Alycia Debnam-Carey gives insight to her character Lexa on The 100
Alycia Debnam-Carey sat down with Collider and talked about her role in The 100. As Lexa, the commander of one of the Grounder clans, she’s a powerful and pretty ruthless leader, as all Grounders are quite ruthless. But her character has a connection with Clarke that no other leader has had, which caused a major fallout for Clarke in the last season.
Now, as the series moves forward, three months forward to be exact, we’ll find out more about Lexa and her clan, which Alycia explains below. She also talks about fan reaction the importance of her character in the LGBT community.
When and how did you realize that this character had become so important to the LGBT community?
DEBNAM-CAREY: I was on Instagram or something and I checked my tagged photos, and I realized that suddenly they were all LGBT artwork. I was like, “Oh, my god!” I had no idea. It was the first time I realized I was a figure for that community. What an honor, how flattering that is to bring a character to life that people find their self expression in and a safety with. It’s new for our society, as well. It’s one of the first shows that really has two characters in the cast that are gender and sexually fluid and embraces that. There are no labels. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of. I’m all for it.
As a leader, so much of Lexa’s emotions are held inside because she can’t really show that. Is that a big challenge
DEBNAM-CAREY: I think the toughest thing for me to figure out, as an actor, was how to translate all those layers that are in there and that history that the writers have done such a great job at forming. For me, it was about finding that mix between vulnerability and tension and a wiseness beyond her years. It was one of the first episodes in Season 2, I was working with a particular director and he was like, “The less you do, the more powerful it is.” I realized that I was slowly developing all of these things. Someone was like, “Is it a thing you’ve chosen to do, to not blink all the time?” I was like, “Wow!” When it comes to Lexa, she’s very steely-gazed, all the time. There’s a presence about her and a knowingness, and she’s always observant. I started to pick up all these traits, just from working with this character, that I didn’t expect.
Is it weird to go from someone like Lexa, who is wise beyond her years, to a character like Alicia on Fear the Walking Dead, who is very much a typical teenager?
DEBNAM-CAREY: Yeah. It’s a nice balance to have because they’re so, so different. Alicia is a lot closer to a regular person, so it’s nice to have a little bit more of a fluid stream of consciousness about it. She’s a complex individual who’s fighting her own battles, but it was very different having to go from Lexa to evaluating what a normal teenager is. But, I never saw Lexa as a teenager. I never even gave her an age, really. It’s almost like she skipped that period. She was place in a position where suddenly she was forced to make a lot of hard choices that most people never have to make, no matter what their age is.
This season, we see her training the next generation of warriors and leaders. Do you think that she treats them any differently, since she’s been there herself and knows what it’s like?
DEBNAM-CAREY: Yeah, I think there is a soft spot. It’s a brutal process, them being selected to be a Commander, which you’ll start to learn about. She does have a soft spot for them, but she has to keep her distance because she knows that the moment she weakens is the moment that everything falls.
Lexa has clearly done something to betray Clarke, which has led to a crack between them. Can they ever repair that, or do they just have to live with what happened and figure out what’s next?
DEBNAM-CAREY: When you’re placed in a world where survival is the main focus, a lot of that other stuff, like wrongdoings in the past, become obsolete. You have to focus on the here and now. Yes, there is tension between the two of them. But in Clarke’s unique position now, seeing Lexa really stand up for what she believes in and her people, she has to do the same thing and take on a leadership role, and that really actually starts to bring them together again.
Read the full interview, which includes her talking about working on a fight scene with co-star Zach McGowan at Collider