“Arrow” Star Echo Kellum On Playing A Married Gay Superhero: “It’s The Fifth-Most Interesting Thing About Him!”

"He's just a person who is out here helping Team Arrow, and he happens to be gay. I think that’s just like real life.”

Where’s the gay bar in Star City?

We might be asking that question soon if Arrow keeps adding more LGBT characters: Besides Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) and the soon-to-be-resurrected Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), the show just introduced us to Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), an employee at Palmer Technologies who will eventually become the heroic Mister Terrific.

echo kellum
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Curtis is loosely based on Michael Holt, the Mr. Terrific from the DC Comics universe, but Kellum says the show will have its own take on the character.

“I’ve definitely looked to Michael Holt in the comic books for inspiration into how I was going to play him,” he tells NewNowNext.

“[But] I like that I have the free reign to go places that are different… And I think comic book fans will actually like where we go.”

In the comics, for example, Holt is heterosexual—and haunted by the death of his wife. On Arrow, though, Curtis is openly gay, and happily married to another man—who is very much alive.

“I can’t say which episode in particular but I can say in the first half of the season you will meet the husband,” Kellum reveals.

Another difference: The comic-book Mr. Terrific is super-rich, super-successful and super-smart. Arrow finds Curtis Holt closer to the start of his journey.

“We’re taking it from a really cool origins aspect: He’s not the billionaire CEO yet, but seeing what Curtis has to go through to become a superhero like Mister Terrific.”

Emily Bett Rickards, Echo Kellum

Mr. Terrific will be the first gay male hero in the Berlanti-verse, but Kellum insists it won’t be his defining characteristic.

“It’s the fifth-most interesting thing about him!” he teases. “He has so much else going on. It is an important part of him, but it’s not what defines him. He’s just a person who is out here helping Team Arrow, and he happens to be gay. I think that’s just like real life.”

We’ve already seen Curtis click with brainiac Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). Besides both being mega-smart, Kellum says the two share “the love of wanting to do the right thing, and do right for the people of the city.”

CW Arrow Echo Kelum Emily Bett Rickards

Given how unforgiving most super-suits are, is Kellum worried about how he’ll stack up to Stephen Amell and Colton Haynes?

“I’m always having to watch those carbs—but I love being healthy and fit and working out,” he says.

Stephen Amell

“[But] it’s not like anyone is saying ‘Echo, we have to make sure you’re pumping iron. You’re not going to see me on [Stephen Amell’s] salmon ladder.”

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm on the CW.