Arrow star's a straight-shooter as Supanova hype builds

The annual Supanova Pop Culture Expo is looming large on Australia's horizon. It starts at Sydney's Olympic Park on June 21 to 23 before heading to in Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane this year. Finn Coleman has caught up with a couple of the visiting celebs. Let's start with Arrow star Stephen Amell.

Different role: Stephen as Casey Jones in a scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Picture: Jessica Miglio/Paramount Pictures

Different role: Stephen as Casey Jones in a scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Picture: Jessica Miglio/Paramount Pictures

What is next for Stephen Amell? It's a fair place to start for the man who's eight season tenure as Arrow in the series of the same name is about to come to an end.

The Canadian actor spoke about the role that changed his life and his future prospects in the lead up to his visit to the Sydney leg of the Supanova Comic Con and Gaming Expo, June 21 to 23.

The 38-year-old has been working in the industry for more than 15 years, having bounced around different roles and odd jobs for much of his early career.

Though Amell did appear in some recurring television roles it wasn't until he was cast as Oliver Queen in Arrow that he had his breakthrough.

"Like any other profession, you get a role, then you get something that's a bit bigger and then something that's a bit bigger. And you have a little bit more responsibility ... when I got Arrow it felt like the right time."

Amell was cast in Arrow in 2012. It was only meant to be a solo season but it quickly gained popularity and support from fans, even leading producers to spawn a spin-off focused on the Flash.

Super cool: Stephen Amell in Arrow-mode.

Super cool: Stephen Amell in Arrow-mode.

Looking back on being cast in the pilot Amell said: "I don't think there was a big hope for a show based on the Green Arrow.

"Comic book fans knew him and Smallville fans knew him but at best Green Arrow is a niche character.

"It wasn't until between season one and season two where they sat me down and said 'we've had a lot of success here and we're going to bring Barry Allen in for season two, and the hope is to create a Flash series and basically the hope is to make the Justice League on TV'.

"And I went, 'Oh I think we might be around for a little bit' and even though I've felt like there haven't really been any misses in the TV universe we've still had people in our way, unfortunately and ultimately stupidly, but what are you going to do, you just press on."

Amell says his take on the Arrow character is different to that portrayed in the comic.

I've loved other versions of the character and further to that, I'm really excited to see what will happen to the character next. I would love to see someone else play Oliver Queen ... I would love to see what they do with it.

"I know that there are people who think about the comic book canon of Green Arrow and think maybe Oliver should crack a smile every once and a while but I need to be true to what we did in the pilot, which is a guy that has been through a traumatic experience that is just trying to find his way.

"I would like to think that I have created a version of the character."

Amell found playing the role to be "really cool" and can't wait to see what happens to the character.

"I've loved other versions of the character and further to that, I'm really excited to see what will happen to the character next. I would love to see someone else play Oliver Queen ... I would love to see what they do with it."

Along with the Arrow's version of Oliver, Amell has been proud to see the creation of new characters and the changing of some comic book characters.

"Felicity Smoak, she was a DC Comics character, I don't believe she was in Green Arrow," said Amell.

"I'm actually most proud that we created a character like John Diggle who now becomes a part of the canon and you see in the comic books. That to me is the accomplishment of the show.

"When people ask me what my favourite villain is, the fans will overwhelmingly say Deathstroke, at least the comic book fans will, but for me it's Prometheus because that's something that we conceived off of how we created the show. The fact that we have been able to do stuff like that, I think that's really cool."

Amell has found that entering the world of DC Comics to be a "pretty easy arrival".

"I only read DC Comics growing up, ironically," he said.

"I swear to god this is not on purpose. It's not like I thought they were superior to Marvel, because I definitely read Spawn, like I have a bunch of first editions of Spawn. I just remembered that those were Todd McFarlene and it was Image Comics ... apart from that I only had DC Comics. So, being a part of the DC Universe felt pretty organic."

It was announced in January 2019 that the CW had renewed Arrow for an eighth and final season. Amell revealed it would not be filmed until July this year.

I love playing villains, I really do. I think playing one would be heaps of fun. DC, Marvel, a new creation I don't care.

Amell said: "it is sad, but it's good. I talked to Greg Berlanti in early 2018, when we were finishing up season six ... and I said 'hey Greg, it's time'. And he said 'time for what?' and I said 'It's time man, it's time to wrap it up'.

"As we're getting closer to it, it feels strange, it'll be the better part of a decade of my life where almost everything that I've done, whether it be work or vacation, has been dictated by my schedule on the show.

"But it wrapping up feels good, it's time doesn't mean it's not sad, but it's time."

If Amell was ever to return to a comic book or superhero role he has said that he wants it to be as a villain.

"Now having done the show I don't want to pick one just in case it turns out to be something different," he joked.

"I love playing villains, I really do. I think playing one would be heaps of fun. DC, Marvel, a new creation I don't care."

Amell has already started branching out into other projects.

In 2016, Amell, along with cousin Robbie Amell, released a short film titled Code 8, which they both produced and starred in. It acted as a teaser for a feature film.

The positive reception of the short along with support from an online a fundraising campaign led to the production of a feature length film.

Code 8 has been completed and is on a screening tour, which visits Sydney on June 20.

"I'm very, very proud of the movie ... the fan response has been excellent and doing the premier tour has been really, really special. It's been really cool."

"The short film is a proof of concept for the world that we are trying to build. So, you see a character in the short that plays a different character in the movie... the movie is not a continuation of the short."

Amell, though attached to the project, said that the concept came from Robbie getting together with director and writer Jeff Chan, and writer Chris Paré.

"They approached me and I kind of leaned in on the crowdfunding aspect of it ... it was really lucky I was able to be as involved as I was."

Supanova Comic Con and Gaming Expo, is at Sydney Olympic Park on June 21 to 23. More here