Arrow: Stephen Amell Talks Action-Packed Pilot & That Salmon Ladder Pull-Up
Stephen Amell in 'Arrow' -- The CW
Stephen Amell's new show for The CW, "Arrow," hasn't yet hit the network, but the actor is elated it was an early hit with fans who caught a screening of the pilot at Comic-Con.
"I hear things the way you hear things in 2012: I watch my Twitter feed, and people seem to really like it," the actor told Access Hollywood at the festival over the weekend.
The show, based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, sees the former "Hung" and "Private Practice" star playing Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, who after spending five years as a castaway on an island (where he picked up some superhero skills), he comes back for vengeance and crime fighting.
Fans have already been Tweeting about its Batman-like feel (with the kind of fighting action of a "Bourne" film).
"Those are two hugely successful movie franchises and if we are working our way into comparisons with them, one of them, let alone both, then we are doing something right," Stephen smiled.
The first episode features a lot of action, and the kind of workout scenes that will leave fans shocked - like Stephen doing an impressive series of pull-ups.
"It's called a salmon ladder... and when I was training, when I was doing Parkour, a lot of guys trained for the 'America Ninja Warrior' there and salmon ladder is part of the 'America Ninja Warrior' course. The production found out that it was there and they asked me if I could do it. So I did it, I sent a video to them and they built it," Stephen told Access about how the intense athletic feat made it into the first episode. "We shot that first. [I] had to do it, I wanna say, like seven or eight times and there was a lot of adrenaline involved. It was freezing in there. That steam coming off of me -- in that subsequent scene where I'm doing the sit-ups - real."
For those who haven't seen a salmon ladder - it's a pull-up where the athlete moves the bar up several rungs with their feet never once touching the ground.
"No, your feet aren't on the ground. So you use momentum and then you pull yourself up and then in that sort of brief, brief, brief, brief moment of semi-weightlessness, you yank the bar up," Stephen continued. "So, it's a rhythm thing, it's kind of like a dance move. If you just try to do it through strength, you can't just muscle your way through it. It's a rhythm thing. The first one is the hardest. You think that the third one, the fourth one or the fifth one would be the hardest. The first one is the hardest 'cause... you have that initial moment of fear because you are going higher on each run. It's really fun."
Beyond the workout moments, there is plenty of action throughout the "Arrow" pilot, and Stephen said it will only get bigger and bigger.
"It's our responsibility every single week to ramp it up, to make it more intense, to make the stakes higher, to introduce new people, to bring in new dynamics to the show," he said. "I just read an episode and it's -- I think that it's more aggressive than the first one. I think it's just as much, if not more action. It helps too, because the pilot is one thing and going into the series is another. Now we have an idea of what our camera crew can do, what I can do -- physically -- you know, what other actors [can do]. So it's good. We start to play to our strengths."