Eliza Taylor Fights for Freedom (and Finds Strength) on ‘The 100’

Maarten de Boer
Eliza Taylor from The 100

Ever since the Ark’s dropship landed on Earth, Eliza Taylor’s beleaguered hero, Clarke, has been rocking our world. Here, the star of The 100 shares her thoughts on her character’s evolution from space juvie to freedom fighter. Forget being one of the 100. This woman is one in a million!

Clarke became a very complicated character this past season!
Yes, she certainly did!

Did the writers clue you in ahead of time to all the big moves she’d be making in Season 2?
They told me that she was going to step it up. But I wasn’t truly aware until I got the scripts. And then they just blew me away. Every time I got a new one, it was like, “She does what now?” [Laughs]

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Like mercy-killing her love interest, Finn (Thomas McDonell), after he massacred a Grounder village?
That was so emotional. We put a lot of time into getting it right. It was in the middle of winter in the pouring rain, and we shot for around 14 hours, from 5 at night until 7 in the morning. So we were emotional for those reasons alone. Then you throw in the story on top of that.

Were you afraid of how the fans would react?
I was. But I was also excited by it. What a great twist, you know? It certainly caused a ruckus. Ultimately—and surprisingly—viewers were on Clarke’s side.

This show is not afraid to knock off major characters.
It’s not! I am definitely on my best behavior, I will tell you that! [Laughs]

Comic con, the 100, eliza taylor, finale

Clarke’s story “could go anywhere next season,” says Taylor (with Paige Turco)

Clarke started off the season a prisoner of the Mountain Men. It must have been nice for you to film on the indoor Mount Weather set, given how cold and muddy it can get on location in Canada.
It was lovely, but you know what? After shooting a couple of episodes in the studio, I was rarin’ to get back outside. Where we film in the woods of Vancouver, it’s just so beautiful and so untouched. It puts you right into that world of The 100. When I’m not wet and covered with dirt, it feels a bit like, “Where has Clarke gone?” [Laughs]

Another big surprise this year: Clarke’s onetime ally and Grounder clan leader Lexa (Alycia Debnam Carey) kissed Clarke, and she didn’t seem to mind.
The shippers love bisexual Clarke! Yes, they do. It has gotten such a fantastic response. Jason Rothenberg, our executive producer, says so much time has passed for mankind that there are no gay, straight, or bisexual labels anymore. People just fall in love with people, which I love.

What did you think of Clarke’s decision in the finale to irradiate everyone inside Mount Weather in order to protect her allies?
After Lexa betrayed her [to the Mountain Men], she was obviously devastated, and that put her in an erratic mind-set. But ultimately, the betrayal gave her the strength to pull that lever and save her people. Clarke would never have been able to do that without what Lexa had taught her.

Gotta love the female empowerment on this show.
I tip my hat to Jason for that. It’s a great time for women on TV, and I’m so happy to be part of that kickass legion of chicks.

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