As Astrid on The CW's The Tomorrow People, Madeleine Mantock has the all-important role of keeping Stephen (Robbie Amell) connected to his human side. The two characters have been friends "since the sandpit," per Mantock, and she has been his closest confidant. But now that he has discovered there is a superior race of people out there and he is in fact one of them, he will be pulling away and becoming more distant. In part it is because he is just busy with his new double life and in part it is to subconsciously protect those he loves from what he actually is. But Astrid won't be pushed out of his life at all, let alone without a fight!
"This is a revelation that he's actually got superpowers, and I think he doesn't quite know how to translate that to someone who has been there for so long and has known him before that happened to him," Mantock said when LA TV Insider Examiner sat down with her on set.
"But certainly for quite awhile-- at least for the next couple of episodes-- they go back and forth with falling out and her sort of being like 'I don't know what's wrong with you; why don't you tell me? I'm on your side', and he just can't quite-- it never quite comes together to be like, 'Well, I'm actually quite fantastic!' So yeah, they do a lot of falling out and coming back together again and falling out because of the fact that he can't quite just tell her what's going on."
Mantock shared that though Astrid knows "something is off" and that he's off his meds, she doesn't believe he's actually going mad, "partly because she doesn't want him to be because she loves him." She keeps a positive approach, constantly trying to coax the truth out of Stephen by telling him she's not judging him and hoping to take on the world with him. But he certainly isn't making it easy on her.
"She's very suspicious. There's a scene in episode two or three where they've been falling out again, and she's like 'Look, I'm sick of this. Can we just be friends and hang out again and watch YouTube and watch, like, silly cats?' And he's like 'Yeah of course we can.' And they arrange a date, and then he just never shows up. She and his mom are sitting there really worried; they don't know what's happened; and so there are instances like that. 'I don't know who it is or who you're seeing or who you're working for,' but it's making you act against your word. [She's] worried about him more than anything," Mantock said.
But what actually does keep Astrid around is that she does have know him so well but she also has a bit of a crush on him.
"I mean, have you seen him?" Mantock laughed.
"She fancies the pants off him...and I guess it's that thing about knowing somebody so well and growing up with them and having a bit of a crush: I don't think she wants to let go of it. She's too hopeful, and she's too 'I really do believe that you're a good person and it seems like something bad is happening to you.' And obviously he's got a great jawline-- great genes!"
In the early part of the first season, Astrid won't get to meet any of the other Tomorrow People, and that is a good thing for the character because it keeps her safe from the new threats in Stephen's world. It's also a good thing for Stephen himself because he gets to be less "angsty" and "lighter, softer, more real, [and] more human" when he does find the time to hang out with his old friend. Astrid keeps him connected to who he was before a bomb was dropped in his world and he dropped into an underground society through teleportation. But for Mantock the actress, it does keep her somewhat contained, and she hopes to not only get to work with more of the cast soon but also take on some more action and stunt work for herself as well.
"I'm forever asking the stunts team 'Can I be a ninja?'" Mantock said.
"I had to play basketball the other day, and I was practicing so hard, and somebody came over and said 'So honestly, before today, had you ever held a basketball before?' And I was like 'No, how did you know!?' I was like bouncing around. But no, I'm desperate to do some stunts-- but only if I can look like Tomb Raider-- not if I'm going to look gangly. I want to be kick-ass!"
The Tomorrow People airs on The CW on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m.
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