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Stephen Amell’s ‘Arrow’ role required practice

BEVERLY HILLS — Stephen Amell proved to be a straight shooter when chatting with reporters recently at the Television Critics Association press tour about preparing for his starring role in the new CW superhero drama “Arrow,” which premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m.

The action-packed show, based on the DC Comics character the Green Arrow, required intense training for the Canadian actor, who previously guested on series like “New Girl” and “Private Practice” before strapping on Oliver Queen’s quiver.

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“If you think comic book fans are aggressive and interested, archery fans and enthusiasts are just as much so,” he said with a laugh.

Q. Was parkour part of your training?

A. Yes, it was. I trained out of Reseda, Calif., at a spot called Tempest Freerunning Academy, and 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. And 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.

Q. Had you ever shot a bow and arrow before?

A. I had never picked one up before. 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. And before she taught me how to aim, because working with a bow and arrow is literally one of the most dangerous things that you can do on a film set. You can put blank bullets in a gun. You either are dry firing an arrow, or you’re making sure that there is nobody within 180 degrees of you when you are shooting it. But really the first thing was getting the form. And I really like archery. I enjoy practicing it when I have time off.

Q. Part of Arrow’s psychological damage is the result of the isolation he suffered on the island. Do you have any experiences you draw on to help you understand that feeling?

A. The closest thing that I would get to being with myself for an extended period of time would be driving from Toronto to California in a Smart car. (Laughs.) I was crazy by the time I was in Missouri, let alone got to California.

Q. What’s it like to be playing variations on this character, from the isolated man on the island to Arrow the superhero to Oliver Queen, rich playboy jerk?

A. As an actor, it’s really fun. When I looked at the pilot, I saw four different roles, and normally they break down day by day, where I will have a day where it’s fake Oliver in the real world right now. And then there will be an island day. And there’s an Arrow day. It’s a really fun exercise. It keeps me on my toes.

Interview has been edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@
globe.com
Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman
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