring, but it’s what makes the show unique.”

Cassidy, who plays Oliver’s ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance, wouldn’t mind getting in on some of the action scenes. Comic book fans know that her character is also Black Canary, but producers won’t give more than a “maybe” when asked if Cassidy will be playing Black Canary at some point. For now, Cassidy says her character sets the moral bar high. “She expects those around her to live up to it,” she added.

Guggenheim said that the narration that appears in the pilot will continue, at least through the first five episodes of the series. There will also be more to the show than just the bad guy of the week, even though Arrow does have a list of people he’s targeting. “Part of Oliver’s evolution of a hero is moving from his mission of revenge to redemption and to help people and save the city.”

Arrow premieres Wednesday, October 10 on the CW.

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About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.