Stephen Amell gave eight-year-old Dragon Con attendee Amelia Marsh, dressed as a young Arrow, the honor of introducing him at the “Stephen Amell Live!” panel on Friday at 5:30 PM in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom. Whispering in her ear, he told her what to say, beginning with him being really tired from filming today and continuing with an apology for having to cancel in 2012. As recompense, he treated the audience to the first showing of the trailer for season four of Arrow. Fans were ecstatic at the treat and filled the ballroom with cheers of delight at epic moments in the trailer, like the shot of Arrow kissing Felicity. The declaration “I’m Damian Dark” also drew roars of anticipation and approval.
After this rousing introduction, moderator Tony Gowell opened the panel to questions from the audience. When asked how he gets into character, Amell said that he just acts like “Steve.” He tries to be himself, and “then they tell you how they want you to be.” He does his best to oblige.
Asked about whether he knew that Felicity would be so important, and eventually become his love interest, he said he’d had no idea at the start. They filmed about nine episodes before the pilot appeared on television, and they didn’t know at the time what would resonate with the audience. “All the sudden they built her a set,” he said. “When they build you a set, you know you’ll be around for a while.” Early on, when he asked if the Arrow and Felicity would ever get together, he was told, “Absolutely not. Ever. And look what happened.” The fan response to Felicity was much stronger than expected, which influenced the direction of the show.
Amell told the audience that he loves Atlanta and noted that he’d stayed in Decatur for two months while filming The Vampire Diaries. His favorite city, however, is Los Angeles. “I love the weather,” he said. “I love the smog.”
To the audience’s surprise, Amell’s cousin, Robbie Amell, joined him onstage midway through the panel, which added a dimension of friendly banter to an already mesmerizing interview.
“Stephen is seven years older than me,” Robbie noted.
“Can’t tell,” was Stephen’s quick rejoinder.
“It’s my favorite question, who’s older?” Robbie continued. “Stephen, by a decade.”
Stephen shot back a monologue of Robbie on the phone with his agent:
“Hello. It’s a genre show? Yep, I’ll do it.”
Not to be outdone, Robbie said, “There’s a genre show I still haven’t been on … .” Hint, hint.
This season, the Arrow will meet his new nemesis Damian Dark much earlier than usual—in the very first episode. When asked if he could go up against any villain, which one would he choose, Stephen turned to Robbie. “Who can I play?” Robbie quipped. Stephen loves the idea of a dark archer, but he said his favorite villain is Jim Carey’s portrayal of the Riddler.
His favorite scene? During the first season, “When Colin Donnell finds out I’m the Arrow—spoiler—and he asks me, ‘Were you ever gonna tell me?’” That was a turning point of the series. Stephen is most proud of the fight on the mountaintop with Ra’s Al Ghul. “Once you get used to fighting on screen,” he pointed out, “You get better at it.”
The two cousins are obviously close, and Robbie spoke of the time when he watched the Arrow pilot episode while Stephen sat nervously at the bottom of the stairs, head in hands. When it was over, Robbie let out a joyous “Woo!” It was a treat to watch them tease each other while celebrating their success.
Asked if he would ever be too busy for his fans, Stephen gave an emphatic “No!” He said that his Facebook page has become easier to manage as it’s grown bigger because of the responsible community of people who bring things to his attention. “It makes long days more palatable when I can get in touch with my fans,” he added.
The Amell cousins will sign two bottles of wine, which will be offered at the Dragon Con Charity Auction on Sunday at 10AM in Hanover C–E (Hy). Stephen closed the panel with another viewing of the new Arrow trailer, amid huge cheers of appreciation from the audience.