The new CW drama series Star-Crossed tells the story of Emery Whitehill (Aimee Teegarden), a teenager who had an alien spacecraft crash-land in her small town when she was six years old. Ten years later, she’s reunited with Roman (Matt Lanter), the Atrian boy who she gave refuge to as a child, and Emery finds herself not only drawn to him again, but supporting the human-alien integration. The show also stars Grey Damon, Malese Jow, Titus Makin, Jr., Chelsea Gilligan, Greg Finley and Natalie Hall.
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, actress Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights) talked about how she came to be a part of this show, what drew her to her character, how much fun it is to get to work on sets in this world that they’ve created, how the relationship between Emery and Roman will evolve, the human-alien drama, that she prefers to know where her character has come from, as opposed to where she’s going next, where the biggest threats are coming from this season, and how she gets a bit of alien envy on set. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
AIMEE TEEGARDEN: I was looking into what was being made for pilot season, and I definitely wanted something that was different. I love sci-fi, and I read this script and I loved it. And then, I sat down with the producers because I wanted to hear their vision and what texture they wanted to bring to the show. They were just so on fire about the show and what they wanted to do with it and how they saw it. And then, I met with the writer, Meredith [Averill], and got to know more about how she had gotten involved and what she thought of the show. I just really loved the team, and I signed up for it after that. It’s always a gamble. Sometimes things turn out amazing, and other times, it’s like, “That’s not what I thought that was going to be.” But on this show, we got to create a whole new world, and we got to create some really cool things. The props department gets to create what technology will be like in 10 years and what it’s going to look like. How do phones look? How do people connect? Is it through a phone? Does everyone have a tablet now? Is there even any use for computers? It was just fun to see them create and imagine new things.
What was it about Emery that drew you to the character?
TEEGARDEN: I just loved the idea of the world that we were creating. Throughout all of this, Emery is just such a strong girl. She’s a fighter. She has this spunky quality that I can empathize with. She’s always trying to fight for the underdog, and protect people and save people. She empathizes with people’s situations, after being in and out of the hospital so much, her entire life. That’s why she has this empathy towards the Atrians and really tries to fight for integration.
Will viewers learn more about why Emery was sick, and how she recovered?
TEEGARDEN: This season, it’s not really that big of a storyline. This season is more about the Atrians, figuring out where they fit in the world, figuring out how society treats them, and figuring out how to integrate them. Emery becomes the poster child for integration with the Atrians. It’s more about that, and less about Emery’s disease.
TEEGARDEN: Yes, there are always a few bad eggs. There’s this interesting dynamic with Emery where she’s seen a lot in her life and has gone through a lot. She’s always had to be the strong one, and protect her parents and protect her friend Julia (Malese Jow), and be that fighter. But there are a lot of situations where she’s just so naive, in social situations or in relationships with people. So, it definitely does come back to bite her in the butt, a couple of times. Also, her spirit and trying to really just make everyone get along bites her in the butt, quite a lot.
What’s it like to get to play in this world and be on these sets?
TEEGARDEN: It’s so fun, working on our sets. We have some beautiful, amazing sets. The Atrian sector isn’t a brand new facility. It’s what the government has left over and didn’t know what to do with. So, in 10 years, the Atrians have modified it and created their own little houses. They’ll rewire something and change it into something else, or integrate technology into something. It’s been really cool, working on the sets.
What drew Emery to Roman, and how will their relationship evolve?
TEEGARDEN: The relationship between Emery and Roman just has a magnetic pull between the two of them. As a child, she tried to protect him. Children don’t necessarily see skin color or disease, and they don’t comprehend all of the prejudices that everyone, as adults, have. She doesn’t judge a book by its cover. Being in the hospital and being made fun of and being the freak, she has become this person where she really tries to see beneath people’s exterior and really get to know them. There’s also something about Roman that just is exciting. There’s also this unknown quality about them that is very attractive.
TEEGARDEN: I think that comes into play towards the end of the season, when she morally deals with what’s appropriate and what society is telling her. She deals with that battle, throughout the season. There’s a back-and-forth. She starts a relationship with Grayson (Grey Damon), and he has this dark side to him. Emery finds herself in a lot of drama.
It’s pretty clear that Roman helped Julia recover from her own disease. Will viewers learn more about how that happen?
TEEGARDEN: You’ll learn more about that throughout the season, how the Cyper works, and about alien technology. There were a lot of things like that, that we start touching on and talking about, that I was super eager to hear more about. And where the season ends off, I’ve been bugging the writers about what happens next because there’s a cliffhanger. But, I haven’t had much luck yet.
Is it challenging to work on a show with so many twists and turns, but never know where it’s going to go next?
TEEGARDEN: What’s going to happen seven episodes from now isn’t as interesting as what happened prior to the episode. You need to start any character, whether it’s TV or movies, with a sense of who that person is, what they’re about, where they’re been, where their loyalties lie, and what they want out of life, and then build on top of that.
Where are the biggest threats coming from, this season?
TEEGARDEN: Throughout the season, there are more specific threats. But, I would say the biggest threat is society, itself, and what we do out of fear. There’s a lot of conflict between the humans and the aliens that we get to explore.
Do you ever get alien envy when you’re working on this show, and wish you could have the tattoos and learn a new language?
TEEGARDEN: Emery dabbles. I got to have some tattoos made for an episode, which was really cool. There’s definitely some envy. Emery is just a high school girl. I want some cool powers or some tattoos. Honestly, it’s just been so much fun, being on the show.
Star-Crossed airs on Monday nights on The CW.