Henry Ian Cusick interview: The 100 season 2, Lost

The 100 season 2 returns to the UK tonight on E4. We chat to the actor behind Councillor Kane, Lost's Henry Ian Cusick...

Warning: contains spoilers for the first half of The 100 season 2.

For most genre TV fans, Henry Ian Cusick is and will possibly always be most famous for his role as Desmond Hume in Lost. But he’s now also part of one of the most interesting science fiction shows currently on the air, and he spoke to us about The 100’s shocking mid-season finale, Kane’s development, and what we can expect when the show returns for the rest of its second season.

I saw the mid-season finale of The 100, have you had a chance to see the reaction to the episode yet?

I haven’t seen the episode yet, but that’s on my list of things to do this morning. But I remember shooting it and I think it was probably the best episode of the season.

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It’s gone down so well, everyone’s gone crazy for it online…

Great, that’s fantastic.

[Season 2 spoiler] We obviously lost Finn in the episode, could you tell me a bit about the repercussions of that when we come back for the second half of the season?

Clarke and Raven are probably the biggest ones affected by Finn’s passing, but for the group there are also repercussions for how we deal with the Grounders. I don’t want to give anything away but, of course we’ve now done what the Grounders asked, we gave them Finn – well he volunteered to sacrifice himself – so we’re now in a position to have dialogue with the Grounders and hopefully peace will ensue and we can move ahead.

And that’s what we’ve always wanted, we’ve wanted to live in peace with the Grounders. That hopefully will happen, but you’ll just have to wait and see whether it does.

Going back to season one, your character started of as an antagonist even though he was sympathetic, but he’s now become the level-headed one of the group. Was that something that was planned, or something that evolved naturally?

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With this show, the characters are always evolving and changing. I think you’re right to a certain degree that my character was considered to be sort of antagonistic, a bad guy, but he never did anything. It was also reported – other people said these things about him, but you never actually saw him doing anything wrong.

Yes, he did have a part in the death of the 300, but you understood why he did that, he wasn’t very happy with the decision, and he’s been making up for it ever since. When you discover that everything you believed is wrong, how does that affect you?

I think that’s made him question all of his decisions and he’s on the back foot now. Rather than being that forceful, arrogant leader, he’s a little bit more open to finding different ways to survive.

We’ve seen a power play between the three adult characters on the ground, does the fact that Kane foresaw the outcome of having to kill Finn themselves help his standing?

I certainly think that, from a pragmatic point of view, Finn did something wrong and he had to pay for the murder of 18 innocents. And I think our show does touch on some interesting questions – you could relate this to any of the massacres by soldiers in any war, and how they’re dealt with.

I always thought of it that way, especially situations in Vietnam or more recently Afghanistan, where soldiers go a little bit crazy, and they do these awful, horrific things, these moments where they just shoot people – how they’re dealt with not only by their own side but how they’re expected to be dealt with by the other side.

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So it touched on that, and from Kane’s point of view Finn should have been tried as, from what we’ve seen, he did it and should have to face the consequences either by the Arkers or the Grounders. And it turned out he faced the consequences with the Grounders and paid for it with his life.

The show in general has been compared to Lost since the beginning, and you were obviously on both shows, what is it about this genre that appeals to you?

There are similarities, but Lost is a little bit more fantastical whereas this show deals more in reality. It is a sci-fi, but there’s nothing otherworldly about it, it’s all set in this world. What appeals to me is that they’re a lot of fun not only to be in but to watch.

For me they’re just a lot of fun to be in. These fantasy-type shows are what as a kid watching television I was always drawn to. Now as an adult to be in something like this is a lot of fun for me.

One thing the two shows do have in common is the intense fandoms, and the level of dedication viewers have, what’s been your most interesting experience?

Well Lost fans were fantastic fans, I’ve said this before but they were rabid and they questioned everything – they were merciless but I loved them for that. They all came together and they formed groups and societies and made friendships all because of the love of the show.

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I don’t know about The 100 yet, I haven’t really seen. We’re still in our early days, only in our second season, and I don’t really know how that’s working out. The viewing figures for Lost were huge, I don’t think the viewing figures for The 100 are up there with Lost, hopefully they will be. It’s a much smaller show in many ways.

It has been a hit for the CW, and it’s kind of led to a shift in the way people are seeing dramas on the CW, where there’s historically been a reluctance among hard-core sci-fi fans to things on the network.

Everything evolves, and I know what you mean about the CW traditionally being the television channel that is more geared towards a younger audience, with traditionally beautiful people. I think, yes, this show is pushing boundaries but I think the CW is pushing boundaries on many fronts.

They’ve just had Jane The Virgin [get] a couple of Golden Globes. So I think the CW is a very exciting channel to be involved with at the moment, they’ve got a great show in The Flash, The 100 is getting fantastic reviews, so I think it’s pushing the boundaries on all fronts.

What have some of your favourite moments on The 100 been, either to film or to watch back?

I’m having a lot of fun working with the other actors. Season one for me was all just working with Isaiah Washington and Paige Turco, and now I get to interact with a whole bunch of other people and I get to be on the ground and enjoy where we shoot the forest stuff.

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For me, personally, I’ve really enjoyed this season a lot more than the first season, and that’s just from having fun on set and running around getting to know the other actors.

What can we expect when the show comes back next year and what are your hopes for your character in particular?

So, we’ve shot up until episode fourteen, I think they’re filming fifteen at the moment and sixteen is the finale. So when you come back, it’s fast and furious and we’re going to pick up exactly where we left off. Things move at such a pace of such a lick that it’s pretty much just non-stop excitement, and it just gets better and stronger and more riveting, and it’s just going to build up to a big crescendo at the end.

The show is very strong for its female characters, with all the leaders, and it has a lot of strong, powerful women in it. So it’s interesting for the men to see where their place lies in the show. I’m watching at the moment to see how that works out. 

Henry Ian Cusick, thank you very much!

The 100 returns to E4 in the UK for season two on Tuesday the 6th of January at 9pm.

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