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Exclusive Interview with Robbie Kay from Heroes Reborn and Once Upon a Time

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Robbie Kay is an English actor known for currently playing Tommy Clark in NBC’s revival miniseries Heroes Reborn (based on the original Heroes series), a teenager with the ability to control time and space who is tasked with the destiny to save the world along with his twin sister. Robbie is also known for playing Peter Pan in ABC’s Once Upon a Time among other notable performances. He will be reprising his role as Pan in the upcoming 100th episode of Once Upon a Time.

Tommy and Pan, two completely different characters. One’s a villain and the other is a hero. What was it like playing two such distinct characters?

It was great. I think it was a nice transition to switch from playing a British villain to an American hero [laughs]. I mean it’s a completely different world, two different areas. So, it was a totally different ball game I think moving on to Heroes. But it was fun. You get to play both ends of the spectrum, which I enjoyed.  

Let’s start first with Tommy. What was it like walking into such a well-established world and being handed the Petrelli torch?

Well, it was a little bit daunting to be honest. I mean the fact that the show already had such an established fanbase and it had run for four years previously gave it an element of expectation to the fans and to the people producing the show. So, there was a bit of an expectation and we had to do our research and really hit the ground running. I was really pleased with the way Tommy turned out and his character arc. He’s been handed the Petrelli torch, that’s a good way to look at it. I didn’t know the link between Tommy and the Petrellis off the bat. I think it was something that we learned down the line. So it wasn’t as if I was staring at a brick wall that I had to climb over. I think it happened gradually, which was pleasing. But, it was cool being directly linked to that backbone of the previous series.

Tommy and Malina’s reunion has been teased in the past, but we haven’t actually seen the two really interact. Is that something we can look forward to seeing?

Well, I think the entire show–I mean one of the main storylines has been the eventual connection between those two characters. I think that people can definitely expect some sort of interaction as we draw so close. That’s kind of the whole premises that Malina has been trying to find Tommy. For so long it’s been almost her sole mission, other than of course playing a role in saving the world. I mean Tommy had no idea that he even had a sister until halfway through the show. So yeah it’s definitely something that we can look forward to. I think it’s pretty evident that there will be some sort of interaction . Whether it will be a big or a small one, you’ll have to wait and find out [laughs].

A couple of episodes ago, Erica realized Tommy is playing both sides. Does he actually believe Erica or is he really just playing her to keep his family safe?

I think here’s the situation from Tommy’s perspective: he’s been lied to numerous times by Angela, by HRG, and by his own mother. He finds out that he’s adopted in episode 5 then he finds out that HRG has been shielding him from the truth and obstructing the truth, which is essentially lying and manipulating Tommy’s mind. I think he feels very insulted by that. He feels betrayed almost. So when somebody like Erica, a strong character, comes in and takes him under her wing and says ‘Look actually destiny might not be the answer. Here are the facts, here’s what I know and I can give you tangible proof that this is what’s gonna happen’ and she makes a very convincing case. Even at this point, she’s not necessarily wrong. It could still be the only way to save the world and I think part of Tommy is in agreement with that. The problem is I don’t think Tommy trusts her entirely. There’s something about Erica that’s wrong and that can’t be reasoned with, and something in the back of his head is almost telling him that there is something wrong here and there must be another way. I think he’s trying his best to find that other way and maybe wade back towards the path of destiny.   

What can you tease about the final episode?

Oooh. Umm…I mean there’s certainly some interaction between Tommy and Malina. I think in true Heroes fashion, there are going to be a lot of sacrifices. Saving the world is not going to come without a sacrifice. So with that respect, I think a lot of people who you have become familiar with in the show are going to be put in danger and be jeopardized. I just did ADR the other day and the finale really looks quite incredible. I’m really pleased with the way it’s all turned out. You can expect a lot of explosions and a lot of action. There’s been a lot of talk in the first half of the show, so now it’s getting up to the climax and they really are going out with a bang quite literally. So, it’s gonna be pretty big.   

Now, over to Once Upon a TIme. I just wanted to tell you that Pan is one of my most favorite Once Upon a Time villains.

Oh thank you! [laughs]

I mean he’s so much fun to watch! You hate him, but you love to hate him.

Yeah, he’s fun to play as well.

I can imagine. What was it like taking such an iconic heroic character and just turning him evil?

Well, it was quite good because I almost had a blank canvas to craft my own character. Which isn’t always something that you get to do with a really iconic character. So just to be able to come into the show and really put my own spin on this character was a real privilege. I mean it didn’t take me long–as soon as you put a pen to paper that’s it. As soon as you’ve done your first shot, you’ve established a precedent. So I was trying to figure out the best way to go about the character and how he was going to be properly established and in what way he was going to be evil. I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, and I think he actually turned out to be a very complex and multifaceted character.

This half of the season, Once Upon a Time characters will reportedly be exploring the Underworld. I’m assuming that’s where we see Pan again. Can you tell us anything about that?

Well, I mean you would expect that yeah you’ve seen him die and they’re going to the underworld, so you can put two and two together [laughs]. I think a lot of time has passed between his death in the show and now, and he’s had a long time to reflect upon his actions and what he’s done and there might be a little remorse there. A little bit of regret when he comes back. There’s an added dimension to the character that I don’t think that you’ve seen before. Which has been really cool to add to the character.  

Yeah, I was wondering what he’s been up to this whole time because it’s been a while since we last saw him.

Yeah, I mean he’s definitely been up to something. [laughs]

Probably up to no good.

Probably.

We’ve been told that Pan will be seen again in the 100th episode. Is there a possibility that we will see him after that as well?

I mean, you’ll see in the 100th episode the kind of role that Pan has. I can’t say right now of his involvement, but I think as a whole in true Once Upon a Time fashion, there’s always a chance or the potential for these characters to come back. I mean this episode is a prime example of it. So, yeah, it’s a very expansive universe and it’s definitely a place where people can keep recurring and returning. Even if they die, they don’t really die. I mean Pan practically exploded and he’s gonna be there, so I think that says it all.

What was it like returning to the character after nearly two years?

It was very bizarre actually stepping back into the shoes of the character after so long. Especially after I got on to a number of different projects. So, to come back to this character–yeah it was really weird in a good way. It was nice to come back and see the old crew again and touch base with everyone. I’ve always loved shooting in Vancouver. It’s always been a very special place to me, so to get to go back there was brilliant. It was a really sweet experience and one that I would definitely love to do again.  

If Pan and Tommy met, what would their meeting be like?

Umm…I don’t know. I guess it would depend on whether those two know each other. If it just came down to a fight, I think Tommy would just freeze time and walk to the over-land. [laughs]

I’m sure you’ve been asked this a bunch of times but if you could have a superpower what would it be?

Yeah and it’s funny, the answer has always been time-travel even before I got on Heroes and they told me you can time-travel. That was always my answer: the ability to control time.

That’s perfect!

Yeah. They told me and I was like ‘ok! This works!’ [laughs]

Our website is called TalkNerdyWithUs, so what’s something you are nerdy about?

It’s interesting because it’s almost not even classed as nerdy anymore but I’m really into video games. I bought a Playstation 4 and I would play on that a lot. I think it’s amazing that over time the video games industry has become so much more accessible to a number of people who I guess wouldn’t have played it in the past. But yeah, that’s something that I like to do to pass time.

 

Don’t forget to catch the series finale of Heroes Reborn on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.

Written by Amna Shabbir

Amna is an absolute geek for television and movies. When she is not freaking out over fictional characters and TV shows, she is found writing poetry and original fiction, and occasionally trying her hand at acting. She enjoys good food and good music, and hopes to one day be a successful actress and writer.

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