What makes a good leader? This is the question that will be asked time and time again throughout the new CW series THE 100. When one hundred juvenile delinquent teens are sent back to Earth from their home on a space station, not a single adult accompanies them and they are left to fend for themselves once they arrive on the abandoned planet. Quickly rising to a position of power is Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley), a young man of questionable moral values, but who has a strong motive for ensuring everyone’s safety.
In a press interview during the Warner Bros. Mondo Television International Press Tour, star Bob Morley talked about the appeal of this ambiguous role and previewed a bit of the power struggle that arises once the teens reach Earth.
What can you share about your character Bellamy in THE 100?
BOB: His name is Bellamy Black and he finds his way onto the drop-ship with a hundred juvenile delinquents. A lot of his story is unknown in the pilot. You just know that he’s there through kind of nefarious actions. But he’s there because he’s the only one with a sibling and his sibling happens to be on that ship. So he goes down there to primarily kind of look after his sibling. Then he finds himself in a position of power. He kind of rises to power quite quickly because he is older than the others, and he just kind of sees an opening, and he goes for it and then happens to be kind of put in this position. With that comes with a lot of its own of issues and problems because I don’t think he was prepared for how it would work out, and now he has all this responsibility on his shoulders.
What can you tell about what can be expected on the show?
BOB: The show is kind of set in these two different worlds. There’s the Ark with the adults who live up there, and they kind of live in this kind of a democratic society. Then there’s the juvenile delinquents on the ground [on Earth] and it’s kind of like “Lord of the Flies.” It’s kill or be killed. So within the show, I think the writers are really smart in the way they’ve made it kind of like showing two different ideologies and how they work. But in amongst that, there’s always the relationship between each character and there is a lot of action that happens. There’s a lot of stunts that we have to do, not only on the ground, but up in the Ark as well, and there’s also the very “us and them” mentality with regards to the survival aspect to the show. There’s always those stakes of: where is the next threat is coming from? How are we going to eat? How are we going to stay alive in these conditions? And what do we do as a group? Do we band together, or do we just kind of go and do our own thing? If you put a hundred kids on the ground with no idea and no direction, which was probably an oversight by the guys upstairs (the Ark people). It’s just going to go crazy.
Would you describe Bellamy as more of a dictator once he gets put in a position of power on Earth amongst all the kids?
BOB: Who, me? (Laughs) Well, Bellamy. Yeah, possibly. But he understands what democracy is and he just kind of gets put into this position. So he rules by coercion and I guess a fair bit of aggressive presence. So yeah. I don’t know. I mean, I’m biased. I like the guy. I wouldn’t call him a dictator, but he could be.
What’s Bellamy’s relationship with Clarke like since she’s the other kind of dominant character on the show?
BOB: The dichotomy between those two is really great to work with. Like Eliza [Taylor] and I are both from Melbourne in Australia, and it’s great to work with her on the show. And it’s funny. [Bellamy and Clarke] both want the same end result, but they go about it in completely different ways — which kind of mirrors that theme of the Ark and the people on the ground. Everyone wants to work towards the greater good. It’s just that their idea of what is best for the greater good doesn’t always align. So that kind of challenge of trying to make amends between the two is always fun to play because there’s always new things coming in. So people, after watching the pilot, might think that [Bellamy’s] the bad and [Clarke’s] the good. But I think it’s just all gray area. But, like I said, I’m biased. (Laughs)
What are the things you like about Bellamy?
BOB: I like the fact that he’s ‑‑ for lack of a better word — so ballsy and just goes after what he wants and doesn’t often think about the consequences until it’s already happened, and then he was to redeem himself or rectify the situation. That’s always nice for me to be able to play something like that, where you have these realizations and you have to kind of reassess who you are and what you’re doing. I like that he is a leader and he’s strong, and it allows me to get to perform with these scenes. I get to do some pretty cool speeches and all that kind of gladiator‑style stuff, which no one ever gets to do in real life. So that’s fun. And pretend like I’m some sort of leader.
Did you know the direction Bellamy’s storyline was going to take?
BOB: When I read the pilot and I was going after Bellamy, he was a character that I felt quite comfortable with. Then as the story has progressed, I guess he and the show have gotten a lot darker and grittier, which is really exciting. It kind of really gets into a lot of emotional stuff and the animalistic nature of human beings that I didn’t think was going to happen. But they’ve kind of pushed it in that direction, which is amazing. And I didn’t expect that. But I’m relishing it; that’s for sure.
Have you ever experienced something ‑‑ not that to that level – where it became everybody is trying to survive?
BOB: I played a lot of AFL back home. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that game. That’s pretty wild. It’s just like 36 guys on the ground just fighting for a football. I guess that’s as close as I’ve come, and want to come, to anything like that. I’ve been in situations where I’ve gotten scared and just wanted to get out of there, that “fight or flight” kind of instinct, but nothing like I’ve got to experience on this show.
Do you like watching television shows on DVD?
BOB: It’s funny how TV has become the thing where you sit down and you watch a whole season at once. It’s a normal thing now. People are like, “Oh, yeah, I sat down and watched a season of BREAKING BAD on the weekend.” You’re like, “Oh, cool. How did that go?” Whereas, maybe ten years ago, if you were like, “Oh, I just sat at home for 12 hours and watched TV,” people would be like, “What the hell are you doing?” Whereas now, that’s acceptable. That’s what we do. So I love watching shows like that, back‑to‑back. And I think [THE 100] is going to be on Hulu and stuff like that, which gives people the opportunity to do that. But on that same token, I also like watching shows kind of like weekly thing, like being with friends and being a social thing. But shows like BOARDWALK EMPIRE and BREAKING BAD, and I’ve just started getting into THE WALKING DEAD, but when you take on a series, you get so invested, and then you’ve got to be like, “I need a moment before I invest in another series because this is going to consume me.” But, yeah, I enjoy watching TV.
How would you describe THE 100?
BOB: I’d veer away from the high school drama thing of it. It’s more like “Lord of the Flies.” And then there is the sci‑fi aspect as well, the guys up in the Ark. But as the series goes on, there are so many other elements that are thrown in that morph the show. It’s very violent. I mean, there’s death, and there’s moral dilemmas. It’s all those things. And it’s crazy. When I had a couple of days off, I was sitting there, and I was just like, “My character hasn’t smiled or said, ‘I’m sorry’ or done anything happy.” And I’ve been up there for five months. I was like, “Wow, this is heavy, heavy stuff.” So, yeah, there’s a lot of darkness in the show with a sprinkling of light here and there. But it’s not the kind of like “go to school” and “I like that boy” and “he doesn’t like that girl” kind of thing. There is a little bit of that, but there’s an all‑encompassing survival need that comes before everything else which kind of drives [Bellamy].
To see more of the battle for survival and the tension amongst leadership and ideals, both with those still on the Ark and amongst the teens sent to Earth, be sure to tune in for the premiere of THE 100 on Wednesday, March 19th at 9:00 p.m. on the CW.