As “Arrow” heads into its second season, two of the CW drama’s stars, Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen) and Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak) stopped by the CBR Yacht at Comic-Con International 2013 to discuss the success of the show’s debut season, share behind-the-scenes stories of working on the set, the rise in popularity of Rickards’ character and much more.
On the physically demanding nature of playing Oliver Queen: “I would put my schedule for the season up against anybody,” said Amell. “Like, a throw down. We’ll have a third party competition, actually compute the amount of hours, amount of preparatory time, etc. that I put in, I will put it up against anybody… I have a massive and ever-present fear of failure and I’m incredibly competitive. She has heard me drop super loud F-bombs and other bombs that I’m not even comfortable saying what they are. A lot of bombs are being dropped because I want everything to be great all the time. This doesn’t happen very often, but we had a scene and we were unclear about something. Sometimes when you have a lot of background in a scene, it’s tough to keep them quiet. We were blocking out the scene and I stopped and went, ‘It just — it just –‘ and all of a sudden [snaps], you could hear a pin drop. They wanted to hear what I was going to say!”
On his near-encyclopedic knowledge of “Arrow” continuity: “When I was a kid growing up, I would sit and I would read the sports section,” said Amell. “I was most interested in statistics, in the standings. I would know the batting average leaders, I would have this encyclopedic knowledge of that. That weird trait — the Will Hunting-esque knowledge of that section — has transferred over to the show. When we’re doing the show, I know that if a scene calls back, I’ll be able to say, ‘This calls back to episode five and we did this, that and the other thing.’ I’m very, very particular and sometimes when you’re rushing through a day, sometimes things grind to a halt.”
On Felicity Smoak and becoming a series regular: “She took over,” said Rickards. “It wasn’t even in my thought process [that I would become a series regular]. I was so glad they wanted me on the show, and then they brought me back and then all of a sudden, the word ‘regular’ was getting thrown around. I wasn’t really focused on the word or the title because I’d never been in that situation before. It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s busy. I get to work with this guy, and that’s alright.”
“The first time I came around the corner, because we’d barely rehearsed, we did a quick run through, the first time I came around the corner and Emily reacted the way that she did, the smile that you saw from me was a total break of character, it was a totally legitimate, heartfelt, ‘This is really funny.’ To that point in the show, I’m not sure Oliver had smiled,” said Amell. “For me, personally, it was an immediate, I remember talking to producers after we shot that scene saying, ‘That was a really fun scene to shoot, Emily was great and she should come back.'”
On Felicity being “the smartest character in the room”: “She’s smart at a lot of things, but she does struggle — obviously — with social aspects,” said Rickards. “There’s certain things she’s not flourishing in and she’s not a genius in, but I love playing someone who’s so intelligent and her intellect is almost — bombards her sense of self in a social situation because it’s so apparent. I love playing her. I love the words she gets to say.”