Colin Ford Talks UNDER THE DOME, What Surprised Him about Season 1, Unanswered Questions, Losing Cast Members, Stephen King, and Pranks on Set

     November 14, 2013


Just in time for the holiday season, and as a perfect way to kill time until Season 2 airs in 2014, the much talked about CBS hit summer series Under the Dome is now on Blu-ray.  In addition to all 13 episodes, the collection includes never-before-seen special features with insight from Stephen King about how his best-selling story is being brought to life, a look at how the characters are being developed, a visit to the set and look at the costume design, the making of the pilot, and commentary about the overall series from the production team and cast members.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Colin Ford (who plays adventurous teenager, Joe McAlister) talked about what most surprised him about the journey of Season 1, which unanswered questions he’s dying to get the answers to, how difficult it’s been to already have lost some cast members, how awesome it is to have Stephen King’s involvement, the biggest challenges in making the show, the crazy pranks they pull on set, how he thinks he might react if he suddenly found himself trapped under a dome, and that he expects they’ll start shooting Season 2 in February or March of 2014.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are spoilers.  

under-the-dome-colin-fordCollider:  What was it like to be on the show that the talk of the summer?

COLIN FORD:  I’ll fill you in, that’s exactly what it was like for us while we were shooting it.  We would only get scripts a couple days before we were set up to start shooting it.  So, it was just as much of a surprise, week by week while we were shooting it, for us, as it was for the audience. 

Looking back on the season, what were you most surprised about, as far as where the story went or where your character ended up?

FORD:  I think the biggest mystery with my character was figuring out who the monarch was.  There were a lot of twists and turns there, as to who everybody thought it was.  I actually was convinced that it was Barbie (Mike Vogel) for awhile. 

Because some things were left unanswered, is there anything you’re dying to know the answer to when the show comes back?

FORD:  Yeah.  We ended it on a cliffhanger with Barbie in front of the whole town.  We need to wrap that up and see what happens with that.  I think Big Jim (Dean Norris) is going to have a lot of things that he’s going to have to deal with really soon.  I feel like it’s really an open playing field, right now.  The writers can take it anywhere, so whatever I say will just be wrong.

With a big cast like this, you’ve only really gotten to work with a fraction of your co-stars, so the possibilities seem endless, as far as the characters you could have storylines with.

FORD:  Yeah, exactly.  We may have all worked together before, but it might only have been in one big group scene.  But, I would love to work with other cast members that I didn’t necessarily get to have a lot of dialogue and on screen time with.  I would love to correlate some relationships with other cast members.  That would be awesome. 

This is a show where anybody can be a casualty, at any time, so you’ve already lost co-stars.  Is it difficult to never know who’s going to be around the next week? 

FORD:  Yeah, that’s crazy!  You never really know.  When we lost Jolene [Purdy], who played Dodee, I was really upset, and everybody was really, really upset about that.  We had a going away party for her.  We became a really big family unit.  While we were shooting, we all got our own temporary homes to stay in.  Five or six of us all got apartments in the same complex, and we were just hanging out every day, depending on who was working.  So, when we do have to lose certain members, it’s horrible.  When we lost Samantha Mathis, that was really upsetting for all of us, too.  

under the dome - colin fordWhen you first read this script, what was it about the story and the characters that appealed to you?  Did you have any familiarity with what it was, or were you new to the story?

FORD:  I was really new to it.  After I found out that I was going to be involved in the project, I was like, “I’m gonna read the book.”  And then, I got to set and asked my other cast members if they’d read the book, and some of them hadn’t and they provided reasons for why.  Some of the reasoning was that because it was going to change a little bit, they didn’t want to get familiar with their character in the book, and then have to change the way they played it on screen.  That made sense, so I stopped where I was in the book.  I was just excited to be working on a project with so many great people, like Stephen King and CBS.  I was really excited. 

How cool is it to know that Stephen King wants to be more involved and actually write episodes for Season 2?

FORD:  That’s awesome!  I can’t wait!  I know his episodes will be really, really, really crazy, out there and unexpected ‘cause that’s what his writing style is like.

What do you think would most surprise people, as far as what it takes to make this show and what the biggest challenges were with the first season?

FORD:  One of the biggest challenges is definitely having to see things that aren’t actually there and having to touch things, like the dome, when it’s not actually there, and making it as if it was real and was there.  We always try to do our due diligence to get that looking correctly on camera.  Sometimes we feel like it looks so ridiculous, but it works.  It’s crazy.  We just have to be on top of our game.  That’s the biggest thing when you’re playing with special effects on a big show like this.  There are a lot of complications sometimes.  And the seizures are hard, too.  I think they look a little silly.  I want to perfect it.  

The Season 1 Blu-ray has a lot of behind-the-scenes features on it, which is really cool with a show like this.  Do you have any memorable behind-the-scenes moments or experiences from this last season?

FORD:  They may not necessarily be behind-the-scenes stuff from the DVD, but there are some funny stories about things that went on while we were shooting.  People would play pranks on other people on set.  At one point in time, one of my cast members moved my car out of my garage and had a fake police officer come to the house and tell me that my car was stolen.  I was so sad.  And then, he was like, “Just kidding!”  It was horrible.  Pranks are probably the biggest thing.  I wish we could have gotten that on camera.  That would have probably been pretty funny. 

Did it turn into a competition for who could pull the best prank?

FORD:  Yeah, and mine were really bad.  They just weren’t good.  I tried to get Nicholas [Strong] back.  He’s the one who did that to me.  He’s a funny guy.  It was pretty much me and him, back and forth.  I’m going to plot a good one for Season 2.  He won’t even know. 

under-the-domeIt’s seems as though people in Chester’s Mill either see this dome as a tragedy or as an opportunity.  How do you think your character views it?

FORD:  I actually think that Joe views it as an opportunity because he’s met this new girl.  More opportunities for Joe have come up since the dome came down.  He’s smart, and it’s giving him something to do.  He’s figuring it out.  It also becomes an opportunity for him when the mini-dome becomes involved and there are real correlations between certain people and what’s going on with the dome.  I think it becomes important that they all figure out what it is and that they all work hard to understand that they have to deal with what’s right in front of them.  It’s not going to go away unless they figure it out.

You didn’t read the book, but are you ever tempted to look online to see how the story in the book ended?

FORD:  I haven’t done that.  I don’t know, and I don’t want to know yet.  If our ending is different, I don’t want to have a favorite.  I would not want to read the book and love the ending, and then get really upset about the fact that our show did not end that way. 

Is it exciting to get to play a role like this where, even though you’re one of the kids on the show, you have to act and react very much like an adult?  And is that something that you feel like you can relate to, given that you’re a kid who is also in a professional business?

FORD:  Yeah, but that being said, I’ve been working for several years and it is something I love to do.  So, acting like an adult and being professional on set and getting my work done has just been a lifestyle for me.  It’s not something I have to try hard to do, necessarily.  I definitely always try to stay as professional as possible, but at the same time, when I am off set, I am only 17 and I do like to hang out with my friends and go do things that 17-year-olds like to do, like skateboarding and surfing.  I do try to live a normal life. 

When you do a show like this, does it make you think about how you’d react and respond, if you suddenly found yourself separated by friends and loved ones by a dome?

FORD:  Yeah, and I can say that I don’t think I would react the way Joe did.  I don’t think I would be quite as heroic or brave.  I’d be way more freaked out.  I would do what the rest of the town does and panic and stock up on supplies.  I don’t know what I would do.  It would be chaos.  I wouldn’t be able to keep my cool as well as Joe has, this whole time. 

What’s it like to be a part of a show that has such a dedicated fan base?  Do you enjoy getting to meet fans and interact with them at conventions, and do you get people asking you questions about the show a lot?


FORD:  Yeah, I really enjoy meeting fans.  While the show was airing, I wouldn’t tell them anything that would give any episodes away, but I would say clever things and spark their interest, a little bit.  Now that the show has finished airing its first season, when they ask me questions, I don’t know the answers to them.  I’m just as anxious to know what happens next as they are. 

When do you start filming Season 2?

FORD: In February or March, I believe. 

Under the Dome is now available on Blu-ray/DVD.

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