The character Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) was introduced in the fourth season of TV show Arrow as an employee of Palmer Tech, a company headed by Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) who is part of Team Arrow.
Since Curtis is really good at his job as the hardware tech guy, Felicity occassionally ropes him in to help out with tech-related work. At the end of S4, Curtis had pretty much become part of the crew headed by Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), helping Felicity stop the nuclear bombs launched by the villain in a bid to destroy the world. In short, Curtis has the makings of a hero. As it happens, this character is based on DC’s Mister Terrific (who is known as Michael Holt in the comics).
In Arrow S5, we find Curtis in between jobs and with a tough decision to make – whether to join “New Team Arrow 2.0” in the capacity of a masked vigilante, fighting alongside the titular crusader.
The new role also means Kellum has been promoted to be a series regular. We asked Kellum – who stands tall at 1.93m – via an e-mail interview, if there will be a preview of Curtis’s alter-ego this season?
He confirms: “Mr Terrific will play a big part in this season.”
The 34-year-old Kellum also shared that all the cast welcomed him with open arms when he first guest starred: “It was an amazing experience … and now I feel like I’ve been there since day one.”
One thing Kellum has in common with his character is that they are both pretty savvy with computers. Before moving to Los Angeles from Chicago in 2009 to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, Kellum worked with Geek Squad (technical support folks) for years.
But who is better at hacking, really, Curtis or Felicity? “Only a hack-off would decide that, although Felicity has mad skills.”
Another mad skill both Felicity and Curtis have is providing some humorous moments in a show that is more focused on action sequences. Curtis’ comical moments stem from the fact that Kellum’s own background is very much steeped in comedy. He is a graduate of The Groundlings, the famous improvisational and sketch comedy troupe and school (alumni include Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell).
Kellum tells us that it was watching actor Jim Carrey on TV’s In Living Color that got him interested in comedy.
The actor may not have had anyone in particular guiding him in his chosen field when he was growing up, but his mother was supportive of his chosen career.
After the move to Los Angeles, Kellum made his TV debut in a guest starring gig in 2011 for the series Books. In 2012, he starred in the short-lived series Ben And Kate, alongside Dakota Johnson and Nat Faxon. A couple of guest starring roles followed before playing the role of Hunter in the 2014 series Sean Saves The World.
In the years before Arrow, Kellum worked steadily on shows like You’re The Worst and Rick And Morty. Currently, the actor also provides the voice of King Joaquin in Disney’s animated series Elena Of Avalor, and sometimes resumes the role of Curtis Holt/Mister Terrific in the other comicbook series Legends Of Tomorrow.
Next up is a role in the 2017 film Girlfriend’s Day, headlined by Amber Tamblyn and Bob Odenkirk. When he is not busy working, Kellum says he loves watching his favourite TV shows including The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, Man Seeking Woman and Atlanta.
1. Do you get to do action scenes in this season’s Arrow?
Yes I get to do more action scenes and I enjoy it very much. The aspect I enjoy the most, is suiting up and living my dream of being a superhero.
2. Who is your favourite superhero?
I’m going to pick Apocalypse – yes, I know he’s a villain – he’s just so bada**.
3. Is there an actor you admire, whose career path you’d like to emulate?
Will Smith. I think he can do it all and he has a gravitas that is incomparable. (When I was starting out) I would YouTube “Will’s Wisdom” for advice. It’s so inspirational.
4. Tell us about your role in Girlfriend’s Day and what was it like working with Bob Odenkirk?
The movie is about one man who has it all, loses it all and tries to get the fire back. In it, I play a card writer who’s also a beatnik poet. Bob Odenkirk is one of my comedic icons and such a wonderful professional to work with.
5. What is your ultimate goal where acting is concerned?
To create an environment in this industry, of respect, tolerance and love.