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TV Goodness Q&A: The 100’s Sachin Sahel [INTERVIEW] 

Photo Credit: Anderson Group PR
Photo Credit: Anderson Group PR

The CW series, The 100, has quickly become an addiction for many sci fi fans. From the stories to the characters to the actors, it works on all levels…in space and on the ground. TV Goodness recently chatted with actor Sachin Sahel, who plays Jackson on the drama. You’ll be able to tell how passionate he is about his show. He talks about getting to act alongside vets from Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Battlestar Galactica and Person of Interest. He geeks out over William Shatner live tweeting The 100. He reveals what it’s like to work on the ship side of things. And heads up, Supernatural fans. Sahel reflects on getting to work with a “terrifying” Misha Collins in the season seven premiere, “Meet the New Boss.”

TV GOODNESS: First of all, I am totally hooked on The 100.

Sachin Sahel: Yes, that is amazing. I love when people say that. It’s so good. You know what? I’m on it. But I love this show. 

TV GOODNESS: What do you love about it?

Sachin: The main thing is that it doesn’t pull its punches. I love that it just goes. It doesn’t spend ten years on one storyline or one idea. Where a lot of shows would draw out certain storylines, we just keep going and moving and on to the next thing. Every episode is a new thing. I keep telling everybody…in seven episodes we’ve done more than most people do in two seasons. 

TV GOODNESS: I already feel more emotionally invested in the characters of this show than I do for shows that have been on for two or three seasons. Do you agree?

Sachin: Watching that flashback episode with Bellamy; Kane just in episode seven, the emotional runs he went through in that episode; as well as Isaiah Washington. That moment where Isaiah Washington yells about his son…these actors, I think they do such a good job of creating such a whole life. You fully believe them, you know? They’ve all lived a full life and…I don’t know what it is but I tell everybody if I wasn’t on the show I would probably have a 100 t-shirt right now. 

TV GOODNESS: The first time I saw that “Jaha anguish over his son” scene, I swear I teared up.

Sachin: Yup, it was just so real. His [Isaiah’s] ability to make something so real and you believe everything that he says. I think all of them do such a great job. We all filmed on the Ark. So we got to see nothing of what the kids were doing on the ground. But to see what they’re doing now is — oh man — I’m good friends with Richard Harmon [John] and watching him in “Murphy’s Law” in episode four I was just like that is just…that is something special. ‘Cause he did all that. The hanging and when he got chucked down the mountain, he did all that stuff. He did not use a stunt guy so that’s just all him. Getting to see that stuff is great.

TV GOODNESS: What is it like to have your scenes on the Ark with actors from Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Grey’s Anatomy and Person of Interest?

Sachin: My first day on set on the pilot was the day that we had to walk Abby to the airlock. So my first day on set I’m walking next to Paige Turco, who plays Abby, who I get to work with every time I’m on set. She is a dream to work with. And then we walk in and there’s Henry Ian Cusick about to airlock her. And then all of a sudden Isaiah Washington walks in from the back. So most of the time that you see Jackson with this dumbfounded look on his face because something crazy is happening, it’s just literally me looking at these people saying this is where I am right now in my life. It’s great.

TV GOODNESS: When are we going to learn more about Jackson?

Sachin: Abby’s taking care of everybody on the ark. She’s trying to take care of the 100. Trying to make sure everybody on the ark is taken care of. Trying to find out what’s happening with her daughter. I think Jackson’s main role right now is to make sure that Abby’s okay. He’s there to make sure that she is functional for everybody else as well as doing his regular doctor duties. She needs somebody to take care of her, I guess. To make sure that when she needs something or if she needs help doing a surgery, that he will be there for her.

TV GOODNESS: What have you learned from working with Paige Turco?

Photo Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW
Photo Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW

Sachin: Everything. She has done so much. And she is such a breadth of knowledge that watching her work, her process, her ability to work through a scene and make sure it’s the best scene it can be…she finds the complete truth in what’s actually happening. Sometimes she finds things that the writers meant to be there that nobody else would even think of. Like little tidbits that bring our relationship together or just make a scene more true to what’s actually happening. If you think about all the circumstances that are going on in the Ark. The fact that we’ve been doing this for hours and she’d be a lot more tired. She wants to make sure it’s as real and as true as possible. And she does it. She doesn’t hold back when she does her stuff. It’s great.

TV GOODNESS: What is it like to be on the ship? Does it help you get into character?

Sachin: We are in this giant warehouse in Vancouver. And they have built each section of the Ark very close together. So when you’re walking through it you’re literally like…you’re walking through the Ark. So you can’t help but get completely immersed in that world. And when they have everybody set they have it all prepared, it’s even a little hot in there so you’re…you’re just warm. So when you’re trying to do surgery in there…that’s actually sweat. They did a great job of making sure the Ark was a real living, breathing entity. Because it’s a part of the show. It’s not just us up in the Ark. The Ark itself is this entity that…now we’re on a clock. We’re trying to figure out what to do. 

TV GOODNESS: Did you do any research for the more medical aspects that you have to do?

Sachin: Thank goodness on set we do have a doctor come in and inform us as to the real things that would happen. Now it is 97 years later so some things are going to be different. Where we’re not going to have as many supplies or maybe the procedures are going to be a little different. So we had to take that into account. We did have a doctor on set and we do have Isaiah Washington so if we need help from him, he was on a doctor show for a couple years. So we just ask the man himself.

TV GOODNESS: Can you talk about the success of the show? Right out of the gate it connected with viewers.

Sachin: That’s just a testament to [creator] Jason Rothenberg and the writers that are on the show because when we read the pilot we knew the potential for the show. We also talked about how this show could be something else. And because he himself is such a fan of such great shows. He loves Lost, he loves Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek, he himself is such a fan. So what we’re getting is somebody who is a fan of all those things, wanted to make a show. And he finally gets to make his baby into this show. So we read the pilot. We knew what it could be. And we got surprised every week when we got a new script. You’d just be sitting and waiting at your computer for the next script to see what else they could possibly do. After episode six, like, what else are they going to possibly do? And then they did this. And we just lost our minds. So when we saw that, we knew it was going to be something…but, granted, if you’re on it it’s hard to objective. So you’re hoping that the reviews come out and it’s as good as you hoped it was. The fact that people love it is just something special.

TV GOODNESS: Can you talk about the fact that William Shatner is live tweeting the show?

Sachin: It is just insane! William Shatner — Captain Kirk — is sitting in his chair and he’s tweeting. He’s watching us act and tweeting about it. Randomly, I was on Twitter that night that it happened and Jason Rothenberg just randomly had an idea and said, ‘I wonder what it’ll take for William Shatner to live tweet the episodes?’ And William Shatner read it. Replied. And then it just started rolling from there. And then he started tweeting. The whole cast was just losing their minds. Everybody was just geeking out. I mean he’s just such a good supporter of sci fi and the fact that he’s supporting this show which is hard sci fi — we’re trying to bring it back to the world — it’s a pleasure. It’s a blessing.

TV GOODNESS: How did the role of Jackson happen for you?

Sachin: I was in Vancouver and they came up here and I’m pretty sure they already had most of it cast. I went in with the casting director. I did my read. And then about a week later I got a callback. I walk in the room and everybody was there. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be. But Jason Rothenberg was there, the director, all the executive producers were in there. I was like, okay. I read my audition. I leave. I  wait two days and then all of a sudden I’m a doctor in space. It was funny how it went about. It just came out of nowhere and then a week later, there it is.

TV GOODNESS: What does your family think about this?

Sachin: They are so happy. My mom actually always wanted me to be a doctor. When I went into acting she was like, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to be a doctor? I think you’d be a good doctor.’ I’m like, ‘No mom, I think I really want to be an actor.’ Mom somehow always finds a way to be right so she’s like, ‘I told you you’d be a good doctor.’ And I said, ‘Yeah mom, you’re right.’ I’m just a doctor in space, that’s fine.

TV GOODNESS: You have a psychology degree, right?

Sachin: My parents really wanted me to go to school first before I wanted to be an actor. And I was kind of a brat, so I took psychology because I could take as many drama courses on the side as I could with a psychology degree. That would be the one that would allow you to take the most acting classes. But it was a blessing in disguise. Actually, psychology really helps you with acting and as well just going to a school for four years kind of just gives you some sort of knowledge base and I think I treat the career a little differently than I would have if I was an 18 year old that just kind of ran to Vancouver and tried to be an actor. It definitely helps. So good on you, parents. 

TV GOODNESS: You were in the season seven premiere of Supernatural “Meet the New Boss” and shared a scene with Misha Collins. How was that experience?

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 11.58.52 AMScreen Shot 2014-05-21 at 11.58.55 AM

Sachin: Misha Collins is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. When he turns on Castiel, he is terrifying. It’s funny how he makes that switch. Off camera he’d be talking to me. We were talking about acting and he was giving me advice about LA / Vancouver. And he was talking, he was a human being and being a great guy. And then all of a sudden he turns on Castiel. And that was the moment that Cas…when the Leviathans were in him. Also, he was going through a big change. So the moment he turns on Castiel it was like this is…this is very frightening. He has the ability to turn it on and off. He’s so good. 

TV GOODNESS: What are some of your favorite TV shows and why?

Sachin: I love Friday Night Lights. It’s just everything to me. Breaking Bad was amazing. I’m actually a big fan of House of Cards now too. Game of Thrones. Every week. Back in the day…I really miss ‘90s TV. I miss sitcoms like Fresh Prince, Seinfeld and Friends. I own every season of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. I’m a huge Superman fan. That show was just like…I mean, I’m going to find Teri Hatcher and just marry her one day.

TV GOODNESS: Sounds like you need to go to Comic-Con.

Sachin: One day in my life I will be at Comic-Con. I’m gonna be on that panel. It’s a foregone conclusion. It’ll happen one of these days. Whenever it may be. For whatever it may be. This is a dream. 

The 100 airs Wednesdays on the CW at 9/8c.

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