Ricky Whittle talks about Season 2 of The 100 which is set to air on E4 in the UK in the new year and is currently being shown on the CW in America.
What can fans expect from Season 2 of The 100?
I use the Twitter hash tag ‘DarkJustGotDarker’ for Season 2 because this season is going to take us beyond anywhere we’ve gone before. It’s exciting. After reading the scripts for the first three episodes and knowing the storyline that [The 100 creator and executive producer] Jason Rothenberg pitched to me, it’s going to be amazing. I feel very honoured to be trusted with the material I’ve been given. It’s going to be very dark and I’m going to have to go to a really dark place, but I feel blessed. As an actor you want to be challenged and this show is very challenging. I was shocked by some of the storylines we have coming up, so I know it’s going to shock the audience, too – but we are a shocking show and there are always tons of twists along the way.
Will we find out more about the Grounders in Season 2?
I hope so. The thing I love about our show is the way our writers create these characters. In The 100, we discovered that good people weren’t necessarily just good, and bad people weren’t necessarily just bad. We thought the Grounders were evil, but then we learned a little more about them. We learned that Lincoln was a good person – and then we also learned that he might not necessarily be the only good person in the group. In Season 2, we’re going to delve into these different factions; including the Reapers and the Mountain Men. We’re going to learn more about these different groups of people and we’re going to see things through different perspectives. Not everything is as it seems on Earth.
What excites you the most about the Grounders in Season 2?
We’ve got a new language coming this season. The Grounders have their own language, which we’re learning with David Peterson. He is the guy who came up with the dialects on Game of Thrones, so that’s going to be very exciting. That’s going to be cool.
How much fun do you have playing Lincoln?
It’s not very often that you can pick a show or a character and say, “That’s the one I want to be.” The 100 is a show that I would watch, even if I wasn’t in it, and Lincoln is the character I would want to play. It’s not very often you can say that. I feel really glad that the writers and producers have given me incredible storylines. The story that I’ve been pitched for Season 2 is incredible. I can’t just turn up and know my lines. I need to go and study this and figure out what goes on in Lincoln’s mind. They’re going to really challenge me to go places I’ve never been before. I think it’s the same for the rest of the cast, too. I’ve been speaking to them all and learning about their storylines – and they are really pushing us this year.
How do you research for a show like this?
The writers go to the right people to research the show. They go to NASA and they go to psychologists. They go to various people and they ask the right questions. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do to research Season 2. I’m going to go on the internet. I’m going to look on YouTube and I’m going to Google. I’m going to watch films and I’m going to watch TV shows. I’m going to study, research, read and look up lots of stuff on the internet to research the role this season – and I can’t wait.
What research did you undertake for your role in the first season of the show?
When I was cast as Lincoln, I had lunch with Jason Rothenberg in Beverly Hills. He said to me, “Go home and watch The Last of the Mohicans and Apocalypto. Go and watch Dances with Wolves.” All of these films have got indigenous people in them; people who are not necessarily speaking English, but it’s very powerful. Sometimes the unspoken is more powerful than the spoken.
What physical training did you tackle in order to prepare for the role of Lincoln?
Lincoln is a very physical character, so I had to bulk up. I had to get a certain physique because he’s a warrior. I needed to be agile and I needed to be strong, so I had to hit the gym. He also had to be American, so I went to a vocal coach and I learned about the American language. We talked about how he would keep his mystique by keeping it silent and by keeping everything in his eyes, which is why I asked the producers and the writers to cut down his dialogue. As an actor, you often want to speak more, but I was like, “No, I don’t want dialogue. Keep that mystique; keep him silent. He doesn’t need to answer you.”
Is it true that you learned how to horse ride for The 100?
That’s very true. It was great because I love horses. You get better shots if it’s you and not a stunt man on a horse. If they can see me rearing a horse, doing all these different things then that’s more visually effective than a wide shot of someone else doing the work. This is what we do as a cast; we try to give 110 per cent. We try to give it as much as we can by putting in our homework and doing all our research. We do all this work before we get to set, so that when we arrive on set, we can bring it. I think all that stuff translates to the screen; especially when we start to get the acclaim that I think this show deserves, like the Emmy nomination.
What is in store for Lincoln and Octavia in Season 2?
You’re going to see a big change for these two. They are like Tristan and Isolde, or Romeo and Juliet. They are going to be the gateway to the Grounders and the Reapers to learn about Earth. That’s the only way we’re going to learn about Earth: through their eyes. As soon as we start talking about Linctavia, things get sexy. We’re going to see them both really challenged. Lincoln’s got his moral compass and we’re going to see that challenged. The two are going to go through something very traumatic and it’s how you react to such a situation that’s important. Like I keep saying, it’s going to be really dark, really challenging and really fun. I can’t wait for everyone to see it. When this was pitched to me, my jaw was on the floor. I was like, ‘Wow!’
Are we going to learn more about Lincoln’s history in Season 2?
We’ll definitely learn more about him. We’ll learn about his whole world and why he is the way he is. Every day I wake up in Vancouver, where we shoot the show, and I can’t wait to get to work. I’m always pushing production, “Is the next script out?” I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen. Seriously, it’s going to blow everyone away!