Who is this Hillary and what is she like? Vega previews the role in this interview.
Zap2it: How would you describe your character on the show?
Alexa Vega: I play Hillary. Hillary is an ULTRA agent-in-training. And right now, what ULTRA is doing is kind of holding a competition for all of the agents-in-training. Basically, they’re saying, “If you’re a weak link or if you can’t do what it takes to be an ULTRA agent, you will be stripped of your powers.”
So it’s kind of keeping everyone on their toes. And because Hillary is already really competitive, she literally stops at nothing to become that top ULTRA agent. She doesn’t play nice. She’s cutthroat. She’s striving to be the best at everything, no matter what the cost. If something’s in her way, she’s going to remove it, no matter who it is or what it is — you’ve gotta remove it.
She can’t stand the fact that Jedikiah [Mark Pellegrino] has a nephew that is in ULTRA, because she feels like it isn’t fair and that he will have more privileges than her. She really tries to find Stephen’s weaknesses and exploit them. She’s basically slowly trying to take out every ULTRA agent-in-training so that she’s not stripped of her powers. She’s pretty brutal … She’s horrible — but super-fun to play.
Which characters come into contact with Hillary?
Right now it’s just everybody at ULTRA, which includes Stephen and Jedikiah. But at the end of this episode, because Hillary’s doing so much digging on Stephen, she witnesses him doing something with Astrid [Madeleine Mantock] that he should not be doing. And it’s interesting to see how she’s going to use that against them in episodes to come. Like I said, there’s not a lot of heart in that girl.
Is Hillary redeemable at all, or is she just a bad person?
With me, I always think that every bad character can be redeemable. It’s just a matter of what will take to get them there. As of right now though, she’s pretty awful.
With Hillary, she’s not really fighting for a cause — she’s fighting to survive. And she’s very emotionally disconnected from everything because she knows that she has to survive. That’s kind of what makes her hard to read or hard to be sympathetic with. She just doesn’t have sympathy. She just knows, “If I don’t have what it takes, they’re going to take my powers away and/or kill me.” So her survival instincts kind of kick in. She’s already a very smart girl and very strong. She’s that girl when the teacher asks a question, she’s the first one to answer and be on it. And that’s how she is with Jedikiah. She’s also very annoying, because she has to show him that she has what it takes to stay in ULTRA.
So basically, she’s like a really, really ruthless Hermione Granger from ‘Harry Potter’?
I would say she’s a combination of Hermione and Draco Malfoy.
What kind of challenges did you find in playing a character like this?
Honestly, I’ve never played a girl this ruthless, so it’s so hard. It’s so hard because I want her to be sympathetic in some way! I want to find that balance, but she’s just not there. That’s not who she is. So my natural instincts with her have to kind of be thrown out the window, and I have to just think, “What would I do if this were purely survival?” It’s like “The Hunger Games” comes in — “What would I do if I had to survive?” And that’s how you have to play Hillary.
This is just a purely life-or-death contest for her. And she looks at humans as the weaker species. And with her, she might as well be dead if she didn’t have her powers.
What drew you to the role of Hillary?
I loved the show, so when Robbie told me that this role came along, I liked how different it was. The one thing I will say about the characters I’ve been playing recently is they’re all strong and they kick serious a**. But aside from that, she’s so different from the roles I’ve played in the past. I’ve never had to play that conniving a character.
And it’s funny, because I just watched the episode last night — because I hadn’t seen the final cut before — and I am so unlikable! The facial expressions and just the little things that make her so annoying and unlikable. But she’s kind of that perfect competitor for Stephen’s character, and she definitely gives him a run for his money.
If you could pick any super-power, what would you go with?
I don’t know. I would say teleporting, but then I feel that I’d be so lazy I wouldn’t walk anywhere. And then I imagine becoming a big old blob teleporting. So probably not teleporting. Probably the telekinetic powers, in the sense of finding my inner strength to move things. Because you still have to use your strength for fighting and battles and picking stuff up. I think that would be awesome.
“The Tomorrow People” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.