Michael Rowe is best known to viewers for his role as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot on comic book series Arrow. Though his take on the character has been killed off, the recent “Flashpoint” events on The Flash have further opened up the possibility for plots to be revised and old faces to return in one form or another (and not just in hallucinatory form…)
Rowe experienced complete misdirection when auditioning and being cast for the role, as he was first lead to believe that he would be playing an army sniper named Finn. Once he arrived for costume-fitting, he was informed of the true identity of his role. With such a wealth of source material to choose from, every actor/actress cast as a comic book character has the option to approach researching their role to whatever degree they’d like.
“I thought about going back, I really wanted to go back and read a lot of stuff but I didn’t want to just end up doing an impression of a character. I’d had a couple conversations with the people on Arrow about what they were going for and how they wanted to be this original, darker feel, almost like the Batman: Dark Knight series. They wanted to exist more in reality than this cartoony world.”
When reminded of how Arrow has made an increasing use of magical elements in its plots, Rowe shares, “There wasn’t [magic] at the beginning and there was no plans for it. The magic actually happened after I got blown up so I can’t take any of the responsibility for that!”
Deadshot has had origins as a supervillain but evolved into more of an antihero. Rowe took the approach that many actors do when playing villains, of finding the deeper understanding into the character’s origins and motivations.
“Every bad guy has a story of what made him a villain. People aren’t born bad. If you’re just born evil, that’s super boring. I needed to find out what happened at what point in his life to send him off in that trajectory where he became Deadshot and became obsessed with being the best marksman in the world. So I found his origin story and I researched that a lot. Then I put my own bits and pieces in there to make it work with the storylines of the show.”
Rowe goes on to speak highly of the writers involved on Arrow for the cohesion of the joint creative process they had with allowing him the freedom to make character choices including the accent, manner of speaking and his inclination to give others a hard time. In turn, the writers would adapt the scripts to match Rowe’s characterisation. Still, Rowe seems more than ready to return to the role just as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
“I feel like I’m not done with playing that guy. I wasn’t happy with how – if that’s the last time we see him – he went out. We had discussed where he was gonna go, what he was gonna do. It was a bit of a rushed removal from the show. We didn’t have a chance to give him a proper burial, so to speak.”
While one Deadshot may have met his demise, there is another still alive and well on the big screen portrayed by Will Smith leading the Suicide Squad. Whether in film or television, the markets are chalk full of superhero content. Rowe attributes this at least partially to the advances in digital technology.
“To do the superhero stuff properly and to bring what’s in the comic book pages to life takes a lot of special effects. So I think that the evolution of digital effects side of production hit this point where you can now do it and make it look good and you can do it for a reasonable budget. That lined up really well with the birth of Arrow on television, and then we could do really things with digital effects on a television budget.”
Watch the full interview with Michael Rowe above.