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‘Arrow’s’ J.R. Ramirez Says Wildcat Reveal ‘Will Turn the Comic Book World Upside Down’

CW actor speaks to TheWrap about when his character’s alter ego will surface and upcoming clash with Stephen Amell’s Arrow

Ted Grant becomes the main suspect in the murder of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) on Wednesday night’s episode of the CW’s “Arrow.” But the actor revealed his appearance will have comic fans going nuts over something else entirely — his transition toward Wildcat.

“You can see little hints here and there — the mask, the brass knuckles, and stuff like that,” J.R. Ramirez, who plays Ted Grant aka Wildcat, told TheWrap. “It will turn turn the comic book world upside down.”

Ramirez previously appeared on the CW’s “Emily Owens, M.D.” and “90210,” but didn’t join the network’s hit superhero show until Season 3. He has only appeared on three episodes thus far, but his character Ted has become an integral part of the ensemble cast.

In addition to talking Wildcat, Ramirez hinted at an upcoming romance with Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) — who was finally unveiled as Black Canary on Wednesday — and teased his huge face-off  against the show’s titular hero, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell).

TheWrap: Tell us about how you were cast as Ted Grant/Wildcat?
J.R. Ramirez: [The casting] was quite painless. They had released the character under a different name, so I thought I was going in as a boxer who has this nice little arc with Laurel. I was super-excited to be a part of the show, which is so successful and seems to be so much fun to work on. And when I got the role, I realized it was for a superhero.

Were you a fan of the comics beforehand?
I don’t have much background with comics, but I love DC. I love Batman – I’m obsessed with Batman and Superman. So, when I realized who this guy was I became a little kid in a candy store.

And did you rush out to buy some Wildcat comics as soon as you landed the role?
[The production team] was super nice. They sent me a big package with all these Flash comics with Wildcat in them. That’s when it really set in for me.

Tell us about your role on Wednesday’s episode, “Guilty.”
You’ll get a sense of where Ted comes from and what he’s about. It’s definitely some good [and intense] stuff. He shows up and there are dead bodies lying around his boxing facilities. There will be a power struggle between Arrow and Ted, and there’s a lot of good action.

I’m excited to have everyone see where Ted comes from, what he’s all about. So far they’ve only seen him training with Laurel, so it’ll be fun.

J.R. Ramirez, Arrow still from S3E5 "Guilty"

The CW

You’ve had several involved scenes with Katie Cassidy this season. Which other “Arrow” actors are you hoping to work alongside?
There are a bunch of characters I’d love to work with. Like Paul [Blackthrone.] I worked with him in Wednesday’s episode, as you’ll see. I’ve watched a lot of his work and I’d love to work with him in the future. There would be a great struggle because Ted is dating his [character Det. Quentin Lance’s] daughter and it’s the last thing he wants.

[David Ramsey’s] character Diggle, as well. He’s such a nice guy.

What’s your boxing background like?
I boxed a lot as a kid. I took boxing classes and karate when I was young. But I hadn’t put gloves on and been in a ring for five years before the show. I didn’t have too much prep time, a week maybe. But throughout the filming, I was excited to have a reason to get my lazy butt into a gym. The physicality of boxing is like nothing else.

Ted is pretty frequently shirtless at his boxing gym? What’s it like being half-naked in front of millions of viewers each week?
You know, it’s The CW man (laughs). It’s something I knew was coming. But, I didn’t have a lot of time to really prepare… I didn’t think I was in the best shape of my life, but it’s the kind of thing where you have to go in there and just do what you can do.

We had this big costume fitting on the first day and I show up and there’s just shorts. It’s like, alright, here we go.

Have showrunners given you a timeline for when you’ll actually make the jump to Wildcat? It has taken Laurel three full seasons to become Black Canary.
I’m not sure, to be honest with you. In this episode, we get a hint of my vigilantism, a bit of my past and where I came from. But as for where I’ll go? I’m not sure where the show is taking it. There are a lot of avenues where they can embark.

I’m hoping and praying that they suit me up, so I can get out there with the team and kick some butt.

When we will see Ted/Wildcat next?
I can’t talk about much when it comes to that. I definitely know there’s more to come, but I don’t know where they’re going to go with it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping everyone loves what I do and loves what’s on screen.

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