This weekend, Melbourne will play host to the Australian Movie and Comic Expo (aka AMC Expo), a convention that is run by fans for fans featuring movie and TV stars, voice actors, literary authors and comic authors. The expo will be held this Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
Some of the film and TV guests on this year’s lineup include Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael Rowe, Dichen Lachman, Bernie Kopell, and Claudia Wells. While Carl Sundstrom, Jacinta Maree, Kimberley Clark, Gerry Huntman, Tom Taylor, and Dean Rankine are just some of the authors both literary and comic that will be attending also.
However AMC Expo (formerly Armageddon Australia) prides itself on including plenty of activities that are non-guest related that the whole family can enjoy. Some of the other events include Fan Club Trivia, a live Quidditch match, laser skirmish a Lego display, the 1966 Batmobile, Toby the T-Rex, panels about prop making or costuming which is perfect for those budding cosplayers and face-painting for the little ones.
In the lead up to the AMC Expo, we got to ask one of its film and TV guests – Michael Rowe – some questions about their work and also why they love coming along to conventions.
Michael Rowe’s main passion and career was as a touring musician in metal/punk band Bucket Truck but after his band split up he decided to take up a new career in acting, performing comedy and producing alongside his brother Andrew. Not long after Michael landed his first major gig as Deadshot on the TV series Arrow.
Arrow has built a really solid fan base particularly in the US and Canada and Australia is definitely on the bandwagon too, do you think that the accessibility of the characters makes it popular? The fact that the characters don’t necessarily have “super powers” just really good skills that they put to use to help their city. Are there any other aspects of the show you think contribute to its popularity?
I think that the show works for many reasons. Yes, the characters are grounded and accessible and the writers do a great job of balancing the show. They keep it within the realm of possibility, for the most part, but cross over and take advantage of that fantasy world sometimes, which I love. That’s what makes it fun. It’s great to have the freedom to explore the “what if’s”. But I think that the show also came along at the perfect time. There wasn’t really any other superhero shows on TV to scratch that itch for people.
Also, when the show debuted we were finally arriving at a time where the technology for visual effects were giving us the freedom to produce this type of show with a TV budget and have it not look like crap. I mean, look at how they do The Flash. It looks amazing! I don’t think they could’ve produced the necessary quality for that character’s speed VFX if it came out years earlier. It’s like the world, and the industry, was ready for a resurgence of comic book superhero shows and Arrow was there to lead the way. I’m extremely proud to play a small part in that. Also, Arrow is an action heavy show and we have the best stunt team in the business. Everyone on that show works their ass off and that’s the key to success in anything.
The character of Deadshot (aka Floyd Lawton) in Arrow is one that fans have a bit of a love/hate relationship with. Why do you think that is?
I know, it’s kind of strange. I didn’t expect people to like him at all in the earlier episodes. He was such a dick! I guess it was because he didn’t really take himself too seriously. He has a sense of humor and loves to stick it to the other characters any chance he gets…. especially Diggle. He loves to push people’s buttons. I mean, the dude has a death wish and that makes his behavior really unpredictable. That tends to make people want to see what he’s going to do next. Then before you know it, you’re kinda cheering for him. He does terrible things, but at his core he’s not a terrible guy. He’s just extremely damaged. The more you get to know Floyd, the more you get to learn why he is the way he is. I can see why people started to like him as time went on.
Physically what’s the hardest challenge you’ve had to overcome to get into character as Deadshot?
By far, the biggest physical challenge is wearing an eye patch. It takes away your depth perception and your peripheral vision. That makes it difficult to do even simple things, so you can imagine the challenges when it comes to fight scenes. I’ve bled on set more than once. But still, the fight scenes are my favorite part of the job.
SPOILER ALERT it appears that Deadshot may have died in Season 3 Episode 17 of Arrow in ‘Suicidal Tendencies’. CW’s now got Legends of Tomorrow to add to its slate with Arrow and The Flash, would you like for Deadshot to get to hang out with those guys for a few episodes?
I think that because of Deadshot’s personality and lack of respect for others there is a lot of great characters to put him in scenes with in that universe. We didn’t really get to explore many of those possibilities so far. There’s so much potential for fireworks between characters like Deadshot and Captain Cold, Deadshot and Heatwave, or Deadshot and Atom. I think it’d be great!
What do you think of Will Smith’s outfit for the Suicide Squad film? Would you have liked a bit more of a bulked up suit for your portrayal of Deadshot?
I think we made it work with what we had. I’m glad they didn’t try to rip him right out of the pages of the comics. I like that we reinvented the character for our more grounded version in the TV universe.
You’re fairly new to acting after having moved on from being a musician. What’s been the biggest challenge moving into this new career? What’s your advice to people who are older and would like to try their hand at getting into acting?
I don’t think age should deter anybody from trying anything if you’re motivated to give it a go. Especially with something like acting. Acting is just a reflection of life and people. The industry needs people to play characters of all ages, shapes, sizes, color, etc. The more experience you have with life, the more depth and perspective you can offer to your acting. It should get better with age. Just make sure that you do it because you love it. Don’t do it to get rich and famous, or to get girls (or boys), or for attention. That’s a recipe for failure. And if you choose to do it, treat it like any other job and work your hardest. It’s incredibly difficult, but like anything, if you work harder than everyone else opportunities will come your way.
What’s your favorite thing about coming to conventions? Do you get a kick out of seeing fans dressed up in cosplay like your character?
I love to travel and meet cool people. Touring was always my favorite part about playing in my band. I’m a nomad. The fact that it’s like Halloween everyday is a bonus. It’s totally bizarre, but awesome. Some of the costumes blow my mind. It’s like you step into another dimension. It’s crazy!
Is there anybody on the AMC Expo line-up that you’re a fan of or excited to meet?
My favorite movie is Back To The Future. I’ve probably seen it 50 times. I’d like to meet Claudia Wells.
What’s next for you? Got any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I have a lot of really cool projects in the works, but not a lot I can talk about right now. I’m going to be working with my friends from Bat In The Sun on an upcoming episode of Super Power Beat Down. I also just finished a short film called “Vehicular Romanticide” that I’m really proud of. It’s a dark comedy that was written and directed by my younger brother, Andrew Rowe. I really wish I could tell you guys more about what’s next, but you’ll just have to be patient. To be continued
The AMC Expo will be held this Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 of October at the Melbourne Showgrounds. For more information about the AMC Expo and to purchase tickets visit their website or check them out on Facebook.