There was no one truly innocent in the world of The 100, but Maya Vie came as close as possible.
From the moment we met Maya, so much of who she was came from her attempts to help people. She was a self-made revolutionary, and there was no way any of our main characters could have survived without her.
She was selfless, but beyond that, she was an example of hope.
Maya inspired those around her to believe that there is a way to do better, even if Mount Weather said something different. There was room to be better people, and Maya never strayed from that ideal.
The audience experienced Maya, much like Jasper did, in awe and appreciation for the time we got to spend together.
Eve Harlow managed to deliver a stunning performance in a single season, laying the groundwork for a series-long legacy. She created a resilient, kind, and influential fan-favorite character.
Taking some time out to answer our questions, Eve Harlow shares her thoughts on Maya's time on the show and the message that she left behind with characters like Jasper Jordan.
Eve also shared what paintings she might save in a post-apocalyptic world and how she spent her time during quarantine.
What was it like being on a show like The 100?
There were loads of great things, but I remember a standout being how open Jason (Rothenberg) was about the actors bringing in their interpretations of the characters; it made for a very positive and encouraging space to work in.
When I first met him, he exuded so much assurance that I was Maya, it left no room for doubt and allowed me to just go all out in my ideas for her.
How did you approach playing a character like Maya?
As I would any character -- taking what's given to me at the time, and building a life/background that makes sense for that character to inhabit.
Maya's story had so many impossible choices that she had to make, and we learn a little bit about her backstory but not too much. Was there anything you added yourself to her backstory or any facts you created in your mind while playing her?
Every character, like every person, is a complex universe with a history, so I think it's inevitable for actors to come in and create backstories and facts that no one aside from them will ever know.
So in terms of coming up with all of that, yeah, I definitely do that with every character, with every project, and this one was no exception!
What was the most challenging part of playing Maya?
I'd say it was probably balancing being able to project and hold on to a sense of innocence while simultaneously carrying an understanding about the severity of the situation she and the people she loved were in.
How do you maintain hope and a belief that it will get better when everything seems to be telling you otherwise?
What was your favorite memory of being on The 100?
When I first met Chris (Larkin), I thought he hated me. But then fast forward a couple of weeks; we found out we're both voracious readers, die-hard music fans, and proceeded to spend every break we had in each other's trailers, playing whatever we happened to be loving at the moment.
I think that transition from, "Oh god, he hates me" to "Chris, listen to this song!" was probably my favorite. Also, grossing everyone out during lunch one day when I started to peel off the radiation makeup off my face.
Maya has left such a mark on the fans, with so many of them connecting to her warmth and her kindness. How is it for you as an actor to have a character that you played leave behind such an impact?
The best part was the turnaround people had.
When Maya was first introduced, I was inundated with Twitter messages proclaiming me to be evil and conniving. But by the end of the season, it was obvious that wasn't the case; that the feelings for Jasper were very much real, and Maya won the trust of the audience.
It was pretty great to see that play out.
Maya was one of the few characters on the show who was truly good. What was it like playing a character who was so kind even though there was so much darkness around her?
To make sense of that, I turned to my own belief about people -- that for the most part, we're resilient creatures who manage to remain hopeful, do good, come together, and overcome, even in the direst of times.
Rebecca Solnit wrote two phenomenal books on this, A Paradise Built in Hell and Hope in the Dark; both inspire quite a lot of confidence in the integrity of the human race.
A really important connection that Maya made was with Jasper, so much so that she influenced Jasper during his time on the show. How was it for you approaching those scenes between Jasper and Maya during Season 2?
I knew that Maya was slated to be Jasper's love interest, so I approached those scenes as you would when trying to build a budding romance -- be flirty as fuck. But, in like, a Mount-Weather-type flirting.
And Devon is a cutie; it wasn't hard.
Was there anybody you wish you shared more scenes with?
Yes! Christopher. Larkin. Chris is one of my best friends, and we now often talk about how we wish our characters had more time on screen together.
(Chris, if you're reading this, hi, now everyone knows we wish we had more scenes together).
The Mount Weather storyline, in general, was quite dark, how did you personally approach filming those scenes and balancing that with some of the more light-hearted content that Maya got?
I don't think that any grim situation is without its bright moments; if that weren't the case, humans just wouldn't be able to survive. We need silver linings. Leonard Cohen has a lyric that goes, "there is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in."
Maya was a sort of light in all the darkness of Mount Weather.
Maya's last line in Season 2 was "none of us is innocent" and as the last season of The 100 airs this is still a topic of discussion amongst the characters. Do you personally think the characters and humanity can do better?
Yes, both in fiction and life, we could always be doing better.
Maya shared with Jasper some of the paintings that were saved before the end of the world. Which paintings would you want to save in a potential apocalypse situation?
Why would you task me with that?! I love art too much!
A few of my favorites are Egon Schiele, Magritte, van Gogh, Odilon Redon, and Yayoi Kusama. I would be very happy if we could save any or all of their work.
Also, not to bring Chris into this again, but I would gift Larkin Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth since we're both fans of that one.
You had such an exciting appearance in Season 6 during Clarke's mind space scene. What was it like getting to come back to set and to film that take on Maya?
Not only was it a blast to approach her in such a totally new way, but everyone was so welcoming and kind on set after all the time that had gone by!
It was so fun!
What can you share about some of your current and upcoming projects? Or maybe what you are doing during all of this stuff that is happening in the world?
My next project is a show about AI called neXt. It starts airing on FOX on Oct 6th. Check. It. Out.
As for dealing with the world being on fire, I'm a big advocate of direct action, so I have been participating in a lot of that. Then there are the usual things I go to for comfort -- books, movies, music, and sending all my friends lots of postcards.
Also, full disclosure: went through a very short-lived bread-making phase; why does no one talk about how hard it is to make sourdough?!
For The 100 fans still looking for some more nostalgia, TV Fanatic has a special new ongoing The 100 interview series. "Looking Back on The 100" that centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left behind a legacy.
We then had the chance to take a walk down memory lane with the iconic Christopher Larkin, as he talked about his time playing Monty Green. And we got to hear Aaron Ginsburg's insight on his most iconic episodes and his writing journey on The 100.
Chai Hansen also looked back at the show with us when it came to his time on it as Ilian. And Charmaine DeGraté expanded on her writing journey with the show, as well as what it was like to write for Bellamy and Octavia Blake.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past.
The 100 airs on Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Share all your thoughts with us in the comments section! Stick around TV Fanatic for more features, slideshows, episode previews, interviews, and reviews of the upcoming season, and watch The 100 online if you need to catch up on the adventure.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.