Manu Bennett Talks Arrow, The Hobbit, The Flash, and More

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“I’m going to tear everything he cares about away from him. Destroy those who choose to follow him. Corrupt those he loves. Once he has lost everyone and everything he values, I will drive an arrow through his eye.” –Deathstroke

Tonight, on Arrow, Deathstroke returns to Starling City. Yes, the man also known as Slade Wilson, has returned to terrorize Oliver Queen and Team Arrow for what could be one of the most explosive episodes in series history.

Months before the return of Oliver Queen’s friend turned enemy, we found the man behind the villain, Manu Bennett in Secaucus at The Walker Stalker Con. After wading through a sea of celebrities and attendees dressed to the nines as walkers, we found the Arrow and Hobbit (he plays Azog) villain hanging out amongst a sea of fans.

Yes, fans of Arrow and The Hobbit, Bennett isn’t as scary and wicked as the characters he plays. In fact, the man is extremely sweet, funny, and all around a great guy. Talking to him was a delight, and he really gave us a lot of info on his character Slade, his return to Arrow, a possible Flash cameo, and how it is working on the Hobbit with CGI and Peter Jackson.
So without further ado, here is a little Manu for you.

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

When you are fully in the gear as Deathstroke, does it help you get into that mindset of being that villainous character?

You mean when I’m covered in grenades, swords, machine guns, and an arsenal of weapons that could blow up the White House? (Laughs) Yeah, each character inhabits it’s own space, you know, and there is definitely a sense of each character with the costuming or the process that you have to go through to make that characters appearance.

Was it difficult filming the scenes on the island, in Arrow, knowing your characters eventual fate as Deathstroke?

I don’t ever play ahead of the script; I don’t like thinking of the future and how the writers will work. You can never second-guess the writers, especially in episodic television is constantly trying to find turning points. So, the writers are taking any moments form the prior episodes and trying to spike a change. You have to think fast on your feet as a television actor because every two weeks you are going to be hit with a new script and we don’t know what to expect because the writers have the power, and the power is in the pen, and at the end of the day these dramatic television shows are all about trying to spike interest in the fan base. In between that and the feed back the show is getting through social media platforms, that in itself can even affect the way the writers are working, because they can hear what the fans want.

Speaking of what the fans want, with the spin-off series The Flash, do you think we will see Deathstroke face off against The Flash?

(Laughs) Yeah, I just want to say to the Flash, “You can run kid, but you can’t hide.” (Laughts).

Compared to the work you do on Arrow, how is it when you do the heavily CGI stuff on The Hobbit, which do you prefer?

No preference darling, it is kind of like when you’re an actor, it’s not like athletics, when you choose the hundred meters, or the shot put, you have to be a decathlete, basically, and be open to everything. Otherwise you are going to have a short experience in the industry, unless of course there is longevity in that one style. I like to look in it in terms of its versatility and each event for me is equally challenging. I found the experience playing Azog was so extraordinary because the technology was so new to me. When you experience it for the first time in the cinema, seeing Azog come to life on the big screen, which I have never seen before since motion capture is as far from the visual world as possible. You aren’t on an expansive type of set; you aren’t feeling the grandeur feeling of that type of Lord of the Rings/Hobbit environment.

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Can you talk about the CGI process for The Hobbit?

You are in a sound stage, with motion sensors all over the wall. You’ve got little dots connected to all the joints on your body, so when you move, even the muscles on your face, the computer can recognize that movement and then the artists can then animate a creature based upon your very movement and expression. Every face Azog pulls is an expression I pull. When you’re in a tight blue body suit, you don’t feel like a seven-foot Orc. Maybe, saying this without prejudice, playing a reptilian Golem for Andy Serkis feels more accurate in a tight green body suit, but playing Azog, a seven foot Orc…I felt quite embarrassed when I walked out into the sound stage. I felt like I was dressed like a ballerina, (Laughs), with a bicycle helmet on, with a go pro camera staring into my face. My face looked like I was dressed like Justin Bieber during one of his pimple commercials because I had dots all over my face (Laughs), it’s a crazy look.

Then you have to leave that all behind, and listen to Peter Jackson saying, “There is a giant tree in front of you, and Gandalf is lighting pine cones and throwing them at you, and you are on a giant wolf,” and it’s really just a bumble horse that’s underneath me, and two guys are rattling around, and I’m in this little green body suit and I have to just say, “I’m big, I’m a big, big mean Orc.” Having to assemble all of that environmental challenge, and trying to isolate yourself into an environment that will exist in the film is pretty challenging. You have to really concentrate on your job, and what you are there to do.

It was a wonderful experience, and getting to work with Peter Jackson is a dream come true. Someone just asked me what my dream role is, and it’s hard to move on from a film that will provably be seen by more people on the planet than any other film ever made. It’s a big exposure, but it’s like what I said before about being in a decathlon, another event will come up and I will have to master that one.

Manu Bennett returns as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke tonight on Arrow on The CW Network.

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Laura Dengrove is the one of youngest members of the Pop-Break staff and is a critic for television/movies of all types on Pop-Break. She’s in her first year at college where she will be studying to obtain her bachelors degree at Rutgers University for Journalism/Public Relations. She was the editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of her school newspaper, runs her own blog (Pop Culture Darling), and interns for Design New Jersey. She also has an in-depth knowledge about all things True Blood and an avid Eric and Sookie shipper.
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Hello! My name is Laura Dengrove. I am currently a Junior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Cinema Studies. I am a film critic and interviewer by choice, professional Linda Belcher impersonator by birth.