Next week, one of our favorite new shows of the year so far premieres. “The 100,” based on the young adult novel by Kass Morgan, will take The CW to dark and twisted places as a bunch of juvenile delinquents are set free on a post-apocalyptic Earth. The line is quickly drawn between those who wish to remain lawful and those who immediately choose lawlessness, and a core group, led by Eliza Taylor‘s Clarke, navigates the dangers surrounding them, from a potentially toxic planet to each other.
Newcomer Christopher Larkin plays Monty Green, one of the scene-stealing kids sent down to Earth who forms a fast bond with Clarke’s group. Recently we had the chance to chat with him about his casting, his cast mates, the perils of working on a show where anyone could be killed off at any time (two headed deer, sea monsters and other mysterious dangers abound) and more.
How did you first learn about the role/show and what was the audition process like?
I received an audition for “The 100” while in Hawaii for a wedding. I was set to fly back on a red-eye that same night and knew the timing was crucial. The casting office requested a self-tape, so I called a friend who met me at my apartment the next afternoon. I have a terrible fear of flying and was running off nearly zero sleep. Thanks to my decimated state of mind, I decided that it would be a great idea to write / perform my own page of text based off the sides and casually munch on tortilla chips through out the scene. This was the tape I ended up submitting. It also became the tape that got me through both the network and studio tests. I was cast one week later. So all in all, the process was smoother than I ever could have imagined. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone else, but it just happened to work out for me this time around.
Tell us about your character, Monty. What’s in store for him throughout the rest of the season and what is his role within this group of characters?
Without giving away too much, Monty Green is one of the juvenile delinquents sent down to Earth to see if the planet is habitable once again. He committed the relatively minor offense of growing and distributing certain illegal substances while in space. He is not a natural-born leader, yet he’s surrounded by them on a daily basis. Monty is constantly struggling to define his role within the group through out the season. Despite the odds, he continually tries his best to contribute to what can often seem like a hopeless situation.
Have you read the book the show is based on, and how does the show stay true to it and/or differ from it?
I was fortunate enough to borrow a copy from Bob Morley, who plays Bellamy on the show. I’m pretty sure I made it from cover to cover in two days. The general premise is the same, but there’s a lot of narrative that gets filled in / created entirely from scratch. The most glaring difference I noticed is that my character isn’t even in the novel. Only a few of the regulars currently on the show can be linked back to the book. There are many other liberties taken through out the course of the season, but I’d hate to spoil anything for the future viewers out there. Many thanks to our creator, Jason Rothenberg, for giving me a job.
When and where did you film the show, and what was the dynamic among the cast like? Had you all met each other during auditions or did you meet on set?
We filmed the series up in Vancouver from August 2013 – January 2014. I’d never met any of my cast mates before, but we all got on really well. It helped that the production office decided to house us in the same hotel during the pilot. Devon Bostick, who plays my best friend on the show, was an actor I’d seen completely by accident. I had a somewhat miserable audition for a feature film at Paramount the previous summer, and the casting director wasn’t all that thrilled with my choices. He brought me into his office and showed me a sample tape of what I should be doing. Devon happened to be the actor on that tape and we’re now good friends. I still learn a lot from him to this day.
Did you get to do any stunts or work with green screen and CGI, and what was that like?
My role didn’t require too many stunts, but there’s definitely a lot of CGI involved. Many moments spent reacting to something that isn’t there in real time. That’s inevitable in any sci-fi series. It was a bit of a challenge at first, but we all caught on quickly. I’m excited to see the work done by our SFX department once the show airs.
Where do you hope to see the show and your character go?
I won’t stand on my soapbox for too long, but I’d really like to see Monty develop some kind of a romantic arc as time goes on. Asian-American males are desexualized far too often in this industry. We’re already underrepresented as a minority but even the actors that break through still face this affliction time and time again. It’s been my goal for quite a while now to change that image around. And come on. Seriously. What better network than the CW to make this a reality?
It’s a show full of mysteries, how far in advance do you guys know what will happen? Given the danger the characters are constantly in, is there a fear that at any point anyone could be killed off and how does that affect things?
While we were shooting, we often had no idea what was coming. The script for each episode would arrive via e-mail a few days before we got started. All I can say is that no one in this show is safe. It can be nerve wracking not knowing who’s next in line to bite the dust, but my approach is always the same. Show up on time. Be courteous to everyone on set. Do the best work you can do. That’s the only power you have over this kind of situation.
The kids split pretty quickly into factions. Which would you have joined?
I personally would have stuck pretty close to the same group as my character. While we all share the mark of delinquency on our records, there’s also a shared level of bravery, intelligence and innovation among us. It was a happy accident falling in with that crew. Our time on Earth is a test. It all revolves around the survival of the human race. If staying alive is the primary objective, I wouldn’t put my life in the hands of any other group.
What are you working on now, and what else do you have coming up?
I’m currently working on an off-Broadway play in New York City called “Fast Company.” It’s a piece that I’ve helped develop over the past four years, so it feels very fulfilling to be part of the East Coast premiere. I haven’t done a full theater run since I left NYC two years ago, which presents its own set of challenges. But the work has been highly fulfilling and I’m grateful to be working this set of muscles again. It runs at the Ensemble Studio Theatre from March 12th – April 6th. We officially open the same week as the premiere of The 100. Hopefully we’ll have some good news regarding season two, which will pretty much lock down the rest of my year. Fingers crossed.
“The 100” premieres on The CW on March 19th at 9pm. You can find out more about Christopher on his official website.