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The 100 - Interview with Tasya Teles

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The CW's The 100 returned to the small screen for its fifth season earlier this week. Ahead of the premiere, I put 10 questions to newly promoted series regular star, Tasya Teles, who plays Echo. Here's what she had to say about The 100 Season 5, including her character's controversial relationship with Bellamy, and a few other topics:

How would you summarize Season 5 of The 100?

This season is a bloody, nail-biting, stress inducing ride that scrambles all the tribes, alliances, friendships, partnerships, and relationships as we know

What should fans most look forward to in Season 5?

Having their minds turned upside down and inside out.

In the Season 4 finale, Echo was on the verge of sacrificing herself. What did you think of her reasoning in that situation?

That suicide ceremony was the Azgedan form of seppuku, which is the Japanese ritual that samurais performed to restore honor to the family name if the samurai failed their mission. I think Echo was overwhelmed by everything that had happened, and in this state of shock and guilt, she felt that she had to leave the world in accordance with Azgedan customs. In that sense I feel bad for her. Her identity was so tightly bound to her tribe, that she was nothing without it. Because she lives a life of duty, she felt she didn’t have a choice. When Bellamy comes and interrupts the ceremony, she sees for the first time that she doesn’t have to live according to Azgedan rules. She can live her own life. I think that’s a very powerful realization for anybody.

For someone who has only ever known the ground and the complexities that brings, how do you think Echo will adjust to life in space?

As far as normal activities, eating, sleeping, chatting and watching movies. She has finally found a safe home with no dangerous threats lurking in the dark corners. It’s the first time in her life, she is able to relax, and explore friendships. For that reason I think she likes life up in space. As long as she doesn’t have to spacewalk she’ll be fine.

What are you most excited about for Echo in Season 5, particularly as she's now a series regular character?

Echo has a lot of open doors to explore. We’ve seen only a few colors of her personality, but there’s so much bubbling beneath the surface, it’s exciting to see what the writers offer up each year. Last season we saw her seize control of Polis, then hit rock bottom at the end of the season in the seppuku scene. While she’s in space she slowly starts putting herself back together again without the influence of her Azgedan clan, so I think she starts to find a more organic version of herself. I would love to see this newly authentic Echo stand in her power.

The time jump shown in the dying minutes of the Season 4 finale is a pretty substantial 6 years and 7 months. How is this being managed from a storytelling perspective? Will fans learn what went on during that time?

I think the fans will have an opportunity to see little windows into the past, but six years is a long time to catch people up, so it would be impossible to try to fit everything in. The writers are very aware of this, and will definitely be leaving little hints and clues along the way, so make sure you’re paying attention.

Echo has spent a lot of time in various circumstances with Bellamy. How do you see her relationship with him evolving in Season 5?

They have spent a lot of time together, and I think that Bellamy has been a great educator for Echo since the very beginning. He showed an integrity and selflessness that Echo hadn’t seen before, which is perhaps what made her curious about this oddly-behaved Skai Person named Bellamy. Six years in space with him and the others has definitely shaped her into a different human. Echo 2.0 gets test tested on earth as various threats start to challenge Echo’s new philosophies. The Octavia conundrum is definitely something that wears on Echo’s mind, hopefully it doesn’t destroy everything she’s worked for.

What has Echo's promotion to a series regular meant for you as an actress?

It has been the most gratifying year of my life for many reasons. I feel so connected to the show, and the fan base, and the characters, but more than that I guess it reaffirms my previously wobbly belief that dreams can come true. I am honored to be a part of a family, cast, and crew that I love dearly. Plus I don’t feel as scared to do things like sit in the sound editing room, or get extra guacamole at lunch.

What would you say are some of the biggest changes that have occurred behind the camera since you've been part of the series?

There has been a big political shift with the rise of female empowerment in the industry, and in the world in recent years. “The 100” was already ahead of the curve in that respect by championing strong female heroes that aren’t dolled up, or glamourized. Aside from that, a big change I’ve noticed is the introduction of more female directors. Directing wasn’t even a thought in my mind a few years ago, but as I researched Robin Wright’s character in “House of Cards”, to build Echo’s physicality, I learned that she has become a director. That blew my mind because previously I only thought directors were male. But one thing that’s really cool is that a lot of the female cast have stepped up and expressed an interest in directing.

Outside of The 100, what's on your bucket list in terms of types of future acting roles, and people in front of and behind the camera that you'd love to work with one day?

Romantic Comedies, Superhero movie, specifically X-Men, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep and Jason Bateman.

That's all, folks! Big thanks to Tasya for taking the time to answer these questions. As always, let us know in the comments below what you thought of her answers, and maybe what other questions I should have asked.

The 100 airs Tuesdays, 9|8c, on The CW.

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