Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cutting Room Floor Commentary: Stephen Amell on 'Arrow' Stunts...

Stephen Amell gives a sh*t.

I still intend to title an official profile on the actor that way soon, but I have yet to get the opportunity. I just love how, no matter what silly question you ask Amell, he is there with a thoughtful and sincere answer. He takes his job seriously. He takes his art seriously. But he has a lot of fun while doing it, too. 

Ask Amell a simple, even if spoilery question, and he's smart enough to never respond with "I don't know what I can say" or "I can't tell you; you'll just have to tune in!" Instead, he always offers a behind-the-scenes tale to charm and engage. He's a natural storyteller.

Amell thinks about everything. During a recent roundtable Q&A he talked about being in episode nine, thinking about the ways he could play a conversation with a certain character based on remembering all of the little nuggets that came before it. Somehow without getting stuck in his own head, he manages to string it all together in a way that proves this isn't just a job for him. He doesn't just show up and read his lines and hit his marks and go home at the end of the day and not put more investment in. It's why his work is as layered as it is, and why he'll only continue to get better.

It's also why he goes above and beyond what #1 on the call sheet "has" to do. Amell loves doing his own stunts. He has made no secret of that. He is a physical guy, and he prides himself on the challenge above and beyond the emotional nature of playing multiple versions of the same character in any given episode. And he takes the stunt work seriously, too; he trains hard not only so he can look good while doing them but so that he can do them properly and safely. He doesn't phone anything in.

Amell's stunt coordinator may have been shocked it took him until episode five, therefore, to slip with one stunt and accidentally injure his fight scene partner. But I was kind of shocked to learn he had at all. Oh well, we all make mistakes, and at least no one was really hurt. Amell got a good story out of it, and we know he'll use the experience to enrich his work later.

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