Jeffrey Pierce Talks THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, Signing on to the Show, His Character’s Transformative Return, and the Impossible Pressure of Saving the World

     April 21, 2014


The CW drama series The Tomorrow People follows a generation of humans born with paranormal abilities, who are the next evolutionary leap of mankind.  Up until a year ago, Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell) was a “normal” teenager, but then he learned that he is part of a genetically advanced race that is being hunted down by a paramilitary group of scientists known as Ultra.  In Episode 20, “A Sort of Homecoming,” the return of Roger (Jeffrey Pierce) has everyone concerned about the consequences, if The Founder (Simon Merrells) were to find out.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Jeffrey Pierce talked about the impossible pressure on Roger to be the savior of the world, why he can’t just step back into life with his family, what he knew about his journey when he signed on to the show, how his return ends up transforming everyone, whether in good or bad ways, where the relationship between Roger and Jedikiah (Mark Pellegrino) goes from here, if John (Luke Mitchell) and Roger can find common ground again, and just how much the season finale will blow everyone away.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

The Tomorrow People - Mark Pellegrino and Jeffrey PierceCollider:  Do you feel pressure or a certain weight to the fact that your character has been built up so much this season, and now here you are?  Is it impossible to live up to that anticipation?

JEFFREY PIERCE:  I think that it ties in nicely to the story.  It’s impossible for anyone to meet the expectation of being the savior of the world.  So, the two things dovetail really well, in terms of how to approach it.  There is no matching that expectation, so you just do what you have to do, moment by moment, and let the chips fall where they may.  I took that to heart, as an actor, and it’s certainly apparent in the way that Roger was written, as well, in terms of what he has to do to get through.

What was it like to be on set for your first scene in the present day, with a good portion of the cast?  Was it fun to not be so isolated anymore?

PIERCE:  We’re on set for 16 hours a day, so I know all of them really well, from the pilot a year ago until now.  Despite the fact that story wise I’ve been very isolated from them, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know all of them and have lunch with them.  It’s very much been a family feeling, from the beginning.  They’ve always made me feel welcome and a part of it, even when I was encased in plexi-glass. 

With everything that Roger has been through, now that he’s finally awake and living in the real world, can he relax at all, or is his life still very much at risk?

PIERCE:  For Roger, coming back was not what he would have chosen, at this point.  But forced back into the war with The Founder, he sees that there’s not time to sit back.  He has an opportunity to try to stop The Founder, and it’s maybe 50/50, at best, but now that he’s out and back in his body, he’s gotta take the shot.  That’s the driving force.  If he could just eat the lotus flower and fall back into his family, and embrace the simplicity and beauty of those relationships, he would, but he knows that he can’t.

When you signed on to play this character, how much did you know about his journey ahead of time?  Did you know that you’d eventually be awake and alive in the present day?

PIERCE:  We knew that Roger had a role to play.  Precisely what that was gonna be was not defined.  Beyond that, there was an understanding of the relationship with Jedikiah and what he had to do, in order to try to protect his family, and in an extension of them, to protect the Tomorrow People and the whole world.  So, I knew those basics.  But in episodic television, they have to understand it in the room, and then carve it out.  I was not given a, “Hey, here’s what’s gonna happen in Episode 20?”  But Phil Klemmer is a storyteller worth trusting, and I was game for whatever they came up with.

What can you say about what’s to come for Roger, and where he goes from here? 

Jeffrey Pierce - The Tomorrow PeoplePIERCE:  Roger is a match thrown into gasoline.   The ripples that happen when he returns, for every single character in the show, everyone ends up transformed, some in positive ways and some not.  There’s a reckoning coming for everybody, and Roger brings it full circle.  It certainly changes the game.

The Tomorrow People have been waiting for Roger to wake up and be their savior, but all he wants to do is spent time with his family.  What can you say about the tension that will cause?

PIERCE:  I think it’s really tough for the Tomorrow People, who have sacrificed a great deal, across the board.  Whether it’s Russell or Cara or John, they’ve all committed themselves to believing this guy, and his return is not necessarily what they expected, nor could it be, just in terms of living up to those expectations.  Just because you’ve been tagged as the savior of the world, doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily a perfect human being who will make all of the right decisions.  I think that one of the many human facets of Roger is that lack of perfection and that lack of ability to be everything to everyone.  It gave me a lot of interesting things to play, over the final three hours of this season.

Having been away from them for so long, how are things between them?  Are they as open to his return, as he would like them to be?

PIERCE:  For Roger, stepping back into his old life is not an option.  I think he wishes that it was.  In a perfect world, he would fall right back into his marriage and into being a father.  But because of the choices that he made, and the choices that Jedikiah made, he has to risk something far greater, in order to potentially safeguard them.

Since there are obviously not too many quiet moments on this show, especially as it gets closer to the finale, was it fun to do a scene at the dinner table and get to have some family interaction?

PIERCE:  Yeah.  I don’t want to spoil it, but Roger is going off to war, in a sense, and this is his one moment to be able to embrace that memory and the love that he feels for his family.  The opportunity to taste that one last time, potentially, is something that he takes full advantage of.  Life is sweetest when it could go away tomorrow, and he is trying to embrace that.  So, yeah, it was fun to have that moment.

Where does the relationship between Roger and Jedikiah go from here?  Should we be suspicious of the true motives there?

The Tomorrow People - Jeffrey Pierce, Luke Mitchell, Sarah Clarke and Robbie AmellPIERCE:  Suspicious, perhaps, but they have a tortured relationship.  Jedikiah has done things that it kills Roger to know that his brother did.  Jedikiah betrayed his soul, as a human being.  He’s murdered and had to do things that are unconscionable to convince The Founder that he was on his side.  So, there’s a lot of unspoken chaos between the two of them, and there’s also an extraordinary amount of love.  I could forgive my own brother of anything, at the end of the day, because we’re brothers.  You can’t get in between that blood.  They’re both compromised, in many ways.  It’s very painful for Jedikiah, that Roger is back, because he’s forced to look in the mirror in ways that he hasn’t, in a long time.

There have been a number of big reveals this season, in regard to your character and his family.  What has been the most surprising story reveal for you?

PIERCE:  Maybe not surprising, but one of the moments where you think, “Oh, god, I can’t believe they did that,” for me was the manipulation of John.  What Jedikiah and Roger has to feel was at stake, in order to do something so cynical was a really big moment.  That is echoed for me, in terms of trying to understand how these guys made choices that were for the greater good, that were, in many ways, evil choices.  The fact that those moments of compromise haunt Roger and Jedikiah is really important because it makes them human.  It gets them out of the world of black and white, and into the world of flawed humanity.  Having to deal with the repercussions and the reckoning for having done those things is important storytelling to do, in this day and age. 

Where does the relationship between Roger and John go from here?  Is there any way for it to ever not be on shaky ground? 

PIERCE:  I think it’s a question for both of them, as far as what they’re willing to sacrifice themselves for, and the choices that they make from here.  Forgiveness is a sacrifice.  You’re giving up being right about something, whether you’re right or wrong about it.  That is a painful thing for anyone to do, but you can only really grow and be unstuck from being where you are by coming to terms with that.  In rather unpredictable ways, both Roger and John become unstuck from their past by the actions that they take.

Without giving anything away, what was your reaction when you read the finale script and learned how things would wrap up for this season and for your character?

PIERCE:  It’s extraordinary.  The massive storytelling that Phil and the writers’ room are doing in these final three hours is incredibly high-stakes, thrilling, wonderful and moving.  It’s everything that you could ever hope for on TV.  I think that anybody who’s been in the world for the past 19 hours is gonna be blown away by this final chapter in the season.  And where it leads to, in terms of everyone’s transformation and what can happen come Season 2, is gonna blow people away.  It’s really exciting.

The Tomorrow People airs on Monday nights on The CW.

The Tomorrow People cast