‘The 100’ Season 2: Ricky Whittle Interview on Playing a Grounder

Rick Whittle Interview The 100 Season 2
Ricky Whittle of THE 100 cracks a smile as he signs for fans at the Warner Bros. booth at Comic-Con 2014. #WBSDCC (©2014 WBEI. All rights reserved.)

Ricky Whittle says not everything is as it seems on The 100 and he promises there will be plenty of shocks and twists in store for fans of the series when it returns for its second season on The CW on October 22, 2014. Whittle (‘Lincoln’) also told us during our 2014 San Diego Comic Con interview that the scripts for season two are keeping him busy as he’s doing a lot of extra research and getting comfortable on a horse.

Ricky Whittle The 100 Interview

What’s coming up for season two?

Ricky Whittle: “Season two, I have said on Twitter, just got darker. This is going to take it beyond. Season one really was like Disneyland. After reading the first three episodes and the storyline that Jason Rothenberg has pitched to me, on a personal level, I’m going to go home to study, research, read up, look up stuff on the internet because the material I’ve been given I feel very honored to be trusted with. It’s going to be very dark and I’m going to have to go there. I’m going to have to go to a really dark place but I feel blessed. Like I say, as an actor, you want to be challenged and this show is very challenging. Then learning about other cast members’ storylines today, because this is still the beginning of the season so we’re still not really all met up…as we’ve been separated at the season finale, we’re not all filming together so I’ve only worked with Marie [Avgeropoulos] so far – Octavia and Lincoln are off on their own in the forest…so we’ve all been getting together and learning about the stories, everyone’s been taken to a dark place.

It’s a credit to our writers, our producers for trusting us with this material. I was actually shocked by some of the storylines that are going to come out. It’s a real blessing. Season one was fantastic. We shocked a lot of people. They weren’t ready for that on The CW. They think love triangles, they think fluffy romances, and we were killing kids. We were hanging people, we were slashing people up, we were torturing innocent people. And it’s a credit to The CW and Warner Bros. for allowing us to push the envelope. And season two is just going to go even further, so it’s really exciting now.

It’s going to go really dark but we’re going to keep it real. We’re going to keep it real. It’s not going to be all crazy. I think the thing is, our writers develop people’s character. Good people weren’t necessarily just good, bad people weren’t necessarily just bad. When you love the character, you found out various things. It was all about perspective. We thought the grounders were evil and then we learned a little bit more about them. We learned that Lincoln’s a good person, but then we also learned that he might not necessarily be the only one. So season two, we’re going to delve into these different factions, the reapers, the mountain men. We’re going to learn more about these different groups of people and we’re going to see things from different perspectives. Not everything is as it seems on Earth.”

What sort of research did you do?

Ricky Whittle: “I’ve not done it yet because I’ve literally just been told the stuff, so I’ve been given certain things to watch, certain things to study. I’m trying to remember some of the terminology they told me. I can see your faces all like, ‘What is he talking about?’ [Laughing] I’m doing my best to tease you. I think it’s working. I think I have the table here. I think I’ve won you over here. But it really is going to be a challenge. It’s something that I’ve not done before and it’s something I’m really looking forward to taking as far as I can. I want to do the storyline justice because if they’re going to trust me to follow through this storyline, then I want to give it 110%. I’m not just going to turn up after a couple days of reading my lines and go, ‘Okay, I’ve got this.’ I’m going to go home and I’m going to do it properly, like the rest of the cast. They’re going to study. They’ve all been given various things to look out for.

Lincoln’s a physical character so I’m in the gym. I had to bulk up. I had to be a certain physique because he’s a warrior. I needed to be agile. I needed to be strong, so I had to do that. He had to be American so I went to my vocal coach. I learned my language. I went to my acting coach. We talked about keep a mystique by keeping it silent, by keeping everything in his eyes. I spoke with the producers and the writers about cutting down his dialogue. As an actor you want to speak more but I was like, ‘No, I don’t want dialogue. Keep that mystique. Keep him silent. He doesn’t need to answer you. Lincoln’s going to go this way, they’re going to argue. I’m not going to explain to you why I’m going this way. I’m going to go this way. If you follow, you follow. If you don’t, you’re probably going to die but I don’t care. I’m going this way.’ It was that sort of mystique I wanted to keep and it’s no different when it comes to when you’re given a challenging storyline, you need to go and do your research.

One thing they told me, they said, ‘How’s your horse riding?’ So what have I been doing all week? Went to the stables, jumped on a horse, and just been messing around with horses just trying to get comfortable.”

How’s that going?

Ricky Whittle: “It’s great. I love horses. I’ve ridden before but you get the better shots, you get the better visuals if it’s you, not a stuntman on a horse. If they can see me riding a horse, doing all these different things, then that’s more visually effective than a wide shot of someone doing something with the back of a head. This is what we do as a cast, we’re trying to give 110%, we’re trying to give it as much as we can. By putting in our homework and doing all our research and all our work before we get to set, hopefully when we do get to set, we bring it. I think it translates on screen when we are getting the acclaim that I think it deserves. We’ve been nominated for an Emmy.”

How much more horse training do you still have to do?

Ricky Whittle: “I’m going to be doing that for a lot longer. That’s something I wanted to anyway. I’ve ridden horses before but we’re going to take it to a different level so on my time off, our stunt coordinator, Marshall Virtue, his father owns a ranch up there and he actually trains Joe Gatt who played Tristan in season one and Anya, Dichen Lachman, trained them, took them up to the ranch and got them on the horses so they can do all that stuff. So I go up there any time I’ve got off weekends and really push it, see what I can do. I’ll definitely be doing my homework on that.”

How do you bridge the gap between grounders and The 100?

Ricky Whittle: “Yeah, the epic love story, it’s Tristan/Isolde, Romeo and Juliet. It’s their love that’s going to try and bring everyone together, but we’re going to see the grounders through Lincoln’s eyes and through Octavia’s eyes. That’s going to help us get into the world and help the audience learn more about this culture, that we aren’t necessarily evil, we aren’t necessarily bad as grounders. As in any society, you have good people and you have bad. You have people who want peace, you have people who won’t want peace. So we’re going to learn all about these different people, not just the grounders but the other groups.

We’re going to keep flipping it on its head so just as you think you know what’s going on, maybe something else is going to happen and then just when you think it’s going their way, maybe we’ll flip it back, maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll do something completely different but when it comes to Lincoln and Octavia, you’re going to use us to get into the world that The 100 don’t know about.

In the first season, we taught you about all these different factions. Lincoln was kind of like the information man. Lincoln was the first to comment on the mountain men which you saw in the finale. So through Lincoln and Octavia, you’re going to learn more about the world that The 100 have landed in and the war that is currently going on.”