Sunday, October 6, 2013

Report from the Set: Robbie Amell Leads 'The Tomorrow People'...

The sleek, silver sets of The Tomorrow People's Ultra are covered with equally crisp, clean sheets to preserve the futuristic look. The air on the soundstage is cold, not only because sinister things happen inside Jedikiah's (Mark Pellegrino) office and interrogation room next door, but because all of the action for the day is across the way on the subway and underground Tomorrow People world sets. There things are bathed in warm orange light, more than implying that these are the good guys and it is unfortunate they have been pushed under society and forced to hide, rather than celebrate their special evolution. It's a theme the show will be deeply exploring in season one, led by the most recent-- and strongest-- breakout Stephen (Robbie Amell). 

But none of the cast was hiding when I visited the set. Like his cousin Arrow's Stephen Amell before him, The Tomorrow People series star Amell was energetic and enthusiastic about the launch of his new show being right around the corner, and even after his initial interview was over and he was called back to set to continue shooting, he returned to sit and chat some more. Already more than half-way done with shooting the season as was ordered so far, he didn't seem to be feeling any pressure, just excitement. In that true "it trickles down from the top" sense, his attitude flooded over his cast mates and those of us visiting for the day easily and immediately.

Series creator Phil Klemmer, for whom this is a passion project, was also visiting the set on this particular day, and he, too, couldn't stop smiling and wanting to chat about his baby, a show he called "the first act of a superhero movie."

"It's my favorite part, which is when Spider-man is swinging from buildings but he's slamming into worlds. It's less about the perfect omnipotence of realizing what you can do; it's realizing you can do something but not being able to do it quite right," Klemmer said.

"Movies are about wish fulfillment; television is about struggling, aspiring, and just when you think your life is figured out, the configuration changes."

Amell may be the star of this CW show, but honestly Aaron Yoo's dog Merlin was kind of the star of our set visit. It all started a few days earlier when Emily Bett Rickards brought her own dog to her Arrow interview and mentioned that Yoo would probably do the same. Cut to Thursday when Madeleine Mantock was sitting down to talk about her character's "crush" on Amell's Stephen and Yoo popped over to say hi, literally dropping Merlin onto her lap and freaking her out. Merlin was wearing a little blue tie and walked alongside Yoo happily without the need for a leash. When it was Yoo's turn in the director's chair to talk about the show, he pulled Merlin onto his lap and fussed with his hair for a few seconds to give him an impromptu mohawk perfect for being on-camera. He also showed off Merlin's tricks-- from simply shaking hands to "stick 'em up" and pitched his idea for how Merlin could be worked into the show-- something he said he already talked to the writers about and hopes to see on the board for actual episode breakdowns soon. Yoo and I would clearly be best friends. And then hopefully my Madison would get a role in the show, too!

For the formal interviews and show scoop from these set visits, please visit my LA Examiner page.

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