Stephen Amell looks great when he works out on “Arrow.” How does he stay in shape?
—Mattie Fuerth, Everett, Wash.
There are a lot of shirtless scenes on “Arrow” when billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell, works out to stay in shape, so he can moonlight as the crime-fighting vigilante who is trying to clean up the streets of Starling City.
But it wasn’t Amell’s idea to include those scenes. When the Toronto, Canada-born actor was signed for the pilot, his stunt coordinator was given carte blanche to send him to whatever trainers he wanted. One of those he picked was Paul Darnell, who doubles for Henry Cavill in “Man of Steel.” Darnell is a parkour instructor at Tempest Freerunning Academy in Reseda, Calif., and, while Amell was there training, he was filmed on the salmon ladder.
The tape was sent to executive producer Greg Berlanti, who loved it, and decided to put it into the show. So now that it is an element of “Arrow,” Amell, 32, knows he has to stay in shape, but time is the issue. The first season of “Arrow” filmed six days a week for nine months straight.
“It has been trial and error finding the time to work out and figuring out what kinds of workouts I am going to do,” he says. “I do weights when I can, and I joined an executive gym in Vancouver. When I am rehearsing for fights, that keeps me in shape. Still, I do like to be given notice when I have a shirtless scene because a lot of the times, there is just not enough time in the day to exercise.”
Amell had never picked up a bow and arrow prior to the series. His archery coach, Patricia Gonsalves, started his training by showing him a 45-minute video of all the ways that archery has been done badly on television and in film.
‘Working with a bow and arrow is literally one of the most dangerous things that you can do on a film set,” Amell says. “You can put blank bullets in a gun. You either are dry firing an arrow, or you’re making sure that there is nobody within 180 degrees of you when you are shooting it. But, really, the first thing was getting the form. I really like archery. I enjoy practicing it when I have time off.”