Erica Cerra stars as A.L.I.E. in the CW's "The 100." Photo Credit: Liz Rosa.

Erica Cerra stars as A.L.I.E. in the CW’s “The 100.” Photo Credit: Liz Rosa.

Nearly four years since her five-season run as Deputy Sheriff Josefina “Jo” Lupo on Syfy’s Eureka, Erica Cerra returns to the small screen and beloved sci-fi subspace — this time as A.L.I.E. (pronounced Ally), the rather emotionless and intriguing artificial intelligence drone who made a splash on the CW’s hit dystopian teen-drama The 100 last season.

In the midst of the smash show’s jaw-dropping third season, the coy yet energetic Cerra spoke to GALO exclusively about passionate Twitter fans, her love for sci-fi, and how her mysterious character will play into the rest of the season (not to mention the fate of the ragtag group of survivors living on Earth).

GALO: To start off, how familiar were you with The 100 before you were cast?

Erica Cerra: I wasn’t. I knew of the show, [but] I had never watched it. And then when I was cast, I knew I had to catch up, so I power-watched the two seasons on Netflix.

GALO: After binge-watching it, can you say that you’re a fan now?

EC: Definitely! It’s funny… It’s true what they say — I think a lot of people have a misperception of the show and what style of show it is. I have a couple of friends who have watched it and have become fans. They’re just surprised that they like it as much as they do. I don’t think they thought it was the type of show that it is.

GALO: What is the misperception that people have of the show?

EC: The CW kind of has that teen drama theme [going for it] — and I’m not a teen, so I didn’t think they would have a show that I would gravitate to. But then I watched it, and they’re definitely trying to expand their audience and broaden their style.

GALO: Yes, I think the shift has gone from a teen-centric audience to one consisting of teens, young adults and fandoms. Moving on to the show itself, for readers who don’t know about your character, A.L.I.E., tell us a little bit about her.

EC: She’s an artificial intelligence. She was created by a woman named Becca. There’s not a whole lot that I can give away considering the fact that each episode is a little bit of an eye-opener to her storyline in the show, and to who she is and where she came from. Basically, she was programmed to make life better for humanity — and that’s kind of her mission.

GALO: So, she’s a hologram… I’m curious, how much did they tell you about her during your audition?

EC: I didn’t really know anything, actually. At my original audition, I think they described her as a “Stepford wife,” which has absolutely nothing to do with what the actual character is. They described her as an overly nice neighbor with a Stepford feel to her. I guess they were trying to get at a robotic tone. And then when I was called back, they told me what I was auditioning for and what kind of character she was.

GALO: Something I’ve noticed about A.L.I.E. is that she doesn’t say much — she’s very mysterious and suspicious. I know you said that you can’t reveal too much, but is there a particular moment that you’re really excited for audiences to see?

EC: There are a couple of episodes. Episode 7 is fantastic… I would say the finale is also fantastic. I think the first five were [about] sort of introducing the story, and now it’s going to start unraveling. Now you’re going to see and understand a bit more as to what’s going on. Each episode has something really fantastic that happens that involves her storyline — but [episode] 7 for A.L.I.E., for sure, and probably the finale.

GALO: Was there a moment that already aired that you were excited for audiences to see?

EC: I think the A.L.I.E. craze really started this last episode. I’ll be honest, I have not been watching. I was working and then I was traveling. I’ve been missing a lot of the episodes, so I actually recorded them all and I plan on watching them when I get home. I vaguely remember them. The fans on Twitter remind me of what happens each time they watch.

GALO: That’s interesting that you watch yourself on the show. I know a lot of actors don’t particularly enjoy doing that. In fact, many refuse to see the final product.

EC: I hate watching myself on T.V. I actually never, ever do. But because I became a fan of the show, I want to watch the show. I don’t really like watching anything that I do — at all. I probably change the channel when my scenes come on.

GALO: The 100 is no stranger to character deaths — to say the least. Were you ever scared you were going to open up your script one day and see that you’d been killed off? Or being a hologram, did you feel a sort of immunity from that?

EC: Oh my God, I think on that show, anything can get killed. I think everybody’s fate on that show is completely unpredictable. There’s no holds barred. I think that Jason [Rothenberg’s] — [the creator of the show] — whole plan is to shock people. I think that the more controversial reaction he gets, he flies off it. Nobody is safe on The 100.

Pictured: Erica Cerra. Photo Credit: Liz Rosa.

Pictured: Erica Cerra. Photo Credit: Liz Rosa.

GALO: With A.L.I.E. being a robotic character, what sort of effort went into playing someone with such a limited spectrum of emotion?

EC: This was probably the most complicated character I’ve ever played. For a character that doesn’t feel, I have to put way more thought into how to play the scenes so they [don’t] fall flat. She needed to be interesting because she doesn’t feel anything; there’s no real expression there. There’s no real emotion. So how do you make her interesting to watch? I hope I’m pulling that off. I keep getting good feedback, so I hope I’m doing my job. I felt like there were so many parameters when I got cast. What can she do? What can’t she do? How far can she do this? Does she have any emotions or are there no emotions? It’s definitely a mind trip. It’s confusing.

GALO: Something I was really impressed by in your performance is that despite being a hologram, A.L.I.E. isn’t boring. She’s intriguing, and as a viewer, I sort of have empathy for her. Was that something you wanted to get across?

EC: That’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted people to be intrigued by her. I wanted them to feel for her. I wanted them to have a relationship with her and care about her. How do you do that when you don’t feel? It was a fun challenge, for sure.

GALO: So do you feel like she’s purely evil or is there something about her that people fail to understand?

EC: I’m not sure I should answer that question. The best way I can answer that is that she’s an artificial intelligence. What she does is programmed into her. I’ll leave it at that. I’ll leave it up to your imagination. You’ll figure it out as the show goes on.

GALO: Audiences obviously also know you for your role in Eureka, another sci-fi show. Was sci-fi something you had always been interested in or did you happen to just accidentally fall into the genre?

EC: Kind of both. I’ve grown up watching science fiction and I’ve grown up watching fantasy. It’s definitely my genre of preference. I find it more interesting than watching normal, everyday-like shows. I feel like that’s life. As a preference, I’ve always enjoyed sci-fi. I think it’s important — it takes you away from reality and allows you to be lost in what you’re watching.

GALO: What were some of the sci-fi shows that you watched while growing up?

EC: It was this show that my dad watched — Quantum Leap. I really enjoyed [it]. I [also] watched Xena: Warrior Princess. I was the biggest Xena fan.

GALO: I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they’re doing a Xena reboot!

EC: I know! I heard that! Maybe they’ll cast me! I’ve always gravitated to that type of genre: sci-fi and horror — fantasy a bit more, but I definitely enjoyed both.

GALO: Is there any specific sci-fi role or fictional character that you modeled A.L.I.E. after?

EC: Because I watched so much sci-fi, there wasn’t [only] one role. There were movies I watched growing up. [For instance], there was Data (Brent Spiner) from Star Trek — all of these artificial intelligences and aliens. Because of all these artificial intelligences I [had] watched growing up, when I auditioned for her, I had an idea of what she should be [like]. Some people go to the polar opposite when they’re playing an artificial intelligence — [they’re] very human-like. I wanted to find a fine line, [sort of] in-between. I didn’t want to take the easy way out and make her human, [but] then I didn’t want to take the easy way out and make her a robot. I wanted her to [be] both.

GALO: If you were part of the 100, would you be one of the survivors who thrive or would you be someone who’d get picked off fairly early?

EC: I would thrive. I’m a tomboy. I’m a pretty tough cookie. I think I’m pretty durable. I think I would be fine. When everything’s going to crap, I don’t fear that.

I think when you have a child that’s when your survival skills start to come in more, because you have to start thinking about what their life would be like if it was just [them]. I’m the type of person that if I hear a noise in my house, I will get a knife and start walking toward it. I wouldn’t face it head-on. I would rather surprise them than [have] them surprise me.

GALO: You’ve said actors on The 100 are nothing like their characters. Are there any similarities you share with A.L.I.E. or are you two complete opposites?

EC: Am I like her? I mean, I would have to be because I came up with her in my imagination, so there would have to be a part of me [in her]. I think one of the other characteristics about her was that I wanted her to be really regal and powerful, like have a strong presence. What do I admire about her? I think I’m proud of how strong she is and how strong she came across.

GALO: As evidenced by social media, The 100 obviously has a lot of passionate fans. What’s the craziest fan reaction you’ve encountered since you’ve been on the show?

EC: I don’t think I’ve encountered anything crazy yet. One of the things I found really funny on Twitter was that the fans are very passionate about the characters that they love. There were a couple threats like, “A.L.I.E., don’t you dare touch Bellamy (Bobby Morley)!” So there were some funny Tweets that I retweeted, but other than that, nothing too crazy.

Catch the next episode of “The 100” this Thursday, April 14 on The CW at 9/8c (see trailer below!). Want to learn more about Erica Cerra and her endeavors? Follow her on Twitter @ericacerra.

Video courtesy of The CW Television Network.