THE 100: Henry Ian Cusick Previews Walking the Line Between Hero and Villain (2014)

"The 100"
“The 100”

It is difficult to look into the hearts of men, and one can only make assumptions based on a man’s actions. When first introduced to Councilor Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) in the new CW drama series THE 100, his motives will seem murky and self-serving. But with each passing episode and, as the layers of the story are pulled back, there just may be something else going on entirely.

During press interviews at the Warner Bros. Mondo Television International Press Tour, star Henry Ian Cusick talked about Councilor Kane’s motivations and the need to make hard choices, even if it makes you look like a villain.

What can you share about your character?
HENRY: [The show’s] set 97 years in the future and I play Councilor Kane, who is one of the Councilors on the ship, and their main thing is to keep the human race going. And, hopefully, one day we’ll go back to Earth and repopulate the Earth.

Can you describe kind of the relationships between the primary chancellors, Jaha and Kane, and Paige Turco’s character Abigail. There seems to be some political tension initially. Do they kind of align more, or does that friction kind of continue?
HENRY: Everything that happens on the spaceship ‑‑ there’s always friction between the three of us, Chancellor Jaha, Councilor Abby, and my character. So we’re always trying to figure out what’s best and how to proceed, and not always, but there’s a lot of disagreements. And there’s an attempt on Jaha’s life, and we don’t know who did it, and people kind of think that [Kane] might have had something to do with it. . . So it’s very political. There’s a lot of intrigue and uncertainty on the spaceship and a very high body count.

Do you play the bad guy?
HENRY: No. Define “bad”; right? I’m doing what I think is right — that involves trying to make sure that the majority survive. Hard choices for everyone.

How are you most like your character, and what are the biggest challenges for you?
HENRY: I’m not very like this character. Not at the beginning. But as the show progresses, you see [Kane] have a nice change. And I’m more like the character towards the end of the show, I think. But I’m not as cold as Kane. I am passionate, and I think he is passionate and he makes hard decisions.

What are some of the challenges for you of this particular character?
HENRY: One of the challenges, I think, was not knowing where [the show] was going. You get that with every character in television because when you sign up to do a show, you do a pilot. And you think you know where the character is going, and then you read the scripts, and you think, “Oh, I didn’t think that was going to happen.” And it happened a lot, of course, during LOST. But I was a little bit more sympathetic or empathetic to where I was going, whereas with this one it was a little bit harder for me to get my head around about where he was going and what his motives were. That was the hardest part, to find out why he was doing what he was doing. His motives were a bit sort of obscure to me. But it kind of makes sense now.

Did being on a TV show like LOST prepare you in any way for this show?
HENRY: Being on a show like LOST has prepared me in many ways, just as an actor, that I can work fast and do it quick, and I know where the camera is. A lot of it is handheld, so you’re playing with the cameraman. I can see him and work around him, and doing LOST, there was many times the camera guy was holding me and moving me around physically. So yeah, that’s helped. There are elements that are LOST-like in the show.

You mentioned the elements that this show shares with LOST. Can you tell us any?
HENRY: Not so much for my character, but for the kids down on Earth. They’re basically trying to survive a hostile environment, and they don’t know where the dangers lie. It’s all new for them. In that respect.

What’s your favorite scene or moment, episode so far?
HENRY: There’s an episode coming up, the next episode, which I just read. I think that’s probably my favorite episode. It’s 111. I can’t really tell you too much about it because we’re coming to the end of the season. We only do 13 episodes. But that will be a lot of action. There’s also another scene, which I’ve never seen before on television. It’s quite a large catastrophe. It will be interesting. I’ll be curious to know how the audience takes to it because there’s such a high body count. . . [And] there’s some scenes coming up, which I’m curious to know, especially on a channel like The CW, how the audience will react. Because even I, reading it and I rarely get surprised by anything, was like, “Wow, they’re actually going to do that.”

This is a story of a society with very finite resources. Do you think there’s an ambition or an aspiration in the writing to make statements about the society we live in?
HENRY: Yes, I hope so. There’s certainly potential. So yes, there is and we do. And it might be subtle, but they’re there, and I hope we do more of that.

To see whether Councilor Kane is as dark-hearted as first perceived and how he fares, be sure to tune in for the premiere of THE 100 on Wednesday, March 19th at 9:00 p.m. on the CW.

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