As the first season of Arrow comes to a close Wednesday (8/7c, The CW), TV Guide Magazine targets scene stealer Colin Donnell.
He Plays: Tommy Merlyn, the lost-soul rich kid betrayed by bestie-turned-vigilante Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and desperate to connect with his own dad, Starling City's secret villain, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). "We wanted to make him as full and layered a person as possible," says the Missouri native, praising Arrow's producers for dodging clichés. "Everybody was concerned with making sure he didn't come off across as just the sarcastic bad boy."
You Know Him From: Four episodes of ABC's grounded Pan Am and a raved-about Broadway run as Anything Goes's Billy Crocker. "When I got to college I quickly realized there was nothing else I loved as much as theater," he says. "It's my first love." This summer, New Yorkers can catch him acting (and singing) on that passion as Berowne in Shakespeare in the Park's musical production of "Love's Labor Lost."
Why We Love Him: Between the puppy-dog eyes, devilish grin and quick wit, it's a win-win-win with Donnell, who's turned Tommy into a swoon-worthy, complicated foil for Amell's Emerald Archer. All without having to flash the flesh. "I don't envy [him] having to be ready for a shirtless scene every second," Donnell says with a laugh. "I am not an unhairy guy, let's just put it that way!"
Oh, And He Was Raised Right: Even though Tommy has a darker destiny, Donnell is one of the good guys off-camera. "Colin is a blast to work with," offers Amell. "The only difficult part has been being a little more adversarial with his character as the season progressed because we naturally get along so well in real life." How could you not? After all, Donnell's main belief is that "the job comes second...the first thing is to just be a good human being."
Straight Shooter: Donnell — who will also appear as Elizabeth Banks' husband in the upcoming Every Secret Thing — reaches a major turning point in the season finale as Starling City falls siege to the elder Merlyn's evil plot. "Everything Tommy thought he could rely on has been swept out from underneath him," he previews. "He's going to have an opportunity to go one way or the other. And I think it will be cool for the audience to see which decision he makes."
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