Earlier this week here at GreenArrowTV, we posted some quotes from Arrow executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg about Deadshot’s appearance and the possibility of a Justin Hartley guest shot on the show; today, it’s time to present the rest of the interview that the producers had done earlier this week with GreenArrowTV’s Craig Byrne.
Expect this to be the first of three interviews you’ll see in the coming days, with series stars Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy coming soon after. But for now, see what Guggenheim and Kreisberg had to say about the production, the writing team, other DC Universe characters and elements, and more.
Please do not reproduce this interview onto other websites; instead, just link to GreenArrowTV! Thanks!
The approach to this interview will be a little different, and presented in a Q-and-A format. Questions will be posted in bold; answers will not.
GREENARROWTV: Did anything change with your approach to writing later episodes once you had seen the completed Arrow pilot?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: No.
ANDREW KREISBERG: One of the fun things about the pilot is that it is sort of like four or five different shows in one, and I think, more than anything, we were just gratified. It felt like they all worked well together, and that when you sit down to break Episodes 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on, there are so many different ways to go, and there are so many different aspects of the show to explore.
GUGGENHEIM: We were very lucky in so many aspects with doing the pilot. One of the ways we were lucky is, you know, you’ve got this property, the studio and the network are so behind it, you’ve got David Nutter shooting it. You really felt like we were not doing a pilot, but the first episode of a series, so going straight into a series and doing the second and third episodes, et cetera, it felt like a really easy transition. We never felt like we were just doing this one thing, and then, “okay, now we’ve got to replicate it.” It was like “this is the first chapter in a long story that we’re telling, so let’s just roll into Chapter Two.”
What can you say about other characters who might be coming in from the DC Comics universe?
KREISBERG: One of the fun things about this show, for us, because we’re both comic book writers, and we’re also comic book fans, is [that] there are so many characters in the DC Universe who haven’t gotten their due in TV and film. We’re so excited to reach into their roster and take some of these lesser-known characters that are beloved by fans, and do our spin on the characters.
GUGGENHEIM: We’ve got Big Belly Burger in Episode Three. [Big Belly Burger is the hamburger franchise that was established in the Superman comics] We’re not just drawing on characters from the DC Universe; everything we can pull from the DC Universe, we’re pulling.
I see your names have been on all of the first three scripts. Who else is on the writing staff?
KREISBERG: We have Moira Kirland who wrote for Castle and Dark Angel; we have Wendy Mericle, somebody that Marc, Greg, and I have worked with for years. She’s an amazing, talented writer. She’s written for Smallville, for Eli Stone, Desperate Housewives… We have two younger staff writers, Ben Sokolowski and Lana Cho. Ben worked on a show called Fear Itself, and Lana was on The Playboy Club.
When we were designing the writing staff, because we don’t think of this as a comic book show… we felt like Marc and I were enough ‘comic book nerd’ and had enough of a knowledge of a DC Comics and that kind of genre stuff, that what we were really looking for were writers who could write character, people who were great with story, and that’s why some of our writers might not have the credits that you would see for a show like this, but it’s why the show is working so well. It’s the family, and the heart, and the emotion are really what’s at the core, and the quote-unquote ‘superhero stuff’ is the icing on the cake.
GUGGENHEIM: Also just a shoutout: We also have a writers’ assistant, Beth Schwartz. She participates in the room like a seventh writer on the staff, and any conversation about the writing staff really should include, even though she’s not technically a writer on the staff, because she’s just so spectacular and a huge help for us.
If Arrow is a success, might this help open up opportunities for other comic book projects?
KREISBERG: I think whenever anything like this becomes a success, it opens the doors for people who want to capitalize on the excitement and the enthusiasm, or simply ‘cash in’ on the prize. But right now, for us, we’re solely focused on Arrow.
GUGGENHEIM: We’re both old enough to remember the Adam West Batman, and the negative effect it had on comic books in general. For me, at least, as much as I loved that series, it stands as a cautionary tale for how a bad or a campy execution of a comic book set comic books back in terms of peoples’ perception of it. So, our goal is to just put the best foot forward, not just for Arrow, but for comic book TV shows in general, and if it spawns other shows, terrific. But this [Arrow] has just got to be great.
How do the island sequences work from a production standpoint? Are you filming them all together?
KREISBERG: We shoot in Vancouver at a place called Whytecliff Park. It’s kind of ironic, because if the camera ever just panned slightly to the right, you would see these ten to twenty million dollar beachfront homes.
GUGGENHEIM: That’s Episode Five.
KREISBERG: Yes. The island is not quite as deserted when you’re standing there. But it’s a huge production, going out there, especially for stuff that doesn’t play in the main body in the show. It requires a lot of pre-planning, and a lot of creativity on our part as writers, and on the production standpoint.
GUGGENHEIM: Stephen has to wear a wig, and his look has to be changed… there’s a lot. It’s actually incredibly ambitious to do these flashbacks every week, every single episode. Because like Andrew said, it’s almost like it’s its own show.
I wish we had the luxury to just write and produce them all back to back to back, but that’s not the way television production works. It’s a huge challenge, but a worthwhile one, because it helps give the show that scope that I think the pilot brought the show.
Hearing from the producers, are you pumped yet? Take a look at some new images from the pilot and drop by our Arrow forum! Our thanks to Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg for taking the time to talk, and to the publicists who made it happen.