Rhiannon Fish – The 100
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) This season on “The 100” Ontari was definitely a character that fans couldn’t stop talking about.
A) I think it was a great character and I think that even if people didn’t know it at the time, she was fun to hate. I think now that she is dead people are going, “Oh wait, she did bring something to the table that wasn’t terrible.” It was definitely, in my opinion, an enjoyable character because she was easy to hate that it was almost fun.
Q) What was it like for you portraying this character that people felt such passion towards in both ways?
A) If you’re doing something creative, you just want to provoke a response – whether it be negative or positive. It was such a huge response that was so negative. But that’s what that character was supposed to do. Everyone was so sad with the loss of Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) that it was almost like you could put your energy into hating someone and that was what Ontari was for, I believe.
Q) Ontari decides to become this fake commander and was so ruthless in keeping up the façade.
A) I think the tricky thing about Ontari was that she was so rotten to the core and that only was a result of her upbringing. So, I don’t think there was any way for her to survive. She was uneducated, too young and too stupid to ever really be able to survive in that environment.
Q) It is interesting though that this person that we as viewers had this deep animosity towards becomes a savior in a sense.
A) I agree! It was really cool. I was looking at different posts and a few people did pick up on that. It was the one the person who everyone hates the most that was essential in their survival in the end, and I think that was pretty cool.
Q) And Murphy, of all people, to be the one pumping Ontari’s heart!
A) That was so sweet in the script, and I remember there was a lot written around it when Clarke (Eliza Taylor) thanks Murphy, because if you look at previous seasons I don’t think he was ever thanked by anyone before. I thought Richard Harmon had a really beautiful look on his face that was like, “Aw! That’s okay.” Then, of course, he comes out with one of his classic Murphy (Richard Harmon) jokes. I just thought that was a beautiful moment. I think it will be really interesting for Season 4 because we wonder if he is going to continue on this journey since every season he seems to become a nicer person. So, it will be cool to see as the next season goes on if he continues on that path or relapses back to the way he used to be.
Q) Who else are you looking forward to following on their journey next season?
A) I think Season 4 will also be interesting for Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) because we saw her walking out after killing Pike (Michael Beach) looking like she didn’t give a shit at all. I think she might go to a really dark place, which will be very cool because she plays bad very, very well. I think it would be fun to see her as a bit of a bad guy.
Q) I mean Octavia had this kind of mic drop moment at the end with Pike then it was like, boom, out. And then what’s going to happen now that Clarke pulled the lever?
A) We can all speculate for months and we have no idea where they are going to go. And Seasons One, Two and Three have all been totally different! So, I am so excited to watch Season Four. I can’t wait!
Q) You’ll be back for Season 4, right? [laughs]
A) Right! [laughs] No, there are a few characters where they were stabbed in the stomach or shot somewhere that may come back. But once you are brain dead, your chest cavity is open and your heart is no longer beating, you are dead – dead. I know this is a sci-fi show, but I don’t think you can come back from that.
Q) Roan is one of those people we don’t know what happens to because we saw him shot, but carried away. Yet we don’t know if he died or was put in the dungeon.
A) Totally! And one of the reasons why this season is such a cliffhanger is because there are multiple characters that you don’t know if they are alive or dead. And I don’t know many shows that do that. Usually, you end on someone dying and that’s the end. That’s certainly not the case with this season of “The 100.”
Q) Your character spent the second half of the season finale laying on a table while all of this action happens around her. Was that all actually you?
A) It actually wasn’t my body lying on the table, which was probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever done. It was a plaster fitting of the exact replica of my body. It was just really bizarre! It was so cool, but so freaky. It was my head at the top, but my whole body was underneath that table. Then, it was the fake body propped on top and I was connected at the neck. They just put a cloth across my neck so you couldn’t see the difference in skin. I was there the whole day and I couldn’t get out because it was like a coffin. But I really enjoyed myself because I got to watch the scenes through squinty eyes. The fight scenes were amazing, and so were the emotional ones with Paige and Eliza and then you had Murphy and Emori (Luisa D’Oliveira). There was so much going on in that room that it was definitely very, very entertaining for me. I asked Eliza on the day if it actually felt like the blood transfusion was going into her. She said, “Yes, absolutely,” because you feel the liquid on your skin, but then you can’t see where it goes. So, in some weird mind trick it felt like you were actually hooked up to that. I spent so long under that table that sometimes my brain would flip and it would feel very, very real.
Q) Was filming the chest cavity scene difficult in any aspect for you at all?
A) It is going to sound weird, but it was in a sense because I didn’t have to do anything. Sometimes when you’re not doing anything it can be difficult. I got very fidgety. I wanted to watch what was going on but I would have just died if the director said, “Rhiannon, shut your eyes!” It was a long time of lying there.
Q) What were some of your favorite scenes from this season?
A) I think my favorite scenes were between Eliza and Paige [Turco.] That was some really beautiful stuff. Especially seeing all of those characters coming out of the City of Light and the huge rush of emotions afterwards. It was very beautiful, but intense at the same time.
Q) The whole season seemed to be about love and connection and the great lengths that they take us to.
A) I think it is great because it is all something we can relate to. Unfortunately, we all experience loss. A lot of us have loved and unfortunately, a lot of us have lost, too. I think it is very cool to see that portrayed because we’ve all been there. We’ve all felt heartbreak. To be able to turn on a TV and see characters enact stuff you have felt before makes it very relatable and I think “The 100” did a great job of that.
Q) What’s also incredible about the show is the friendships that are forged and the ones that are torn apart depending on the side you stand on.
A) Some of the friendships on this show between the characters are as good as the love connections on the show. Monty (Christopher Larkin) and Jasper (Devon Bostick) are a reason in itself to watch the show. Their friendship is just so heartwarming. A lot of shows skim over the friendships and just focus on the romantic relationships – and usually between a guy and a girl. I think “The 100” explores all kinds of relationships and really gives them time and energy. And the audience loves it!
Q) Murphy and Ontari had quite an interesting dynamic this season. Do you think that she had feelings for him or was it just manipulation?
A) I think that is obviously totally up to interpretation. The way I read it and tried to portray it was that she was also attracted to him. Of course, he could help her and he was essential in helping her portray this fake Commander façade. But I also think on some level she had a bit of a crush on him as well. I don’t really think she had much to gain by trying to get with him. It wasn’t going to help the situation at all. It wouldn’t have made her a better Commander or gotten her anywhere further. I think she really liked him. It certainly wasn’t a connection that Murphy has with Emori, but in her own twisted way I think she did like Murphy.
Q) We see Ontari take the chip. She initially is this badass Grounder girl but then becomes just another of A.L.I.E.’s chipped minions. Do you think Ontari’s vulnerability might have been her ultimate undoing?
A) I think the reason behind her doing it was the fact she was young and stupid and this person was here. Jaha just totally blew up the whole game that Ontari and Murphy had going on. She panicked and Jaha was saying, “I can give you everything you ever wanted. All you have to do is take the chip.” Of course, she was going to blindly follow him because she thought it was the answer to all of her problems. It worked for a little while, but of course I think, ultimately, her biggest mistake was taking the chip in the first place.
Q) First Ontari took the throne, and then once she swallowed the chip, there was A.L.I.E. in full control.
A) I loved the whole A.L.I.E. storyline and I thought that Erica [Cerra] did such a good job. In particular, the scene with Becca and A.L.I.E. together. I’d like to see more of Becca because she is really lovely and she can be helpful. I’m glad A.L.I.E. is dead, but I hope that maybe there is room for Becca to come back in the future.
Q) Ontari kind of cut corners by killing the Nightbloods and assumed the throne, I would have loved to see you do a fight scene.
A) I think that would have been cool. I would have loved that. The little bit that I did get to do was so much fun and the fights that they do choreograph on the show are some of the best on television, I believe. The fight between Lexa and Roan…Honestly, that was the best thing I’ve seen on a show in a long, long time. I would have loved to have done something like that, but maybe sometime in the future.
Q) Ontari definitely provided a lot of heart pounding (pun intended) moments this season, especially those intimate bath scenes.
A) I was reading the bath and the chain scenes and in more of a logistic way I thought, “I know I can’t be naked, but there is a lot of nudity alluded to here.” So, it was very, very nerve-wracking. It was certainly an experience I’ll never forget. I was standing in the bedroom on a fur rug wearing a flesh colored g-string and pasties. People were rubbing me down with oil and I was like, “What is this?! What show am I on?” When you’re doing it, it is sort of a strange out-of-body experience, but when you see it put together it looks wonderful. On the day, though, I was very, very nervous. It looked nice in the end so I was happy.
Q) Was that the hardest scene for you to film?
A) I’ve never come into anything as a guest before and it is scary because you don’t know how things are going to go. I was so surprised because it went so well. Everyone was so kind and so welcoming, but in that sense too I was still very, very nervous. I think the hardest scene was definitely the bath scene because prior to that I’d only shot the one scene with the queen and Clarke and pinning her to the table. So, I had only been around for like a day or so. Then, to come in and take off all my clothes and get into the bathtub in front of everyone was very daunting. They were very nice though. The AD would tell everyone on set to close their eyes and wait for me to get into the bathtub. They would wait for me to say I was in before everyone would open their eyes. It was very professional.
Q) We see Ontari put on Lexa’s cape and kind of dress the part of Heda.
A) I remember they put the shoulder cape on me and I looked in the mirror and cringed. I was like, “No one wants to see this and the audience is going to be so pissed off.” But I absolutely understood why she did it. She was so young and so stupid that in her mind she thought, “Lexa wore this so I have to wear this if anyone is going to believe me.” For the audience seeing Lexa wearing that, it was like Lexa’s superhero cape, and Ontari did not deserve to be wearing that at all.
Q) Do you know how old Ontari is supposed to be?
A) A specific age was never given, but I was thinking ballpark around the age of sixteen or seventeen years old. That was just a guess. I think what’s so great about “The 100,” in particular Season One, is it has that Lord of the Flies feeling where you wonder what the world would be like if it were essentially run by kids. I think they still explore that. These characters are so flawed and a lot of that is because they are very young and put under such immense pressure. It would be tough for anyone, let alone someone in their late teens. Humanity is literally in their hands. Talk about pressure! That’s a lot. It brings up these moral dilemmas that they go through. Fingers crossed that we’ll never be put in situations like these children are, but we can still think about it in our own time. If we were given the opportunity to take a pill that would wipe out all of the pain we have ever had but in turn we’d lose memories; I think there are people out there that would actually take it. Once you actually stop watching the show it stays with you and you think about what you would do in that situation.
Q) During the beginning of the season you shared some of your behind the scenes photos but you had to be quite secretive about it all. Will you be sharing any additional photos from the set? Did you take any photos of yourself on the throne?
A) At all costs I avoided taking a photo on the throne. There was actually someone there (a makeup artist) when I was sitting on the throne and covered in that black blood and she asked if I wanted to take a photo. I said no because I thought, no one wants to see that, everyone is going to be so offended. I should have taken one for myself, but at the time I thought it would cause too much trouble. I do have a few photos. I think after the photo of my prosthetic those are all of my photos.
Q) So many of the show’s stars appear at conventions all over, is that something you are interested in?
A) I’ve signed up to do a few next year. So, whether I’ll still be able to go I’m not sure, but I’d absolutely love to go. The fans of the show are just incredible! They are such vocal and kind people. I can’t get enough of them! I feel so fortunate. That’s probably for me one of the best things that has come out of the show. Just online, getting to meet and interact with such lovely people.
Q) You share so much love and positivity with fans through social media, and I really admire that.
A) People have said it to me that it feels like high school is the end and that your life doesn’t get better than that. It gets so much better that you can’t even believe it at the time. I think it is really nice to be able to talk to people going through that and say, “I’ve been there and it does get better.”
Q) What are some of your must-see TV shows?
A) I love Lena Dunham and all the women on the show “Girls.” As a woman, it’s so great to see a show run by women and they are all so great and so strong! They are not trying to present a perfect world that all of us can aspire to live in. That’s never going to happen. It’s real life and this is what is going to happen. With me being the age they are representing, I feel it is the best show.
Q) Do you have any upcoming projects?
A) At this point I don’t have much coming up. It’s scary, but exciting in the same sense. Being an actor living in LA, it’s tough. You can rarely go from job to job to job, but that keeps you so motivated. I’m certainly out there and very excited about what comes my way next.