Not every actor gets to act as the face of an entire comic book universe of adaptations, but with Arrow marking the first DC Comics TV show in the modern superhero blockbuster era, star Stephen Amell became a spokesperson whether he wanted to be or not. That meant that whenever he wasn’t busy bringing Oliver Queen’s Starling City adventures to comic fans around the world, he was acting as cheerleader for the several other DC properties in development.
Amell looks to add another high-profile role to his resumé soon, recently landing the role of Casey Jones in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. And as easy as the jokes of trading one comic vigilante for another may be to make, Amell assures his fans that they’ll be seeing a different side.
Regardless of the Turtles film or TV series that fans are most familiar with, the masked man known as Casey Jones is typically portrayed in the same way: an everyday citizen who battles crime with his bare fists. Street-tough vigilantes have plenty in common by default, but during FanExpo Vancouver 2015 (via ComicBook), Amell dealt with the obvious questions head on:
“Obviously, the similarities are right there on the surface, he’s a vigilante. But, if the audition process and the script are any indication the character is going to be fundamentally different. As a matter of fact, it is almost like the character of Casey Jones – at least in this iteration of Ninja Turtles – is almost like the Oliver Queen people know from the older comic books.
“As much as I enjoy playing Oliver Queen it is very important to me to stretch out a little bit. And believe me, I know I’m playing another vigilante. I know this! You’re going to have to trust me when I say that not only is Casey Jones different from Oliver Queen, but filming a big feature film is really different than filming a television show.”
It’s hard to know just how much of a stretch it can be to play two different vigilantes; although Amell’s admittedly… consistent personality and constant brooding as Oliver Queen leaves plenty of room for change. Casey Jones has usually been shown to have a better-developed sense of humor than the Arrow lead – part of the reason the Turtles take to him so quickly.
Since Green Arrow made his first appearance in an issue of “More Fun,” Amell seems to be implying that lighter tone will be the case for the new Casey Jones.
Even though the first Ninja Turtles reboot may have failed to convince every existing fan to accept a new version (or even give it a fair opportunity), meaning the sequel being handed to director Dave Green (Earth to Echo) could be seen as a move in the right – or wrong- direction. For his part, Amell seems to imply that his joining the film is an endorsement of Green, acknowledging that a property as beloved as the Ninja Turtles isn’t one to be handled lightly:
“One thing that I’ve learned from being on Arrow is that if the people that write and direct and create the shows aren’t fans of the source material and don’t get the community than the show’s not gonna be any good.”
Few would disagree with Amell’s statement, even if the role his character will play in Turtles 2 (potentially subtitled ‘Half-Shell’) is a bit of a mystery. Fans will be thrilled to see Bebop and Rocksteady re-imagined for a modern blockbuster, but a compelling story including both monstrous villains AND a hockey stick-swinging bruiser (who is actually effective) may be difficult to concoct. If that’s the case, then courting the fan bases of Ninja Turtles and The CW’s DC Comics universe will certainly help the studio’s odds.
What do you think of Amell’s comments? Are you excited to see him tackle a lighter role, or do you think he may have been sought specifically for his experience in portraying a somber crime-fighter? Sound off in the comments.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell hits theaters June 3rd, 2016.