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.
As Stephen’s best friend Astrid, actress Madeleine Mantock has been getting thrown deeper and deeper into the action, which is just how she likes it. During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, she talked about how exciting it is to get a script and find out about all the fun stuff she’ll get to do, how daunting it is to get in on some of the fights and stunts, how Astrid will be dealing with the aftermath of Ultra being after her, that she wants to distance herself a bit from the Tomorrow People, and what it was like to shoot the scenes between Astrid and John (Luke Mitchell). Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
MADELEINE MANTOCK: Oh, absolutely! It’s great, anyway, just to be on the show. But, it’s really exciting when you get the script and you read it and you go, “Oh, I have a scene with this person, and what are we saying?!” This is partly because of my character on the show, but I feel like I have the viewpoint of the audience. Astrid is young and she’s able to meet these interesting people. It’s exciting for me. I feel like I see it through their eyes because she’s on the outside looking in, but gets to be a part of it, as well.
In Episode 12, you got to shoot a gun, get in a fight, dig a bullet out of someone with your fingers, and sing.
MANTOCK: Yeah, I’m calling it my Bodyguard episode. It was quite daunting, to be honest. As a character, you can pop up every now and then and have a little chat, and it’s relatively easy because you’re just talking to people. And then, you read and episode and you go, “Oh, my goodness, I’ve gotta run and shoot a machine gun and have a fight.” You read all of those things that you mentioned and you think, “I hope I can do it!” The rest of the cast do that stuff, on a regular basis. I was thinking, “Oh, my goodness, you’ve really thrown me into the deep end. I don’t want to mess this up.” I hope people liked it and that it turned out okay. It was really exciting, and a bit daunting.
When you signed on to play Astrid, could you ever have imagined the journey that you’d take, up to this point?
MANTOCK: No. We’re told nothing. I went to L.A. the other week and I found my way to the writers’ room where they have these boards with all of the bullet points for each episode. The writers were zoning in on the fact that I was secretly trying to scan the boards. I brought them cake and was like, “You eat the cake. I’m going to have a look over here.” We’re always trying to find out what’s going on next. We have a writer come to visit us for every episode, and we’re always pestering them for info. Robbie [Amell] knows the most. He manages to get it out of them. I don’t know how. We have no idea where it’s going to lead, but it’s exciting. I feel very grateful to the writers for letting me have some fun and including me in the bigger picture of it all.
It seems clear now that Astrid is in over her head, way more than she ever thought possible. What can you say to tease what’s coming next for her, and the journey that she’s going to be taking from here?
MANTOCK: At the moment, it’s the immediate aftermath of what’s just happened. She’s paranoid. She’s scared for her life and for her family. She’s being kept in the lair against her will, sort of. It’s really about her going up against the Tomorrow People and saying, “Listen, I’m not like you. I don’t belong here. I don’t want to be here. I’m a human being. I can’t survive in your world because I don’t have the same skills as you. It’s not fair for you to keep me here. I want to go back home. I want to make sure my parents are okay. Please, will you let me?” They say no, because there’s the big, bad grim reaper chasing after her, which is Ultra. So, Episode 13 is really about that.
And then, you’ll see Astrid again in Episode 15, where she’s really dealing with the aftermath of the aftermath, which is a massive stress. She can’t leave the house. She’s completely cut off from everybody because she’s just terrified. She goes on quite a sad journey, really. Obviously, there are different characters who pop up and chat with her and help her, and she helps them, as well. It’s really fun to do all of that stuff – fighting, shooting people and running around – but I think it’s interesting to take a step back and go, “Hang on, that’s a lot to deal with,” especially when you’re not used to it and it’s the first time any of that has ever happened to you. So, we deal with that in Episode 15.
And then, from there, it really starts to build. It’s like the beginning of the end, which is really exciting. I can’t wait to find out what happens. For this week, there is one big reveal at the end that I can’t wait to see how people are going to react. That’s one of our favorite things about watching this show. We live tweet and we get all of that immediate response. It’s really great to see how people react to it.
At this point, is Astrid regretting snooping around in Stephen’s business?
MANTOCK: Maybe a little bit. There was a line in Episode 12 where she says something like, “It’s because of you that I’m here,” and people didn’t like it. They were like, “You made him tell you all of this.” And she addresses that in Episode 15. She asked him and she made him tell her what was going on, but that was only because she cared for him. I don’t think she necessarily regrets what’s happened. She’s glad that she knows because she really cares about her friend. I think she just feels incredibly lucky that it turned out the way it did and that she’s still alive, at least. But now that she knows that much, she’s wanting to distance herself from that world, just ‘cause it’s so dangerous for her. She can’t defend herself in the same way.
In order to get Ultra to leave Astrid alone, Stephen makes a deal with The Founder. Is she aware of the lengths that he’ll go to, to try to keep her alive and make sure that she doesn’t get killed because of who he is?
MANTOCK: I don’t think she really does quite comprehend that. He basically says, “If you let this person go, I’ll bring you this person.” He trades people, and I don’t know how she would feel about that. In Episode 13, Stephen agrees with The Founder that, if he brings his daughter to him, The Founder will clear Astrid’s name. He runs off to do it, and she never really understands the full magnitude of what he’s doing for her. That’s a good point, actually. I guess it would be boring for the audience for him to tell her what he’s going to do, and then to see it happen. Maybe he’ll tell her after.
There were some really nice moments between Astrid and John, with him saving her and then her saving him. Will that experience change her feelings about John, in any way?
MANTOCK: Certainly. If you go through something as traumatic as that with somebody, you definitely have a bond. If that’s romantic or not, I don’t know. That’s up to the writers and where they want to take it. But, it forces people to work together and get on and be there, and be more of a human being than a lot of people are. If you’re just walking down the road, nobody smiles or says hello. It’s one of those things where you’re put into a situation with somebody that you don’t really know that well, and you have to help each other out. It was great to play. We had one day in that room, with him lying on the table. By the end of it, my brain was fried, but I had fun.
When you do a show like this and you’re surrounded by actors playing characters who have powers, and they get to do all of this physical and effects work, does it make you a little bit jealous or envious, at all? Does it make you want to be a part of one of the big superhero movies, where you can do that yourself?
MANTOCK: Oh, absolutely! I want to be Tomb Raider. My thing is that I only want to do it, if I look cool. I’m quite tall and I’ve got long limbs, so I look a bit gangly, at times. There are times when I’m like, “Oh, man, Peyton [List] looks so cool in that fight. Her hair is flipping around. I want to do that!” I don’t think there’s that much point in training Astrid because she doesn’t have the same set of skills, in terms of powers. If she were to try to defend herself against a rogue Tomorrow Person, they could just throw her against the wall, teleport around and play with her for a bit, before they mess her up, so I don’t think that would work. But in terms of me, I’ll go to dance class and go to yoga. I try to do things to make me feel like I’m doing something fun. I’d love to be more involved in the physical side of it at work, I just don’t know how that would work in the story. Also, Astrid can kill. If we could get her an invisibility cloak, we could work something out.
The Tomorrow People airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.