With post-apocalypse teen adventure series The 100 making its UK debut tonight on E4, we caught up with actress Eliza Taylor, who plays Clarke on the show to talk season one, the fan reaction, Clarke’s character trajectory, ‘shipping’ and more…
Congratulations on the success of season one. How have you found the reaction so far?
Fantastic – you’re always nervous going into a series; you might think you’ve got a great product but you don’t know how it’s going to be received. It’s been incredible and we’ve had such an overwhelmingly good response. Being on Twitter and social media, you obviously get to see a lot more of what people are thinking of you and of your show. It’s all been, for the most part, really positive.
Clarke is interesting because she’s a natural leader but she’s also quite reluctant to take that role on. How do you balance that side of the character with the teenage girl?
I think after the first episode she kind of throws the teenage girl away and just realises that, if no one else is going to step up to the plate then she needs to commit herself to taking on that leadership role. And she does, and I think she does a really good job for such a young girl. But as you said, she’s a natural born leader and somehow it comes to her no matter what’s thrown her way.
With her mother, she has more ties to the Ark than anybody else, how will she react when those two sides of the show are unified?
Well I think she has a very complicated relationship with her mother and with the Ark because they’re obviously the people who executed her father and locked her up just for trying to save the human race (laughs). So it’s a very complicated relationship and she is certainly conflicted with whether or not she ever wants to see them again. But obviously they’re doctors, engineers, farmers – they’re all up there and they do need to come down. So I think if they do eventually become unified, then it’s going to be interesting seeing how they all work together.
The character’s become quite dark over the course of the season…
Clarke very rarely smiles (laughs). I was on Twitter the other day and someone has created a drinking game for The 100. They’ve got certain points in which they drink and one of them is when Clarke smiles because it’s so rare. So when she smiles it’s a double shot, which I found really funny. I do enjoy the lighter moments for that reason, but playing this character that’s so multi-layered and has so many emotional moments; so many fierce moments; so many moral dilemma moments – it’s cool. I love doing it.
You spoke about Twitter and fan reaction – are you aware of the shipping war that’s going on?
Bellark and Flark? Yeah. They’re very, very strong, opinionated fans, which I love. I didn’t know what shipping was until recently, I thought ‘why do people keep saying I ship you? What does that even mean?’ So I think that’s cool. I love the dynamic between Finn and Clarke, I love our chemistry and I love working with Thomas. I also love working with Bob and I love the very different dynamic that Clarke and Bellamy have. So, it’s like asking me which one of my babies I like better – I can’t decide.
Do you think it’s important for a show like The 100 to have that love triangle element, or do you prefer the action side of things?
I love playing both. What I like about the love triangle between Finn, Clarke and Raven is that none of them hate one another – there’s no cattiness or particular disdain. They all have a mutual respect for each other which they probably wouldn’t like to have – it’d be much easier to hate one another – so that makes for a very interesting dynamic. The action stuff I also love doing because it’s so different for me. I’ve never played such a physical role before with so much running and stunt work. Gun training for example was something that was very new for me, but it was so fun. So I like that we get to do both; that there’s a little bit of emotional stuff and then physical stuff as well.
Clarke and Bellamy have formed an uneasy alliance, can we look forward to seeing that continue?
I think so, yeah. In episode four you see them decide that they’re going to work together as opposed to against each other, and that certainly does continue throughout the series. I don’t know what’s in store for season two because no one will tell me, but I’d certainly love to see them continue with that.
We’ve seen a lot of characters come in and out, but we don’t know a lot about their backstories, will we find out any more about that? Or have new characters introduced?
Yeah I think so if season one’s anything to go by, we’ll definitely see some more of that stuff in season two.
These post-apocalyptic sci-fi shows are really popular at the moment – why do you think they’ve become such a big thing?
I think that we just go though trends and phases, don’t we? It was vampires, and we’ve done zombies and now we’re doing post-apocalyptic – it’s just one of those things. But hopefully this one stays for a while so that we can keep working.
I really like that we’ve set ourselves apart, it’s really exciting and I think that it’s a much darker show for the CW. I couldn’t tell you why there hasn’t been more of it – it’s not like we’re trying to promote violence or torture or anything like that, which we do kind of touch on in The 100, but I guess it does give much more of a real edge to it, which is cool. And it’s been really well received.
Can you tease anything about the finale?
It’s epic – get ready for a huge twist at the end.
What are your hopes for season two?
I just can’t wait to see it, and I hope that it’s good (laughs)! But I just can’t wait to see it evolve from this cliffhanger that I was teasing. There’s just nothing I can say without giving it away, I’m afraid.
Eliza Taylor, thank you very much.
The 100 starts on E4 tonight, Monday the 7th of July at 9pm.
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