‘Arrow’ aims for mature portrayal of violence

Arrow-s01e01-arrow-cw-30861689-640-448The CW’s latest action-packed drama “Arrow” will not be Green Arrow’s first foray on the small screen…or even on The CW.

Actor Justin Hartley gave the DC Comics superhero life for seven episodes on the recently-retired CW skein “Smallville,” and Stephen Amell will take the reins as the vigilante superhero on “Arrow,” which is set to bow October 10.

“Arrow” exec producer Marc Guggenheim, though, doesn’t see the character’s past on the net as a problem.

“I think audiences are savvy enough to understand there are different iterations of characters,” Guggenheim told press at The CW’s “Arrow” TCA panel. “Michael Keaton doesn’t affect your love for Christian Bale…and look at the ‘Bond’ franchise.” Guggenheim also noted the 5-year spread between the iterations of the ‘Spider-man’ franchise that featured different leading men.

Guggenheim also discussed the faithfulness of “Arrow” to the DC comic book series. “We’re taking a lot of inspiration from the comic books, but we’ve already taken a fair number of liberties,” explained Guggenheim. He stated that while Oliver Queen didn’t have siblings in the “Green Arrow” comics, the character has a sister on the show. Also, while both parents are dead in the comic series, Arrow’s mother is kept alive on the skein.

“One of the good things about ‘Green Arrow,'” said Guggenheim, “is that it has an origin that is subject to a lot of interpretation. There’s not as much canon that’s precious. We can play around.”

“Arrow” is, though, a violent show, and is being promoted during a time when violence in the media is under heavy scrutiny after the movie theater massacre in Aurora, CO. Recently, the Colorado “Dark Knight Rises” shooting has led Warner Bros. to bump “Gangster Squad’s” release date to January 2013 in order to give the production crew more time to reconceive a shooting scene in the movie. The WB’s toon series “Beware the Batman” is also undergoing format changes to tone down the violence in the skein. Guggenheim weighed in on how violence is approached in “Arrow.”

“I think it’s incredibly important to be responsible, first and foremost,” said the exec producer, who noted the show does not portray “random violence” and that killing has purpose behind it. “There’s violence in our culture seeping into our world in incredibly tragic ways…Aurora came up in the ‘Arrow’ writer’s room.”

However, Guggenheim sees “Arrow” as a chance to offer new perspective on violence. “I think this show has an opportunity to explore the consequences of violence in a way other shows do not. We’re going to be exploring aspects of vigilante-ism…our goal is to provide helpful social commentary.”

 

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