“Arrow” star Stephen Amell recently made his long-awaited return to The CW/ Warner TV’s superhero series with season 7.
In this exclusive interview, the Canadian actor talks about the progress of his character Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, the struggles he’s facing in this new season, and encountering the criminals he’s responsible for putting in jail.
The synopsis for “Arrow” season 7 is as follows:
“Following Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) shocking decision to turn himself over to the FBI and reveal his identity as the Green Arrow to the public, Oliver has spent the past 5 months in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. Determined to keep a low profile to shorten his sentence for the sake of his family, Oliver is tested when he runs into old foes.
“Meanwhile, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) have taken on new jobs and left their costumes behind but not everyone is following suit. With her focus on William (guest star Jack Moore), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) tries to start over but when someone from her past resurfaces, things become complicated.”
Q: In the season 6 finale, Oliver Queen went to jail after declaring he was Green Arrow. Where do we find the character at the start of season 7?
SA: Oliver is in prison with a bunch of people that he put in prison. It’s not good. It’s very bad.
Q: Does he have any allies in jail?
SA: No, he doesn’t. He’s on his own. Oliver is trying to keep his head down. He’s trying to manage his time. He’s taking it day by day and step by step. He hasn’t had any contact with Felicity (Smoak, played by Emily Bett Rickards). He’s just trying to press on.
Q: On an emotional and mental level, how does Oliver cope with prison?
SA: He copes really badly. In the premiere episode of season 7, there’s nothing about him that’s heroic. It’s pretty much the opposite. Prison life is really tough. As an actor, I’m really enjoying myself. I’m having a really good time playing Oliver (in the new season), but it’s been tough for the character.
Q: Ricardo Diaz (played by Kirk Acevedo) is still on the loose in season 7. How does Oliver handle that situation from behind bars?
SA: Again… He’ll handle it badly.
Q: How does Oliver cope with being separated from his family and his team?
SA: Badly. That’s it. That’s my answer. He deals with everything badly!
Q: Can Oliver do anything for the good of the world from prison?
SA: Well, Oliver gets a little bit of a lead on Diaz in prison. He gets some information, but he gets it because he gets the shit kicked out of him.
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Q: How would you describe a day in the life of Oliver Queen in prison? Is he constantly watching his back?
SA: That pretty much sums up his life behind bars. He’s in prison with a bunch of people that he put in prison, so he always has to watch his back. In some ways, the situation is great because we get to see some people that we haven’t seen in a while come back onto the show.
Q: For example?
SA: I’m afraid that’s a secret for now. I can’t say any names. However, I was very, very thankful that some of the people that came back are back. There are some people that we hadn’t seen for a long time, but that’s all I can say. It’s really cool to see them back in the show.
Q: Did you watch any prison movies to inspire your portrayal of Oliver Queen behind bars?
SA: Not really. In the 1st episode (of season 7), I took a lot of inspiration from our director, James Bamford. I don’t know how much of it will end up in the episode, but we did a lot of stuff where I stared down the barrel of the camera. There’s a lot of material from Oliver’s perspective in this season.
Q: Will fans see a new side to the character in prison?
SA: In season 7, it’s the complete opposite of heroic. In the past, he was always the one to take charge and solve problems. He would save people. But that’s not what he’s doing in the premiere. Right now, the thing that I like about Oliver is the fact that he’s not heroic.
Q: Will Oliver Queen’s abs make an appearance in season 7?
SA: There might be a prison workout scene! Yeah. I think there will be some abs. In fact, there’s some abs in the trailer.
Q: How long will the character stay in prison with all the craziness happening outside?
SA: He has a life sentence.
Q: Will he stick to that?
SA: Well, Oliver can break out of prison at any point in time. However, based on the terms of the deal he made, he will stay inside. I talked about this a lot with (Arrow’s new showrunner) Beth Schwartz because I kept saying, ‘We know that Oliver can break out of prison at any point, right?’ No, he’s behind bars and Oliver has effectively no contact with the outside world. His prison time is literally just that: prison time.
Q: Let’s look back at season 6, Stephen. What was your standout moment from last season?
SA: Personally, I really liked the finale. I liked Oliver’s moments with everyone in that episode. My scene with Emily (Bett Rickards, who plays Felicity), where I’m telling her what I’m going to do; that was a highlight for me. My last scene with Paul (Blackthorne, who played Quentin Lance) was another one that made me sad. It was intense, too.
Arrow premieres on Warner TV (Astro Ch719 & Unifi TV Ch451), on Thursdays, 9:50 pm.