The cast of CBS’s highest rated summer drama, Under the Dome, made their appearance Thursday morning in Ballroom 20 to talk about the upcoming episodes of the show’s second season. Following the panel, I had a chance to participate in a round table interview with the cast: Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Alexander Koch, Colin Ford, and Eddie Cahill as well as executive producer Neal Baer, where they discussed what’s to be expected in Chester’s Mill for the remainder of Season 2.
During the interviews, Baer and Vogel teased the possibility of escaping the dome and Lefevre told us what is happening with Julia’s status as the monarch. The cast also discussed the difficulty of keeping up with the show’s timeline and remaining true to character. Hit the jump for more.
NEAL BAER: The book was a foundation and a spring board for the first season and it was nice that Stephen King said that. He wrote a piece in Entertainment Weekly saying, “We’re not going to adapt this book as a series. You know what’s gonna happen in the book, so don’t you want to be surprised a little bit by the series?” We’re gonna give you some surprises and we’re going to amalgamate some characters and we’re gonna get rid of some but we’ll have still people trapped under a dome and the challenges they face.
But it’s also going to be fresh so that you get a double dose of good in a Stephen King way. That’s why we brought Stephen on this season to write the first episode because we wanted him to lay the foundation for the second season. It was pretty much inventing a lot of new things, bringing out new characters, so it helped to have him there to do that with his great imagination. Stephen’s the one who’s kinda set the rules and said, “It is not a show that’s just fully being adapted. It’s its own being too.”
Are we going to see more of the world outside the dome?
BAER: So, you saw the clip of where Barbie cuts the rope—either he dies or he goes some place else.
If it’s possible to get out of the dome, does that mean that maybe some of the people that were in there came from outside?
BAER: No, but it’s possible maybe to get out. But nobody came in that we know of yet. And then we also have the internet, it came in in Episode 3 and Junior and Norrie got email messages from The Hounds of Diana or HoundsofDiana.com, or @HoundsofDiana and we have a huge trans-media approach them, so we’re giving the viewers a trans-media experience. I think we’re one of the first CBS shows to do that. We’re also introducing a character—the person who was sending these messages to Dodee and who was sending messages to Junior with a video of his mother.
Who was that? We’ll meet him in Episode 8. We’re gonna go from the digital to the real with this character played by, Max Ehrich, who was a star on Young and the Restless, who was nominated for an Emmy this year. He’s a real interesting up-and-coming young actor. He’s going to throw a wrench into things with Joe, Norrie, Melanie, Junior, so that’s all to come. That’s a long answer to, yes, there might be a way out.
Julia and Barbie have been budding heads lately, is that something that will continue to happen for the remainder of the season?
RACHELLE LEFEVRE: We definitely have some ongoing conflict. I think it’s important that we do, these are characters that met basically three weeks ago and it feels so much longer because of the way the episodes play out. But in the real time, we do one day and one night in the dome, very rarely is an episode more than a single day and night. It hasn’t been that long and I think that when you take two people and you put them together, no matter how much they might fall in love, no matter how much they feel the connection, there’s still gonna be risks, there’s still gonna be differences. So, they’re working it out in a way that I think is important. I don’t think that we should just be in love like, “Oh everything’s gonna be great now.” I don’t think that would be interesting television.
Does the fact that it’s only been three weeks under the dome make it difficult to play your characters in regards to how feelings evolve?
LEFEVRE: We forget.
MIKE VOGEL: Yeah. It’s an interesting question.
LEFEVRE: We do, we forget. We’re doing scenes and something will come up and you’ll be like, “Oh my God, this scene is written like these people have been together forever.” And you have to remind yourself when you’re playing it that it really hasn’t been than long.
VOGEL: We have to remember that in real time, this is going a day at a time. In television time, there’s weeks stretched out in between things and there’s a ton of chaos happening with the dome and everything else around us. We police the storyline and characters as best we can but there’s also creative liberty taken to continuously advance the story. We’re only 13 episodes, we’re not a 22-episode show. We’ve gotta move things in that time.
In Season 1 we learned that Julia was the monarch. Are we going to see more of that this season?
LEFEVRE: You’ll see a little bit of that. The thing that I think the show is doing now is kind of like they’re playing the long game. Initially we weren’t sure if we were gonna come back and everybody was like, “Is it just gonna be one season?” And I think they packed a lot of mythology and now we have a lot more in common with shows that are on the air for multiple seasons. You get a taste of the mythology and they give you little bits of it but some of those things they’re playing the long game. It’s definitely a factor that I’m the monarch but it’s something that might take a backseat to other changes. Then as the seasons progress, it’s meaning will be revealed.
Any developments you’d like to see with your characters?
VOGEL: We have some interesting stuff coming this season. Someone actually finds a way out of the dome and so we bring in the world outside and how it’s reacting to what’s happening inside the dome. As well as, for Barbie specifically, we get introduced to some of his family and the mythology of all this gets deeper and deeper. It’s blending the chaos of all the mythology happening around us and still fighting for real character moments in between all of that, which is a tough line to walk but I think we get loud enough and make sure that happens.
Tell us a little bit about what your characters are doing this season.
EDDIE CAHILL: My guy’s on a quest to get this dome done, get done with this dome. He’s going about it in a somewhat destructive manner.
COLIN FORD: I think Joe’s making one of the bigger transitions that he’ll make in his life and the more important one as well. I think that he’s going from being a young kid to being treated and being an adult. I think that’s one of the bigger things in Season 2 for him, whether that’s a relationship issue, whether that’s a dome problem, or a natural disaster that wipes through Chester’s Mill that we all suddenly have to deal with. Whatever it is, Joe is going to handle it with the kind of heroism that Barbie would. What we might’ve seen in Season 1 for Barbie, in Season 2 it’s similar with Joe.
ALEXANDER KOCH: Junior, I think this year it’s about his connections to family and finding out all these secrets about his mother and who are the people that he can latch on to for support. Maybe he finds out later in the season that he needs to stand on his own and make his own decisions and right a lot of his wrongs that have been kind of laid upon him.