Eli Goree – Dead of Summer
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) Your character Wells from “The 100” is still so beloved. How does that make you feel?
A) It’s been really cool to see how the fans have responded to that character. It’s kind of carried on a life even after two or three years since we shot that. I still get probably more references to that than anything else that I do.
Q) There is still lot of fan fiction that includes Wells.
A) I didn’t know there was fan fiction of Wells. I’m going to have to look into that.
Q) We are seeing you now on “Dead of Summer.” How was your character originally described to you?
A) I feel like the character has evolved so much from the very first time that I read about him. When they first showed me his character, the way he was described as was he had a lot of depth, but there was a certain lack of dimension. I felt like we could expand and make him more of a full person. In the pilot, I tried to bring a lot of humor along with the heavier material. I felt like a lot of the other characters were dramatic and heavy so I wanted to make sure I brought humor and lightness to his character. So, when the pilot was shot and they saw that, they started incorporating that more and I really like where he fits in the cast.
Q) He does have a great connection with Deb.
A) I think there is a smoothness to him and a timing, which also goes in well with the comedy I try to bring with him away. He is sure of who he is and I think in a way that Wells was not. Joel was really grounded. That’s the other thing, with the Deb storyline that’s always been there and that’s been cool. It’s a different generation having that love across generational gaps. It’s been interesting to work with Elizabeth Mitchell because she is so amazing. She is such a beautiful person and such a wonderful actress. Every scene I have with her makes me a better actor.
Q) Yes, Joel is friends with the camp counselors but he has a connection with Deb in a different way. Maybe she might be manipulating him or maybe has real feelings.
A) I think that for me it is cool because I live in three worlds with him: Joel in the past, the relationship with Deb where he is finding himself romantically and then he has an interaction with the other counselors. Honestly, he doesn’t fit in with the other counselors, which is kind of cool.
Q) What were your initial thoughts when you read the beginning scenes with Joel and Deb and the shift that might be happening with them?
A) I was very surprised. I found out who it was that I was going to be working with and then I was excited because I’m a huge fan of her. She’s such a beautiful person. I was definitely surprised when they told me. It was creative and it just fit. It fit with Joel and it was if they met in the middle in their own world. It might not have happened if they met in another place or another time, but since they are at that camp they were able to find that, which was nice. That is real life. There are moments when you have a connection with somebody.
Q) One of the other things I like about Joel and Deb is they bond over their favorite movies, but we also see that between Joel and Amy. How will that friendship further this season?
A) I think for Joel it is his passion. It’s what he loves. So, there is that connection that deepen their bond. He seems himself as a great director.
Q) How much were you told about the larger Camp Stillwater mystery?
A) We still don’t even know how the show ends. They are so secretive and they will tell you about your character, but it is very difficult because they don’t want anything to spill. Even the crew get scripts that are action and dialogue. They are very, very tightlipped around the show.
Q) In what ways are you similar to Joel?
A) Definitely with the love of film. I have always been a big film buff and love classic films. So, getting to play a character that loves that as well is pretty cool.
Q) The show is pretty inclusive, such as characters like Drew. How does that make you feel?
A) I try not to get into too much about it, but it there is the whole Black Lives Matter movement happening now and coming up you will see that Adam [Horowitz] and Eddie [Katsis] are very aware with the black community and have a voice. They use the show as a platform to have a voice.
Q) There is a wonderful relationship the cast shares as a core. I love to see your tweets when you share pranks with Alberto [Frezza.] Are you a participant and do you have a favorite so far?
A) Definitely Alfredo’s prank that I got on Twitter last week. He is consistent and relentless. He pranks the makeup people, the cast members and you never know what he is going to get you with. He’ll make weird noises and we’re in the woods and he is really good at it so you will think there is a bear next to you. He is just crazy like that! Anything that he does to Elizabeth [Lail] is really great. She just reacts so well to everything he does. He’ll pull out a twig and bother her with it. She just responds like a little kid, which is so funny.
Q) What can you tease about what we will be learning about Joel’s backstory?
A) I can tell you that my episode is coming very soon. There will be some announcements about that at Comic Con. I’ll make the announcements about that then. As far as his backstory, I can just tell you everyone who sees Joel, loves Joel and knows him as being grounded and very balanced that you know him as now I think they’ll get quite a shock when they see how he got there.
Q) The cast is quite active on social media. Do you enjoy the instant fan feedback you receive?
A) What is interesting is I never did social media work to this. I even joined “The 100” and I was never a part of social media. I get a letter here and there and sometimes people recognize you on the street, but with Twitter and Instagram every day you are getting pictures. People send you pictures that they drew of you and send you stories about how you inspired them. It’s phenomenal and it has really been quite amazing.
Q) What have been some of your most memorable moments from behind the scenes?
A) Every time someone dies on the show we spend a little time together and we go out to dinner since we know we are not going to see them for a couple of weeks or until they come back for the next episode. You never know if you will see them soon. So, when anyone dies on the show we have always taken some time to say goodbye. When we first started the show they had us all in the same hotel in Vancouver and it was a great experience because we got to bond. Then, we shoot outside of B.C. and it really feels like you are at summer camp. You feel like you are at camp with these people. You get up early and sit around camp fires with these people. You feel like you have bonded and connected. I made a joke with Alberto and Elizabeth that it would be interesting if we all lived in one big house together next for Season Two. It would be interesting if we did a reality show where it was behind the scenes. Then, the first thing Alberto said to me was, “I’d kill you.” The first thing Ronen [Rubenstein] said was, “There better be a hot tub.” So, I’ve found out everyone’s personality a little bit. [laughs]
Q) It’s nice to see you have formed such close bonds.
A) We stick pretty close together on set. A lot of times I’ll go on set even when I’m not shooting just because I like being around the guys and learning about other things happening on set. We spend a lot of time together, that’s for sure.
Q) The series highlights everybody’s greatest fears. What are some of yours?
A) I have some fears. I am afraid of heights, but not irrationally. I wouldn’t want to be skiing, that makes me nervous. If I’m high up on a tower and there isn’t a guardrail I get that woozy kind of feeling. Even on rollercoasters – I don’t do them. Anything with heights makes me a little uncomfortable. Also, I’m a swimmer. I can swim, but I’m not good at deep underwater swimming. I’m not a strong swimmer so if I’m in the ocean I get a little bit nervous.
Q) What have you taken away from working on “Dead of Summer?”
A) Being around these guys has really showed me a lot. All of them have strengths that I have learned from. Amber [Coney] writes a lot and writes her own stuff outside of the show. I abide from her in terms of doing other projects outside of acting. Ronen has a real passion for music so we spend a lot of time listening to the latest albums and artists. Alberto is the most interesting man in real life. He boxes and scuba divers and used to be a semi-professional soccer player. He was born and raised in Ethiopia, but is Italian. I spend of lot of time connecting with him. I feel like I gain something from each person and their individuality. I think that’s the strength of the show – the casting. I think they cast every character perfectly. I don’t think you could have gotten anyone better to play each role.
Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure to share with fans?
A) Next episode and the episode after that I think fans are really going to enjoy. Episode Four and five have a lot going on. Watch this week but I would especially encourage them watching episode five. It’s my favorite episode, I will say that.