While North American Arrow fans have been anxiously awaiting Season 3, I’ve been counting down the days to the Arrow Season 2 bluray release and I was not disappointed.
The stunt featurettes are a DVD highlight and Wirework on the Season 2 Bluray box set gave a fascinating insight into the use of ratchets (air pressurised arm systems), hydraulic descenders to the simplicity of pulling an actor via a wire. The featurette, produced by Jeff Maynard, included interviews with Stunt Co-ordinator JJ Makaro, Fight Co-ordinator James Bamford, Simon Burnett, Stephen’s stunt double and Stephen Amell with behind the scenes footage of several key stunts.
James sees wirework as a tool used to enhance a natural movement. I hadn’t realised there was a lack of wire gags in Season 1, however with the addition of super human strength via the Mirakuru in Season 2, Simon explained there was a need for more.
The featurette answered questions regarding the techniques employed to demonstrate the super strength of Roy Harper & Cyrus Gold, both injected with Mirakuru. In the scene where Cyrus Gold throws Arrow up to the roof and then bats him across the warehouse five wires were employed. I won’t spoil any further but seeing the stunt performer dragged over the car was fascinating. I remember being in awe of that scene.
The use of a descender for jumps is something I had never considered and gave me a new appreciation for the leaps actors and stunt performers do on the show. Certainly Arrow actors and stunt performers leap greater distances than on any other TV show.
A seemingly simple stunt such as a jump, without the descender, has a risk of breaking ankles on landing. I think of James as Mr. Safety, and he and JJ have ensured the best equipment and crew for Arrow. JJ describes the descender used on Arrow that was designed by Corbin Fox as one of the premier descenders in the world. It uses a hydraulic pump for resistance instead of fans so performers can descend faster. It has been used for free fall on the show. On Arrow where actors perform in action scenes, the time taken in planning and rehearsal pays off in the end. For the zipline from the clock tower scene riggers spent a day pre-rigging and using bags to test.
The role of a stunt performer is to be unseen, for the viewer to believe the actor is performing each action scene and Arrow does this superbly, using Stephen in as much action as possible. The Featurettes and pre-vis of stunt rehearsals give fans an appreciation of the work involved in the stunts for the show. Stunts are integral to the success of the show and the stunt team have become as popular as the actors. The Arrow Season 2 bluray/DVD is well worth adding to your DVD collection.