In a podcast interview that was interrupted by a panic attack suffered by its guest, Arrow lead Stephen Amell spoke candidly about the “rut” he hit during 2019, how the conditions for shooting Oliver’s (first) death scene were “unacceptable,” and the reasons why he was compelled to return for the CW series’ 10-episode farewell run.
Asked by Inside of You podcast host/Smallville alum Michael Rosenbaum about the highs and lows of filming crossovers, Amell conceded, “They come out great, the fans love them… [but] I always think of what we leave on the table because we try and do something really extraordinary and with this amazing scope within the confines of our typical schedule. It’s never made any sense to me.”
Amell illustrated his point with a recent example, from shooting Oliver’s death scene at the end of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Part 1.
“They were trying to wrap [scene partners] Caity [Lotz] and Grant [Gustin]… before I shot the coverage of the scene where I died,” Amell related. “I blame no one for this, but this is a scene with me from Arrow that’s taking place on Supergirl, with a Supergirl crew, with demands on both Grant and Caity… and they’re trying to pull them so that Flash and Legends don’t mess up their day the next day. Meanwhile, the f–king Green Arrow was laying on a gurney trying to deliver his lines to something other than a f–king tennis ball. So, there are lots of scenes where I’m acting and there just aren’t other actors there, and that is just not an acceptable way of creating the best product, from my perspective.”
Elsewhere during the in-depth and always illuminating Inside of You podcast Q&A, Amell confirmed that he was “ready to move on” ahead of Arrow Season 7 “and then I got the proverbial ‘offer that I couldn’t refuse.’ They say, ‘Well, you’ll have to shoot 22 episodes with us [for Season 7]… which is July through April. Are you really telling us you want to do 22 at Price X and finish in April, and not do 32 at this price, and be done in October?’ Because if you’re renegotiating, they change your episodic fee. I looked at it, and it would have been fiscally irresponsible for me to say no. Just fiscally irresponsible. I loved the s–t out of Season 8, I had a blast, but I was there for the money. More so than I had ever been.”
Amell’s aforementioned panic attack came early into his first sit-down for the podcast, in mid-December, as Rosenbaum asked, “Do you think that you have yet to mourn [Arrow], being done with it?” Amell shared that, with his new Starz series, Heels, not starting production until March, “I just don’t want any responsibility right now, other than husband and father.” He then began asking Rosenbaum and podcast producers if it was hot in the recording booth, since he was suddenly sweating. As Rosenbaum went to adjust the air, Amell interjected, “Honestly, man, I think I might be sick. I might have to cut this short, I’m not feeling well at all.” Rosenbaum offered to drive Amell home, but he deferred: “I actually kind of want to walk. I just need fresh air.”
Returning weeks later to finish the podcast and reflect on his panic attack, Amell conceded that he “hadn’t disconnected” upon wrapping Arrow in mid-December, but instead felt demands on his time, including to promote his and cousin Robbie Amell’s Code 8 indie. Plus, he admitted that for much of 2019, he had let his fitness routine fell by the wayside, with no shirtless scenes in Oliver’s imminent future. “I had gotten into such a rut with physical fitness or lack thereof, that there was no release of endorphins,” he noted. “I even found myself, not to get too personal, with very little sexual appetite, just because I was doing nothing but digging myself into a rut with my body.”
Amell sought out a physician’s opinion, only to be told there was nothing wrong with him physically. “That’s when you have that moment of realization where you go, ‘Oh my God, this is in my head.’ Which is scarier.”