“At my core, I wasn’t a hero. I was a hunter.” — Green Arrow, Justice League: Rise and Fall Special (2010)
Given how popular the “Arrow” TV series is, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to fan-cast ol’ Ollie. Originally, I planned to do this last week, before season 5 started — just ‘cuz. But, then I watched Batman v. Superman and decided I needed to get my thoughts down about it while it was fresh in my mind. And then I had no time to write another post… Oh, well. No biggie.
I’ve stated before that I like the current show, though some of the liberties they’ve taken with the character’s appearance (inc. costume, associates, etc.) have bothered me a bit. I don’t claim to be an expert on the character, but I’ve read enough to know that the personality/behavior of the current, live-action incarnation doesn’t quite match the comics version. Of course, as usual, I’m basing my analysis and preferences on the pre-52, “New Earth” version. I don’t know what the current, “Prime Earth” version is like, except that the pic I’ve seen has him beardless, much like the on-screen Ollie.
Alright, here goes…
Oliver Queen was a rich kid with a talent for archery and a “thing” for Robin Hood. He was your typical, shallow playboy, until he was shipwrecked and had to fend for himself on a remote island. Between fighting drug smugglers on the island and generally trying to survive, Queen became very self-reliant and perfected his already formidable skills with the bow. Once he managed to find his way back to civilization, he embarked upon a vigilante mission to clean up crime in Star City. Like Batman, he used his fortune to outfit an “Arrow Cave”, build an “Arrow Car”, and eventually took on a legal ward, Roy Harper, who fought alongside him as Speedy (later known as Arsenal, then Red Arrow).
Despite his affinity for trick arrows, some of them goofy, Queen has serious skills as an archer — speed, accuracy, trick-shots, often while moving. Many consider him to be one of the, if not the, best archer(s) in the world. In addition to his skills with the bow, Queen is proficient with the sword and various firearms. He has also become an expert acrobat and is accomplished in many forms of martial arts (e.g., judo, karate, escrima). The fact that he has earned the respect and trust of so many other costumed heroes, not to mention that he holds his own in battle alongside them, says a lot. Did I mention that Green Arrow has been a member of the Justice League and the Outsiders — off and on — for many years?
Queen has dealt with many hardships and tragedies in both of his identities, and he usually finds some way to blame himself even when matters were out of his control. His on-again/off-again romance with Black Canary is legendary, though their abiding love for one another — even while on the outs — has gotten them through a lot of tough times (e.g., loss of fortune, drug addiction, severe injury, deaths and (sometimes) rebirths). He is also best buddies with the Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and they have had some quite memorable adventures together. As a civilian, Queen’s (in)famous, socially progressive, left-wing politics have both driven him and been a problem. He was even Mayor of Star City for a while, during which he also managed to regain his fortune (though the means were ethically questionable). On the plus side, his various personal and professional misfortunes have helped to temper Queen’s ego and matured him a bit.
Green Arrow, even when the name was temporarily adopted by someone other than Queen (e.g., Oliver’s estranged son, Connor Hawke), has always had a “Robin Hood” motif going on. Of course, there have been changes to the costume details now and then — e.g., the pointy, Medieval-style cap was replaced in later years with the hood. Queen has varied the amount and style of facial whiskers over the years, too. (I understand why they went with nothing more than scruff for the TV version, but it still irks me that we don’t get the iconic look.) Originally, he only used a longbow, but he eventually shifted over to a compound bow.
Queen often comes across as somewhat reckless and irresponsible, and he is… sometimes. But, he can also be quite serious, with a tendency towards the aforementioned guilt-ridden brooding surpassed only by Batman. In his lighter moods, he’s the type of guy that likes to kick back a few brews with the guys. (We never see that on “Arrow”.) Physically, Oliver Queen is an exceptionally fit white man with blonde hair and (usually) beard. He was probably in his early- to mid-20s when he began adventuring, but he could be played by someone 10-15 years older than that, assuming the story takes place later in his career. DC’s wiki page (where I stole the above quote) puts him at 5’11”, 195 lbs.; I think anyone between 5’10” and 6’2″ or so would work. (Note: Stephen Amell is 6’1″ and Justin Hartley is 6’2.5″.)
I didn’t really “pass up” other actors this time. Well, except for one, and oddly enough he is my first choice. Ever since I saw a bearded Charlie Hunnam (6’1″,b.1980), I thought he would be perfect for the role. Still do, especially if they use the whiskers. But, everybody and his brother has been casting Charlie as Ollie, too, and I wanted to focus on a few other actors that could possibly do a great job, as well. Thus, we have the following three candidates, just in case the powers-that-be decide to have a big-screen version of Green Arrow….
While checking out IMDB for this, I noticed that someone there suggested Garrett Hedlund (6’2.5″,b.1984) for GA, so I’m obviously not the only one thinking along those lines. I’m surprised he doesn’t have more credits to his name by this point in his career, but he does have some genre stuff. You may have seen him in Troy, Eragon, Death Sentence, TRON: Legacy, or maybe last year’s Pan. He has the looks, the build, and the talent to be a pretty convincing Oliver Queen / Green Arrow.
To be honest, I don’t remember what I saw Matt Barr (6’1″,b.1984) in, but I guess it was enough for me to take note. He has appeared in three “CSI” shows, “Harper’s Island”, Wreckage, 7 Below, and starred in “Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story”. One look at his stint on “Sleepy Hollow” (see pic), though, and I can definitely see a potential Oliver Queen. Heck, his pants even look green in that one! Btw, according to IMDB trivia, Barr was a runner-up to play Barry Allen / The Flash in “Arrow”.
Jason Mac (6’2″,b.~1985) hasn’t had many big roles, as far as I can tell. However, he has shown up in “The Vampire Diaries”, “Midnight Cabaret”, “It’s Supernatural”, “Revolution”, Infliction, and “NCIS: Los Angeles”, among others. I couldn’t find any images of him with more than a little scruff, so I opted to show his physique — slim but muscular. If he beefed up a little and grew out his beard a bit, I think he might make a fine emerald archer.
OK, folks, that’s another fan-cast done. Comments?
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.