'Arrow': Robert Knepper on Chess Games With Felicity and Dangerous Face-Offs

The "Prison Break" alum previews his arc as the villainous Clock King on Wednesday's return episode.
Cate Cameron/The CW
Robert Knepper in "Arrow"

Everyone's favorite tech guru Felicity is about to face her biggest test yet on Arrow.

Prison Break alum Robert Knepper makes his debut Wednesday as William Tockman, better known as DC Comics' villainous Clock King, who serves as Felicity's first formidable foe. The timing couldn't be worse for the bespectacled techie; the Clock King's entrance in the Arrow universe comes at a time when she is at her most vulnerable -- thanks in large part to the unexpected addition of Sara Lance to Team Arrow.

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"The most important thing for us was to make him real and believable, as opposed to a cartoon character," Knepper tells The Hollywood Reporter of his time-obsessed character. "I've got a little OCD myself, but I'm not as OCD as this guy is. If I was, I'd be a rich man, robbing banks and doing what this guy does." Describing himself as "easygoing," Knepper differentiated himself from his onscreen persona: "He's wound-up, if you will. He had a very, very good reason for doing what he was doing for a family member."

The Clock King's face-off with Felicity is not so much a showcase of brawn and physicality but of intelligence and wit.

"Most of the time, it's a chess game between us, where I'm following her movements and they don't know where I'm at," says Knepper, who worked mainly with Emily Bett Rickards and Caity Lotz. "We have the big climax where we come together, which I hope is a tease -- it seemed to be written this way -- that this is just the beginning of this character and folding him into the story." 

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In researching the part, Knepper admits to not being overly familiar with his character prior to landing the gig. But it was the many manifestations of the Clock King that gave him license to play. "There's not one definitive version of who this guy is, unlike when you see a Spider-Man movie, where Spider-Man is Spider-Man," he says. 

Another challenge the actor faced? Filming all his scenes in one 14-hour day -- a Saturday no less. "You fly up on Friday, you've got to decide what the costume is, the look -- everything. It was a true collaboration. And then go!" Knepper recalls.

It was the producers' preview with executive producer Marc Guggenheim that gave Knepper insight into the finished product. "Is that what I did? I don't even really remember. I certainly didn't have any time beforehand to go into a corner" to prepare, he says of the fast-and-furious shooting schedule. "It all came to me in the moment."

Watch a preview below.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Email: Philiana.Ng@THR.com
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