In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: Stephen Amell
Notable Work: Arrow (2012-present), Hung (2011), Private Practice (2012)
“We’re making a kick ass show. We will continue to make a kick ass show. And I will continue to interact and provide interesting content for our fans. Because I love our fans. If every once and a while, some dickweed wants to pull a headline out of thin air to generate page views, then that’s the price we pay.” – Stephen Amell
The quote you see above is from an angry Stephen Amell in response to a member of the media “leaking” fabricated rumors that Amell was in talks to be a part of the Justice League movie, announced for 2016. You see, that kick ass show that Amell was referring to is Arrow, one of the hottest television shows out right now – and possibly the best live-action superhero show ever on the small screen. I’m actually sitting here writing this article as I re-watch the Season 3 finale of Arrow. I realize that, even though this is really Stephen Amell’s breakout role – his presence on it has been a contributing factor to why it is so phenomenal.
The Canadian sensation has stayed humble through the transition into stardom. It hasn’t been an instant rise to fame for Amell; it took nearly a decade-long career to get casted as Oliver Queen in Arrow. Like many actors without a pedigree, he got his start with small roles in popular television shows. The first of which was Showtime’s Queen as Folk, where he played a spin instructor. Spin class, for those who don’t know, is a gym class where a group of people vigorously ride stationary bikes to the tempo of music. Vigorously. Ironically enough, Amell was actually a spin instructor in real life prior to breaking into the business – which he had been training for since taking acting classes in high school.
Amell expanded his repertoire when he was cast on the gay super-natural soap opera, Dante’s Cove, home to some pretty risqué dude-on-dude scenes – Amell excluded, sorry ladies and/or fellas, if you’re into that. He proved early on that he is comfortable with his sexuality, playing a gay prostitute in the third season of HBO’s Hung, a role that he apparently didn’t tell even his parents about (probably because he didn’t have this awesome video to break the news with). Aside from playing Arrow, his role of Jason has been his longest-running. His openness to trying roles like this led to a slew of other opportunities, from CSI and NCIS to the award-winning Canadian shows like Heartland, Rent-A-Goalie and ReGenesis. Amell also played Brady the Werewolf in The Vampire Diaries. The CW, the channel that hosts both TVD and Arrow, likes to keep their actors in the family, which led to his audition – and prompt casting – for the part of Oliver Queen, the
If you’re going to choose a character to get type-casted as, a billionaire crime-fighter isn’t the worst. Green Arrow has been a dark horse favorite among DC Comics characters – which is great, considering he is often in the shell of Batman (oddly enough, Arrow will be competing with FOX’s Gotham drama based on the Dark Knight). Nothing comes easy to Queen, and it shows through the stream of flashbacks to the island Queen was stranded on. This is such an impressive feat for Amell, who must portray both a character living a current-day double life, and a character in progression – a guy who goes from entitled douche to unlikely hero.
Now, Stephen Amell doesn’t just play a hero on television; he’s kind of one in real life. Most people by now have heard of Batkid, but just in case you haven’t, I will give a little background. Miles was a kid who had battled leukemia and was in remission. His one wish was to save the city of Gotham with Batman. The entire city of San Francisco was transformed in Gotham City and Batkid went around foiling the nefarious plots of many of Batman’s greatest foes. In what could be considered the greatest nod to Batkids work, Stephen posted a video on his Facebook as Oliver Queen with Diggle and Felicity. He is talking to his partners about how there is absolutely no criminals to fight thanks to the heroics of Batkid and thanks to him he gets to go out and enjoy dinner for a night.
It goes further than that. He has one of the best Facebook pages known to man, which he frequently uses to interact with fans and post hilarious memes making fun and promoting the show. Amell also found time to voice the Arrow version of the Green Arrow (regular version played by Alan Tudyk) character in the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game. Aside from posting memes, Amell uses social networking as a platform for the various cancer research causes that he believes in, stemming from his mother’s diagnosis with breast cancer. To name a few: he recently auctioned an autographed Arrow statue away (going for over $25K on eBay at time of writing) for a cancer patient, he attends fundraiser balls in the name of awareness (Boobyball and Fuck Cancer, to name a couple).
How he manages to juggle being the hardest working actor in television with his wife, former America’s Next Top Model contestant, Cassandra Jean, and their baby girl, Mavi, is anybody’s guess. Plus, he’s now an expert archer, or at least what he told us at his panel at Emerald City Comic Con, he has the form of an expert archer. The humanitarian aspect he brings to the table, coupled with his work ethic – and workout ethic, sets him apart from the rest of the industry. How lucky we are to have Amell spearhead the superhero television revolution. Oliver Queen should take notes.
None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (DC Comics). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with the voice actor that raised a generation, Jim Cummings.