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Exclusive Interview with The 100’s Adina Porter

Photo Credit: Nick Horne Photography
Photo Credit: Nick Horne Photography

Adina Porter has had so many amazing roles in such a variety of shows that it’s almost certain that just about everyone has seen her in something. From her most recent characters in The 100, Underground, The Leftovers, and Code Black to her earlier roles in Law & Order, Judging Amy, Crossing Jordan, NYPD Blue, ER, Prison Break, House M.D., Cold Case, Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, True Blood...the list goes on and on. One thing is for certain: Adina Porter is truly THE Guest Star Queen.

This week, Adina took the time to talk to us about Indra, The 100, social media, and being a mom. See what she had to say in our interview with her below.

Jason [Rothenberg, Creator of The 100] sounds pretty positive about getting a season four.

“You know, I would be really, really surprised if we didn’t get a season four, but sometimes crazy things happen. But I would be…I would be shocked.”

Well, the ratings have been really good so far. 

“Fantastic! That’s not something I look into. But that’s great! I’m from a theater background so I’m old school so I don’t read reviews or check ratings or anything once my part is over with. (laughs). And then, you know, it’s been lucky that I’m on to something else, so I’m too busy …but, that’s something that I’m really glad to hear, that it’s being well-received.” 

Yeah. The premiere had higher ratings than any single episode in season two.

“WOW! (laughs)” 

Yes! I was very excited to see that. And episode two held steady – almost entirely – even up against the GOP debates. 

“Oh. I think that’s good. But because Donald Trump decided to sit out, many people didn’t watch. And I also think that The 100 and the GOP debates are different demographics. (laughs).”

Probably (laughs). 

“It’s all sounds great.” 

How is your new project going? 

“Oh! Right now, I haven’t started the new one yet. But what I was saying was that in the past, I’ve been lucky that when one job ends, another one starts and so I don’t have time to go off and read reviews from the past. But my newest project is a movie called The Last Word and I work opposite Shirley MacLaine. I am extremely excited about that.”

Yeah, I would be too! 

“Yeah! (chuckles) That’s what’s happening there.” 

You have been so active recently on social media. What made you decide to do that?

“I think it’s really important and producers pay attention to that so I think it’s really important. I think it’s also timing. The 100 and their followers are different from. Even from True Blood and so I think it’s just important to stay in touch. And who knows, it may be a combination of that and the fact that my kids are now older so I have a little bit more free time to do something like that. (laughs)

I’m trying to be positive about it [social media] and not look at it as a personal relationship because sometimes I catch myself feeling down and going, ‘Oh, let’s see what someone has said,’ and then I go, ‘No, don’t do that. You’re not getting your validation from social media.’ Trying to keep it as somewhat another part of the business.

But it’s interesting that my ego and my emotions will sometimes get into it. I’m an emotional person.” 

Yeah. That’s a hard thing to balance with being on social media. 

“People can be mean and my imagination can go kinda crazy. Like once, it was a red carpet event. It was for the premiere of…something, I don’t remember…and someone said something about ‘and her black – ‘ and in my head I just went to ‘and her black butt was too big to be in that dress.’ I went there. But then when I got enough guts to read the rest of the comment, it was that the black shoes didn’t go with the dress. And you know what? They were right! The black shoes totally didn’t go with the outfit! (laughs). But it was so interesting how – because you know how it’s like ‘click if you want to read more’? And I didn’t click but my imagination just went there. There are positive things and negative things about having an active imagination.”

Yes. And keeping it in check can be so difficult.

“(laughs) Yeah. I guess it can. And, I’m one of those people, I use my phone as my alarm clock – and I have been caught waking up first thing in the morning and scrolling and then you just gotta put it down. It’s an exercise.”

Definitely. Well, I think you’ve been a positive influence on The 100 fans. 

“Oh, that’s very nice! I don’t know why that is. I wonder why that is…no one needs to be controversial or mean and I’m a mom so I know there are certain things you don’t talk about in mixed company. Or not until you’ve had a few drinks. You don’t talk about politics. You don’t talk about religion. You don’t talk about sex. And so I guess I’m (laughs) I guess I have those things a little bit under control so I’m not inflaming people. But, you know, I also – and it might just be where I am right now with my kids and how they yell at each other – I’m totally about lifting people up.

I don’t know if this is how it is with you and your children, but stupid is not an appropriate word. Nobody’s stupid. And my 8-year-old likes to think that my 5-year-old is stupid because she doesn’t know what 10×10 is and I’m just like, ‘Come on. Enough. Let’s just lift each other up. There’s enough people out there in the world, enough situations out there in the world that can bring us down, let’s just lift each other up.’ And in one way it can be kind of corny, but especially on the internet because you can say things with anonymity and you don’t get to experience the look on the other person’s face, their eyes, or their shoulders when they feel that comment, so I just don’t go there.

A lot of of our fans are young and they have been doing this since day one. So they don’t remember that there used to be a time when if you said something to someone you said it to their face and then you had to deal with the repercussions of whatever it was that landed.

I’m a widow. My husband passed away. And, I think that my sister, who has never been married, she doesn’t know how to fight really well. (laughs) When you’re in a relationship, you learn how to fight, I think. I know that there are certain things you can say, certain things that if you say them they’re out there, it’s been processed, and you can’t take ’em back. I’m an adult. I’ve learned how to fight.”

It seems like a lot of the cast, when they are on social media, they’re very, very much into being that positive influence. Sachin [Sahel, who plays Jackson] is awesome at being positive –

“He’s got a good heart. We had a scene together in season two and we were so excited about it and then it got cut. (laughs)”

Oh no! 

“It got cut like the day of. We were all there with our lines and everything and then one of the executive producers that directs the lot just said, ‘So now we’re gonna do this and that’ and both our faces fell because we didn’t get to have the scene together. But he is that way. He has that energy. He’s extremely positive. You know what? Maybe everybody is. People hug each other when they haven’t seen each other for a long, long time. They hug each other in the makeup trailer. You kinda go down the line and you hug each other and, I think it’s a combination of, ‘Hey, we’re all in this together’ and we spend a lot of time together.

You spend so much time on those days that you spend more time with your cast members than you do with your family. So why not just have this be a positive experience? We’re all in this together and I think there’s also a bit of gratitude as well. Like, ‘Hey! We’ve got jobs!’ (laughs) and ‘Hey, our show was kinda quiet in the beginning and now it’s building up momentum’ and so we’re grateful. And I think sometimes when success happens really quickly, really young it can kinda go to one’s head and people can kinda start doing stupid things. But that’s not our situation.” 

So, one of the things I think I’ve heard talked about most this week is in regards to 303. We saw Indra smile! (laughs)

“(laughs) Yeah. That’s so interesting to me, because I didn’t realize that I didn’t smile. (laughs) I really, really didn’t realize that! You know, there are big, teethy, grinny smiles and there are more reserved ones and I guess you’re going to see Indra’s teeth…” 

(chuckles) Yeah! 

“…and apparently it’s the only time. I guess…I think the only other time Indra was happy was in season two when the clans were coming together for a peace talk and then that’s when Mount Weather blew up the missile…so…”

Yeah. Indra hasn’t had much to smile about.

“Yep. No, no, no, no, no. When people are trying to invade your land, you don’t really have a lot to grin about. You know, she’s a warrior!” 

That she is. Are we gonna find out more about her background? Like if she has a family of her own or what kind of relationship she has to different people within her clan? 

“You’re going to find out more about the grounder culture. Why we do what we do. So, that’s what you’re gonna learn more about in season three.” 

Ok. Is there anything that you know of and are allowed to tell me about regarding what happened during that three-month time jump? Like how did Indra and Kane come to be on such good terms? Does Lexa even know about that? Anything from that time period. Or are we going to find that out?

“I don’t know if that gets spelled out. I think that what was a big difference for me when I read the beginning episodes for season three was that in season two you could tell people’s alliances by the uniforms that they wore. You know, you were Trikru, you were Skaikru, you were…if you were like Lincoln where you weren’t completely Trikru, you were a traitor.

In season three, the alliances are now more individual. And constantly changing. So, you discover that there are some people that I have to have an alliance with or perhaps it could be a form of ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer,’ that we cannot just wipe them out – Skaikru – there are some people that we have to have relationships with to keep the balance of power going.

I guess I’ll throw in one other thing. There’s Skaikru, there’s Trikru, then there’s Ice Nation and those folks are gonna come in later, but then there’s also young warriors and more seasoned warriors. And, with Paige [Turco, who plays Abby Griffin, current Chancellor of the Skaikru], with Kane – Ian’s character, Kane [Henry Ian Cusick], this isn’t their first, second, or third battle. We have survived so many and we have learned to be tactical warriors. Sometimes it’s about winning the battle and sometimes it’s about winning this particular fight. And so you make alliances that way to keep the balance.

Does that answer that question?”

I think so… (laughs)

“Yeah, so that’s why Indra and Kane…I do NOT like Skaikru technology, but after having it be used against me in so many ways, like with reaping and with the missile, I agree to take a walkie talkie so that if I need to contact Kane, I can. That happened in the premiere and that’s the one compromise I’ve made.”

I’ve heard a lot of people wondering how Indra managed to make it back to Polis and Lexa before the Ice Nation army got there.

“Who knows. I could either go a different way or, it’s much faster for one person to travel than a whole army traveling through the woods. It all depends how one travels. So there’s that and then sometimes there’s like…you’ve gotta…you just gotta go with the flow. Indra needed to get there first so Indra got there first. (laughs)” 

I think the best theory that I heard was that the army decided to stop and take a break for tea time in that field.

“All right. You know, there’s that. (laughs). I think that, I think I’m gonna stick with a large mass of people moving through a forest takes a lot more time than one person with a mission to get to where she needs to get to.”

Are you able to say how much Indra still trusts Lexa after everything that happened? 

“Indra is a loyal warrior. But because alliances have made who your enemy is and who your friend is blurry, I begin to question. I think that the influence of Skaikru and their doubt…they’re so incredibly human. They have feelings and they care about their feelings and they care about other people’s feelings and all that other kind of stuff and that’s not the culture of Trikru. I think that all of their questioning people and concern about individuals instead of the group begins to seep into Indra a bit so that some questioning happens.”

Interesting. Other than it being in the script, what made her decide to tell Kane about everyone hunting Clarke? 

“Because if she does not keep the alliance in power…because of Grounders’ beliefs that the power that you gain comes from as many people as you kill, because of how [Clarke] has become mythic in the eyes of the Ice Nation, if the queen of the Ice Nation gets Clarke, in our belief system, the queen will have all the power of all the dead that Clarke has killed and Clarke has killed all those people in Mount Weather. That will embolden the Ice Nation and whatever balance of power we have within the thirteen clans would be destroyed and then the Ice Nation would try to be on top and that would cause a civil war in the Grounder Nation. So I’m just trying to keep the peace.”

Did Indra know that Lexa had a bounty on [Clarke]? 

“No.”

Ok. Interesting. Totally different direction here. How long does it take you to get through wardrobe and makeup for Indra? 

“When Indra started it took three hours to do the makeup. It took three hours to do all of the makeup and it took half an hour to get all of the gear on. Now we can do the makeup in forty-five minutes and I don’t need a dresser. (laughs). I can dress myself so I can get dressed in…in the summertime, when we don’t have to put heating pads different places to hide them and stay warm, it can take me ten minutes. In the wintertime it can take me maybe fifteen or twenty ’cause we sneak in heating pads in different places because Vancouver gets cold.” 

Yeah. It may not snow but it does get cold. 

“Yeah…”

You know, one of the reasons I like The 100 so much is because it kind of feels like life. You have so many curve balls thrown at you that sometimes it’s nice to see these characters who are so real having to deal with all of their curve balls, figuring out what to do with them, and being able to say, ‘Hey, their curve balls are way worse than anything I’ve ever had to deal with,’ and it’s kind of just nice at times to know that things could be worse than what they are.

“The writers are having a lot of fun with that. I have to say, I feel really kind of lucky – and maybe we’re part of it, I really have no idea – but The CW is having a bit of a renaissance with Jane the Virgin, with The Flash, with Arrow, and I’ll throw in with The 100 so that not just young people are enjoying the stories but others are coming to tune in as well and it’s pretty exciting to participate in this time of growth. I don’t know how long it will last or whatever, but The CW is creating a little bit more of a cache because of the work that these individual shows are doing and it’s very exciting.”

It is very exciting. They’ve definitely created a lineup that’s unique and that you won’t find anywhere else.

“No! No! And so now that they’ve put us up against ABC’s Thursday Night, WOW!

For the premiere we were trending at number one on Twitter. And I was at a writers’ party and we were all tweeting at the same time and I was like, ‘How can we be number one?’ and one of the writers was like, ‘Oh, come on!’ but I was like, ‘Isn’t there a presidential election going on and isn’t there a war somewhere? But we’re number one? Ok! Yay! We’re number one!’ I mean, I was just trying to put things into perspective a little bit, but it was exciting for a bit, but come on. I guess tweeting about Syria is just not as much fun, I have to say.”

(laughs) It’s a whole new experience, because live-tweeting was not something that was done as much even last year, the year before. 

“Yes. Very true.” 

It’s something that really The CW has kind of just started this trend. The other networks are following suit, but really – at least from what I’ve seen – it started with The CW. It really engages the audience and it keeps people coming back, I think. 

“Yeah, it is. It’s very, very exciting. It’s maybe even a little bit like theater, like what’s going to happen right in front of our eyes? It’s a lot of fun.”

It is. So what do you look for in a role when you’re deciding whether to audition or not? 

“For the most part, I audition for everything. For two reasons. Number one, when I read a script, somehow I don’t know, I don’t always necessarily ‘get it.’ I think sometimes since it was meant to be performed there are so many nuances and things that happen in between the lines so I don’t know if I always get the vision of what the creators are trying to create by just reading it, so I could miss out on something by not auditioning. I think that it’s important to – it’s kind of like a free acting class, auditioning. I think it’s keeping me sharp, always auditioning. I mean, that’s number one, because if you wait and only audition for what you think you’re right for or what’s really important, that’s putting a lot of emphasis on auditioning which can be detrimental.

I think it’s important to audition because I cannot tell you how many times I have bumped into someone and they were a hit on this one particular show and then they waited around for offers. They thought that now they were at this level so they should only get offers. And then if those offers don’t come in right away…you know, we have very short-term memories, so then the actor can either choose to leave the business or they then have to audition for the new casting agents who have just come out, who are maybe the same age as their kids, but they haven’t seen you lately so you may even have to go in to a general [audition] instead of going straight into the regular audition with the producers, which can definitely hurt one’s ego and everything else so better yet, why not just be the kind of actor who auditions for everything? It makes you look like you love to work. And there’s a kind of respect that comes with that. So, I audition for everything.

Now, there might be a student film that, you know, that could be a fantastic thing but it’s still kind of experimental and doesn’t pay very well so if it’s gonna cost me money because I have to go get child care or, say, if I get that then I’m not available for a job that works or, you know, every once in a while I read something and I’m trying to work on it and it’s just not going in then I’ll call up and say, ‘Listen. This is just really not working for me.’  But that’s really, really rare. Because my time is valuable. I have an eight and a five-year-old. If I’m not working on an audition, then I’m working on homework. Because while I have an Au Pair, I don’t have a housekeeper or a cook or a driver or…that’s me! I’m doing laundry and everything else. So, it’s a lot easier to tweet after everyone is asleep. So, I don’t usually pick things to audition for. I audition for everything. Then I see what I get.” 

I don’t think anybody could accuse you of not being a working actor. 

“(chuckles) Thank you.” 

We definitely see you a little bit here, there, and everywhere. Have you ever had a role as a series regular? 

“Yes. My last year on True Blood I was a series regular. Then there was a TV show that was a pilot that I was a series regular for that didn’t get picked up. But I’ve only been a series regular twice in my life. I’m a Guest Star Queen. (laughs). What has usually happened is, like with True Blood, the character was only supposed to be in eight episodes and then die, but they fell in love with me and I was there for seven years. So, you know, that’s what kind of happens with me.” 

Which do you prefer? I mean, between those seven years and being the Guest Star Queen, do you have a preference? 

“Absolutely. I’d rather be a Guest Star Queen. It keeps you sharp. You don’t relax because you have a contract and you don’t have to prove yourself anymore. I like having to prove myself. I also like being available to do Indra and then when that was done I started Underground where I play a slave, which is completely different from playing a warrior. So it keeps you sharp. But, there’s definitely a joy in having a steady job and being paid well and knowing you’re going to be in this many episodes, but it also can be, I feel, a little dangerous because you can get a little lazy. And you can then be a little typecast as, ‘Oh, she’s the doctor’ or ‘She’s the lawyer’ and I love that I was known as that crazy, alcoholic, born-again Christian mother and now I’m known as a badass warrior. I just keep on morphing.”

 

Tune in on Thursday nights at 9pm to The CW to see Adina as Indra on The 100.

Written by Erica Schaaf

Erica is a former social worker and mother of three who has been writing since she was a child. She currently writes fanfiction for the Veronica Mars and The 100 fandoms and is published on Kindle Worlds as well as fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org. She hopes to one day have the chance to be a fly on the wall on set of her fave shows while filming!

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