THE TOMORROW PEOPLE: Phil Klemmer Dishes On How Much Trouble Leven Rambin’s Character Stirs Up, Whether There’s Hope for a John/Astrid Romance (2014)


All hell is about to break loose on THE TOMORROW PEOPLE. Not only is Julian (James McKay) back, he’s working with Ultra and they are going to breach the lair — and there will be no where to hide. Worse yet, there’s a new wild-child on the horizon ready to wreak havoc in their world with what remains. And just what is Jedikiah (Mark Pellegrino) really up to? Will there be a face-off between Jedikiah and the Founder? And best of all, is there time for romance and will John (Luke Mitchell) and Astrid (Madeleine Mantock) figure out there’s something between them before it’s too late?

In an exclusive press call, executive producer Phil Klemmer talked about all these things and more as THE TOMORROW PEOPLE races towards its Season 1 finale.

So what can you share about Leven Rambin’s new character, Natalie?
PHIL: She is bad news!

Bad news for everybody? On both sides?
PHIL: It was our concern that the Tomorrow People were maybe getting too clean scrubbed and a little too honest. We really wanted to mix up the dynamic by adding a bit of an x-factor. Russell (Aaron Yoo) is kind of our resident hedonist and impish prankster, which is a great energy and we decided to tempt him with a more dangerous version of that energy and who better to sort of tempt than a gorgeous, sexy, slightly volatile paranormal. So eventually I imagine them as sort of being like our Bonnie and Clyde.

Should that worry us? After all, Bonnie and Clyde died.
PHIL: (Laughs) We have plans for what Natalie eventually does — as I’m writing the finale right now — and I will say that I don’t think there is a single person on planet Earth who would believe me if I told you what she winds up doing to one of our very, very beloved characters. It’s kind of crazy. But she’s going to be a great addition to the show and a character like that really speaks to where we are going with the rest of the season, which is throwing out the rule book and really breaking the rules that we set for ourselves in the first half of the season. Just blowing it out in the second half.

So Russell and Natalie are going to cause a bit of a headache for Cara (Peyton List) then?
PHIL: At a certain point, the struggle we set up between Ultra and the Tomorrow People, the shadow war effectively becomes an open war, and the paradigm of rescuing break-outs and trying to get them first, that’s no longer what the stakes are. The stakes are much, much larger. It’s about survival and which species can survive and which is to go extinct. So it’s exciting, but there’s some really tragic turns coming up where we’re just going to force characters who we love into extremity by forcing them to make decisions for their own survival, that force them to do really shocking and sometimes really horrible things — and hopefully we will be able to redeem them and have our fans forgive them someday. But it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

How soon do we get to see Natalie? What episode does she come in?
PHIL: Natalie first appears in Episode 20. She’s in Episode 20, 21 and 22. So you are not going to see her for awhile. But in the meantime, you will see a lot of old friends, such as Cassie (the Founder’s daughter), Irene and Morgan (Jedikiah’s girlfriend), and you are going to see some really juicy flashbacks with John and Cara’s first meeting and the foundation of Ultra. So it’s a pretty wild resolution of the season.

Since fans keep asking, are we going to see any more John and Astrid scenes with just the two of them?
PHIL: Totally! Are they asking whether they will have their clothes on?

No, they are not quite going that far, but I’m sure that is in their imaginations.
PHIL: They will certainly see John and Astrid scenes. John and Astrid are going to be pushed into incredibly tight quarters and there’s some super juicy stuff for those two.

Do John and Astrid kind of remain oblivious to their own chemistry with each other?
PHIL: (Laughs) No, whatever the opposite of oblivious is. Like I was saying, the stakes as the season concludes, the ticking clock that we put on the survival of the Tomorrow People versus the survival of the People-People are such that our characters find themselves effectively standing on the edge of the end of the world. That forces them to make some really honest assessments of what matters to them. If I were to make an analogy, I would say our characters are in a plane right now and both engines have stalled and the plane is in a nose-dive. In that situation, the things that they will say to each other and the things that they will do with each other in that free-fall are done because time is a ticking and you do not want to leave the planet with too many regrets.

So you’d say all the love-triangles are going to heat up right now because of the immediacy of their situation?
PHIL: Yeah, this is the calm before the storm. I don’t think there is going to be time for anybody to be coy with their feelings. Blood is going to be spilled and tears are going to be spilled. The only way to sort of take the sting out of that is to give people some comfort in the way of human touch.

One of the things that this show has dabbled in is when Ultra actually aligns with the Tomorrow People for the better good for everybody. Are we going to be seeing some of that as well?
PHIL: I think we’re going to understand Jedikiah as a tragic hero. Understanding what he did and why. There will come a moment when Stephen (Robbie Amell) understands that every awful thing that his uncle has done. He will not necessarily forgive him for those things, but one of the interesting things about Jedikiah is, as he said before, he never lied to Stephen. He certainly made lies of omission. But as we reach the conclusion, Jedikiah will lay his cards down on the table, and the Founder will lay his cards down on the table, and at that point — since much of our season has been about secrets and lies, subterfuge and manipulation — as we approach the finale, it becomes much more raw, more visceral, and it’s not about who to trust. It’s about what to do. For Stephen, he’s no longer manipulated by these father-figures. He is stepping into the role of hero for himself and trying to figure out if he can fill those shoes.

Stephen has also been paired up with a new partner Hilary (Alexa Vega), who has been trying to undermine him every step of the way. Are they going to work together as partners eventually, or is she just going to continue to be the thorn in his side?
PHIL: One of the interesting things about Hilary is — of course, she’s not human — but we’re going to have a humanizing journey that Stephen gets to make with her. In the episode after next, he gets to understand where she came from in the world and why she’s become this ball-busting, drill sergeant. I think it will be very interesting for people to see them grow closer. I can promise that if you continue watching our show, you will utterly hate Hilary and utterly love Hilary by the end of the season. She’s a very complicated character. Some of the twists that we have in store for her — somebody probably should have told us to reign it in or to maybe take it down a couple notches, but those people didn’t step in and it’s kind of incredible what we have been able to get away with this season. I think a lot of the moves that we are about to make are not what you would expect out of network TV.

That sounds exciting! Will we possibly see Hilary face off with Natalie? That just seems like an interesting combination.
PHIL: (Laughs) Oh god, this is really hard to explain. I don’t know how to say this without blowing things.

So what can you tease about this week’s episode “Enemy of My Enemy”?
PHIL: If you’ve been rooting for John and Cara to get together, either romantically or at least on the same side, that issue is going to be more or less forced. We have the return of Cara’s old nemesis Julian, and Julian is not just coming back as himself, he’s coming back basically as a turn-coat who sold Cara out to Jedikiah. So the reconciliation of John and Cara isn’t just for the sake of mending their hearts, it’s for putting back the Tomorrow People and trying to defend themselves against this clear and present danger of Ultra effectively discovering their lair. There is no place left to hide after this episode. The lair is under siege. This is our Butch and Sundance moment, whether they can successfully defend themselves from the onslaught of Julian and Ultra, or whether they go down in a hail of bullets.

Be sure to tune in for the Julian/Ultra take-down of the lair and to find out where John’s heart truly lies in an all new episode of THE TOMORROW PEOPLE on Wednesday, March 5th at 9:00 p.m. on the CW. (As a reminder, after next week, THE TOMORROW PEOPLE moves to Mondays, starting March 17th.)

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