CBS' "Under the Dome" has already provided viewers with a number of mysteries in its first two episodes, but one of the most troubling is the cause of the violent seizures that affected both Chester's Mill resident Joe McAlister (Colin Ford) and out-of-town wild child Norrie Calvert-Hill (Mackenzie Lintz).
The Huffington Post caught up with Ford and Lintz on the North Carolina set of CBS' summer series during the filming of Episode 4 to find out what the young stars could reveal about their characters' burgeoning relationship and their mutual affliction. Light spoilers ahead.
Give us a little insight into your character, Joe, because he seems fairly similar to his counterpart in the novel.
My character is Joe, also known as "Scarecrow Joe" from "Under the Dome," the book. And Joe is a real down-to-earth, normal, country-ish boy who’s kind of shy ... He sees this city girl, Norrie, and it’s like another form of life to Joe, who’s never seen someone with these kind of clothes and this kind of eye makeup or hair. It’s foreign to him completely and I think that he totally digs it. I think this is kind of what Joe’s been looking for and waiting for -- he just didn’t know it.
He's also a tech wizard of sorts, which seems like it'll come in handy?
Yeah. That’s something we actually have in common -- I love computers and phones and all that stuff. I think Joe has a little bit more of an engineering brain ... he might be able to fix something that was sounding funny in a car versus something on the computer, but I think he’s also good at that too.
In the book, Angie (Britt Robertson) and Joe aren't related, so how would you describe the dynamic between you now?
I’ve had one scene with Britt, who plays Angie. [Laughs.] I think more to come. I can’t wait -- me and Britt hang out all the time. We joke around like brother and sister.
Britt told us that she basically just tells you to shut up all the time.
[Laughs.] Yeah, she does. We’ll play video games and it’s funny -- I convinced her to buy an Xbox. She spent all this money on this Xbox; it’s a brand new system and then she comes back from vacation and I come into her apartment and there's no brand new Xbox and I said, “Britt, what did you do with your brand new Xbox?” She was like, “Oh. I traded my little brother for it for a Nintendo 64.” I was like, “Are you joking?” So we play Nintendo 64 together. I love the 64 but you keep both. You just get both! I just kind of said, “It doesn’t even matter.” It was such a sister moment. I’m like, “Damn. That’s a stupid decision.”
I know you've also got some interesting scenes ahead with Barbie (Mike Vogel). What's Joe's take on him?
Yeah. He has some stuff with Barbie that’s really cool. I think Joe’s like, “Whoa. Who is this guy?" He saves me from a crashing plane; he disarms an officer that is acting rogue; he’s always at the right place at the right time with the right moves. We have one scene where me and Ben Drake, who is played by John Elvis, go, “I wonder if Barbie’s like an Army guy or a Black Ops guy or something crazy like that," because that’s exactly how he acts. He just acts like a total Marine muscle-head that’s ready to go, ready for some action and ready to rock and roll. I think that’s really cool, getting to work with Mike. He’s a super awesome guy, just super nice and then you get to see him transform into this military tough guy.
And then I’m actually really looking forward to seeing how the rest of the episodes play out, because I don’t know how it would ever work, but I’d love to be able to work with the guys in the radio scene. Jolene [Purdy] and Nick [Strong] play Dodee and Phil and it'd be really fun to get to work with them because we’re good friends. We hang out outside of the set ... I don’t know. I’m just really excited. We each have our own storylines, me and Norrie, me and Ben, but it’s going to be really cool to see how our storylines branch and entwine with the other ones.
Any other scenes you're particularly excited for fans to see?
I’ll tell you this. This is just something that’s totally crazy and cool and different. There’s a scene where we’re at the skate park and my friend Ben, played by John, he does this really cool -- I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a skater do a wall ride where they go up and they literally ride on a flat wall -- he does that move on the dome and comes down. It’s really sick. They put a blue screen that was cemented and it was hard so that he could ride on it and then I guess in special effects they’ll make it a dome ... It’s really cool and I can’t wait to see what that looks like.
Norrie is a character that appears in Stephen King's book, but she seems fairly different on the show, so what do we need to know about her?
She is just a rebellious teen to the core and she struggles with a lot of judgment. She kind of has her guard up at all times but at the same time ... she does what she wants; she wears what she wants; she looks like she wants and she just loves it. She’s herself in her own little way. So she lashes out a little bit and she’s got a temper. But she has two lesbian moms in the series, which is different from the book. So that kind of causes a different dynamic for her.
When she gets trapped, she is on her way to a reform camp for rebellious girls because her moms need their daughter to be perfect ... they look at her and they are just like, "OK, I don’t know what to do with this," and they don’t really know how to handle her sometimes. She obviously thinks this is overdramatic -- "They’re sending me to this camp, this is ridiculous." But they’re her parents, she can’t say no.
Is Norrie almost relieved when the dome comes down and saves her from camp and maybe gives her a chance to meet new people?
Yeah, at first, she doesn’t even want to eat lunch in Chester’s Mill, she’s like, "Get me out of here, I can’t do this" ... But I think, especially when she meets Joe, she is just herself, and she sees this boy that genuinely is enamored by her and her head turns a little bit ... She is a lot different than Joe. She meets him and he’s just overtaken with happiness and she is kind of like, "You’re a little weird, you're very quiet and small town-like" and so she kind of plays a little bit ... But she thinks it’s adorable.
They also have this mysterious seizure issue in common -- how does that affect them both going forward?
The first time it happens, she is not with him and then they end up having one at the same time and so obviously, under a dome, it would be very low chance that both of them would have epilepsy or something of the sort -- it just wouldn’t make sense. So they know after this crisis has happened, what else could it be? So I think that it draws her and Joe closer ... Norrie, she’s rebellious and she has authority issues, but she’s smart. She is very intelligent and Joe is too. So they [say], "Let’s figure this out" and then they bond through that.
Are they at the forefront of trying to figure out what the dome is and where it's come from, considering they're being affected in such a direct and frightening way?
Yeah ... especially when the seizure issues start happening ... It’s no longer a group thing where they are all stuck under the dome. They are personally being affected by this weird force that’s around them. So I think, like anyone would be, they're like, "All right, let’s see what’s happening. I’m passing out and shaking on the ground, and repeating weird words over, and over, and over." I would want to do the same. So I think that bonds her and Joe together because they can do that together, and they can figure it out. Because her moms have to take on these [other] roles too, as a doctor, as a lawyer. They have to react quickly.
How much time is she spending with her moms, Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) and Alice (Samantha Mathis), while she and Joe are learning more about the seizures? Are the storylines somewhat separate, or is she still learning how to relate to them in the process?
They are so different. They come from LA and they go to Chester’s Mill, and Chester’s Mill hasn’t really accepted the fact that having a homosexual couple as your parents is accepted now and they don’t really understand. And so they feel like they’re in their own little bubble and separated. But once this crisis happens, people just have to get over it. Obviously they’re in survival mode now. At first, she is a little bit skeptical, but then I think she will grow to realize she needs them. There is nothing else that she needs more than her two parents and so, she really grows to appreciate them more than she ever has.
It sounds as if being under the dome will function as a kind of family therapy and help them all to deal with issues that have been stewing between them all for a while?
Yeah. [Alice] is a psychiatrist, [Carolyn's] a lawyer and they’re just smart and put-together and classy and they have their weird daughter, but still they are a put-together family and they are going to "fix" their daughter. And when they come into the dome, all facades are off, it’s over. They just have to be who they are and that is all they can do. So that brings them a whole lot closer as a family.
"Under the Dome" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
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