Titus Makin, Jr, previews STAR-CROSSED on The CW

Photo Credit: Manfred Baumann

Photo Credit: Manfred Baumann

Tonight on The CW, Star-Crossed episode 2 finds everyone dealing with the aftermath of the pilot, and what happens when [spoiler alert] the Atrians realize a human took down their peaceful leader.  I spent some time chatting with series star Titus Makin, Jr., about what’s coming up on the show, for his character and for the continued Human/Atrian battle!

Let’s start with the easy one – the show has action, romance, and what already felt like fully formed characters that drew me in.  What was it that drew you to wanting to be a part of Star-Crossed?
I’m a huge Sci-Fi buff, so literally reading a pilot that has a comedic element, that my character Lukas has, matched with the sci-fi element was kind of a done deal.  One of my favorite movies is Independence Day with Will Smith, so it was kind of that epic role dream come true [laughs]. Comedy and Sci-fi is the best!

The show was very even from the start – very good combination of comedy, drama, sci-fi, romance.  How much of you did you put into the character – did you work with the writers to flesh out his comedy?
I definitely think that’s a place we’re getting to. As far as the sci-fi goes with the show, they’re letting the audience grow with it. It gets more intense as the season goes on.  It doesn’t want to hit you too hard, too much sci-fi but literally as the season goes, it gets really cool.  As far as the comedy goes – the writers are definitely so lenient with those type of things I do.  If I read something, it’s like, what if I was to say this, they say “oh my gosh that works” or “let’s stay with this” – everyone gets that same cushion there to make it more natural.

What was it like to be filming in Louisiana?
It was different, in a sense.  I’m used to going on location and filming, but the only difference for this one was it was the longest I’ve ever shot on location.  For anything else, like a film, or guest starring or recurring on a show, it would maybe be three months max, and this was five to six months.  It was different due to the time, but it was amazing.  New Orleans was an awesome place to adventure around and meet the people there.  The food was awesome, the music was awesome.  If anywhere, that would be the best place to do it!  Obviously, everybody kind of hopes a show or movie will shoot in Los Angeles because our family and friends are there, so there are plusses and minuses, but more plusses on this one!

I’d have to imagine that being on location, being away from friends and family, it makes you bond quicker – you can tell even in pictures from the live-tweeting night last week that you all seem to enjoy each other so much as a result!
That is extremely true!  We went out to New Orleans – only two or three of us had been there before.  We wanted to bond, but did naturally bond, due to having each other, and being around each other all of the time.  It was one of those casts that definitely naturally had chemistry.  Sometimes, it can be awkward or drama filled, but this cast, seriously, everybody gets along.  We all never minded spending time with each other on and off screen, downtime, on set time, so it was great.

I think that’s why the show worked for me – I don’t know how long you had known Aimee [Teegarden], but I felt that it was a long-standing friendship upon introduction to the character.
That means so much – that’s really awesome to hear.  Like everybody else, I hadn’t met anybody before.  Some of them had worked together.  I was coming from the Glee world, and some of them had come from the CW world.  Upon shooting the pilot, it was just easy to create that relationship with Aimee.  She’s so sweet and we both like talking.

So we’ve now seen episode one and the audience has embraced it so far, from what I’ve seen.  What can you tease for us about what comes next? Where do we go now that Roman’s dad has been taken down?
It’s pretty clear where this may go now that Roman’s dad is taken out.  It makes for that much more drama.  We’re trying to work towards an acceptance here, but there will be things standing in the way of people whole-heartedly loving the Atrians.  This creates one of those issues that people have to latch onto.  There’s going to be a lot more drama.  So much exciting stuff.  You get to see more of the Atrian lifestyle in the next episode.  They kind of touched on a lot of things, and introduced a lot of people, and in the next episode, you get to see a little bit more of how these Atrians exist.

What comes up for Lukas – you said that he has to lose the comedy at some point because it gets so intense.  He’s that best friend, who is there to provide the levity, but it sounds like he really does get involved in this kind of scary world of the Atrian/Human interaction.
It’s just like real life.  The writers have a great sense of making it realistic even though it’s a created world.  Just like in everybody’s life, as positive as you are, there’s tough times.  Later in the season, Lukas…this is hard, I’m trying not to drop any hints [laughs], later in the season, he gets tied into some Atrian battlegrounds – he works as the middle man.  He’s not on either side.  He’s not opposed to the Atrians; he’s not opposed to the humans.  But by that, he’s kind of tossed into the middle, and put in a dangerous position.  Things get serious and it makes for a pretty awesome episode, dramatic episode.

You said you’re a fan of Sci-Fi – were you a fan of Battlestar Galactica?  Did having Tahmoh (Penikett) and Stephanie (Jacobsen) on set –
I actually hadn’t watched that, and I feel horrible [laughs], because I am a huge sci-fi fans. That’s one of the things that I haven’t’ watched, and I’m dying to.

I love that – a show in the first season to already have some of the sci-fi names that we all know, and I wondered how you felt about that!
I feel like a horrible person [laughs].

What would you compare the show to, for audiences who aren’t sure what it is, why to tune in?
Awkwardly enough, I always compare it to Glee.  It’s not only because it’s something I’m familiar with, but literally, it’s such an ensemble cast, for the storylines to come in the season, you’ll see exactly what I say that.  Not only are we dealing with controversy, and acceptance.  It’s really a futuristic story of modern day issues.  Stuff that is going on now, and just a different storyline. As the season goes, you’ll see exactly why I say this, but Glee, due to everybody having somebody to identify with, as far as the characters go.  Characters branch out, and we find out things about all of the different series regulars, and it’s really awesome.  Literally, that’s clearly my favorite word today [laughs], everybody will somebody to connect with.  Nobody feels left out.  That’s one thing that I think Glee hits wonderfully – so many different characters that make sense for the audience members, and it’s the same thing.  The writers were really great about branching out and feeling accepted in different ways.

I think it’s great, too, and you touched on it a little bit, is that just because it’s set in the future, it’s about acceptance, and things we’ve dealt with in our history.
It crosses some paths from racial acceptance, to today when there’s sexual orientation acceptance, you know what I mean?  There is always a new wave of issues that our nation is trying to accept and make “normal” so to speak.

Now that the full season is shot – has it been a collaborative effort the whole season?
I’ve kind of stood on the outskirts of that.  They’ve been open – hey do you guys have any questions or suggestions?  We’ll tell you where we want to go? Sometimes the network would put storylines somewhere else, but I personally like to stay on the outskirts and I like to experience it as it happens, as many questions as I could have, just for acting’s sake, I like getting it, and being surprised like everyone else.  It’s like living out my onscreen life.

That’s a question I ask a lot of people – do you enjoy knowing what’s coming, or do you prefer to find out on a week to week basis?
I’m totally a learner as he goes type of guy.  It’s less stress.  I don’t like to anticipate, and be like oh I have to act like this because I know this is what’s going to happen, because in life, we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone in the next hour, so I want to experience life with the characters.

Do you watch other sci-fi shows (cough, not Battlestar)? I know you mention Independence Day, as a movie, do you gravitate towards movies, or are there other shows?
I’m kind of both sides.  I’m definitely a sci-fi movie guy, but a show that I was hooked on for an extremely long time that was sci-fi based was Smallville, and that was my show for years.

I watched Smallville from start to finish, too, and what I loved about it, and a lot of similar CW shows, is that yes they focused on the supernatural, the super human world, but there is so much human stuff, so many relatable storylines, it’s not just about whether Clark will fly!
Exactly!  That’s what is so intriguing about it.  I look at another show, The Walking Dead, people think it’s just about the zombies, but there is so much character development in it, it’s like, oh this is really good.  I forgot that this is about a zombie attack.  You forget that there are aliens, because there is so much character stuff going on, and you’re invested in the story of each person’s life.

Looking back on the season, do you have a memory that stands out that you’re excited for the audience to see?
There’s a lot!  In an upcoming episode, a couple episodes, but there’s one in the middle where we have a really cool school dance.  It’s cool to take in what the school dance will be like in the future.  A lot of cool stuff happens with that.  I’m honestly – Lukas gets to do some extremely awesome things in the finale and the episode before the finale.  I’m excited for that.  Fingers crossed that we get that far, but the finale has some pretty cool stuff in store.

You mention the future – I liked in the pilot that they touched on technological advances in the future, but it’s only set 10 years down the line, so it was “future, future, future” all the time.
Right!  I think the writers have a great sense of that.  It’s easy to be like “oh we can create a future world, let’s make it out how we want” as opposed to sitting down and really think about 10 years.  In 10 years, things might not change that much.  I mean phones keep getting smaller and smaller, so they were able to adapt that.  Holograms?  They’ve already invented forms of holographic connection, so it was just one of those things where it’s like, let’s keep it realistic.  Obviously, fashion does its things and comes around full circle, so they just didn’t want to go too far, which I think was really smart on their part.

Do you get to do any green screen / CGI shooting as Lukas?
A lot of the stuff, we didn’t have to do much green screen stuff, and a lot of stuff was added in CGI, so you’d always have to look at a tape mark, or look really high at something that was really low when we were shooting, and added in post-production.

Star-Crossed airs Mondays on The CW at 8/7c.