When one hundred delinquent teens are sent back to Earth to find out if it is habitable after a nuclear holocaust, things do not go exactly as planned. For one, these are teens not used to having responsibility for themselves and their own survival. So it will be a time of anything goes and one of the characters anxious to explore her newfound freedom is Octavia Blake (Marie Avgeropoulos).
In a press interview at the Warner Bros. Mondo Television International Press Tour, star Marie Avgeropoulos talked about the fun of portraying a free-spirited character on the brink of self-discovery in a new world of chaos and dire threats.
How were you cast on THE 100?
MARIE: The casting process was pretty interesting for me. I was already part of the CW family before. So when they came to me with this new script called THE 100, it introduced the whole sci‑fi element to me, I’ve never really done anything in the sci‑fi genre before. So it was really awesome to sort of have that experience. And the script really just jumped out off the page to me. I really enjoyed the character of Octavia. I hold her very close to my heart. Now that we’re in episode 11, I really know who she is now towards the end of the season. So it’s been a really wild ride.
What can you share about Octavia?
MARIE: My character is Octavia. I have the pleasure to play her. I am the only character in the show with a sibling, which is pretty amazing, to have that experience. And because there’s limited resources on the Ark, we deal with population control a lot. So it’s illegal to have more than one child, and [Octavia] was the second of two. So when she was discovered, they killed her mother for that crime, and they put [Octavia] in jail. So it’s pretty amazing for her to be on Earth and just to have that brother‑sister dynamic with somebody, because it’s unique because nobody else on the show has that.
How are you most like your character and what are the biggest challenges for you playing this role?
MARIE: Octavia has a really adventurous spirit. She had the opportunity to have almost a Neil Armstrong moment as she was the first one to step foot on Earth when the drop-ship landed. So that was pretty amazing. We also shoot in beautiful British Columbia in an amazing, untouched rain forest. So to have that opportunity to almost see the world through the eyes of a child and really take in all the Earth’s beauty was really easy because it’s so gorgeous up there.
Can you talk about a little bit about the relationship between Octavia and Clarke (Eliza Taylor)? Because they seem to butt heads a little bit at the beginning. How does that evolve throughout the season?
MARIE: Octavia and Clarke are pretty yin and yang. [Clarke’s’ very responsible and she’s always the leader of the pack, always trying to do the right thing. Throw a hundred kids down on Earth that have all clashing and meshed personalities and [Clarke’s] just trying to do what’s best for the group always, and Octavia doesn’t really like being told what to do. Basically, because [Octavia] was brought up under the floor, to be hidden her whole life, and then as soon as she got found, she just got thrown in jail. So the fact that she’s discovering freedom for the first time and someone is trying to keep her in a straight line, she doesn’t always love that. But Octavia does appreciate [Clarke’s] nurturing and maternal instincts that she does have. And she wants to do the right thing as well.
What is your favorite scene?
MARIE: Favorite scene? Oh, that’s tough. There’s been so many great ones. Am I allowed to say things that potentially could ‑‑ I’m hearing, like, the producers’ voices in the back of my head, like this phone call I’m going to get later, “Why did you tell them that?!” (Laughs) I can tell you Octavia gets kidnapped by someone or something later on. You’re going to have to see. So there’s a lot of captivity scenes that bring up a lot of anxiety for her because she was raised underneath the floor then thrown in jail. So she really has a lot of freak-outs when that happens. So it was really cool to kind of put myself in that frame of somebody that would just have that much anxiety and tension about being cooped up.
Is there a lot of physical stuff you get to do in the show?
MARIE: There’s always injuries, for sure. I was just recovering from a broken ankle when we started shooting, which wasn’t fun. I was shooting “Tracers” in New York City. It’s an action movie starring Taylor Lautner. So I got to have the awesome pleasure of playing opposite him. But I broke it while shooting that movie. So then when we started shooting THE 100, I was recouping. So running through the rain forest and stuff was a lot of fun with that. But I get to do a lot of my own stunts and try to push for that always. It’s been fun.
How has Octavia changed from the beginning of the season to the end of the season?
MARIE: She’s really growing up and into her own as a girl becoming a woman and trying to do what’s best for herself, but she’s finally thinking about the rest of the group as well and with the subject of survival as a whole.
How would you describe the show in terms of genre?
MARIE: There’s not any high school drama, which is what I love about this show. It’s young people dealing with grown‑up problems because they’re having to create their own society and survive on Earth. Given nothing. Because they’re dealing with such limited resource from survival up in space to when they got thrown down onto Earth. They didn’t have Girl Guides or Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, growing up. So to have to make sure that they survive and to try to contact their loved ones, their families, their doctors, their teachers that are still up in space to let them know that it is survivable. They’re dealing with a lot. There’s a lot on their plate for these young kids, and you really see them grow up in front of your eyes on screen.
How does the brother‑sister relationship with Octavia and Bellamy (Bob Morley) evolve? Do they continue to stay close to each other? Does that change at all?
MARIE: There’s been a lot of ebb and flow with Octavia and Bellamy because he’s very protective over her. And because this is her new‑found freedom, she doesn’t want the grasp around her to be quite so tight — of course, being a teenager — but she definitely appreciates his care and concern, but wants to make these decisions on her own as well. But they care for each other. That’s always the bottom line. Like any sibling, brother/sister.
In THE 100, what are the differences between women and men? Are they equal?
MARIE: They’re equal. The women on the show aren’t the delicate‑flower type, by any means. Because again, dealing with survival, everybody needs a thick skin. Everybody needs to take part and do something for the group, whether it’s hunting, whether it’s preparing for the winter, whether it’s sewing things, making tents, chopping firewood, making weapons. Everybody is an equal player, which is nice.
Do you have anything to do with the rest of the cast who worked in the Ark part of the story?
MARIE: It’s pretty amazing because the adult‑generation cast on my show and the younger cast, we don’t work together. It’s like we’re shooting two completely different shows. I just saw Ian Cusick and Isaiah Washington in makeup this morning, and it’s like, “Hey.” The only time I see them is doing press for the show, even though we work on the same one. So when the adults, if and when they do come down to Earth, it will be really amazing to work with them because they’re such great actors and I admire their careers and look forward to doing scenes with them.
Is it safe to say that with the title THE 100, there may not always be the one hundred?
MARIE: No. People have died like crazy already. I don’t know how many there is [left]. You never know. There’s a lot of gore and brutal deaths on the show, and it’s very edgy. It’s very dark.
Do you like watching other TV shows on DVD and watching several episodes in a row of another show that you may like?
MARIE: Yeah. I’ve watched BREAKING BAD. That was the one I was into recently a lot. It almost like a feature film sort of feeling about it when you can watch that many in a row — no interruptions, no commercials. Thank you, Netflix!
What has surprised you have the most about THE 100?
MARIE: Every week I’m surprised with the story and how great and dynamic these characters are and how it really moves along. I’m so excited for the audience to see the show. It’s really good. I know probably every actor says that, “Oh, the show’s great,” but it is. It’s a really, really amazing show. Scripts are awesome. The cast is kicking butt and bringing all they’ve got to these roles. So I’m really look forward to everyone checking it out.
To see how Octavia navigates the developing factions and works tirelessly to see that everyone survives, be sure to tune in for the premiere of THE 100 on Wednesday, March 19th at 9:00 p.m. on the CW.