Surprisingly, it's not a bad thing that Angie McAlister is locked up in a fallout shelter by crazed ex-fling Junior Rennie on Under the Dome — because at least it means she's alive.
In the Stephen King book, on which the CBS series is based, Angie actually died before the dome descended upon Chester's Mill, meaning Britt Robertson has already long outlived her novel counterpart. But the question remains how long she'll actually live since the deranged Junior (Alexander Koch) locked her up in his father's (Dean Norris) fallout shelter. To get the scoop on what's in store for those crazy love birds (sarcasm!), TVGuide.com turned to Robertson:
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Angie dies right off the bat in the book. So how happy were you to learn that she would actually survive the initial dropping of the dome?
Britt Robertson: I actually learned it in the opposite way. I obviously knew that I was going to be in more than one scene. So when I signed on to do the TV show, I was like, "OK, I should read the book." I started reading the book and then she's locked up in this closet and dead and is joined by another dead person who is a regular on this show. I kept reading the book thinking that my character was going to miraculously come back to life, but she never did. [Laughs] It was an interesting way to not have any information on my character except for the fact that they did reference her [posthumously] a few times throughout the book. I didn't have as much backstory as some of the other people have gotten for who their characters are based off the book. But I was definitely excited that they wanted to do more with my character than keep me dead in the closet.
Did that still make you nervous that at any point they could kill you off?
Robertson: Yes. It's interesting with these types of shows, I feel like that's a threat anyways. So you go into these kinds of shows and say, "Well, they really could kill me off in two or three episodes, but I guess since I do die in the books so quickly, that even makes that threat a little larger."
What will Angie be facing in that fallout shelter as she attempts to convince Junior to let her go?
Robertson: That's the battle I'll face for a good four episodes. When I first met with [executive producers] Brian [K. Vaughan] and Neal [Baer] before we even started shooting, they mentioned this idea that Angie has this way with not even just men, but people in general where she can manipulate them and get what she wants very easily by using different tactics. In a way, she's been doing this her entire life. When she gets trapped in this fallout shelter with a guy who she's known for the majority of her life — she knows him probably better than anyone — she uses every skill, every tactic, every manipulation that she can to get out of there. Ultimately, he's just not the person who she thinks he is. It's a really fascinating frustration for Angie because she's fighting being able to control him and manipulate him, yet she's being entrapped by this guy who is just insane. There's no reasoning with him.
How difficult has it been shooting all these scenes being locked up in the fallout shelter?
Robertson: All the fallout shelter scenes will be shot on one day, so I blow my load very quickly and thank God I have six days to recover until the next day where I get to kick and scream and freak out on Junior. [Laughs]
What will we learn about Angie through her time down there?
Robertson: We don't get to see very much of Angie's pre-dome life, but we actually just did this blog where it's supposed to be Joe (Colin Ford), myself and Junior, and it's meant to be our life before the dome. It's a two-minute video. It shows that Angie is this girl who has always wanted to get out of Chester's Mill, but she's never had the resources. It's made her this bitter person and she doesn't really care about anyone else but herself. Then she gets trapped in this fallout shelter and over the course of a few days, she starts to realize that mentality on life is not getting her anywhere. Through these episodes you see this breakdown of a young girl who has not really figured out how to properly live her life. In the later episodes, they definitely touch on that and you get to see the emotional transformation.
How will CBS' Under the Dome differ from Stephen King's novel?
There's a lot of chaos once the dome drops, but will anyone start to look for her?
Robertson: She does see her brother before she gets trapped, so the audience is going to think, "Why isn't her brother looking for her? He knows she's in the dome along with everyone else." But it goes back to who she is. She's a really independent free spirit. She has her own apartment and does whatever she wants to. There is the threat of maybe something happened to her, but there's also the reasoning that's just Angie. That's terrifying for her as well because no one is really looking for her at all.
Given that you've read the book, how similar will the series be to the original story?
Robertson: It's still so hard to say myself. There are a lot of similar ideas, but in the grand scheme, we don't even know if they'll be connected to the same kinds of things that they were in the book. The book is more of a guideline and Brian and Neal are using it as a structure for ideas that they can grow and spin and evolve on their own.
What are some of the issues that the Chester's Mill residents will start to face?
Robertson: They're pretty basic issues like death. The water starts to be toxic. Where are they going to get water? People are getting hungry and they want to eat. There's no way to get food unless they steal from the shops because money isn't really worth anything. Are the farmers going to let anyone eat? It's all really basic things that you really don't think about until they become a threat to your society. It's really crazy what people will do when their basic survival needs are taking from them.
Under the Dome airs Mondays at 10/9c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)