The Los Angeles Times spoke with "Arrow" actor Seth Gabel on Jan. 30 about his role as the first season's big bad guy Vertigo. In the interview, Gabel admitted that he patterned his villain after Heath Ledger's Joker.
The Joker ended up being Heath Ledger's career defining role and earned the actor an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor following his unfortunate death. Ledger took the character and redefined him for "The Dark Knight," changing him from a joking villain into a sociopath.
"I didn’t want to copy anything that Heath Ledger had brilliantly done, but at the same time I was very much inspired by his intense relationship to the violence and that sense of sadism and that physical presence," Gabel said
"Arrow" features another DC Comics superhero, the Green Arrow, a hero very similar to Batman. Oliver Queen is a rich heir who takes to fighting crime after his father's death. The difference is that Batman is a true hero while Arrow is more of a vigilante, who is not afraid to have a few deaths on his hands.
Vertigo is based on a classic comic book character, but as with the previous episodes in the "Arrow" universe, the character is re-imagined to exist in the real world. Instead of a super villain who uses a nefarious device to throw off people's equilibrium, he is a drug lord who deals drugs that have the same effect.
"I absorb everything, so there was no one thing I looked to. I watch as many movies and TV shows as possible and I kind of absorb different things from everything that I see," Gabel said. "What has come out in the Vertigo character is a version of my own inner trickster and someone who’s willing to be megalomaniacal and dangerous. As a parent of two kids and a responsible father and husband, it’s incredibly cathartic to be that character on set and do dangerous things without real consequences."
"Arrow" airs at 8 p.m. EST on CW.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, the professional film critics’ organization of Oklahoma. He is also working on a book about the Stephen King dollar babies called “Dollar Deal.” To read more of his writing, visit shawnlealos.net.