John Barrowman on Stephen Amell, Colton Haynes and Tight “Arrow” Costumes

John Barrowman
John Barrowman photographed by Clinton Gaughran for The Backlot

John Barrowman juggles many balls, so to speak, from stage, film, television, books (which he writes with his sister, Carole), cosmetic lines and entertaining us endlessly on Twitter @Team_Barrowman.

So what is a fun guy like Barrowman doing playing a serious, humorless businessman like Malcolm Merlyn (a.k.a. The Dark Archer) and battling Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen on Arrow?

Plenty…and there’s more to come in the final episodes of the series’ first season.

But will Merlyn (and Barrowman) be back for Season 2? What does he think of his hunky co-stars Amell and Colton Haynes? And what’s up with his upcoming May 9th guest spot on Scandal?

We sat down with Barrowman last week in West Hollywood to get the answers…and we grabbed a few photos while we were at it, as you’ll see from our exclusive photo gallery!

TBL:  Malcolm Merlyn wasn’t what I was expecting when you first started appearing on Arrow, just because of the roles you’ve played in the past. I expected to see that gleeful, mischievous John Barrowman come out. Has it been a challenge for you to keep that playful side in check?

JB: No, because there is a serious John Barrowman that is not really shown all the time. Before I came and sat down with you, I was having a conversation about one of my other businesses. I was being a bit of an ass on the telephone, and I know when to be that ass if that makes any sense. I would never be a dick about anything, but if it’s something that I know that the wool’s being pulled over my eyes, or something’s not going right, I’m going to stand up and I’m going to speak and back myself up.

So, to play Malcolm Merlyn was great is because all of those other characters have been very close to my personality and that’s the side that everybody sees, but they don’t get to see my business side. But I’m not mean like Malcolm. I’m not as ruthless as he is, but I do have a business head…if something’s not working, something’s going wrong, and if you were to blame, I would tell you. I’d say, ‘Right, you know you’re at fault. Let’s sort it out.’ So, there’s that aspect of it. Whereas Malcolm would just kill you. You’d be blood on the ground.

John Barrowman

TBL: How is it for you to put on that Dark Archer outfit? To me, it seems like it would be like you’re a little kid playing.

JB: Claustrophobic. That mask – the gimp mask as I call it – I expect to be walking into a leather bar in the old meat packing district in New York City with that mask on.

TBL: You’d probably be very popular.

JB: We have two different [outfits]. We have a Velcro one, which is a full stay-on one for when I’m doing the action, and we have a magnetic one, which is what we call ‘the reveal.’ It comes off quickly. I’m claustrophobic. It’s awful to say that because it’s such a great looking outfit, but I always have to take the mask off.

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