Based on Kass Morgan’s novel and developed by Jason Rothenberg, The 100 chronicles survivors of a devastating nuclear war who have taken refuge aboard the “Ark,” a space station orbiting the Earth. Forced to reduce their population due to ever dwindling resources, Ark leaders eventually resort to “floating” (killing) anyone committing a crime. Juvenile offenders (those under 18) are imprisoned, even for minor infractions. The series begins when 100 juveniles deemed “expendable” are sent to Earth to test its habitability. The first half of the series is essentially Lord of the Flies meets Lost. The second half will unify the 100s as they confront the Grounders (survivors of the initial nuclear holocaust).
The 100 stars Eliza Taylor (Clarke) and Bob Morley (Bellamy) as the series’ earthbound de facto leaders; Thomas McDonell (Finn) as Clarke’s initial crush; Devon Bostick (Jasper) as the hapless tech nerd who bravely rescues the reckless Marie Avgeropoulos (Octavia); the tough, tech savvy Lindsey Morgan (Raven); Paige Turco (Abby), the Ark’s chief scientist; and Isaiah Washington (Jaha) the Ark’s chancellor. In this roundtable interview, stars Lindsey Morgan and Eliza Taylor reveal the challenges and rewards that come with bringing The 100 to eager fans.
Will Raven realize that she’s now part of a “triangle” with Clarke and Finn?
Lindsey Morgan: Raven is not stupid. One thing I love about her is that she is so smart and quick. But right now, she’s blissfully ignorant and just loving being back with her man. The way this unfolds will be interesting because Raven’s not a girl that will immediately fly off the handle. She’s intense and will fight, but she also mulls stuff over. This love triangle won’t end the way most do.
As a take-charge kind of girl, how will Raven now try to communicate with the Ark?
LM: We’ve seen how they tried the flares, but that didn’t work. So they’ve come to the heartbreaking realization that they’ll have to find another way. So they’ll go back to the radio and try to work with that. The pod is helpful, too, because it’s another new ship they can use. So they’ll go back to the drawing board with Raven spearheading these new efforts.
What do you like about playing Raven?
LM: I love how low maintenance she is (laughs), maybe because I’m lazy. Prior to this, my biggest job was being on a soap opera. I’d be in hair and makeup for two hours a day, every day. But playing Raven, I get to come in 30 minutes before a call, my hair’s a mess, I’m still asleep, and they just throw dirt on me and make my hair even messier, then they shoot the scene. But I also love how smart, independent and fierce she is. She’s always thinking, always building, always taking charge and being a leader.
There’s all this equipment and gear you seem to be so familiar with. Did you have to bring yourself up to speed on space technology?
LM: We do try our best to stay as true as possible to the current technology. When I was doing the pod scene, I was in this suit and I couldn’t hear anything the director was saying. They couldn’t tell me what to do once my helmet was on, so I had to do some research on what it’s like for an astronaut returning to earth. It gets so hot, and the pressure on you is enough to kill you. Many people died in re-entering the earth’s atmosphere—it’s so brutal. I’m always working with the prop master so I know what I’m doing.
Did you have to go through a space camp?
LM: I wish they would send me to the adult space camp. What we learn just depends on the day and what’s been written for us. In college, I took five astronomy courses, which I found very interesting.
How will Raven deal with Bellamy, since they’re both such strong personalities?
LM: Raven and Bellamy will have a very interesting relationship. They’ll butt heads but not at the same level as Clarke does. Raven never really had a family life, she was always on her own, looking out for herself. She cares and looks out for Finn. With Bellamy, it’s an interesting dynamic because he’s leading the whole pack. But Raven is such an asset to him in terms of leadership skills and tech knowledge, that they have to work together. While they initially start off on the wrong foot, there is this mutual respect. Just like Raven respects Clarke for her leadership skills. They have quite an evolution in their relationship.
What about Raven’s relationships with some of the other female characters?
LM: Right now, she has no clue about Octavia. They do have their first encounter. I don’t want to spoil it—but it will be interesting. They also have an intriguing evolution in their relationship.
What about the Grounders? Raven hasn’t encountered them yet, either.
LM: I think the Grounders will be something she’s least likely to interact with.
Will the quasi friendship Raven has with Dr. Griffin lead to something later in the season?
LM: It will continue the entire season because Raven never had a mother figure. Raven didn’t really care about anyone else except Finn, but now she has Abby and cares about Clarke.
(Eliza Taylor joins us)
Clarke may not have been born a leader but she appears to have risen to the challenge.
Eliza Taylor: I don’t think she really had a choice. We’ve seen how her dad was, and her mum’s always getting into trouble—she’s in jail every other day. I think there are a few quiet moments where you see it’s getting to be a bit much for her. There’s a scene in episode two where she decides to find Jasper. She’s by herself and she has a panic attack. She’s over her head much of the time. What I like about her character arc is that she does eventually own it. She evolves in a really cool way—she gets stronger—and darker.
What do you find most challenging about your role?
ET: Clarke’s such a strong female kick ass lead. I’ve never had the pleasure of playing that before. I’ve played the dumb blonde too many times. So this is really different for me. I think a lot of the physical stuff can be really challenging. There are many physically challenging stunts. And doing an American accent for the first time is interesting.
How will Clarke build the trust she needs from these characters, who now must become so dependent on each other for survival?
ET: I think that’s where the Lord of the Flies aspect comes in. They’ve all got their own agenda. Some do unite and trust each other; others just want to rebel, do their own thing, and not give a crap about anyone else. It makes for an interesting dynamic, since there are so many characters introduced throughout the series with different ideas on how things should be run.
Why do you think so many of the 100 are willing to trust Bellamy over Clarke?
ET: There are just so many who think they can do this all by themselves—typical teenagers, really. It’s something most teens can relate to. If you tell them not to do something, they’ll do it. But the good thing about the Grounders appearing is that it does turn their attention away from each other, which makes them come together as a group.
Why do you think Clarke is drawn to the show’s male characters, rather than bonding to its female characters?
ET: She’s no nonsense. She wants to get things done, so she assumes a kind of bloke mentality. The women in the show never really come together. They have their own missions. It’s kind of a male dominated show. The women are strong headed and maybe they’re just too similar. But the Raven and Clarke relationship is really cool. Obviously they’re both in love with the same person, but they like and respect each other. That makes for an interesting dynamic, and you’ll see that in the coming episodes. Clarke realizes that there are more important things to do right now. She’s very good at compartmentalizing.