With Oliver Queen apparently dead at the hands of the villainous Ra’s al Ghul in series’ midseason finale, Ramsey explains that Team Arrow has to step up their game, with Diggle leading the charge. And while Dig’s been carrying his responsibility’s more comfortably than anyone else in Starling City, with his relationship in a good place and his enjoyment at becoming a father, will taking center stage, especially without the benefit of a secret identity, eventually put his loved ones in harm’s way?
Ramsey gives Comic Book Resources a preview of what to expect in the back end of the CW series’ third season, as Diggle, Roy, Laurel and Felicity fill in for the missing Oliver, Diggle continues to balance his personal life with that of a crime fighting vigilante and the pride he feels at his character’s popularity expanding beyond the world of the show. Plus, Ramsey spills on one of the burning questions on many fans minds — why do the show’s ripped stars sometimes go a few episodes without taking their shirts off?
Comic Book Resources: What have you loved about this season, for you and for Diggle?
David Ramsey: Well, fortunately, now that Oliver Queen is dead, Diggle gets a lot more screen time, which is great — just selfishly, I have to say that! But besides that, I just like the fact that Diggle is probably the most well-adjusted of the characters. He has a family. He has a child and potential wife, and he fights crime at night. And he’s fine with all of those elements of his life, and well-adjusted to each of them. I think he’s probably where Oliver Queen will be in five years, just in terms of psychologically where he’s adjusted to. He’s had his crucible. Afghanistan was his crucible. I like the fact that they’re making him kind of a model, in some ways, of what Oliver Queen can and should be.
So you’re expecting this balance to stay in place?
To continue? Well, it never does, does it? I mean, not on “Arrow!” There’s peace, just to set you up for some chaos. So, no, I don’t expect it to stay that way, but it’s nice in the meantime.
Tell me about Diggle’s life in the world of Dead Oliver.
Well, he stepped up to the plate. And the rest of the team, obviously — Canary, Arsenal and Felicity — we all have to step up in the absence of Oliver. But I think they do look to Diggle to some degree. Diggle is older than all of them, and to some great degree, experienced more in the field, reconnaissance fighting, so they do look to him for some leadership. And it’s good — that’s a good element for Diggle to exercise, but it’s shared. It really is shared. All these opinions are shared, and there’s a certain amount of — Oliver’s absence really does something to us all emotionally, because we all have to reassess why we’re there, personally. We’ve taken on this crusade which began as Oliver’s, and it’s kind of slowly become our own, so we all have to come up with some reasons as to why we decide to stay, if we decide to stay. There’s a lot of introspective work that we do.
Tell me about fight scenes and stunts. What’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do recently?
Well, I get to do some hero stuff where I get to slide underneath this truck and come up and fight this big bad guy and pull out two guns and start firing. Stuff that Stephen [Amell] gets to do on a regular basis that we just kind of take for granted. I’ve learned in Stephen’s absence, as I get to do more action stuff, that I just don’t envy him at all. He does this stuff every week. So yeah, the coolest stuff has been this big warehouse fight that’s coming up. A huge warehouse fight that Diggle gets to be the star fighter of that scene.
Do you want a costume and code name?
That’s a great question! Well, Oliver says something very interesting. He said to Arsenal, “The mask isn’t to protect you. It’s to protect the people you love.” I think if anyone kind of has a reason to protect himself for loved ones at this point, it’s probably Diggle. So there’s been a big kind of hoo-rah on line in terms of “Diggle needs a mask. Diggle should get a mask.”
At first, I wasn’t really paying that much attention to it, but as I’ve just heard more of it, and kind of thought about it myself and thought, well, maybe. Maybe there should be something, and also just visually, right? You see Arsenal, Arrow, Canary coming into a big fight scene, and they’re all leathered and masked up. They’re clad in their uniforms, and their identities are protected — and then here comes Diggle, in a bomber jacket with two guns blazing, like, “Hey, I’m ready to fight!” No mask. Visually, there probably should be some adjustment to that, maybe. But I don’t know what that would be. I just don’t know what that would be.
The Diggle character, to their great credit and to my great honor, they’ve taken great strides in making Diggle kind of a part of the lexicon of “Arrow” and the lore of “Arrow.” And they’ve made him part of the comic book. So what do you do with that? Do you give him a mask there and here? I don’t know how this all logistically works. In terms of the story, would it be nice to see him [masked] when he’s out in the field? That makes complete and total sense to me. I just don’t know what that would be.
What did it mean to you when you found that they were bringing Diggle into the comics?
A great pleasure, man. I got to share that with these two guys, Mark [Guggenheim] and Andrew [Kreisberg], and Greg Berlanti, obviously, and even the fans. The fans really demanded that. They really just fell in love with Diggle. I can’t take all of that credit, but I was totally flabbergasted and honored by that. If Diggle survives in the comic books, 15 years from now, if there’s a character named John Diggle in the Green Arrow universe, I mean, that’s great. If there’s ever another show of “Arrow,” or in the movies, then they can bring that character to life. That’s great that it began here, you know.
Have you gotten to play with anybody that you haven’t had a lot of screen time with up until now?
Katie Cassidy, yeah. There’s some great moments that she and I get because, obviously, again, emotionally, there’s something that’s we’re going through in Oliver’s absence. She and I share some really fantastic moments that we never get to do besides this. So yeah, Katie Cassidy, it was great working with her, in particular.
Throughout your career, you’ve always been in peak physical condition.
Well, thank you. I’ll pay you for that later.
You’ve got a show to shoot every week. Is it easy to keep it up?
Well, it’s interesting you asked that. You have to kind of find your rhythm. I think, probably in the middle of the second season, I kind of found the rhythm in terms of, how do you work out with this type of schedule? You work 14-hour days, and how do you work out three or four times a week with that? So, no, it’s not easy, but you kind of find a rhythm. One week, we go on hiatus, during the break, you have to kind of find the rhythm again. And then you come back. So it’s all kind of a rhythm thing, and it takes some time to find it. And it is difficult. It is. So sometimes you might see us not having our shirts off for five or six or seven episodes. We’re not having our shirts off in five, six, seven episodes, that’s deliberate because we just haven’t quite found the rhythm yet. And once we do, the shirts come off.
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