Arrow’s Kirk Acevedo Discusses How Ricardo Diaz Differs From Oliver Queen

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In our era, when you have fans praising the likes of Heath Ledger’s Joker or Josh Brolin’s Thanos just as they would any hero, you’d better believe that the bar has been raised when it comes to the performances expected of villains seen on screens big and small. Really, the mustache-twirling bank robbers of yesteryear wouldn’t fly with today’s audiences, so it’s thrilling to see whenever the bad guys are given much in the way of pathos.

To say that Kirk Acevedo’s take on Ricardo Diaz fits that bill is an understatement. Originally having appeared earlier in Arrow‘s sixth season, we were given the impression he was just some drug dealer partnering up with Cayden James. Boy, were we ever wrong.

As it turned out, “the Dragon” was the true main antagonist all along, as he extended his tendrils into every facet of Star City’s infrastructure. What’s kind of funny is that Diaz is so ruthless, yet the guy playing him is incredibly kind and sports a smile more often than not. But coming to find this is now somewhat routine for me, as several of the nicest fellas I’ve met have been those who’ve played characters such as Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.

Given that, I recently asked Acevedo how he does a complete 180 when I had the chance to speak with him at Motor City Comic Con, to which he replied:

“Listen, the villain is more fun to play. He never has to apologize. He has more layers to him than a hero, way more layers.”

As those words left his mouth, I couldn’t help but bring up the unforgettable origin episode his character was given, which factored into what he said next:

“There’s a reason why he is who he is. He was abused, he had no family, you know what I mean? There’s a picture of his father, but that leaves him with…why was he holding on dear to his father? What happened to his father? All these questions. And in that episode, you’re rooting for me, you’re rooting for me to take over the Quadrant, you’re siding with me. I do all these little things in the episode, which you might pick up like when I nudge Katie [Cassidy], ”cause I got you here. I’m happy you’re here.’ You can see I’m caring for her. It’s not insincere.”

Moving on, Acevedo displayed the pride he takes in his craft and in his character by laying out how Diaz differs from Oliver Queen:

“What’s the difference between me and Stephen’s character? He’s a vigilante. He kills people. He breaks the law. You know what the difference is? I don’t hide who I am. He hides who he is, literally and figuratively.”

If you’ve seen Arrow season 6 in its entirety, then you’re well aware of how it consistently raised these questions of morality and was essentially an emotional rollercoaster ride. That said, I think Acevedo may have given viewers a little more to debate over during the summer months.

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