Tasya Teles plays Echo on the popular CW drama, The 100. Tasya recently chatted with us about season five’s six-year time jump, how much her character has grown and who goofs around the most on set. Check out our chat below!
We only caught a glimpse of Echo in the season premiere, but six years have gone by. Where is her head at in season five?
I think her head is a little scrambled right now because she got really adjusted to her space life, her space crew, her space family and her space boyfriend. She had to completely rebuild her entire world. Everything that she knew to be true–most of which she has discovered is false. She has learned about technology and all of this history leading up to her existence. Now that she has all of this new information, she is more connected to her authentic, Echo self and not this Azgeda automaton. She is not just blindly serving the royal family anymore. She is actually Echo, or a closer version to it than we’ve seen in the past. Going back to Earth is really terrifying, so she is really kind of scrambled. She doesn’t know what to expect. She’s just trying to be strong, and I think there is also some guilt that she is carrying down to Earth. She wants to redeem herself because she had the time to look back at some of the things that she has done. She has changed.
Speaking of the space boyfriend, does Echo have something she would like to tell us?
There we go (laughs)! The fun begins. People said they saw [Bellamy and Echo] coming from miles and miles away because of season two in Mount Weather. There was some definite chemistry. I think it was cool that they started the story there, and even throughout season four, one thing that I kept under my belt as an actor–that was written in the script, too–was that Bellamy was always able to reach Echo despite herself. She didn’t even know why this dude was able to do that (laughs), or why he respected or cared, or why she was intrigued by this guy, but he was definitely able to reach her in a way that other people wouldn’t have been able to.
So six years in space have allowed them to rekindle that?
Yeah, definitely. She has reasons why she behaved that way, and her reason isn’t because “I’m evil.” Her reason was because “I was orphaned, I didn’t have a family and Queen Niyah took me and I was indebted to her and served her, and that’s how things were where I was from.” I think they were able to untangle a lot of the armor that surrounded both of them.
It’s been interesting to see Echo’s growth from season two to now. In terms of characters, she is probably one who has grown the most.
Oh my God, it was so great to be able to laugh. I’ve wanted to laugh freely as Echo for so long (laughs).
Going back to Bellamy and Echo, does Bellamy know that Echo tried to kill Octavia before Praimfaya?
Well, she didn’t try to kill Octavia. She tried to take Octavia back to King Roan because she reflexively stabbed her, and as soon as she did, Echo was like, “Shoot. I did not mean to do this.”
Yeah, he does. Echo had to tell Bellamy. She had to drop Octavia’s sword in front of him when Bellamy was chained up with Kane. So that was a really tough scene, but yeah, he knew. I think that it was one of those things that he had to take as understanding that she didn’t mean to kill Octavia. It just almost happened.
One of the cool things about The 100 is that the show highlights diversity. There is inclusion everywhere, and it has some of the strongest female characters on television. What does it mean to you to be part of a show that highlights these things?
It’s really liberating, even just in terms of costume. At first, I wasn’t really into the whole-face Azgeda makeup that they did, but then I saw how powerful it was. It’s really great to be on a show that doesn’t glamorize women. We go almost bare-faced. There’s like– no makeup. We even get text messages saying, “less makeup!” I’m barely even wearing makeup. I’m just wearing something in case my face gets red because it’s cold outside. It’s really authentic, and a lot more raw to be playing these characters as they are. To play a strong female character is a dream come true.
I love how all of the women have different strengths. They’re all powerful, but all bring different strengths to the table.
Totally! I was just thinking about that the other day. Each unique woman has their own power move (laughs).
You’ve been on the show since season two, and now we’re in season five. This is your first season as a series regular! What was your reaction when you found you would be sticking around?
At first, it was pure excitement, and then it was totally emotional, and then it was excitement again, and then it was a bit of fear (laughs). I’ve been overjoyed. I was just recently in Barcelona meeting some of the fans, and they asked me the question of what does it mean now that I am a series regular? It totally crept on me, and as I started speaking, I started crying and getting emotional because I’m so touched! I started acting later in life and didn’t know if it was going to work. I put everything on the line and tried to make the most out of it I could. When they said that I was a series regular, it reaffirmed my belief that if you work hard and fight for what you want, that your dreams can come true. I think that’s a really beautiful, powerful message that I love talking with the fans about.
Aside from that personally, being a part of the cast is amazing. I’ve been part of plenty of shows filming in Vancouver, and since the first episode, have always felt a connection with The 100. It’s always felt like I’ve been with my family.
It’s almost like all of the shows film in Vancouver these days. Is it just one big CW party up there?
Pretty much (laughs)! We did a soccer game, and there was all the CW shows, and a bunch of others. We got to play soccer with a whole selection of people from different shows, from The Crossing to Van Helsing to– what’s the one I’m watching right now? Altered Carbon!
What’s your favorite thing about Vancouver?
Just the fresh air and the beauty. I’m in L.A. right now, but I had to go back to Vancouver last week to film something else. When I landed, and just driving into the city, there’s just this serenity that takes you over because it’s so gorgeous. It’s so beautiful and very relaxing.
How is the relationship between Clarke and Echo this season?
This season, all relationships get put through the grinder. Echo definitely respects Clarke for her sacrifice and is awestruck that she survived Praimfaya, so she’s like, “Way to go, babe, good for you!” (laughs). Echo is a warrior, so she respects that quality in Clarke. Also, Clarke gave Echo her hazmat suit when the radiation was starting to poison everybody. Echo definitely feels indebted to her but like with everything you can expect that there are tough times down the road.
The whole show is about survival. Do you ever get caught up in the emotion of what you’re filming? How do you keep it light on set?
Oh my God, we get caught up in the emotion all the time. Especially by the end of the season, it’s just heavy. It’s the climax of the show as we lead up to the season finale. The content and the physical requirements become a lot more intense, and your character’s journey becomes a lot clearer. You understand what has happened in those episodes behind you, so those are definitely the darkest hours, but it lends itself to all of the dramatic tension in the show. It’s like you feel the weight of your character, but we’re all a bunch of goofballs.
We’re all part of this odd family. We joke around. There are definitely some people that are more goofy than others– Bob [Morley] is definitely one of them. Chelsey [Reist] is a jokester, Lindsay [Morgan] for sure, and I’m definitely participating in that energy (laughs). But between takes, and when you’re sitting in the cast tent, you have to make jokes and have a good time because it’s just too hard otherwise.
When you joined the show in season two, did you have any idea of just how devoted the fans were?
No way! I’m still learning. I think last year was my first realization, when I got to start meeting the fans. I did not know that before.
It is surprising how passionate the fan base is because I didn’t have that growing up. I didn’t know that all of this existed. For me, I think it’s really cool. I love it– all of the passion and the conversation. I don’t like too much of the bullying, of course. I don’t mind some light arguing, but when it gets toxic or too yucky, I try to stay away from it. I encourage everybody to stay away from it, too, as much as they can. But part of what makes the show so great is that it provides the groundwork to have these conversations with yourself and your friends about “What would I do? This is such a crazy scenario!” They do a good job of defending many different positions on the show.
When you approached this season, was it like you had to reacquaint yourself and get to know a new character since it is six years later?
For me, definitely. It was a little daunting coming into season five because I didn’t have all of the writing yet. I was developing a character off of some of my thoughts. I didn’t know if it was going to match was the writers had decided amongst themselves. That’s the process of collaboration. We create things in our minds and contribute our piece, and we find a place where it all meets and make sense. Working on Echo this season was probably my biggest challenge. I thought Echo from season four was going to be my biggest challenge because she is so different from me, and I had to identify with being a child soldier, or a terrorist, so to speak. That was tough, but once I figured it out, I had my way in. But this season, I was trying to balance retaining the warrior quality, but also “Who is she now that she has made herself vulnerable, and has made herself some friends?”
What can you tease over the next thirteen episodes?
I think all relationships get pushed right to the edge of the cliff, and some don’t get repaired. Some are kind of permanently damaged. All of those ways in which we understand our favorite characters and their friendships, relationships and alliances to other characters on the show gets flipped upside down this season. It’s going to be interesting to see how the audience digests that. They might want certain people to be friends or allies, but this season, it all hits the wall.
There’s also some new weaponry, there’s a little girl on the show, we’re talking about motherhood this season a lot, which I think is pretty cool. And then there’s some feuding and high-fives (laughs).