Written by: Jayme Face
You have probably seen Echo Kellum as ‘Curtis Holt’ on the CW’s Arrow, but that isn’t the only thing he’s been working on. We caught up with Echo and found out more about Arrow and his other upcoming projects!
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about Arrow and your character Curtis Holt?
Echo Kellum: Yeah. Arrow is a show about the Emerald Archer, Oliver Queen, and his quest to come back to right some of the wrongs that his father put into place. We’re in the fifth season now following Oliver on his journey to save his city and make the world a better place. I play a character named Curtis who is a computer tech that works for team Arrow and also moonlights as a vigilante at night called Mr. Terrific.
upfrontNY: You’re character is one of the first openly gay characters in the comic book realm, what does that mean for you?
Echo Kellum: Well it means a lot to me personally. I have a lot of people that I am very close to, to my life who are part of the LGBT community. When it was first announced that I would play this character I had some really close friends confide in me that it really made them happy and proud. I know that feeling too of watching someone that looks like you that maybe you could see yourself in on T.V. It is a very valuable thing to have, so for me I’m very thankful that I get to play a part of having equal representation out there. We obviously have a long way to go in our industry but hopefully with strides like this as we start having more people of color and people of different religious backgrounds and sexual orientations just throughout our T.V. screens, movie screens you know the hope is that one day it is not a big deal. Even when a cast like that happens or a character like that is there because it is so prevalent in our media and we are constantly building to get to that place. Like I said just to reiterate I am very thankful I get to play that part.
upfrontNY: You recently did a crossover episode with SuperGirl, Flash and Legends, what was that like?
Echo Kellum: Oh man, it was definitely a pinch yourself kind of material and moment. I’m such a huge fan of Melissa and Grant, everyone who puts their heart and soul into all these comic book shows. To get to play around with my character, to get to have fun with them and the banter, it was really just kind of a dream come true. Growing up reading Flash comic books, and comic books in general, and seeing myself as an adult getting to play that on T.V. and actually help one be realized on-screen is a very surreal feeling. It is something I’m definitely really proud of and thankful that I get the chance to be a part of it.
upfrontNY: You mentioned you read comic books as a kid, what superhero did you want to be growing up?
Echo Kellum: I wanted to be Apocalypse, the super villain, unfortunately, but I always say I would use his powers for good. I just love the fact that he had so many different abilities that he could shape shift, grow in size, use telepathy at some point, depending on what generation of Apocalypse you are looking at. I just thought he was a super hero that could do it all or the super villain who incorporated all the powers of all the characters and what not. So I just kind of wanted all the powers.
upfrontNY: You play a hacker and a coder in Arrow, are you technologically savvy in real life? What is your favorite app?
Echo Kellum: My favorite app right now is an app called Forge which is really great. It’s an older app on the iPad, but I’m directing more now and I’m using it to do storyboard. So I get to draw and I have the apple pencil. I really like that; it’s really great. But, yeah I am definitely technologically savvy. I’m a big video game nerd as well. So I have to have like the best systems.
upfrontNY: You also mentioned you direct and you are a writer as well, can we expect any projects from you on that front soon?
Echo Kellum: Yeah, I am definitely working a lot more on my indie things. I am working on more of my indie scripts, I’m working on with a couple friends of mine. Right now we are kind of just coining ourselves as Dope Productions. We do have a couple of films we are working on to shoot in spring of next year, summer of next year. But, yeah it is definitely something I am getting more into. Right now I’m directing this pilot presentation for Universal, that my friends and I in Dope Pro have created, just really trying to expand. I was having a conversation with a friend and just the way the industry is now a days you can’t be stagnant in one you got to get out there and do it all. You can’t just act, you’ve got to write and direct and stay relevant and on top of your game. Continuing to move forward in the industry is something I try to apply in my career and try to stay active in those other fields whenever I have the opportunity to.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your upcoming movie Girlfriend’s Day?
Echo Kellum: Girlfriends Day is a film about a man who is a card writer, one of the top card writers in his profession, and he kind of loses it all. It’s kind of a journey of him finding love and maybe a second spark at his profession that he once used to love. That man is played by Bob Odenkirk who also wrote it. He is an absolutely amazing, wonderful actor and writer. I play a character named Madsen who is a friend of his and a card writer and a beat poet and there’s some really fun things. It should be coming out February 14thon Netflix. So I definitely look forward to that.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about the hip hop album you are working on?
Echo Kellum: It’s really more of just a labor of love for a brother who I lost years ago, who was a hip hop artist signed to Sony Records. He was unfortunately taken away from us after a concert and it was just always something I always wanted to do to just kind of write an album in his honor. So it is just something I am casually working on the side whenever I have free time, trying to lay down some tracks and you know create something really cool, I hope. It’s not something I am trying to make money from. It’s a passion project I am working on and I hope to have it released by summer of next year or potentially end of next year, but yeah 2017 I want to release it.
upfrontNY: I am sorry to hear that, but that is very cool you are doing that. And one more thing is Echo your real name?
Echo Kellum: I get this one so much. You know it was a name that my father really just gifted to me. He was a big mythology fan and an astrology fan and it was a water nymph . But my original name was Emmanuel Echo Kellum, but Echo kind of just stuck.
upfrontNY: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?