Echo Kellum wasn’t new to television when he joined the Arrow cast in Season 4, as many knew him from shows such as Ben and Kate and Sean Saves the World, but he quickly became a fan favorite as Curtis Holt throughout the season. A breath of fresh air and a light in the darkness, Curtis quickly became essential to the show and the stories of its characters. Returning to Season 5 as a series regular, Echo spoke with us about what we can expect for Curtis and his relationship with Team Arrow, how his comedic background prepared him for this role, and how the nerdiness that used to get him made fun of is revolutionizing entertainment culture today.
Let’s just jump right on in and talk about Curtis and your experience. So you came onto Arrow in its fourth season. What was it like joining a cast that had already been working together for so long?
There was definitely a little bit of pressure there for me before I came on. First of all, I was blessed to be able to come work on such a wonderful show like Arrow. The stakes are high because they put out a quality show every week and have great fans and awesome producers and everything, so I definitely wanted to step into the process and try to hold my own. What was so great was that all the actors were so down to earth and nice. They were really open and professional and silly. They really helped the process just ebb and flow in such a way that I was just enamored, you know, and truly welcomed. As an actor, you want to come in and present yourself as a professional and they were all really cool, so they made it easy.
In many ways, Curtis and Felicity are very similar, but what do you think Curtis brings to the table, to the series, that is new and unique, different from any of the other characters?
I think you go through a lot of traumatic events throughout the course of a show and I think you see that in the character growth and development, like how they have darker moments sometimes. For example, Diggle and Andy, but I think Curtis brings some light to the show. He’s dealt with his own personal loss with his brother. I think he just has this wonderful optimism that is kind of infectious that I feel really shines amongst some of the darker parts of Arrow. And I love those parts of Arrow too and it’s good to have juxtaposition. Felicity definitely used to be that point, but through her character development, she’s changed.
A character should experience different things and have different points of view throughout. I think that’s important because you don’t want a character to stay stagnate, we would be bored with that. We want to see a character go through stuff. I feel like Curtis definitely brought that light factor this season and that is what differentiates him.
That is so true! In Season 4 we saw Curtis have several different experiences with Team Arrow, but you are now a series regular for Season 5 (congratulations, by the way!), what can we expect then for Curtis’ role to be with the team next season?
You can expect Curtis to be heavily involved with them, in his own way. He will be there as a focal point to help with their journeys in the next season. I think there’s a chance that he could be on Team Arrow at some point, but we’re still going to wait and see how everything plays out. I think he’s definitely a big part of the whole cast next season.
You may not know the answer to this question yet, but with Curtis and Felicity being so close, do you know if he is going to stay at Palmer Tech now that she is not there?
(laughs) Yeah, I definitely think it’s going to be a very tough decision for him to make. Does he still want to represent that company? Even though they got rid of his best friend and mentor in a lot of ways? I think he’s definitely going to dive into that struggle. Whether he’s going to quit or not I can’t say for certain right now.
How do you think Curtis having a role with Team Arrow will affect his relationship with his husband?
I think it will put some strain on the relationship in some way, but I do feel like they are very close and will be able to get through those points. No relationship is 100% good and okay, you have to go through your hurdles. I think they are strong in knowing their love for each other and I think they’ll be able to bypass that hurdle.
Well, that’s good news! So what are you most excited or hopeful for in Season 5?
Curtis suitin’ up! Becoming Mr. Terrific! (laughs). We will see, but yeah, that’s what I’m most hopeful for!
From what I see, fans are excited for that too! What has been your favorite scene to film so far?
There’s really been so many, but I have to go back to my first scene that I shot which was in Palmer Tech and was with Curtis and Felicity. That really set the precedent for how the rest of the whole season went for me. You know? So it’s a very nostalgic scene that I always look back to and smile. Not only did I get to meet Emily finally, but one her best friends Fanta was also in that scene and we all became close, so it was a very pivotal moment for me. I think that scene just has a lot of sentiment and a lot of nostalgia.
That’s sweet! So you have done a lot of comedy in the past. How have those experiences informed the way you have portrayed Curtis, particularly on a show, like we mentioned earlier, that can be fairly dark?
I’ve always been guided by the principle of truth in comedy. And Arrow, although it’s a different show, it still has to be truthful to the elements of it and truthful to the actual situations and scenes and sometimes you find the comedy from that. As an example, seeing Curtis and Oliver’s interaction when Felicity and all them are trapped at Palmer Tech. To get real comedy you have to look at the truth and the reality of the situation and sometimes that’s the funniest thing, to try and play up to something. I thought that scene was interesting because, although they are going through this traumatic thing with these bees and people getting kidnapped, they are still trying to find the positive of it.
The DC Universe, at least on television, is known for its crossovers. If you could have Curtis crossover to any other TV show, what show would it be and why?
I mean, they’re all really good options, but I would have to say The Flash. I think Curtis and Cisco would have a real good rapport with each other, they would really gel and would be fun characters to watch interact. Plus, I love Carlos, that’s my dude.
That’s great! Well, I just have one more question for you. According to your Twitter, you are a self-proclaimed nerd and our site is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so what would you say makes you a nerd or what do you nerd out on?
I think the number one thing that I nerd out on is video games, that has always been my favorite thing in the world- I went to E3 and I literally blacked out my entire schedule so I would not be interrupted during that thing. (laughs). I wanted to really nerd out and get into it. I used to play Yu-Gi-Oh in travel tournaments and I’ve read comic books since I was a toddler. I’m a big anime fan, and I love everything. What’s pretty cool is that this is the stuff that I used to get bullied about when I was a kid and now it’s the stuff that’s really helping shape entertainment culture and society in a lot of cool, positive ways.
Be sure to check out Echo in Arrow on The CW on Wednesdays starting October 5th!
*Featured image photo credit: Paul Laundry