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Rapaport Casting Stories – Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak

stephen amell and emily bett rickards
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Rapaport Casting Stories

Stephen Amell’s break-out portrayal of Arrow’s Oliver Queen catapulted him to fame in 2012. Three (almost four) seasons later, it is impossible to imagine anyone else as the man in the hood. One man however, saw the potential in the young actor far sooner than anyone else, utilizing a gift in casting that has served the CW so well for years. David Rapaport, the CW’s casting director since 2008, has helped cast some of the most notable characters in recent television and he opened up to Buzzfeed to discuss some of the more notable experiences, including our favorite Arrow cast members.

“We wanted someone with a darkness and an edge to him (to play the Arrow), but someone who looked like He-Man. I brought his picture with me to the initial meeting for Arrow and everyone responded to the picture and I thought, I should just bring him in first because he’s it — and he was it. That made my life a lot easier. We didn’t test that many people. It was him and nobody else.” He said. Even Rapaport however couldn’t anticipate the fan response to the soon-to-be-star.  “The Vampire Diaries was on the air already, so we were sold as a three-hander between Stephen, Katie Cassidy, and Colin Donnell — a tripod if you will. That’s how we cast it and then the posters came out and Stephen was shirtless. First of all, we never saw him without his shirt on; I knew he was a physical guy, but I’d never seen him do stunts or anything like that and all of a sudden in the pilot, he’s doing his own stunts. He became famous for being shirtless. The poster was him shirtless and none of the other actors were on the poster, and as talented and amazing as they were, it became clear the show was about ‘The Arrow,’ so that really changed the concept for us because initially I saw it as more of an ensemble and cast it that way.”
oliver queen and felicity smoakEmily Bett Rickards however, was a different story entirely. Tech genius Felicity Smoak was originally intended as a guest star in Season 1 but made such an impression that she gained a more permanent role. “Ultimately, my goal is to cast the best people for the show, with that potential pop factor, and Emily is the perfect example,” Rapaport said of Rickards.  “That could have just been a one-line role but she popped.”

Arrow is riddled with actors possessing the “it” factor and it truly is tough to imagine anyone else in their roles.  A big shout-out from TheGeeko.com to friend-of-the-site Echo Kellum who will be making his debut on the show next week.  We had the privilege of interviewing Echo where he spoke about the audition process with David Rapaport casting for the role of Arrow’s Mr. Terrific .  Check it out here.  Kick some a$$ Mr. Terrific!

Don’t miss Arrow Season 4, premiering tomorrow (Oct 7) on the CW.

Series NavigationRapaport Casting Stories – Barry Allen, Iris West and Cisco Ramon >>
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