LOS ANGELES | Before long, The CW may have to change its name to The Amell.
Stephen Amell stars on the network’s hit series “Arrow.” Cousin Robbie joins him this fall on “The Tomorrow People.”
Add in Robbie’s sister (she, too, acted at one time) and it could be a family hangout.
“We’ve been very lucky,” Robbie says. “When Stephen got ‘Arrow,’ (Warner Bros. executive) Peter Roth said, ‘I’m going to employ your whole family.”
The 25-year-old Amell first got in the Roth game when he starred in a pilot called “Like Father,” which didn’t go to series.
When “Tomorrow People” got in the casting stage, he went in for another role and Roth told him to switch to the lead. Amell did and booked the part. “I’m glad to call him my friend,” he says.
In truth, Amell might have had a career in hockey, not Hollywood.
Growing up in Toronto, he was a “pretty decent” player who had thoughts of going pro when he was through with high school. Then he got a call from an agent to audition for “Cheaper by the Dozen 2.”
“It went fine and I got a call the next day: ‘You booked it.’ I didn’t have a lot of lines but I was in the movie a lot and I got to watch Steve Martin, Eugene Levy and Bonnie Hunt — incredible professionals doing such amazing things. It was one of those total life-changing moments. I called my coach and said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not coming back next year.'”
He chose acting classes instead, was cast in a Disney show, “Life with Derek,” and worked his way through several series guest spots.
In the 2011 season, he landed a regular role in “1600 Penn,” the lead in “Like Father” and Marc Cherry’s pilot, “Hallelujah.”
When “The Tomorrow People” hit his radar, Amell was appropriately cautious.
“I’ve been very lucky, very blessed to be in a slew of projects, some I thought were going to go and some I thought weren’t,” he says. “There’s no such thing as a sure thing in this business. But I learned from every single one of them.”
The best approach: “Put your head down and do the best work you can.
“I love my job. If I don’t get excited about it, I may not bring the same passion to the role. I don’t want to get bitter. I just want to get better…and move on to the next one.”
Now, though, Amell has a chance to live out a dream.
“I’ve been preparing for this role since I was a little kid, playing make-believe with friends.”
In the series — based on a British original — he plays a high school student who discovers he has special powers. He teleports, hears voices and becomes one of the Tomorrow People, a generation of humans with paranormal abilities. Unfortunately, there are others who would like to stop his kind.
In the early episodes, he has trouble harnessing the powers — and keeping the secret.
“I stumble when I land on teleports. I struggle with my powers.”
Great special effects — which weren’t available 10 years ago — make it work.
“If it looks fake you won’t buy the premise,” Amell says. “But this is incredible. It’s so much fun. When you’re an adult or a kid everybody has imagined or fantasized about being able to teleport, read people’s minds, fly, be invisible. You name it and I get to act it…with these big budgets.”
Even better? Amell is just a few blocks away from cousin Stephen.
“My best advice from him was about where to live.”
Also filming in Vancouver, Stephen Amell sent him a map with his address pinned. “I got a jump on everybody looking for places to live. Now we have football Sundays at his place.”
And “The Tomorrow People”? “I just want to put out a good product. What we’ve shot I’m very proud of…it’s phenomenal.”
Source: Sioux City Journal