EXCLUSIVE Tracy Spiridakos Talks Revolution

What’s it like living in a world where you’re more likely to play with swords than with your iPhone? We spoke to Revolution‘s Charlie Matheson to find out.

Lightsaber duels go lo-fi.

After 15 years with the lights off, Charlie Matheson (played by Tracy Spiridakos) couldn’t remember what it was like to live in a world with electricity. Then, the ruling Monroe Militia invaded her village, killed her dad and abducted her brother, leaving her with no option but to go walkabout with her estranged Uncle Miles to try and track down her little bro. Cue many miles of swordfights, crossbows and (eventually) helicopters…

So, what was it that brought you to Revolution?
Oh, well, the people behind it is a pretty big draw. But I read the pilot and I just fell in love with the story, with Charlie, and the concept in general. It’s a really neat idea and I think it’s kind of interesting to think that way and what could possibly happen in that situation. I found it very fun to immerse myself in that world.

What was it about Charlie then? Did you go for any other roles?
Charlie was the role I went for, and I just love that she’s kind of flawed, and at the beginning she’s a little wide-eyed, a little naïve, and then we get to watch her grow. It’s such a great character arc getting to watch her go through these losses and watch her toughen up and watch the process of a warrior happen. These types of characters – you kind of see them already as the heroine and as this tough thing, but they’ve been though all those other things first to get to where they are. So, I love that Charlie has these things and she learns from these mistakes and applies it throughout the series.

When you first took on the role was there any specific sort of brief for the character?
We talked it out, but when I went for the audition I didn’t know what was going to happen later on in the series; I only knew what was going to happen in the pilot. But even in the pilot that’s such an impact, especially everything that happened with losing her dad. So I did my own character build and study and talked with Eric about it when I was auditioning for it.

How do you think she developed over season one?

Her growth is in her and Miles’ relationship. She just kind of starts off running at his heels, he tells her very little and she gets very frustrated. She’s having come from a very sheltered life and been thrown into a very different world that she’s never known. She gets a swift kick in the ass and gets a bit of a wake-up call to what this new world is actually all about. And she grows from that, becomes this strong woman, and by the end of the series, she’s very different than the girl you meet at the beginning.

Did you do much research to get the feel of what it would be like to live in a world without power?

I didn’t actually do any research but I grew up in a little village in Greece, where obviously we had power and electricity! But, you know, my grandma’s house, there was this big barrel thing you had to light a fire to warm up the water to get the shower going and everything like that – so a lot of basic stuff. I grew up running through our little village, running, playing outside, not much TV, and all that stuff – it was just not what we did. So, for me that was kind of what I was drawing from.

Given the concept of the show, did it make you think about how much we rely on technology?

Absolutely. It’s very interesting. I love my gadgets, my cellphones and so on. Being far away from my family as I constantly am, it’s the only way to keep in touch with everybody. I definitely rely on it so much, but at the same time I like the idea of switching off… When I go home now, I definitely ignore my phone a lot more. I play with it, I still use it, but when I go home, I remember I went through a phase where I would constantly be texting and my brothers would get so mad at me, and be like, “I’m right here. Talk to me!” but I was just in that phase. Now I end up getting in trouble as my agents are trying to get hold of me with emails and messages and I wont get them until hours later, and I’m always running behind and forgetting things.

So, with that in mind, do you think it’s better or worse for Charlie to get power back?
Power’s never been Charlie’s objective. From the beginning it’s been about her brother. She’s always just kind of put out to protect him. From the beginning it’s always been about that. She’s kind of at a loss, but power’s never been what it’s about for her. It’s always doing the right thing, family, community, and the people you love and helping them, more than anything else. She never lived with power, really. It went out when she was five, so her world would probably be quite different with it.

What are you looking forward to in season two? Can you tease it a little bit for us?
I wish I could! I don’t know anything. But I… I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes, especially as how the show ends is quite the cliffhanger. So, I’m really curious as to where Charlie’s going to go from here as I think there’s lots of different branches she could fan out, and kind of dabble in different things. So, I’m very interested. Everything really changes towards the end, the back-half of it. It’s almost a different show than the first half of it. We  end up getting Danny and that changes everything. Some things happen in episode 11 that obviously shift and change everything. So I’m very interested to see it going forward.

Stephen Kelly

Revolution airs on Sky1 HD on Friday nights at 9pm.

Read our interview with Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Tom Neville in the show.