The CW's The Tomorrow People pilot was centered on Stephen's (Robbie Amell) breakout, through which he was aided by Cara (Peyton List) and John (Luke Mitchell). There wasn't as much time to get to know the other key member of their group, though, the telekinetic Russell (Aaron Yoo). But Yoo-- and the show-- promises that will change soon!
"I was describing him to the writers, and I feel like he's the Id of the group. He doesn't think; he acts first and thinks later, which is going to get him into trouble. It all kind of goes along with telekinesis being the physical expression of mind, and he's very much about grabbing things and pushing things and punching things," Yoo said when LA TV Insider Examiner sat down with him on set.
"He's very much a bon vivant, and it comes from him having a lot of pain in his past, so there's almost like a drive to be the person that he is because he is either fighting or running away from something his past."
The Tomorrow People will be exploring each of its key characters' pasts-- to not only see them break out individually, as Stephen just has, but also to get a sense of the lives they lost when they chose to hide out underground. According to Yoo, Russell's is "fairly early on" in the season, and it was the most fun for him to get to play the whole range of the character. Russell broke out almost a decade earlier, and therefore he was a much different guy than the one we met in the pilot.
"You're going to get a good sense of it fairly quickly. The opening episodes go very deeply into our past-- not fully [but] I'd say by the time you get to where we are now, eight, nine episodes in, ten episodes in, you're going to feel like you know these characters very, very well. Not just their personalities but some of their deep, dark secrets," Yoo said.
As the audience comes to understand the characters individually, the specific relationships they have to each other will become clearer, too. Russell and Cara, for example, Yoo considers like brother and sister, at times finishing each other's sentences and "always pushing for a similar idea and direction." Russell and John, though, have more of a brotherly rivalry that Yoo says "grows over episodes" and which he compared to Wolverine and Cyclops.
"Russell's a lot of times at odds with John. John's kind of like the responsible 'We have to do what we have to do', and Russell's just kind of like 'Stop being the fun police guy'!" Yoo said.
And at first it seems Russell may be at odds with Stephen, too. After all, he is the "new kid," and he's a kid with powers stronger than any of the others. He is young and not in control yet and still trying to ride the line between both worlds and keep his loved ones close. Yoo said it is actually the latter that inspires some of the others and certainly makes Russell rethink his opinion of the kid. Stephen raises the question of why the Tomorrow People should have to live underground, like lesser citizens at all. He challenges the status quo and offers the promise of a better lifestyle.
"Initially Russell is very wary of the new kid, but it doesn't take that long for them to warm to each other because Stephen kind of proves his usefulness, and I think over the course of the pilot, especially, you see Russell going from a stance of stand-offishness or wariness to something more along the beginnings of friendship. Then as the episodes go along, they become better friends, but becoming better friends with Russell means he pulls you into dodgy situations, so that kind of comes into play later," Yoo said.
The Tomorrow People airs on The CW on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. Click here for our video chat with Yoo featuring a special guest appearance by (and potential storyline for) Yoo's dog Merlin!
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