See the Stars of ‘Arrow’ Before They Were Famous

We may enjoy the cast of Arrow as the superheroes we know and love, but what did they do before joining the cast of the CW’s hit series? Most of them pursued acting careers in other shows and ,while others were on career tracks such as modeling and music! You’ll even be surprised to learn some of the stars actually possess fighting skills similar to their superhero characters. Let’s take a look at 10 Arrow stars before they were famous.

1
Stephen Amell - Oliver Queen/Green Arrow
Stephen Amell, Arrow, Queer As Folk
The CW/Showtime

Before rising to stardom as the Green Arrow, Stephen Amell only had a few small roles on his resume. Art imitated life in his first acting job when he was cast as a spinning instructor on Showtime's Queer As Folk, while Amell was also a spinning instructor in real life. After that, he went on to have roles in Dante's Cove, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Private Practice, HungThe Vampire Diaries and 90210. His hard work resulted in him winning a Gemini Award, Canada's version of the Emmy Awards, for his recurring role as Craig Riddlemeyer in ReGenesis. Nowadays, Amell's star continues to rise as he gets more blockbuster roles such as the character Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

2
Katie Cassidy - Laurel Lance/Black Canary
Katie Cassidy, Arrow
The CW/Getty Images

Before kicking ass as the Black Canary on Arrow, Katie Cassidy was often the on-screen victim. She died at the hands of kidnappers (Taken, starring Liam Neeson), a serial killer (the CBS miniseries, Harper's Island) and by Freddy Krueger (the A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot). However, she also had the chance to portray strong female characters such as the final girl in the horror film reboot Black Christmas. Aside from Laurel Lance, one of Cassidy's most well-known roles was as Ella Simms on the Melrose Place reboot. The show only lasted for one season but Cassidy received praise for her performance as the character who locked horns with Heather Locklear's Amanda Woodward. Additionally, she has made guest appearances on shows such as 7th Heaven, Supernatural and Gossip Girl. Much like her on-screen sister (see "Caity Lotz"), Cassidy dabbled in music when she performed a cover of her father, David Cassidy's, hit single "I Think I Love You" when she was 15.

3
David Ramsey - John Diggle/Spartan
David Ramsey, Arrow, The Good News
The CW/UPN

David Ramsey may play Oliver Queen's bodyguard but he can also hold his own in a real-life fight. Ramsey holds a black belt in jeet kun do and has studied boxing and taekwondo. He has even trained with world champion kickboxer Benny "The Jet" Urquidez. This made him an obvious choice to play Muhammad Ali in the FOX TV movie Ali: An American Hero. Ramsey also went on to star in the sitcom The Good News, which only lasted for one season on the UPN, and made reccuring appearances on Dexter, All of Us and Ghost Whisperer. In addition to Arrow, he also pulls double duty as a recurring guest star on Blue Bloods.

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4
Willa Holland - Thea Queen/Speedy
Willa Holland, Arrow
The CW/Getty Images

Willa Holland was no stranger to show business since she had the support system of her father, cinematographer Keith Holland; her mother, actress Darnell Gregorio-De Palma; and her stepfather, director Brian De Palma. This show business life led her to signing with Ford Modeling Agency when she was seven and she went on to book several national commercials. While her first role was in the 2001 film Ordinary Madness, her breakout role didn't occur until 2006 when she took on the role of Marissa Cooper's (Mischa Barton) sister, Kaitlin Cooper, on The O.C. at the age of 14. She then went on to star alongside several big names in films such as A Summer in Genoa opposite Colin Firth and Middle of Nowhere opposite Susan Sarandon. She then booked a recurring role on Gossip Girl as Agnes Andrews before taking a break from acting a year before she booked Arrow.

5
Paul Blackthorne - Quentin Lance
Paul Blackthorne, Arrow, Lagaan
The CW/Sony Entertainment Television

Before trying to unmask the Arrow, Paul Blackthorne's first film role was in the Oscar-nominated Bollywood film, Lagaan. Initially, he auditioned for the role in English but his second audition required him to say a Hindi phrase in different expressions. When he got the role as Captain Jack Russell, he spent six weeks learning his Hindi lines phonetically as well as the meanings. Additionally, Blackthorne had roles in Holby City, Presidio Med, ER and 24. Before joining Arrow, he had starring roles in the short-lived TV series' The Dresden Files and The River.

6
Emily Bett Rickards - Felicity Smoak
Emily Bett Rickards, Arrow
The CW/YouTube

Before winning the hearts of viewers as Felicity Smoak on Arrow, Emily Bett Rickards only had a few small roles. One of her earliest appearances was in the 2009 Nickelback video "Never Gonna Be Alone." In the heartwarming video, she played a young woman whose father passed away at a young age but realizes through flashbacks that he is there for her during milestones such as prom, graduation and her wedding day. She then moved on to Arrow in a role that was only supposed to be a one-episode stint until she impressed fans with her witty remarks and chemistry with Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen.

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7
John Barrowman - Malcolm Merlyn
John Barrowman, Arrow
The CW/Getty Images

Before making a name for himself on popular shows such as Arrow, Torchwood and Dr. Who, John Barrowman's acting career began in theater. His first professional role was in London's West End production of Anything Goes as Billy Crocker. He then went on to have roles in Beauty and the Beast, Hair, Matador, Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera and Rope. Barrowman went on to have a successful career as a TV presenter for music talent shows such as How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and Saturday morning children's variety shows such as Live & Kicking. His on-screen acting career began with the short-lived primetime soap, Central Park West, and continued with TV guest appearances and feature film work. One role Barrowman did not get was that of Will Truman on Will & Grace because he wasn't "gay enough." Ironically, Barrowman was gay and Eric McCormack, the actor who won the role, was straight.

8
Colton Haynes - Roy Harper/Arsenal
Colton Haynes, Arrow
The CW/Bruce Webber/Abercrombie & Fitch

Colton Haynes got his start with modeling at 14 when a friend took photos of him at a beach and sent them to some agencies in New York City. Haynes told the agency he was 5'11 when he was only 5'7. Socks had to be stuffed in the back of his shoes to make him taller but his natural height didn't stop him from getting gigs for Abercrombie & Fitch and later Ralph Lauren, J.C. Penney and Kira Plastinina. Haynes transitioned into acting with an uncredited appearance in Transformers and guest appearances on CSI: Miami, Pushing Daisies and Melrose Place (which also starred his future co-star, Katie Cassidy). He then went on to have recurring appearances on short-lived TV series' Look and The Gates before shooting to stardom as Jackson Whittemore on MTV's Teen Wolf.

9
Caity Lotz - Sara Lance/The Canary
Caity Lotz, Arrow, Soccx
The CW/Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that Caity Lotz can move so well on her feet as the Canary since she has a background as a martial artist and dancer. Lotz began her career as a background dancer in music videos for Cascada, Faith Evans, Lady Gaga, David Guetta and JoJo. In 2005, she got to show off both her dancing and singing when she joined the girl group Soccx. Not long after that, she scored a small part as a cheerleader in Bring It On: All Or Nothing. She followed that up with a recurring role on Mad Men and a regular role in MTV's short-lived Death Valley.

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10
Manu Bennett - Slade Wilson/Deathstroke
Manu Bennett, Arrow, Paradise Beach
The CW/Syndication
Manu Bennett's early life may sound like a villain's origin story but thankfully, the actor chose to channel something positive. When he was young, he was in a car accident that killed his mother and brother and put him in a two-week coma. His girlfriend at the time was a ballet dancer and Bennet decided to audition for a role in West Side Story at her studio. "Acting was my route to survival," Bennet said about how the craft helped him deal with his mourning. From there, his professional acting career began on the Australian teen soap Paradise Beach. In addition to playing Slade Wilson/Deathstroke on Arrow, he went on to star in the Starz series Spartacus and as Azog the Defiler in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. You can currently see Bennett in MTV's The Shannara Chronicles.

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