“I didn’t expect everyone to be so excited!”
Those words came from actress Alycia Debnam-Carey when asked by AfterEllen about the explosion of excitement when it was announced at San Diego Comic-Con last month that she would be returning to The 100 in its third season as one of half of Clexa. We caught up with the actress while she was at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour promoting the new AMC series, Fear The Walking Dead.
“It’s wonderful because The 100 has a small but powerful and passionate fan following and I’m so humbled to be a part of that,” Alycia said. And despite Lexa eventually turning on her love, Clarke (Eliza Taylor), before exiting, Alycia admitted to being pleased that “even though Lexa can be a little bit difficult that people really do like her.”
We also asked her about her thoughts about why Clexa clicked so strongly with the lesbian fans as well as everyone else. “I think it was also because it was real,” the Aussie actress said. “It wasn’t overdramatized; it wasn’t this big dramatic thing. It was actually quite real between two people in very difficult circumstances but sharing similar roles of leadership.”
The actress also appreciated the fact that The 100 writers didn’t make a big deal of defining either character or their relationship. “The wonderful thing about The 100 is it doesn’t label anything because it’s a whole new world,” she said. “There’s no label so it is whatever it is, people love people and that reflects so greatly on the fans showing that this younger generation is accepting of anyone.”
She added that she was very aware of the fan base for the CW hit series. “It has such an LGBT following and that’s liberating,” Alycia said. “It’s great and it shows such intelligence for a young generation and I’m happy to be a part of anything like that.”
Did the actress notice a spike in her lesbian following once Clexa locked lips? “Yes! I absolutely did,” she said, smiling. “I had someone come up to me and say, ‘You’re a bit of a lesbian icon!’ I said, ‘I kind of am!’”
And while Alycia is clearly happy about the warm reception for Clexa, she’s still getting used to the constant attention on the web. “That world is a little overwhelming for me, the whole social media world,” she admitted. “It’s an aggressive form of social media; it’s there all the time. [The 100 fans] are very passionate. But, as I said, it’s a great thing to be a part of. I did suddenly see a lot more of that [online] and I remember Eliza saying, ‘Did you see this? Did you see that?’
As for her role on Fear The Walking Dead, which premieres August 23rd, the actress plays Alicia Clark (ironic last name, don’t ya think?), the model student/teen daughter in the core family in Los Angeles where the zombie apocalypse is in the early stages.
The show doesn’t tell us exactly where we fall in the timeline against megahit The Walking Dead except that there is mention of things already erupting on the other side of the U.S.. And whereas the mothership series began with the regular characters thrust together as they fought off zombies, Alycia admits the companion series might feel a little different. “It’s a slow burn. It happens quite slowly and you really get to know the characters piece by piece as they come to terms with what’s going on, which I think is really good because it sets us up for actually understanding these characters and really liking them.” Her on-screen character, at least in the episodes previewed by AfterEllen, appears to be heterosexual.
Asked to describe her character in the first episodes, she explained, “fear propels a lot of the show, hence the title. But for [Alicia], especially, she starts out at a place of hope and she has a lot to lose, she has everything to lose, and so that fall with this new world is going to be very hard and fast so she’s going to have to find a way to deal with those circumstances and reconcile with herself how she’s going to get through it.”
Besides getting to know the characters better at the start, the actress added that in the first six-episode season, “the military and the government play a huge role and suddenly it’s about who you can actually trust and who you can rely on. Suddenly you do just have the people immediately around you and that’s all you can know to be true…so that’s a really great thing that we explore.” The series has already been picked up for a second season, which consist of 13 episodes.
While it might sound like a challenge to be on two shows that shoot in separate cities (The 100 shoots in Vancouver while FTWD shoots in Los Angeles), the actress isn’t feeling any worse for wear. “Luckily we were able to work out two blocks of shooting schedules so it’s been nice on me, it hasn’t been too crazy.” She also admitted to just being happy to having been frequently employed. “I’ve been working this whole year and a lot of it has been in Vancouver and I didn’t expect to be spending so much time in that city but it’s a beautiful city.”
And, getting back to The 100, while details of when exactly Lexa will make her appearance (the producers have said ‘early’ in the third season) and how she might interact with Clarke are under lock and key, Alycia teased, “She gets a really good entrance every time. She has a good reveal…she does it with style.”
Fear The Walking Dead premieres August 23 on AMC. The 100 returns for Season 3 in early 2016 on The CW.