The CW drama series THE TOMORROW PEOPLE has thrown all its characters right into the fire. There are chases, fight scenes, kidnappings and lots and lots of physical challenges – not to mention the tantalizing romance mixed in. During a press interview at the Warner Bros. Mondo International Press Tour, star Peyton List talked about the challenges of working on such a rigorous show, as well as teasing what lies ahead in the Stephen-Cara-John triangle.
How are you like your character Cara, and what are the biggest challenges playing her?
PEYTON: I think there’s a little bit of similarity with any character you play to yourself. But I think most of the challenges are always when they’re not like you or maybe they don’t make decisions the same way you would make decisions or handle situations. She’s definitely a bit more certain about her decisions. I think even from the pilot, when she knows immediately that she’s going to stop at nothing to try to get Stephen (Robbie Amell) to join them and be on their side, whether that’s living above ground or living with the rest of the Tomorrow People. She knows that he belongs with them and belongs on their side. And the John (Luke Mitchell) character has more reservations about it, and he’s a bit more pragmatic, and he’s a bit more cautious when he makes decisions, whereas she sometimes makes decisions more emotionally. And I think that plays throughout the entire series. And sometimes it comes back to burn her. But I do love that part about her, that she does what she thinks is right, no matter what, no matter who she was to go against. I think, as an actor, that’s fun to play, especially when you know what you want and go get it.
There has been a big revelation about John’s (Luke Mitchell) character that has kind of changed their relationship a little bit. How does that get explored more in the future episodes?
PEYTON: We explore it in so many different ways. I think it is such a bombshell when they found out that he has the ability to kill and that the rest of the Tomorrow People don’t have all the information as to how that came about and how he is now able to kill. But there’s a lot of things that come out of that. And one of them is the fact that most of the Tomorrow People have bonded and are so tightknit and close because they’re so isolated from the rest of humanity. They’re different. And they find their togetherness because they’re different. Then you add the fact that John is even more different. And how do they respond to that? Does he become an outsider from them, or are they going to close ranks around him and protect him and look out for him? And the fact that he kept it a secret. Will affect how the Tomorrow People respond to that? We definitely explore that coming up in the next few episodes.
How is the relationship between him and Cara, now that she knows?
PEYTON: I like to believe that she’s a very forgiving person, but I don’t think that she is. She, I think, is processing it. I think the relationship with her and John was very close. They have a lot of history together, which we do explore. The fact that something this big he kept a secret not only from Tomorrow People, but from her, very much damages their relationship and damages the trust and the closeness that they have. And we explore that as well, like how they move forward, because everything that they had or they built has now changed.
How much do you enjoy the physical side of things, and how much fun was it to fight Luke?
PEYTON: Well, it’s really fun to fight Luke. It’s also very scary. He’s not a small guy. The fact that I get to win most of the fights, I don’t know how realistic it is, but it’s so much fun. A lot of times we’re fighting stunt performers, which is, of course, safer. But it’s different when you get to fight another actor and someone that you work with all the time. It’s really fun. We have lots of rehearsals when we do it so that by the time we get around to it, hopefully, we’re not only worrying about the safety aspects, we’re also concerned about the acting portion and also enjoying it, because if you’re enjoying doing it, hopefully, that comes across, and people can enjoy it as well.
What is your favorite scene so far?
PEYTON: It’s hard to say because our show does so many different things. There’s so much action‑packed stuff. I think a lot of people really love the fight scenes. For me, I think some of my favorite scenes are the dialogue‑driven scenes. Like I had some scenes with Luke in episode 5 that were much more relationship‑based. I think the reason I loved them so much is because we don’t do them all the time. They’re such a treat when we actually do that. Our show moves so fast, and it’s filled with special effects and the heightened, intense storyline of just always being on the run or hiding or coming up with the next plan that I really enjoy doing that. I also don’t work too much with Mark Pellegrino, who plays Jedikiah, and I got to do a few scenes with him in episode 8 and 9. I get to work with him a little bit more, and I really love doing those scenes because they were just something I didn’t get to do on the show before. So yeah, it’s the scenes that are different, the scenes that don’t come along that often are the ones that I enjoy the most.
Do you like to watch other shows on DVD or Blu‑ray or digital so you can watch several episodes at the same time?
PEYTON: I do. I love working in Vancouver, but it has hurt my television watching because I record everything, and I marathon them. And I’m a TV junkie. And I haven’t quite figured out ‑‑ I don’t have a DVR in Vancouver, so I’ve been trying to do the Netflix thing. But I do have a lot of shows that I’m very behind. So I basically walk around telling my friends in L.A., “Don’t tell me what’s happened on any show in the last year because I will get around to watching all of them.” I love HOMELAND. I love THE NEWSROOM. This isn’t on TV anymore, but I’ve rewatched THE WEST WING about 40 times. I love that show. THE WALKING DEAD, I’m a little bit behind. What else? I haven’t started BREAKING BAD yet, but I am going to marathon that.
Do you enjoy about marathoning, watching several episodes one after the other?
PEYTON: I do. Well, especially you get really invested in a story. And even if it’s not a show that leaves massive cliffhangers at the end where you have to play the next one ‑‑ I was watching TOP OF THE LAKE last night, I was up until 2:00 in the morning because I couldn’t stop saying play. I was like, “I really need to go to bed,” but you can’t stop once you’ve started.
Do you think the same will be with THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, that people won’t be able to stop?
PEYTON: I hope so. Yeah, I hope so. Our show is one of those that we usually do a big revelation per episode, whether it’s something that’s been a secret all along or opening a door to the powers or to what will happen, in every episode. So it’s much more like a cliffhanger show. But I hope people like it and can marathon it. It’s hard for me to imagine it right now because I’ve seen each episode, like, four times. And I marathon it, but I’m a little bit biased.
What are the physical challenges on the show? You mentioned having to fight Luke. Do you ever get injured? Have you ever been in a fight before, filming on a show?
PEYTON: I’ve done a couple of things, but nothing to this extent, nothing where it was, like, every single episode. Most of the time when you do fight stuff, it’s the hand‑to‑hand combat, and you’re learning just throwing a punch, dodging a punch, the simpler stuff. But when we got up to shoot episode 2, they brought out those massive staffs, and I’m like, “I don’t know how to do that.” It’s when they throw in the weapons that you don’t know what they are. And they threw some Jiu‑Jitsu at us. It’s all that other stuff that you really have to kind of learn and practice. It’s been challenging, but it’s fun. And then also trying to do it in a safe way.
Have you watched the British version of the show?
PEYTON: I saw a couple of the YouTube clips from the original, from the ’70s show. But I knew from talking to the creator and the director that they felt strongly about making it its own version and making it a show that, if people had never heard of the original, they wouldn’t necessarily have to go back. It could be their first experience with the concept. It was great, once we were shooting the pilot, to kind of go back and see all the stuff that we’re referencing and the throwbacks and paying homage. I know there was a lot of communication between the original creator and the creators of our show just to make sure we do it justice or pay the respect that we need to. One of the original cast members actually came on to guest‑star for a couple episodes, which was so cool. He played Dr. Aldus Crick. And sort of watching his experience when he came on and sort of like kind of sitting back and seeing him take it all in and watching him just have this weird sort of deja vu or, like, experience was cool.
How would you describe costars Luke and Robbie? What do you like about them?
PEYTON: Luke and Robbie are so wonderful. They’re different personalities, but all the actors have very different personalities, but we mesh really well together. Robbie is probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with. He doesn’t necessarily play Stephen like all the comedy as Robbie’s capable of doing. He’s a very funny guy. And Luke too. They’re just super professional and easy. They’re just easy to work with. Everyone is really supportive of each other. And if you’re having a rough day where you can’t seem to make anything work, they’re really there for you. That’s important. You don’t really get that all the time.
Could you comment a little bit about the developing Cara and Stephen relationship? Obviously, they’ve gotten really close really rapidly. Now that things aren’t going as well with John, perhaps there’s a future for that relationship.
PEYTON: It’s interesting seeing where the Cara and Stephen relationship goes because Cara’s relationship with Stephen (Robbie Amell) is so drastically different from her relationship with John (Luke Mitchell). Her relationship with John is based a lot on their shared history, and they met when they were maybe a little bit younger. And what their connection is not the same or maybe as intimate, with the telepathy and being able to read each other’s moods, as her connection is with Stephen. Her connection with Stephen is just effortless. It’s easy, and it’s lighter, and it’s lighter‑hearted. And I think we see that in episode 6, I believe, where so much of the John and Cara relationship is very intense, and it’s all based on survival. It’s all based on doing what’s best for the group. And with Stephen, Cara seems to just sort of let her guard down for a second and just be a 20‑something girl and not constantly looking over her shoulder and just see the good and people and see the good in life. So it’s fun to see those two different relationships continue, because they offer different things.