'Tomorrow People': Jason Dohring on Playing John's Darker Half and a Guy 'Unhinged'
The "Veronica Mars" alum previews the Oct. 30 episode, "Kill or Be Killed," which reveals more about how John Young, the Tomorrow People leader, came to be.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead from Wednesday's episode.]
John Young has met his match on The Tomorrow People.
After exploring Cara's past, The CW drama turns its focus on the de facto leader of the Tomorrow People in the Oct. 30 episode, "Kill or Be Killed." Set on fighting back against Ultra, the organization that wants to wipe out his kind, John's past comes bubbling to the surface when the vengeful Killian McCrane, a dangerous operative with whom he had ties at Ultra, comes back to town on a fiery rampage after years in hiding.
In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Veronica Mars alum Jason Dohring -- who plays Killian -- discusses playing a character described as the "dark version of John," why Killian decided to return now and what a Killian/John team-up would look like.
How would you describe Killian McCrane?
The way it was described to me was Killian is the dark version of John. He and John were both children, in a sick way, of Jedikiah. He raised these guys, he brought them up, he changed them to his own ends. They're both dealing with it in a different way. John just wants to separate from the humans and Killian just wants to wipe them off from the face of the Earth. It's the first story in The Tomorrow People where in essence it vindicates the agenda of the bad guy. You can see that although Killian's this dangerous, unhinged, paranormal guy who wants to inflict injury on the human race, he's doing it out of revenge on [Jedikiah] who genetically programmed him to protect humankind.
Killian and John do represent opposite ends of the spectrum.
Absolutely, and yet they grew up together so they have all that backstory. I think John was treated more fairly there, which is also why Killian takes his aggression out on the world.
Is there an aspect to Killian's personality or his perspective on the world that played into why he went down a much more destructive path?
For sure. I created different things that happened to Killian that made him feel more alienated so it would make sense to play the role. I would create different things that would happen at Ultra: What kind of drugs [were used]? What kind of torture did they use on this guy?
The differences between Killian and John are apparent, but how are they similar?
They both have a freak quality and it was a small group of children that were picked up for that purpose. When you have that kind of bond, that's what you're seeing in the episode. These guys do have a past where they can relate to each other and he's probably the only guy who can relate to Killian.
Is there a part of him that wishes he turned out more like John?
He has different opinions of John. I'd like to believe that there was some good quality in him. I think he thinks that John is weak. He thinks he's light years ahead of John in ability to fight and power. He was shaped how he was shaped. I don't think he thinks he was the worst qualities of John.
Why did Killian pick this particular moment to resurface?
That's a good point. I don't know if I gave too much attention to that as I could have. Maybe he was just waiting to find out how he felt, getting his feelings under control. Now that he was away from Ultra for a while, the more he stewed on it, he turned his vengeance to Jedikiah and what he was trying to do. [For him] Jedikiah equals human race, which then equals destroying the human race. That's sort of his thinking.
If Killian and John teamed up for the same cause, what would that look like?
I asked about that too. If they teamed up, they could destroy humankind. I think there's a screw loose with this guy [Killian]. He thinks humankind is dangerous and those people who drugged him at Ultra are the ones who are trying to destroy him and turn him different than what he is and harness his powers.
This episode also featured a lot of stuntwork for you and Luke. Any behind-the-scenes stories filming those fights?
With Luke he's probably too modest but he actually was doing a fight scene one day -- we came in just to do a little prep in the morning with our stunt guys -- and he caught a little punch and he actually had to go to the hospital to get stitches. It gets real, dude. If you miss a punch or a block, it gets real because it's so fast. It's not like one punch here; maybe it's a 15-second dance of 15 punches and kicks, that sort of thing. You're having to duck, move out of the way. I thought, "OK, we're going to go 25 percent," and they were like, "100 percent." I guess I was totally thinking I was John Wayne stepping onto a Western, where it's one punch and you go down. (Laughs.) I was disabused of that idea very quickly.
The Tomorrow People airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.