A GLOBAL GROUP OF SUR­VIVORS

De­scribed by some as a Lost-Lord of the Flies-Bat­tlestar Galac­ti­caDaw­son’s Creek mashup, US sci-fi se­ries The 100 de­buts on TV2 this weekend. James Croot re­cently caught up with some of its young cast.

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Think The Hunger Games meets About Earth and you’ll have some idea of new US post-apoc­a­lyp­tic sci-fi se­ries The 100. A century af­ter hu­man­ity’s vir­tual ar­maged­don, 100 ju­ve­nile of­fender teens are blasted back to Earth from a space sta­tion to test if the planet is fit for habi­ta­tion. They quickly dis­cover that if they man­age to avoid killing each other, mu­tated flora and fauna could eas­ily do the job for them.

Aus­tralian ac­tress El­iza Tay­lor (best known as Janae Hoy­land Tim­mins on Neigh­bours) plays Clarke, one of the lead­ers of the young ex­plor­ers.

She ad­mits she was about to give up on her Hol­ly­wood dream when the op­por­tu­nity to star in the show came along.

‘‘I was liv­ing in a hos­tel in LA when my credit card was skimmed by a taxi driver. Some­one stole my iden­tity and spent a whole lot of money at Home De­pot and 7-Eleven. It wasn’t even on cool stuff. I was about ready to pack up when my man­ager set me the script. I read it and hon­estly it read like a fea­ture film. I im­me­di­ately said yes.’’

An­other draw for Tay­lor was that do­ing a sci-fi se­ries would se­ri­ously im­press her mother back in Mel­bourne.

‘‘She’s a huge Trekkie. I grew up watch­ing Star Trek. She’s so proud, telling ev­ery­one I’m in a sci-fi show.’’

Fel­low Aussie Bobby Mor­ley (an­other for­mer Neigh­bours star) says he loves the phys­i­cal na­ture of The 100.

‘‘There are lots of spe­cial ef­fects and stunts – it’s quite ac­tion-packed. It is funny when you have to re­act to mu­tated an­i­mals which on set is an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor run­ning across in front of you. It is hard not to laugh some­times.

‘‘How­ever, it is also amaz­ing what they can recre­ate in­side the stu­dios, there’s soil every­where.’’

Apart from the some­times freez­ing tem­per­a­tures ex­pe­ri­enced while on lo­ca­tion in Bri­tish Columbia, Mor­ley says the big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween an Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion and this was the cater­ing.

‘‘I’ve only had a ket­tle pro­vided on other shows, here there’s a tent full of food.’’

One ac­tor who feels very much at home on set is Cana­dian-born Marie Avgeropou­los. Best known to the world as Twi­light- star Tay­lor Laut­ner’s cur­rent squeeze, the 28-year-old spent a lot of time out­doors while grow­ing up.

‘‘To me this show is like one big, long camp­ing trip.’’

When asked if she has taken on a lead­er­ship role (as her char­ac­ter Oc­tavia does on the show), Avgeropou­los says she of­fered up lots of lit­tle tips and tricks to her less ex­pe­ri­enced cast­mates.

‘‘Things like how you should al­ways hold open the ‘Cana­dian Door’ for the per­son be­hind you.

‘‘That means hang­ing onto a tree-branch so it doesn’t whack the next per­son in the face.’’

She also wasn’t ad­verse to a bit of prank­ing ei­ther.

‘‘It’s al­ways fun to throw things into the bush to scare people if you’re film­ing night scenes in the mid­dle of nowhere or tell people that there are bears the size of cars around the shoot.

‘‘ ‘Oh, and did you just pee over there? You do re­alise you touched a poi­sonous plant that’s go­ing to give you a ter­ri­ble rash?’ ’’

Avgeropou­los says she is lov­ing go­ing to work to be a big kid and play make be­lieve. ‘‘I also love it when I turn the page of the lat­est script and think, ‘Wow, the au­di­ence is not go­ing to ex­pect this one com­ing’. And there is a lot of that.’’

She is also at pains to point out that all the cast were pre­pared to suf­fer for their art.

‘‘We had no cell­phone cov­er­age all sea­son long, worked 16 to 18-hour days some­times and we haven’t changed our wardrobes once – we’re nitty, gritty and dirty.’’

Ex­iled to Earth: Clarke (El­iza Tay­lor), Wells (Eli Goree), Bel­lamy (Bob Mor­ley) and Oc­tavia (Marie Avgeropou­los) strug­gle to stay alive in The 100.

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