By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
Amy Gumenick has made quite the impression this last year and now she is sitting down with Emertainment Monthly to discuss her journey to being cast this season on Arrow, her crucial role in Supernatural, her love for theatre and so much more.
Ms. Gumenick turned heads this past year for playing the role of Carrie Cutter/Cupid on The CW’s hit TV show Arrow. She brings this comic book favorite character to new heights and gives a whole new meaning to the word “obsession.”
EM: How did you get started with Arrow?
AG: I have been admiring Arrow since I read the pilot script. I read for it and it has kind of been an elaborate game of finding where I fit since. I originally auditioned for the role of Laurel Lance, Katie Cassidy’s character, and that didn’t work out and I just kept coming back. The casting team over at Arrow is so nice and kind and I was determined to find a way to be involved with this show. This was a show I wanted to be part of. David Rapaport over in casting is the nicest person and I befriended him over this long process of trying to find the right role for me. Finally I came in and read for the role of “Redhead,” who ultimately turned out to be Carrie Cuter/Cupid. And I mean just from hearing the name of the character I was concerned because I am blonde in real life. So, I went into it not knowing anything about the character, which I think was the best thing for me because I didn’t have any preconceived idea of who this person was. This was one of the first times I left the audition room thinking I left everything on the table. I gave it my all. Then I ultimately found out that the “Redhead” was Carrie Cuter and I was ecstatic.
EM: Carrie Cutter was a character created by Andrew Kreisberg, an executive producer on Arrow and The Flash, what was it like bringing a character to life that is so close to the Arrow family?
AG: So like I said I’m glad I didn’t know who the character was when I auditioned because I think I would have been ten times more nervous. I just went in there and created my own version of the character, which I think was the best thing for me. Andrew Kreisberg is super nice and this character of Carrie is such an amazing role to bring to life. The character is actually named after Andrew Kreisberg’s wife, so I knew right off the bat that I was stepping into something really special to him and the entire Arrow community. She isn’t a character from just any comic book, she’s a character he created. I think it’s so special to be able to do this job and even when I was in the casting process they obviously had a specific type of person they were looking for because the character is so special. Even when we shoot scenes, I could say the same line a bunch of times, different ways, just so the editors have a bunch of different takes to choose from. I was also lucky enough to have Andrew on set when I was filming for the first time, which is crazy because I don’t know many people who can say that one of the executive producer of a show was on set the day they filmed. I think after I auditioned Andrew said something along the lines of “You have crazy in your eyes.” And I always say that Carrie isn’t necessarily evil or a villain she is just misunderstood and wants to be loved. She rides that fine line and I think that’s why fans love the characters so much.
EM: What’s it like filming all of the large action sequences like in “Suicidal Tendencies?”
AG: Obviously with a show like Arrow a lot of the hard work is rooted in the action sequences. Something that is only thirty seconds could take hours and hours. There are so many people involved in these types of scenes. They are some of the most challenging but also the most rewarding. You could be acting in one of these short action sequences all day and simply be doing the same reaction all day. It’s insane. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with Arrow’s archery expert while on set, which helped me a lot in terms of getting into the mindset of the character. It’s like an elaborate dance and there are so many people involved to make these scenes happen. There’s the principle cast, the stunt team, stunt doubles, emergency personnel, director, producers and other people to help coordinate and watch a 30 second action sequence. It’s amazing how much work goes into it. And the special effects team on Arrow deserves a lot of praise for making those scenes look as good as they do. Obviously on set we aren’t firing real arrows because of the major safety risk but, I do get to hold the weapon. So, I have a feel for what it’s like but every arrow that is fired on Arrow is put in by the special effects team and they just do an incredible job. So, by the end you have this really amazing end product that took so much time, coordination and people to put together so the editing team has something to work with. The Arrow special effects team just astounds me every time.
EM: What has been your favorite Cupid scene so far? And who would you love to have a scene with on Arrow in the future?
AG: Oh gosh, that’s a hard question. You know I don’t have a favorite moment that sticks out in my mind. I think I just love everything that Carrie has had a chance to be part of on Arrow so far. She is such a fun character to play and every time I get a chance to part of this show I am super excited. I can’t wait to see where the character goes from here because I think Carrie would be interesting to be placed in any aspect of Arrow. As for who I would love to have a scene with… Because of his recent storyline and where his character is I would love to work with The A.T.O.M/Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh). I think Cupid and The A.T.O.M would have some really awesome scenes together especially because of how she handles her “superhero” abilities and he handles his. I also think it would be fun to be involved in the Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) storyline. I think what those two have created is amazing. It’s a great storyline with the love-triangle between Oliver, Felicity and Ray and I think it would just be so much fun to add Carrie into the mix and make it a love-square. She would become so attached to Ray and I think it would be a ton of fun. Also, in terms of the Carrie Cuter from the comic book world, I would love to see her go at it with Laurel Lance. In the comics, Cupid and Black Canary have a bit of a rivalry and I think that would be really fun to do with Katie Cassidy.
EM: Shifting gears to Supernatural, what’s it like being such an important character on this long running show?
AG: I have to say that the entire cast and crew of Supernatural are some of the nicest, sweetest and welcoming people I have met in my entire life. They are so nice and I think that is part of the reason the show is continuing to go on. Like when I went in for Carrie Cutter, I didn’t know what the part was. The sides were something not from the episode and the name of the character was changed so I had absolutely no idea I was going in for the role of Young Mary. I was preparing a role that I created based on the sides. I made the part my own and that ended up getting me the job. I kind of had a hunch when I was in casting and the casting people kept looking at me and then looking at photos of Samantha Smith, who plays the older version of Mary Winchester. Then they finally told me who the character was when I got the role. And Samantha Smith did an incredible job of creating the role of Mary so, once I knew who I was playing I did my research and watched her on the show. She’s just amazing.
The character of Mary is so loved by the community of Supernatural and that fan-base is super devoted and then the pressure was really on to fill the shoes of Samantha and create my own version of the character. The director on my first episode told me that they didn’t want to recreate the Mary we’ve already seen or else they would’ve just had Samantha do it, they wanted something fresh. So, that took a lot of the pressure off and I just love the character. Diving into that fan-base and show in general has been so rewarding. Like I said, the cast and crew are amazing and some of my best friends are from my time spent on Supernatural. I think the reason it has lasted ten seasons is because of the heart that Jensen [Ackles] and Jared [Padalecki] put into it. It was an amazing and special thing to be part of.
EM: Because of Arrow and Supernatural, you’ve become known for your work on a lot of sci-fi shows, how was it working on AMC’s period drama, Turn: Washington’s Spies?
AG: It was really awesome getting to work on Turn. It actually was a lot like theatre, which is my original background. I absolutely love plays and theatre so working on a television show that resembled that was a lot of fun. The show is absolutely amazing and I had such a fun time creating that character. Philomena was another character where I really got to explore her backstory and J.J Feild and I sat down and created our two characters backstories and their character history together, which was a lot of fun. Once we put on incredible costumes and hair and makeup and sort of stepping into that world as if we are being transported back in time. Also because it was the shows first season I think there was an excitement on set between the entire cast and crew.
So often, people will do their scene and go back and wait in their trailer until they’re needed again but on Turn it was much more of an ensemble and supported each other and stayed on set to help each other. We worked the scenes together and played around with different things and talked about the intentions. It was sort of a nice way for me to merge how I approach film and television and how I approach theatre. Turn was somewhere in the middle. And you know, so many of the actors on Turn are very well respected theatre actors and I think bringing that discipline and that love for the arts and really without any kind of ego or want of fame or any of that. We would just show up to set and play and create this world, it was so fun. Such a treat and I loved every second of working on that show.
EM: I know that you are a founding member of this theatre group Theatricians, can you talk a little bit about the group and your background in theatre?
AG: Yeah, so I was a theatre major in college. I grew up doing theatre, mostly community theatre and school theatre and I really always have known I wanted to be involved in that world. Theatre was and always will be my first love and something that I feel like wherever my acting career takes me I will always make a conscience effort of making theatre be part of my life because I feel like it, not to sound cheesy, feeds the creative soul if you will. So, Theatricians was started in college, I went to UC Santa Barbara and I was in their BFA Actors training program, which is a three-year conservatory within the university. And my senior year the company was started by a group of my classmates who were kind of feeling like we wanted to take matters into our own hands and not wait around for opportunities but create opportunities. I think this is sort of a recurring theme in any actors life. And they put on this production and I was more involved with it behind the scenes. I worked as a costume designer and house manager and it was an all male cast so I was involved as much as I possibly could be. So, we put on this show and it was incredible and extremely well-received and very different than anything the university had ever produced. And when we graduated all but one of those cast members moved out to L.A to pursue acting and we kind of sat down one day and thought, “Why are we not doing this?” What’s missing and what we missed from the university setting was that creative network, support system, playground atmosphere.
So, we started getting together and reading plays and talking about them and sort of keeping that side of our brains alive. Then they remounted the production they did in college in L.A and once again it was well-received. So, we again sat down and thought we should do more of this. At this point we turned it into an actual company with a board, members and have done several shows since. It started out as mostly UC Santa Barbara alumni and has since expanded. As an actor it’s a constant rollercoaster. There are times when you are picking between projects and times when you go months and months without anything. And I think those times is when you need to be reminded why you go in this in the first place and what you love and for me theatre is that reminder. So, being part of the theatre company and able to pick up the phone and get together and do a reading of a play and see what happens. The last show we did was called Marmalade and I played a four-year old child. And in television or anything I would never be casted as that so, to stretch myself to that was amazing. I feel like, it gives me so much personally and professionally and I can bring that to whatever my next job is. Theatricians has been such an amazing outlet.