Tom Amandes knows a thing or two about playing a dad on screens both big and small.
Over the years, the veteran actor has counted Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Kate Beckinsale, Emily VanCamp, and Chris Pratt among his fictional offspring, which is one hell of a gene pool if you ask us. Tonight, Amandes returns Arrow, his latest dad gig, reprising the role of Noah Kuttler, estranged (and villainous) father of Emily Bett Rickards' Felicity Smoak. Only this time around, he's called upon by Team Arrow to help them ward off Damien Darhk's latest deadly move.
"I think there are, of course, issues there," Amandes told E! News about Noah's return to his daughter's life. "But in these extreme circumstances, I think a lot of things have to get set aside because Noah's particular skill set is severely needed at this point."
Just how do Felicity and dear ol' dad navigate the murky waters of their relationship in the face of these particular dire circumstances? "It's a complicated relationship, there's no question about it," Amandes said. "Felicity has a complicated personal life across the board, and Noah doesn't make things any easier, but they do share an amazing gift and I think you'll see in these episodes the opportunity for them to kind of positively bond over some of that, while at the same time there's obviously huge, huge issues that stand between them."
Though we're not sure how there's time for it with Darhk's dastardly plan in motion, but tonight's episode will also see Noah and Oliver (Stephen Amell) have a heart-to-heart that leaves the hero rattled. "Well, I think what's interesting is that both characters are wrestling with a certain split personality if you will," Amandes said when asked about their little chat. "There are certain issues that arise from that—for anyone, but especially for these two men because it's at great cost, living that dual life. I think it's something that, well, you'll see, but they sort of help each other at least shift their perspective on that, leading a dual life."
In honor of Noah's return on Arrow, we thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane with Amandes, looking back on his memories of his dad roles of yesterday—and the stars-in-the-making who called him Papa. Amandes was more than happy to oblige. "I've been blessed to work with some amazing young people as my children and I'm always very, very proud of them, regardless of how successful they may or may not have become," he told us.
Project: Billboard Dad (1998)
Role: Maxwell Tyler
Famous Offspring: The Olsen twins
"They were just the sweetest things. What's very fun about them is that they are the same age as my middle child, my daughter Nia, who's a civilian. She grew up in Chicago and actually came out to spend that summer with me and it was really fun because she got to hang out on the set. What was really cool was that Mary-Kate and Ashley were so generous and delightful with her. I was like, 'Wow!' At this point, they were making hundreds of millions of dollars. They just really enjoyed being kids. For all of their craziness that their show-biz life had, I think that their parents were really good about keeping that part of their lives as normal as they could be."
Project: Brokedown Palace (1999)
Role: Doug Davis
Famous Offspring: Kate Beckinsale
"Kate's just such a great actress. Even then—you know, she was playing opposite Claire Danes who had just become 18, I think, when we shot that. I think it was the first thing that she had done without having a guardian there. And I think Kate at the time was 24 or something like that. She was getting married. I didn't know how old she was and then I find out she was married at the time. I think she may have actually been pregnant…I was very surprised that she was as old as she was. Just delightful and what an amazing relationship the two of them had. Two really great young actresses that have gone on to do great work since then."
Project: Everwood (2002-2006)
Role: Dr. Harold Abbott
Famous Offspring: Emily VanCamp and Chris Pratt
"We just had the best time. Those four years were just one of the highlights of my life as well as my career. We shot up in Utah and we all lived up there. It was sort of a great situation because these were young kids that, I think, it would've been a different situation had they been 24/7 here in Hollywood if we'd been shooting here. Chris is a real outdoorsman. We bonded over that. I had some property up there. He'd come hunting, we'd go out biking. It was a really great opportunity to kind of take in the outdoors for both of us. And Emily is just the sweetest thing. My wife helped her find a house in Park City, which I'm pretty sure she still has. It was very sweet. They had parents, we weren't their parents, but we were sort of—we kept an eye out for them when they were in Park City. We certainly still do. Actually, when I was on Arrow last, I caught the train down from Vancouver to Seattle. I was going through the town of Everett, Wash, which I remembered is where Chris grew up. I had to send him a little text photo of the lumber yard there in Everett and he just sent the sweetest text back saying, 'Oh my God! I can't believe you're in Everett!' So we definitely have a lasting bond there…It's just so exciting to see all great things, both professionally and personally, that have happened for both of them."
Project: Arrow (2016)
Role: Noah Kuttler aka the Calculator
Famous Offspring: Emily Bett Rickards
"She's right in that same—I think she's so talented. But even beyond talented, I think she has such a great head on her shoulders, and I think that reads. Her character's has such a great common sense brashness and that's very organic, that's very Emily. She is just as kind and approachable and delightful off camera as she is on camera. I am sure that she will continue to do great work professionally. Even beyond that, I think she'll do a great job with all of her personal relationships, her off-camera life, as well."
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.