The CW drama series The Tomorrow People follows a generation of humans born with paranormal abilities, who are the next evolutionary leap of mankind. Up until a year ago, Stephen (Robbie Amell) was a “normal” teenager, but then he learned that he is part of a genetically advanced race with the abilities of telekinesis, teleportation and telepathic communication, and that this race is being hunted down by a paramilitary group of scientists known as Ultra.
Returning with all new episodes, actress Alexa Vega is joining the show as fellow Ultra trainee Hillary, for a story arc in which Jedikiah (Mark Pellegrino) decides to see who is worthy of becoming an Ultra agent by forcing them to compete with each other. In this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Alexa Vega talked about how this role was offered to her, why she wanted to be a part of this show, the fun of playing such a conniving bitch, how much she still wants to learn about her character, her drive to fight for survival, learning how to do the teleporting stunts, and getting to do all of her own fighting. Checking out what she had to say after the jump.
ALEXA VEGA: Robbie Amell, who plays Stephen on the show, is a close friend of mine. He and I had worked together earlier this summer. I had read this script and loved it, and I had watched the pilot episode. I just told Robbie, “Seriously, this show is so special. It’s unique and cool. There aren’t really shows like this on the air right now. Please, even if the character is only on for a minute, if there’s ever the opportunity, tell them that I really, really want to do it.” He was laughing and said, “Okay, if there’s ever an opportunity, I’ll tell them to give you a call.” And literally, three weeks later, while he was shooting, he called me and said, “There’s this great role. She’s ruthless, she’s mean and she’s cutthroat, and I think you could have a lot of fun with her. She totally kicks ass. So, read it and let me know if you want to do it, and the guys are gonna call you.” It just all came together and worked out perfectly. It could not be a more fun show to work on, let alone this character is just competitive.
Was this just a really fun role to follow up Machete Kills with?
VEGA: I will say, the one thing that the roles I’ve been fortunate enough to play lately have in common is their bad-assness. Both girls are pretty bad-ass. They’re very different, but super bad-ass, to say the least. I love it! It keeps it really exciting. It’s more incentive for me to just work hard. It’s definitely been my incentive for the gym lately. When I don’t want to go at all, I know that Hillary would probably go.
Is this the kind of show that normally appeals to you, or were you drawn to it because it was so different from other things on TV?
VEGA: What I like about it is that it’s totally unique. I think the idea of being able to have supernatural powers is really, really fun, but I also love Cara (Peyton List). If you look at that character, she’s such an empowering female character, and I love shows that really cater to that for women, especially young women. She’s someone you can look up to. She’s tough, but still beautiful. And she’s as hardcore, as she is soft. She’s such a strong character. I was enamored with the show, just because of how they portrayed their female lead. I thought that was really, really cool. And then, to be able to come on and do the opposite, but still be bad-ass and still be a strong character. She’s mean, she’s competitive, and she’ll really stop at nothing to become that top Ultra agent. Through the training process, there’s a big competition going on with all the Ultra agents that are in training, and if you’re a weak link, they’re going to strip you of your powers because you don’t deserve to have them. Hillary is so worried about that happening that she starts to become incredibly competitive. She really pays attention to all of the other people in Ultra and tries to find their weakness, so she can exploit them and use them against them. Ultimately, she wants to just be the one in power, leaving the rest stripped of their powers.
When I interviewed Robbie Amell a few weeks ago and talked to him about you coming on the show, he said that he wouldn’t call your character a villain, but that she’s a conniving bitch. Would you say that that’s a fair assessment?
VEGA: I think that’s a great assessment. It’s not like she’s fighting for a cause. She’s just fighting to survive. When you’re fighting to survive, you can’t help but do anything and everything to make that happen, and you can see that. She’s emotionally disconnected. Her instincts are to just root out anything that could get in her way, so that she can attain what she needs to attain. She doesn’t know if she’s going to be able to make it within Ultra, and she’s just fighting to survive. She’s so smart. Hillary does her digging and she follows Stephen, and she catches Stephen and Astrid doing something that Stephen definitely shouldn’t be doing. We don’t really know much about Hillary yet, but we do know that she likes exploiting weakness. So, I’m eager to see how she uses that against him in upcoming episodes.
Do you know anything about who she was before we meet her and before she gets to Ultra, as well as how she got to Ultra?
VEGA: I love this show because with every episode, you learn something new about each character. You’re still learning about Cara’s background, you’re still learning about Stephen’s background, and you’re still learning about all the other characters, like Russell and John. There’s so much to still learn about everyone. And what I like about Hillary is that they don’t really reveal anything right away. It takes them a long time to find out what’s going on with her. You just don’t know. I want to know why Hillary is so ruthless, why she works so hard, and why she fights so hard to be the best and at the top of everything. Did she have crazy parents? Did she have no parents? What is her problem? So, I am eager to see what they do with her. With this show, they’re great at having strong backgrounds for each of their characters and great arcs. I am eager to see where she has come from to get to this point that she’s in now.
How many episodes are you doing?
VEGA: I don’t know. I’m still here now, and this is my fifth or sixth episode, or maybe my fourth. I’m not sure.
Is Stephen the first Ultra agent that Hillary has had to compete against? Have there been others?
VEGA: Well, she is fighting against other agents at Ultra. It’s not just between her and Stephen, for who’s gonna get the spot. She’s fighting all the other trainees at Ultra. So, she has to take out quite a few people to keep her powers. And the truth is that we don’t know if they’re gonna strip all of us of our powers, or if they’re gonna let one of us keep our powers, or five of us keep our powers. We don’t have answers, so because there aren’t answers, we’re gonna keep fighting to survive.
You’ve gotten to do some hand-to-hand fighting and some superpower fighting, on this show. What’s it like to do each of those? Is it fun to get in there and really get physical, and then also do the effects stuff, as well?
VEGA: Oh, completely! It’s funny ‘cause I remember the first time I was on set. They’d all been shooting this for a little bit, and they had all been doing the teleporting. I was like, “Okay, wait, what is it you guys do?!” So, Robbie showed me the little hop-jump they do into the next location, and I was like, “Oh, that’s how you guys teleport!” It was a little embarrassing that I couldn’t get it right away, but I finally got it.
Is it just so much fun to be half Robbie Amell’s size and be able to kick his ass?
VEGA: Oh, completely! And we have amazing stunt coordinators and stunt people who come in and kick serious butt. They’ve been so awesome with getting me ready for these epic scenes. It’s great! I was able to do all the fighting stuff. I was so happy about that. They trained me well.
The Tomorrow People airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.