Castle home to the Arrow
Royal Roads landmark to be featured in pilot for superhero series
By Michael D. Reid, Times Colonist March 13, 2012
Archery wasn't on the agenda at Royal Roads University last time we checked, but apparently it will be soon.
The university's historic centrepiece, Hatley Castle, will face the cameras later this month, we have learned, for two days of filming on Arrow, the CW network's pilot for a new series inspired by DC Comics' long-running Green Arrow franchise.
Produced by Warner Bros. TV in association with Berlanti Productions, the hour-long modern retelling stars Stephen Amell (Hung, Queer as Folk) as Oliver Queen, the former billionaire playboy who, after being marooned on a desert island for five years, returns with a mysterious new agenda and lethal skills he uses in his war on crime.
The legendary Robin Hood-like crimefighter was previously played on the network by Justin Hartley from 2006 to 2011 in Smallville, the long-running Superman-inspired series that ended its 10-year run last year and inspired the spinoff.
Network star Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl, Supernatural) has been cast as Laurel, a young attorney ostensibly based on Dinah Lance, the comic-book character whose superhero moniker is Black Canary. The daughter of pop star David Cassidy was a familiar face around town last year while here to star in Kyle Mann's untitled thriller, formerly known as The New Girl.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent alumnus Jamey Sheridan, most recently seen in HBO's Game Change and Showtime's Homeland as U.S. vicepresident William Walden, has also joined the cast as Robert Queen, the vigilante crimefighter's father.
The growing cast also features Susanna Thompson (Once & Again) as Oliver's mother; David Ramsey (Dexter) as his private security guard; and British actor Colin Salmon (Resident Evil) in a potentially recurring role as a key executive.
The resourceful hero in CW's Green Arrow project is already being described as the Jason Bourne of superheroes.
"It's very provocative and sophisticated and edgy," CW development head Thom Sherman told Entertainment Weekly.
Sherman described the clever, physically powerful archer as a "very grounded" cross between Bourne and Rambo.
The Arrow pilot is being directed by David Nutter (Entourage, Smallville), from a script by executive producers Greg Berlanti (Everwood) and Marc Guggenheim, his collaborator on Green Lantern. The dynamic production duo joined forces with executive producer Andrew Kreisberg (Fringe, The Vampire Diaries), who they worked with on Eli Stone and other projects.
Details are being kept under wraps on local filming of the comic-book adaptation that will continue shooting in Vancouver before crews briefly relocate. Hatley Castle will reportedly masquerade as home base for the show's central character.
It won't be the first time the oceanfront edifice has hosted superheroes. Hatley Castle notably portrayed Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in the X-Men movies, and Lex Luthor's estate in Smallville.
Royal Roads University is pleased to welcome Warner Bros., said Lorraine Burtoi, the Campus Service Division's manager of scheduling and events.
"Our ability to support filming activities creates revenue opportunities for the Greater Victoria community at large and showcases our destination worldwide," she said.
The upcoming Arrow shoot, however brief, couldn't be better timed, added Victoria film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert.
"It's been a slow start to the year so I'm extremely happy to have it shooting here," Gilbert said. "The economic impact of those few days can be substantial."
All going well, Arrow would be rolled out as part of the CW's 2012-13 season.