Stephen Amell & The Reelside of Superheroes

You heard us talk about Reelside while it was airing on The Movie Network earlier this summer. We interviewed Orphan Black EP Graeme Manson about their “Science Fiction” episode, which was one of my two favourite installments of the series. Reelside is now airing on Movie Central, and we spoke with Arrow star Stephen Amell about his involvement in the “Superheroes” episode, which happens to be my other favourite in the six-part series.

We talked about the role that Amell plays in the sixth episode of Reelside, but we also talked a bit about Arrow, his charity work, and even SummerSlam.

First, I have to congratulate you on your SummerSlam victory. It must have been so exciting to fulfill a dream like that.

The only unfortunate thing is that it all sort of flashed before my eyes so quickly that I worry now that I have the bug and that I’m going to want to do it again.

It looks like there’s some unfinished business, and they’ve left the door open for future appearances.

I don’t think that was an accident.

I saw your episode of Reelside over the summer, and loved it. How did you become involved in the project?

It was the guys: Raj [Panikkar], Chris [Szarka], and Matt [Lochner] especially. I got to know them on Rent-a-Goalie in Toronto several years ago. [They contacted me and said] we’re going to be in Vancouver, we’ll work around your schedule, we’d love to come in on the weekend and chat with you about the rigors and challenges of playing a superhero on TV. And I said, “Of course.” That was literally the whole sales pitch. I didn’t actually have much of an idea of what the larger picture was gonna be, but I think that these guys have always done an excellent job of trying to showcase new talent and telling a good story. I’m honoured to be a part of it.

One aspect that you discuss on Reelside is how Oliver Queen doesn’t have any super powers, making him a vulnerable superhero, but I understand that some magic is coming into play in Season 4 of Arrow. What can you share about that?

The Damien Darhk character is cut from the same cloth — no pun intended — as the Ra’s [al Ghul] character when it comes to elements of the Lazarus Pit. You can see very early on there is still so much to do for us. The contrast between the Green Arrow and Damien Darhk — his methods of evading arrows and the way that he handles Green Arrow — sets the tone for a different season. I think people are going to enjoy it. It gives us an opportunity to introduce some familiar characters and explore some new things and it’s interesting, magic or not, the way we set up the problems for the team this year.

Oliver’s also in a good place when the season begins.

Yes very much so.

That must be a really nice change for your character, considering how dark things got over the past couple of seasons.

Yeah, it was for me, too. He hasn’t had too many good breaks, basically since the mid-way point of the second season when Slade Wilson shows up at his house. That can become a little tiresome for me creatively, and just in general it’s nice to see him [happy]. But because our show is our show, there are going to be problems, there’s going to be life and death stakes. One difference this year is how Oliver deals with them, and it’s certainly not the only difference. For me, it’s interesting to watch him rely on other people, counsel with more than himself, and ask people for help. All of those things make a richer character.

In your episode of Reelside, you help Matt Lochner create a superhero based on your experience creating the Arrow. Off screen, I have to say that you’re inspiring people to become superheroes in their own way by being charitable. Was philanthropic work always part of your plan, and how was it all set in motion?

We did the interview for Reelside, I believe, shortly before my daughter was born. That would have been in the early part of Season 2. I really did stumble into the idea of doing charity work towards the beginning of Season 3. It sort of grew out of opportunities on my Facebook Page, but I would be lying if I said I thought it would be as far-reaching as it has been. I’ve been very fortunate to have my own platform but then have other very smart people create easily accessible platforms for me to raise money or awareness — both of which are equally important. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity. I don’t have any real long-range plans when it comes to non-profit work, but people come to me with interesting opportunities and the ones that I feel like pursuing, I pursue. One of the best things about being at SummerSlam was that I immediately saw an opportunity, and we raised over $300,000 CDN for a smaller organization in Toronto. I like working with organizations where I can see from the top to the bottom, so I know that it’s something important that’s going make a big difference.

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