'Arrow' Exclusive: Michael Rowe on Deadshot Becoming a Hero, Diggle and Life Changing Tattoos
'Arrow' Exclusive: Michael Rowe on Deadshot Becoming a Hero, Diggle and Life Changing Tattoos
Alan Danzis
Alan Danzis
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Some people might find Arrow season 2 to be overstuffed with too many heroes and villains. As I've been recapping the back half of the season I, however, have found it to be an embarrassment of riches.

One of the best characters to get more appearances this season has been Deadshot, played by Michael Rowe. Deadshot is just one of many characters that will be appearing in Arrow season 2 finale. Hopefully, Rowe's belief for Deadshot's wish of a death via blaze of glory won't happen during "Unthinkable."


To learn more about what it's like to play Deadshot, I recently spoke with Rowe over email. Here's what we discussed.

BuddyTV: How did you first get cast as Deadshot?

Michael Rowe: I was fresh out of a year of acting classes and I had just signed with an agent a few weeks earlier. My second audition was for the character, Finn, in a brand new show called Arrow.

The scene was really short and only contained one line. I decided to stay in character and keep the scene going until someone stopped me. Eventually the director, Guy Bee, started laughing and I thought, "Damn, this can't be good."

He said, "Sorry Michael, that was just really intense." Then he asked, "Do you have any tattoos?" to which I answered "No" not knowing if they wanted them or not. 

Now, I saw the other guy in the waiting room who was reading for the same role as me and this dude was covered in tattoos. Lucky for me, they were looking for someone without any tattoos. It came down to them needing a blank torso to apply fake tattoos onto. I'm sure that my audition was OK too, but it's funny how a little thing like not having tattoos can change an actor's life.

Anyways, when I went to my wardrobe fitting everyone started calling me Deadshot and I realized it wasn't a sniper named Finn that I was going to be playing, it was an iconic DC super villain. It was pretty surreal.

They started showing me comics of Deadshot, my weapons, my eye piece and stuff. It was crazy!

Did you read any of the comics before shooting any of your first scenes? How much do you know about Deadshot's history?

I read everything I could find on the Internet about Deadshot's history because I wanted to see what made this guy tick. I needed to understand why he was the way he was.

What happened to turn him into this flawless shooting machine? What sent him spiraling down this dark path?

I stayed away from reading any of the comics at first because I was aware that the producers were going for an original feel with the show. I didn't want my performance to seem like I was doing an impression of him from the comics.

Once I learned about what happened to Deadshot/Floyd Lawton as a child it all made sense and I just started to build the character from there.

Deadshot was willing to die in his last episode. To truly embrace the idea of the "Suicide Squad." When we see him again, will he have changed his mind?

Deadshot is obviously more than a little twisted. He doesn't respect life... his or anybody else's.

This is one of the things that makes him so dangerous because he's willing to put it all on the line. He doesn't hesitate at all. He doesn't care if he dies, but he wants to die the perfect death.

He wants to die with purpose doing what he loves, doing what he's good at. He wants to go out in a blaze of glory.

He thought that the right moment had come in the "Suicide Squad" episode, but Diggle talked him out of it. I'm sure that won't be the last time those thoughts cross his mind.

Deadshot killed Diggle's brother, something that Diggle is slowly becoming able to come to terms with. Can you describe the nature of their relationship and why you think it's evolved the way it has?

Deadshot is not the type of guy to ever say he's sorry. But I think that he's developing a bit of a soft spot for John Diggle and I'll tell you why.

Floyd accidentally shot and killed his own brother when he was a kid. His older brother was his hero. He really looked up him; they were very close. That's why Floyd dedicated himself to becoming the best shot in the world. He swore to himself that he would never miss again.

He wants John Diggle to know that his brother's death wasn't an accident. Andy Diggle was involved in some sketchy activity that got his name placed on Deadshot's hit list. Deadshot is not looking to make friends. He's a loner. BUT without really even realizing it, he's subconsciously looking for a brother figure in his life.

I feel that the more time he's forced to spend with Diggle, the more he's drawn to him. Deadshot wants to help Diggle put the pieces together surrounding Andy's death and find the people who ordered the hit. What an unlikely pair. Hah!... I love it.


And along those lines--could we ever actually consider Deadshot to be a "hero?"

In my opinion, Deadshot could never be a hero. He's maybe an anti-hero, or an accidental hero. He's way too self centered to be a true hero.

He doesn't ever do what's morally right. He doesn't think of the greater good. He thinks, "What's in it for me?"

If he happens to help others, it's just a side effect. I think that's why the Suicide Squad story line works so well. These prisoners are forced into saving the world. They don't want to. They couldn't care less. They just want their freedom.

They are committing these brave and heroic acts, but they're selfish assholes. They're a gang of misfits. It's totally dysfunctional and they're expendable so you never know what's going to happen. Absolutely anything is possible.

Who have been some of your favorite actors to work with before?

To be honest, I haven't been working as an actor that long. My favorite actor to work with is my younger brother, Andrew Rowe. He's a really talented writer and a great actor. We create a lot of sketch comedy pieces and short films under the name Wild Driver. We have a stupid amount of fun making these bizarre short films.

I really like working with David Ramsey on Arrow. I've learned a lot from that dude. Audrey Marie Anderson, who plays Lyla, is one of the sweetest people I've ever met. She's great to work with. I also really enjoyed working with Kelly Hu on season one of the show.

I hope Deadshot and China White get to team up again in the future.

Any fun set stories?

Ummm.... nothing too crazy, but when we were filming "Keep Your Enemies Closer" something happened.

There was a scene we filmed that ultimately got cut from the episode. Right when we escape from the Russian prison, we get confronted by a bunch of guards in the courtyard and Diggle, Lyla and Deadshot are forced into having a shootout while they wait for Arrow to save the day.

Ironically, Deadshot doesn't have a gun. But he has a nightstick that he took from one of the guards that he and Diggle beat up inside the prison. The script called for me to throw the nightstick across the courtyard and knock out one of the guards. So I've got to launch this thing about 100 feet to make it look believable. It was a stunt nightstick, it wasn't very heavy, so I had to really whip this thing to hit my target. 

They yell, "Action" and I throw this thing just about as hard as I can and I hit one of the camera operators right in the chest. The nightstick was padded so he wasn't hurt at all, but the look of surprise on his face was priceless. I felt bad. The funnier part of filming that scene was watching the stunt coordinator, Bam Bam, try to hit the guard in the face for the close up shot of the impact. He must have thrown the nightstick at the stuntman, Colin, about 10 times.

He was hitting him in the crotch, in the neck, everywhere but the head. It's crazy how you put so much time and effort into some of these scenes and they never see the light of day. Oh well... it provided us great entertainment and lots of laughs during a long night of filming.

Might we one day see you on The Flash? Or, perhaps could we ever see a Deadshot spin-off or a spin-off of just villains?

I hope so. In a perfect world, all of those things would happen. We'll just have wait and see. The producers seem to be very in tune with what the fans want. They really listen to the viewers. So if the viewers make a lot of noise about it, the chances will definitely be greater. 


Where else can we see you besides the CW's Arrow?

I've worked on two feature films in the past year. They were very small roles, but in very big budget films. It might be like a game of Where's Waldo to find me. That's if my parts even make the final cut, so I don't really want to talk about them. I can say this though, one of them may or may not involve a huge monster and may be in theaters next month.

I mentioned the Wild Driver comedy stuff earlier that I film with my brother and my friends. People can check out such hits as, "Sleepy Stories," "The Business of Acting" and "Harvey Keitel's Dick" at vimeo.com/wilddriver. You can follow me on Twitter @Captain_Rowe.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I feel like I have one of the most fun jobs in the world. I can't believe they pay me to do this.

CW's Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm.

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