Neal McDonough, Arrow's New Big Bad, Teases Death, Destruction & Damien Darhk's Dictatorship in Season 4
Happy Arrow day!
Our favorite vigilante violence party may be back on TV after that hellish hiatus that some call summer and we may still be jumping with joy, but things in Star City are far less than happy at the moment.
Oliver and Felicity are well and good (finally!) but there's a menace roaming the streets, recruiting new bad guys and using the Force (or something) to torture people.
Damien Darhk is a villain unlike any that Arrow has ever had, and that was clear from the moment he walked into that city officials meeting in last week's premiere. He's bigger, funnier and possibly more evil than any other Star City bad guy before him. He's also sticking around for a while, and will have a hand in pretty much all evil-doing in a season that is already promising some incredibly high stakes.
E! News talked to Neal McDonough about playing the new big bad, and found out a few very worrying tidbits about what's to come for all the Star City citizens we've come to know and love.
E! News Can you talk a bit about the notes you got from the producers, and what your goal was in playing Damien?
Neal McDonough: We always said we were trying to make him more Lex Luthor-y, rather than just dark, because for me, my wheelhouse isn't black and white, it's the grey area in between. So for Damien, it's a comic book thing, so I get to put the comedy in as much as possible, make him funny in a really absurd situation. A couple of episodes from now, I put my hand in this guy's chest and kill three guys, and then quickly after that I'm like, oh, I could do this all day.
I try to infuse as much comic book comedy into the character, you know, like [Jack] Nicholson did with the Joker and [Gene] Hackman did with Lex Luthor. So I'm trying to make the same thing with Damien Darhk, where you can't wait to see Damien come back on the screen, because he's just going to be crazy. There are times where I'm just enjoying punishing people so much and then there are moments that I have to get it done because I'm getting impatient, and I just want to throttle people. There's so many sides to Damien, but in all of it there's one true agenda to rule the world, and no one's going to stop me.
E! News: Does Damien have any redeeming qualities?
NM: Halfway through the season, you find out something about Damien: that he actually does have a soul. We'll go into why Damien turned into who he is. We're flashing back to why Damien's so evil and so determined to crush the world. He does have some heart in there somewhere. You haven't seen it yet, and you don't see it for a good third of the way through the season, and then once you do see something that he does love, then that sets him off, and he'll want to kill anyone who does mess with the thing that he does love.
E! News: Should we be prepared to blame you for the death that was teased at the end of the premiere?
NM: I can't speak to that. Damien has something to do with basically everything this season, without giving too much away, but it's about to get dark for a lot of people. So yeah, when I start to introduce how I turn my H.I.V.E. guys into H.I.V.E. members, what they do and what they will do for me and the allegiance they paid to me with no regard for their own bodies, it's pretty phenomenal. It's like a dictator ruling a country, and he takes the troops and says, OK, go into that battle right now and prepare to die, and they do. And then this one guy, this Arrow guy, comes along and just ruins everything.
E! News: How worried should we be about Lance, since he's being forced to work with Damien?
NM: Oh, Lance is in trouble. He's in a good bit of trouble with Damien, because I hold the card of his family over his head, so Lance has to pay allegiance to me or else I will just take his children and do something torturous and horrible to them. He knows that, because he's watched me do it to other people. So he's my little pawn right now, and Paul [Blackthorne] is such an incredible talent, it's ridiculous. He's standing his ground as much as he can against this sociopath, and it's great drama.
E! News: Should we be worried about him recruiting anyone else as a pawn?
NM: None of the heroes are recruitable, but there are certainly many people in this world that are recruitable, and that's who I go after. I'm Darth Vader, and I'm looking for as many people to sign up to my program as possible.
E! News: What is Damien up to this week?
NM: He's starting to build the power within Star City and people start to buy into this thing that he's selling. The audience doesn't know exactly what he's selling yet. When you do figure out what he's selling, you're like whoa, OK, that's awful. So people come to see what he's selling, and if it doesn't go well, I'm going to use my powers to make a point. A very dark point, without spoiling too much, but it is very entertaining to say the least.
E! News: What is your favorite scene that you've shot so far?
NM: Favorite scene that I shot the other night was when I turned regular guys into HIVE members, and the speech that I give to them to coerce them and get them to swallow the Koolaid, I'm like, OK, now… It's such a powerful scene, that's pretty fantastic. What's happening next week between me and Arrow, it's a massive spike between two of us. He messes with something that I actually love, and I'm going to break every limb in his body, and it sets up the scene which makes you realize, OK, Damien Darhk actually has, underneath all that—like the Grinch, whose heart was two times too small—his heart's probably 20 times too small, but there's some part in there underneath all that dark soul, and I'm so looking forward to next week.
Arrow is my new must see show and olicity is my new ship. I think this show is super amazing and stunts are great.
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Welcome to Team Arrow katvolley13 The more the merrier I say!
So far I am really pumped about this season, I'm already loving the direction far more than season 3. Damian Dahrk is shaping up to becoming one of my favorite villains on this show.
Its interesting to me that after seeing Thea's treading with violence that Laurel was like, yeah seeing how unstable Thea is we should totally dig up Sara and throw her in the pit. but hey if this means we get to catch up to what Merlyn and Nyssa are doing then great! And clearly they need to resurrect Sara because she is needed on Legends of Tomorrow Still seeing Sara kick ass next to Laurel is really going to make me miss her version of Canary again. It was nice seeing Felicity take on her role as CEO of Palmer Tech, plus I love having her have a plot that doesn't revolve around Oliver and Team Arrow, my girl is smart and is her own person with sh** to do!
Thanks. I am excited for sara to come back. She is one of my favorite characters.
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Well she will probably only be back on Arrow very briefly in the first half of this season because her character is going to be a regular on Legends of Tomorrow (with Arrow's Ray Palmer, and Flash's Dr Stein, and Capt Cold among others), They will tie some Arrow and Flash stuff with the beginnings of that show, which will be a midseason starter.
Felicity owned this episode..... Boy, did she take some giant bites out of Oli's and Dig's butt`when she gave 'em a "time out" haha
She may not be the greatest shot, but that doesn't stop her from being the core force the keeps team Arrow focused.... I love the way they're writing her character this season...
yes thanks for reminding me why I keep watching this show. Felicity is GREAT. I sooooo love her.
But tatoo killer cards?? Really?
Double Down. character straight from the comics, who I always considered to be a knockoff of The XMen's Gambit. Except that Gambit is a really awesome character, and a good guy and has a cajun accent.
Felicity had a lot of great moments in this episode. I like that she was dishing out lame excuses to Curtis much like Oliver used to do to her in Season 1. I like that there was a nod to Mr. Terrific's Tspheres in there. and man, I knew I loved it when they hired Neal McDonogh to the show, but he is nailing his role as Damian Dahrk. Threatening and charismatic. not to be effed with. and I'm with Felicity it was great to have the OTA back together again. Her original gangsta line was cute, especially when later she fires off a "gangster" weapon in the tommy gun. Nicely done writers. And of course that is Ray on the phone trying to contact Felicity, Curtis is going to be just the guy to help make Ray big again. Both Arrow and Flash are doing nice work slowly laying down the groundwork for Legends. Though Laurel digressed a bit as a character in this episode, disappointing. But man did I chuckle big time when Nyssa destroyed the pit. oh how I love her character.
This episode was great, I LOVED the scenes between Lance and Oliver. It was a long time coming for Oliver to say what he had to say to Lance. Paul Blackthorne was excellent this entire episode. A lot of great character moments. Also I can't help but start to really believe that Damian Dahrk is Felicity's father after his convo with Lance. SOOOO excited about Matt Constantine coming on the show.
With Charlotte Ross returning to Arrow soon, can you tell us anything about her relationship with Oliver, Felicity, and if she’ll finally meet Quentin Lance? –Tina Stephen Amell shared at the set last week that Oliver has formed a bond with Mama Smoak, especially since he was living the suburban life with her daughter Felicity. “I had always imagined that Oliver in his nice, easy-going state would have a dialogue with Donna Smoak, which was proven correct and leads to some funny moments,” he said. “The dynamic between the two of them is excellent.” As for any possible meeting of Donna and Quentin, Paul Blackthorne joked as he came away from filming the fall finale, “Do I have lipstick on my cheek? [Then again] it’s a Christmas episode, so of course, everybody’s kissing everybody.” Hmmm.
When will Arrow fans learn about Felicity’s father? –Kyle Not anytime especially soon, it sounds like. “I don’t know anything about my dad,” Emily Bett Rickards said on set last week, “except that he’s probably going to be a villain and he’s rich and that he comes in this season.”
Now that Sara’s on the loose, will she target Thea on Arrow? — Ana You betcha, though others will pay the price in the process. Fortunately, John Constantine pays a visit to Star City to hopefully save the day. (Let’s be real, he will save the day since Sara will be featured on Legends of Tomorrow.) But how Oliver and Constantine are connected explains a burning question I’ve had for a long time.