Under the Dome is back on CBS for Season 2, picking up right where the tense finale left off, with Big Jim (Dean Norris) ready to hang Barbie (Mike Vogel) for crimes he didn’t even commit. Now two weeks after the Dome came down over the town of Chester’s Mill, the residents are struggling to survive as resources are dwindling and they still have no answers for why they are trapped or how they will ever get out.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Mackenzie Lintz (who plays L.A. transplant Norrie Calvert-Hill) talked about what she was most surprised about with her character in Season 1, what she was most excited to learn about with Season 2, how nerve-wracking it is to never know when someone is going to be leaving the show, where Norrie’s journey will go next, that the Dome has a sense of control over the town, how much fun it was to shoot the scenes with the magnetized Dome, which new characters she has storylines with, getting to work with Stephen King, and how amazing the show’s dedicated fan base is. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
MACKENZIE LINTZ: In Season 1, I was probably most surprised, as far as how involved Norrie was with the four hands. That was just such a colossal storyline, as far as where the show was going. So, to see that her and Joe were involved with that, was really cool.
Because Season 1 was left on such a cliffhanger, and there were still so many questions about the Dome and the residents of Chester’s Mill, what were you most anxious to learn about, for Season 2?
LINTZ: After Season 1, I was probably most excited to see what happened to Joe and Norrie. That’s the teenage girl in me coming out. I think they just worked so well together because they’re so different. It was like opposites attract, and they’re just a really good team.
When you were cast on this show, did you know the direction things would be taking, that Norrie would have a relationship with Joe, and that they would be such a big part of the story?
LINTZ: I was aware of Joe and Norrie. I was not aware of the four hands. Basically, I knew that Norrie was from L.A., and that she got trapped under the Dome with her two moms. And I knew that she would be having a friendship, and possible a relationship, with Joe. That’s what I knew, going into it.
Before Season 2 started, did you get any bits of information about where things would be going?
LINTZ: Yeah, we had a phone conference and they let us know what the direction would be this season. We were pretty informed.
This is clearly a show where anybody can be a casualty at any time, but that doesn’t necessarily even mean that you’re gone. You lost some co-stars in Season 1, and you’re already losing co-stars in the first episode of Season 2. Is it difficult to never know who’s going to be around the next week?
LINTZ: That’s nerve-wracking for viewers, and it’s just as nerve-wracking for us. We work together and we get so close that it’s weird to think that you could be gone the next episode, or somebody that you love could be gone the next episode. That’s a nerve-wracking thing, but every character comes to an end. There’s a reason, if a character is gone. As far as characters being killed off, I think it’s always for the betterment of the show, and we all realize that.
After the success of Season 1, did it change the vibe on set for Season 2, knowing that there’s an expectation to live up to now?
LINTZ: Kind of. It’s a lot different because we have a few new characters, so there’s new people on set. And there are old characters that have left because they’ve been killed. It’s a different atmosphere, in that way, because there’s a different group of people. But, it’s very similar to last season. We’re all just here, doing our best work. If everyone does their best, I think we’ll live up to it naturally.
Without giving anything away, what can you say about Norrie’s journey in Season 2?
LINTZ: You will definitely see her relationship with Joe flourish. There also ends up being a little bit of a love triangle with a new character, so you’ll see some of that. She also learns to be extremely brave, this season, like she promised her mom before she died. She’s just getting stronger because she really has no other option.
LINTZ: It definitely has a sense of control. There are certain things that it likes and there are certain things that it doesn’t like, and it’s very obvious about that. That’s where a lot of the suspense comes from because nobody knows what’s going to happen when they do certain things.
The scenes with the Dome becoming magnetized are really cool, including the one of Norrie and her friends in her house, trying to save her mom. How was that to shoot?
LINTZ: Shooting that was so much fun. At the same time, it was so exhausting. We had to do the takes just as high energy, every single time. We had real pots and pans flying at us. The knives were special effects, but the table was real. They were pulling the fridge at us, and the stove. We had to drag things across the floor while carrying Aisha [Hinds] out of the house. It was crazy, but it was a really cool scene. I’m extremely happy with how it turned out.
Which new characters will Norrie be interacting with and having storylines with?
LINTZ: This season, I definitely have a storyline involving our new character Melanie, played by Grace Victoria Cox. I will also have a lot of scenes with Karla Crome, who plays Rebecca Pine, the teacher at Chester’s Mill High School. But honestly, in Season 2, everyone has scenes with everyone. That’s been a really cool thing.
LINTZ: It’s amazing! He’s such a good guy. He’s so funny. We really have enjoyed how much he’s been involved in our show. It’s really such an honor for all of us. We just want to make him and all of his fans proud. He’s very excited, and he’s let all of his fans know how involved he is. We feel like he’s very happy, so that’s been cool for us.
These four people who are the key to what’s happening with the Dome, including your character, have already gotten one message that they’ve ignored, by not killing Big Jim. Will they continue to get messages?
LINTZ: In some ways, yes, but in other ways, no. I don’t think one thing happens twice, under the Dome. There are new things, every single day and every single minute. There are ways that they could be getting messages, but not necessarily the same as having Big Jim walk up and have knives stabbed into him, and we think we’re supposed to kill him.
Will we start to get some actual answers this season, for what exactly is going on with the Dome and who’s responsible for it all?
LINTZ: This season is definitely about answers. But while it will give you some answers, it’s also going to raise different questions. I don’t think the audience will ever be satisfied with the amount of answers they’re getting. There are just going to be more questions, every time.
The residents of Chester’s Mill either see this Dome as a tragedy or an opportunity, and sometimes that shifts back and forth, depending on what’s happening. How do you think Norrie views it, at this point?
LINTZ: I think Norrie definitely wants to get out, but I don’t think she realizes that it really has changed her into the kind of person that she always was, on the inside. She put walls up and she shut everyone out because she was an angsty teenager who just felt out of place in L.A. But when she got trapped under the Dome, she really found out who she was. With the help of Joe and other people that she meets, and her mother passing away, I think she really has grown so much, and I don’t think she would have, without the Dome. With that said, I’m sure that’s not what she’s thinking about right now, when food is running out and crazy things are happening. I think she definitely wants to get out, as soon as possible.
Is it exciting to get to play a role like this where, even though you are one of the kids on the show, you have to act and react very much like an adult? Is that something you feel like you can relate to, given the fact that you’re a young person, yourself, in a professional business where you have to act more adult than you are?
LINTZ: Yeah, absolutely! It’s very interesting because I’m 17, and Norrie is 17. But when this crazy, tragic, wacko, supernatural thing happens, she has to grow up very quickly. That’s something that her and Joe are, in some ways, having trouble with, but in some ways, are doing really well with. They’re having to grow up really quickly. They’ll crumble, if they don’t step up to the plate and get it going.
When you do a show like this, does it make you think about how you’d react and respond, if you suddenly found yourself separated from friends and loved ones?
LINTZ: Yeah, especially because the character Joe loses his parents. I just don’t know what I would do. If you’re separated from friends, or even worse, you’re watching friends die, it’s hard for any of us to imagine because it’s just such a huge thing.
What’s it like to be a part of a show with such a dedicated fan base?
LINTZ: It’s amazing. It’s so awesome! Colin Ford and I actually had a chance to go to London over the hiatus and meet some of our fans over there. It’s just so humbling and flattering to see people, all over. I went to Mexico City to do some press stuff, and it’s just so sweet and so cool to see everyone give such a positive response. It’s extremely encouraging.
Do different countries respond to different aspects of the show?
LINTZ: That’s the interesting part. Some people like Joe and Norrie. Some people like the four hands. Some people like the monarch. They have different questions and they have different opinions, but the overall message is that they love the show. That’s really all we want.
How do you feel that being a part of this show has changed you, as an actor?
LINTZ: Because this was my first series, I’ve grown so much. Over the hiatus, I was doing my senior year in high school. I went back and was going to school with my friends and playing sports, and just doing my normal life. And then, I go back to this very adult situation and adult job. It’s a crazy experience, but it’s definitely a learning experience and a growing experience It’s cool to be able to go from the adult world back to student land. I’ll be at college in the fall. I can choose which one I want to be in, so I have the best of both worlds. I feel like I’m Hannah Montana, sometimes.
Under the Dome airs on Monday nights on CBS.