Since the introduction of A.L.I.E. in the Season 2 finale of The 100, fans have been on edge trying to determine if the post apocalyptic worlds newest player will contribute to a better future for the Grounders and Sky People, or if she will create an even more hostile world for its inhabitants. The Artificial Intelligence is likely responsible for the nuclear bomb that annihilated nearly all of humanity 97 years ago. No big deal, or anything.
This new ‘big bad,’ who is possibly more dangerous than the Mountain Men, rogue sky people, Reapers and ruthless grounders combined, was discovered by former Chancellor Jaha (Isaiah Washington) on his quest for the City of Light, a rumored promise land full of peace and hope, and they’ve been besties ever since. It remains to be seen if A.L.I.E. can be considered friend or foe, and if her intentions align with the work Commander Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and legendary Wanheda (Eliza Taylor) are trying to accomplish. After inducting the sky crew into Lexa’s coalition as the 13th clan, odds are these ladies are not on the same side when it comes to creating a truce. Is A.L.I.E. connected to Polis? Does she puppeteer the Commander and those in the Capitol? Lord, we hope not. But despite the uncertainty flooding viewers minds, the potential for A.L.I.E.’s destruction of humanity… again, is at an all-time high and we’re eagerly terrified to embark on this journey that the writers of The 100 will soon take us on for the remaining 12 episodes of the season.
Erica Cerra, who plays the mysterious A.I. on everyone’s brain (quite literally), took some time to talk with me about what’s in store for Season 3, the preparation that went into playing an A.I. (Spoiler Alert: It involves not breathing) and offers assurance that with every fleeting episode our burgeoning questions will be answered (just maybe not all at once).
With a clan war looming around the corner– can A.L.I.E. accomplish her end goal, whatever that may be?
MCKENZIE MORRELL: I have a feeling this season is going to be a big one for your character. To get things started can you tell us a little bit about A.L.I.E?
ERICA CERRA: [Laughs] I mean, really, genuinely she’s a pretty elusive character. She’s unlike any other character on the show. A lot of her storyline expands as the season goes on, so there’s not really a ton that I can give away that you don’t already know. She’s an Artificial Intelligence, she lives in a mansion [laughs], she interacts with Jaha and Murphy (Richard Harmon) and that’s pretty much what I can say about A.L.I.E..
MM: We’ve seen the first 4 episodes and we finally got to see more into A.L.I.E.’s backstory and learn about this woman Becca whom A.L.I.E. is sort of modeled after. Will we get to see more of that story unfold beyond the video Murphy sees as the season progresses?
EC: One hundred percent. Her story unfolds with every episode and there’s something new that you will learn about, not only A.L.I.E., but about the grounders, the sky people. Everybody. You’ll learn more and more about just even life on the planet, what’s going on. The people that you met so far, you’ll learn more about them and how they came to be. There’s really a lot of cool things that are going to be revealed this season.
MM: Will A.L.I.E.’s path cross with any of the other people on the ground?
EC: I can’t answer that question, you’ll have to wait and see. [Laughs]
MM: Is it challenging to play both A.L.I.E. and Becca?
EC: I am definitely having fun with it. It’s not every day that you get to play two different roles. And two very different characters. That was probably the most important thing, that they came off as two different people. That was really important to me.
MM: I definitely think that in the glimpse of what we got of Becca when Murphy watched the video in the bunker and just getting a little taste of her and A.L.I.E. that you can see that you have brought two different people to the table.
EC: Thank you. I think A.L.I.E. has been more of a challenge for me than Becca was. Becca is a human [laughs], she breathes, A.L.I.E. does not. And I even tried doing scenes not even breathing, so A.L.I.E. was a very interesting challenge for me. It was a lot of fun though. There were some outside scenes that we’ve done, it was freezing in Vancouver and I would take a deep breath and say a lot of my lines. I was trying to something different. A.L.I.E. was way more challenging than Becca could even come close to being.
MM: Did you have to do any other preparation for bringing A.L.I.E. to life? Did you sit down and talk to Siri for a while? [Laughs]
EC: You know what, I worked a lot with Jason [Rothenberg] to really dissect this character and my rules. With this kind of character there are lots of rules and borders. Borders that you kind of have to stay within. We did a lot of talking, I had a lot of questions. One thing I did do because it was suggested to me after we already started, was that I watch Ex Machina— so I watched that. It’s a great movie, she did a wonderful job, but I don’t want to compare the two because I don’t think they’re the same characters and whatever choices I make regarding how I play A.L.I.E. was already established before watching that. They’re different characters, she’s a robot and A.L.I.E. is not.
MM: I’m sure everyone is going to have a lot of questions. This season this show has taken shape into this really strong sci fi series, are you drawn to sci fi shows? What’s your go-to when you want to watch TV?
EC: I’ve always liked Fantasy and Science Fiction. I’m probably more partial to Fantasy. But when I watch TV, I always gravitate towards shows that are unlike everyday life. I find it more interesting and more entertaining. I don’t know that it matters to me if it’s sci fi or not, I just like watching things that don’t remind me of the everyday. I’m not a big cop show watcher or ya know, because to me that’s life. I want to be taken to a new world when watching television.
MM: I think that’s kind of the majority of people like to do that as well. If you found yourself in a post-apocalyptic world who do you think you’d fit in best with… the grounders, the sky people or A.L.I.E. and Jaha.
EC: Grounders. I would be a grounder, one hundred percent.
MM: That’s awesome. Would you want to be in charge?
EC: I would want to be Commander.
MM: Oh, look at you! Going big.
EC: I mean, come on.
MM: You not only play this big bad AI, but you’re a real-life super mom basically, how do you find the time to do it all?
EC: [Laughs] I have a great husband and a wonderful family.
MM: We haven’t seen much of A.L.I.E.’s feelings, I’m not sure she has any but were you able to relate to this character at all or find strength in your differences?
EC: I mean, was I able to relate? Well, I must have been because I was able to play her. So I don’t know what about me connected to her necessarily but I was able to play her character and apparently everyone likes what I’m doing [laughs]. There must be an extension of me that’s an artificial intelligence… or, I don’t know.
MM: The way they’ve re-introduced simpler times, and ancient politics mixed in with technology of the future is going to be interesting to see unfold.
EC: I think it’s going to be a really fantastic season. I also became a fan, I got the part and I was like ‘okay, I should watch this show.’ So I watched both seasons back to back, and I was surprised, well I wouldn’t say surprised– but I don’t watch a lot of television, but I really liked it. I became a fan and I think the characters are very dynamic. I almost sometimes didn’t read full scripts, I would just read what I needed to know just so I didn’t spoil it for myself, so that when I watched it I could be surprised at what’s going on in other storylines.
MM: Oh wow, that’s awesome. How is it working with Isaiah Washington? He had some great things to say about you, and since your scenes a predominantly with Jaha right now what’s it like on set?
EC: He is incredibly talented, he does his homework every time he comes to work he’s one hundred percent prepared, if not more. He’s got a lot of really cool ideas, it’s been a great experience not only working with Isaiah but working with Richard as well, he’s another really talented actor.
MM: How has it been interacting with people on Twitter? Has the response been positive or negative?
EC: I think a combination, I think people that were fans of mine from before are excited to see me work again. People that are fans of the show, I’m terrified don’t like me already– because they don’t really know anything about my character yet. They don’t like A.L.I.E.. But I’m totally getting both. There are some serious die-hard fans, and I kind of fear for my life, I don’t think I can walk through the streets if anything happens that they don’t like [laughs].
MM: Right? That’s kind of the general consensus.
EC: This is just one of those shows where you can never hold your breath, you can never guarantee what’s going to happen.
MM: Can you tease anything for upcoming episodes? Why should we tune in?
EC: Fantastic storylines. Amazing performances. Fantastic guest stars, there’s going to be so many wonderful guests on the show this season. And just really, if they love The 100, they’re going to learning so much more about it this season. Each episode they’ll learn more and more about the world that they love. It’s incredibly entertaining and it definitely keeps you on your toes.
The 100 airs Thursdays at 9|8c on The CW