Stephen Amell Gets Real About Visiting Legends of Tomorrow, Talking Turtles and His Pride in Arrow
This week’s double-shot of Stephen Amell concludes Thursday when the Arrow star pops up on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow as an Oliver Queen who has seen—and lost—a lot by the year 2046. Including an appendage. In the second half of our conversation, Amell offers his take on the Legends set, previews his role as Casey Jones in this summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows and shares his pride on the ever-expanding Arrowverse.
After the events of this week’s Arrow, we jump 30 years ahead to see where Oliver is on Legends of Tomorrow. Executive producer Marc Guggenheim has mentioned that the idea of having the 2046 version be the one-armed Oliver because everybody on the writing staff has read Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. So what is this Oliver like, what are we going to see?
Well I think it’s important to identify that this is a potential future, and I know that they talk about that all the time on Legends. The other thing they discuss is that whether it’s a potential future or not, it’s very real to the people who are living it. So Star City is in the s–t. It’s bad. And part of the reason that it’s bad is that when the you-know-what hit the fan, Sara [Caity Lotz], Ray [Brandon Routh] and Kendra [Ciara Renée] weren’t around to help. All the Legends that really could have helped Star City were not there so that has left a very resolved and defeated Oliver alone.
What about this other Green Arrow, Connor Hawke, who we saw in the kicker last week? You posted that great shot of the two of you on Twitter.
Time will tell, but I think Oliver respects what that Green Arrow is out there doing, but maybe not the way that he is out there representing himself.
Will we find out in this episode what has happened to the rest of Team Arrow?
We find out in somewhat general terms and they’re not purposely vague or general. What we’re dealing with in the episode is a real danger in Star City that affects the Legends, so the primary focus is dealing with that. When Sara begins to question what happened to the team, Oliver basically shuts her down and just says “they’re not here,” more or less.
We have seen a great picture of Oliver facing Deathstroke, but I’m assuming we didn’t get Manu Bennett back.
We got a Deathstroke. [Laughs]
Gotcha. And these guys are still fighting 30 years down the road?
They are, and that’s a backstory we get to examine down the road. I’ve got to say that playing this version of Oliver Queen and the action that we got to do on Legends, it was so cool and the set was so awesome that I actually got a little bit jealous. I was like, “Wait a minute, wait a second, why did I have to come to a different show and spend three hours in makeup to get to do something this cool?” There’s an awesome battle scene and it’s really cool for me [because] I love having to play some sort of physicality. One of my other favorite Arrow episodes was in Season 2 where Roy [Colton Haynes] cracks me in the leg. I actually think that was also Susanna Thompson’s (Moira Queen) last episode. I was essentially walking around with a limp in the episode. I love that stuff, love it. So to play Oliver without an arm and in the battle scenes with what appears to be some sort of futuristic prosthetic unit was super fun.
You got to play in that sc-fi world a bit with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 as well, right?
Yeah, that was a little bit different because everything that I do as Casey Jones, whether it be skating at full-speed in between cars or fighting the Foot clan, all of that stuff was actually incredibly practical. The only sci-fi element of Turtles was when I was talking to the Turtles and the actors who are playing them, you’re basically talking to two balls that are a foot and a half above their head. And believe me Damian, if you’ve grown up being taught to look people in the eye, this is actually a technique that’s incredibly challenging! [Laughs]
And you also have to sell that you are talking to giant, jacked turtles.
[Laughs] That’s right! There’s a good scene when Casey meets the Turtles where, you know, he does get over it relatively quickly because, again, this is a Turtles movie and it’s not going to be super fun if he’s just going “I can’t believe this!” the entire time. So you’ve got to suspend disbelief just a little bit. But with Legends there wasn’t a huge amount of sci-fi element to it beyond just the logistics of Oliver missing a limb, which were tough.
Do we find out how he lost the arm?
Probably, yeah. [Laughs]
How was it reuniting with your old costars like Brandon and Caity on their set?
Well, it’s always very different. I joke about this all the time: It’s amazing that you have three DC Comics-based shows shooting in Vancouver, all under the [Greg] Berlanti umbrella with similar executive producers—in the case of Legends with Guggenheim stretching across both—and it’s crazy how different the sets become in the tone and the tenor. It’s actually kind of amazing how different they can be. It was great to see everyone and it’s always fun to go to a show in its first season, as I’m now the grizzled veteran. [Laughs]
Right, you’re the elder statesman.
I am the elder statesman, which I’m sure is a statement that Victor Garber will appreciate. But it does feel nice to go back and feel that Season 1 energy and, to be perfectly honest, the Season 1 panic. And I mean panic in a good way, because when you’re filming episode 6 and there’s big sets and big budget and big chances but the show hadn’t aired yet at the time, there’s just this general feeling [of anticipation] that I remember.
Do you feel any sense of pride in all of this? Because none of these shows would be happening if it wasn’t for Arrow. If you guys hadn’t gotten it right…
Of course. Way back when, I know that Greg and Marc and Andrew [Kreisberg] picked the Green Arrow because they thought it would be interesting to tell this origin story. And it fit the mold of what we were looking for at the time, which was a little bit more grit and a little bit more of a grounded atmosphere for a superhero show. But you’re right, if we didn’t get it right, I don’t believe they could get their hands on a property like The Flash or get to do something like Legends. I’m the first person to recognize and admit that if they could just pick one, that The Flash is a much bigger property with more history and just a richer standing within the DC universe. I feel that with Supergirl as well, even though it’s a different network, although apparently not a totally different universe, which is exciting. But the fact remains that we were first, so there is a lot of pride there, you know, absolutely.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays, 8/7c on The CW.