I talked to Remi the other day. He said his favorite part of the new season was the evolution of Ben’s character. Did you guys work a lot together and discuss a lot of nuances for Ben?
So to have Remi there, who is also interested and always willing to talk, is great. Because I wanted to make sure this character didn’t come across as too angsty, or too aggressive, or too one-sided, or too one-note. ... Now I’m as big a fan of angsty characters as anyone. I’m an anime fan; you can’t be an anime fan and not like angst. But the important thing is to try and regulate it and make it nuanced.
And Remi was really great at that. Actually, everyone was really great, all the other actors, Greg Beeman, who is one of our executive producers, and Remi, who’s our show runner. They were all great at kind of giving ideas and at incorporating my ideas, at answering some questions I might have had about the character or intentions or where we were going. They were really good at giving me stuff to work off of. They were really responsive, which is always super appreciated as an actor.
Were you surprised by the scripts for Season 2 seeing that you were suddenly front and center?
Yeah, it really was more surprising than last season. ... I wasn’t on last season nearly as much as I am this season, but I learned a lot. Last season, like I said, I was at the school mostly; I was a civilian and I was held back and all my scenes really were dialogue scenes with my family members.
That was really what my part consisted of last year. So to be able to be given the opportunity this year to participate in action sequences, to interact with actors like Colin Cunningham and Will Patton and a whole bunch of other people that I never really worked with last year in situations that I never experienced, was an amazing learning experience. And everyone was really great at kind of helping me. I’m a young member of the cast and I’m relatively inexperienced. I think even Maxim Knight, who’s much younger than me, has more experience than I do.
Everyone was really helpful at kind of guiding me and giving me advice and pointing me in the right direction when I faltered. So I never felt overwhelmed by it, but I definitely felt thankful for it. Who knows if we’ll continue into next season, but I’m just happy that I got this chance because it was a lot of fun working on the thing.
And Ben has a, you know, I don’t want to do a spoiler here, but…
Spoilers are the hardest thing!
We got little hints in the first season about the spikes and that they are still linking Ben to the aliens. Is that going to play big later in the season?
Yeah, yeah. Not just the spikes—the spikes are obviously the most outward example of it—but all the changes are the results of what the aliens have done to me—and they will be a major element of my story as the season goes on. And it will have major impacts on the story and it will continue to develop. ... There are unexpected twists and turns and things that I never imagined would happen.
Do you mean like last season, when we found out more about the skitters?
That was one of the biggest surprises for me when I read the scripts for Episode 7 or 8, I think it was, they open the skitter and they find the harness for the skitter. That kind of element is going to be explored more as well, both independent of my character and in relation to my character. And other characters come in which kind of augment that storyline and it’s interesting.
You talked about the clashes between Ben and Hal. What was it like changing that dynamic opposite Drew Roy now that the brothers aren’t getting along?
Drew and I hate each other! No, Drew is amazing. I’d done a little bit with Drew last season; not a lot. And this season one of the main elements of his character and my character is this kind of newfound tension, which results from Tom going missing and Hal kind of stepping up to the plate as kind of the parental character in the family.
We kind of joke that everyone took a step up because Tom went away and Hal kind of took over Tom’s role and I kind of took over Hal’s role. Hal last season was the bull-headed, stubborn one who would ignore orders and who just wanted to kill those aliens. And now that’s me and he’s become the responsible one. And so that’s kind of where the tension comes from.
I really love playing scenes with Drew. Some of my favorite scenes in the entire season were the ones I had with Drew because he’s such a nice guy and good actor. And he’s really, really giving as an actor in terms of like he’s up for anything. He has great ideas and he’s not much older than me—he’s like 25 and I’m almost 18—so he really has this sort of half-friend, half-older brother kind of relationship going with me in that he’s very relaxed but also very helpful.
So it’s really fun working with Drew. If you know him at all, you know that he’s like—he’s a southern guy. He’s laid back, he’s easy to work with. There’s no tension in scenes with Drew. It’s just easy work, and by easy work I don’t mean like the scenes are easy, I mean he’s easy to work with, which is always super-appreciated.