Starting high school is hard enough on its own — but things only get more complicated when an alien race lands on your planet and decides to integrate itself into your angsty teenage world.
In The CW’s newest series, Star-Crossed, Aimee Teegarden plays Emery, a young girl who suddenly finds herself caught between two races when she starts to fall for Roman (Matt Lanter), an alien boy who recently started attending her school as part of an integration program. We caught up with Teegarden to talk about what viewers should know going into the show, the fun of its love triangle, and the day she got to embody an Atrian.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Going into this show, what do viewers need to know?
AIMEE TEEGARDEN: The show takes place in 2024. There are aliens that have crash landed in 2014, so it’s 10 years in the future, and it’s about [the] integration of seven aliens into the high school and the complications that go with it. There’s romance and there’s sci-fi and there’s action, so there’s a little bit of everything for everyone.
Do these aliens have special powers?
Over the course of the season, you get to know more about them, but one of the things they have the ability to breathe through their skin. So the markings — the Atrians have these black, almost tattoo looking things on their bodies, and through that, they can breathe under water; they can breathe through their skin.
Why have the aliens come to Earth?
As far as the story goes, the Atrians have told the humans that their planet was unlivable, so they got in their ship and they crash-landed on Earth. But as the season plays out, you find out that they may be not the whole story.
What do we need to know about your character, Emery?
Emery is the protagonist of the story. She spends a lot of her life in and out of the hospital with an auto-immune disease, so she’s a natural born fighter. She’s going into high school for the first time and she’s a bit naïve to certain things. But it’s interesting because you see the high school dynamic through her eyes as a newbie, and also through the Atrians’. With her, she sort of becomes the poster child for the Atrian movement of integration. She’s always fighting for the underdog.
A huge element of this show is Emery’s romance with Roman. What is it that draws her to him?
I think there’s just this magnetic energy between the two of them sort of overcoming everything else around them. It just keeps pulling them back together.
And they have a history, right?
When the Atrian ship lands on Earth, the Atrians all try to scatter because it turns into this epic battle scene between the two races, and Emery sees him hiding in her shed and tries to protect him and hide him. And then the guards come in and find him in the shed and have their guns aimed at her and him and he sort of stands in the way to try to protect her. He gets shot. Emery thinks he’s dead, and then 10 years later, she discovers that he didn’t die, and their romance starts off from there.
And I’ve heard about a potential love triangle, so what is Emery’s relationship with Grayson (Grey Damon)?
So Grayson is another kid she meets in high school who’s a bit of an outsider himself. He’s one of the first people she meets that’s nice to her, and talks about how awkward it is, and can connect with her feelings of being the new kid in school. He’s what you would want in a boyfriend. He’s sweet and nice and cares about her, and she’s kind of caught between what she should want and what she does want. And then, throughout the season, you get to know more about Grayson and Roman, and they both have some bad boy stuff.
You’ve filmed all 13 episodes. Do you have a favorite episode or moment you’re really looking to fans seeing?
One of my favorite moments is towards the end of the season. I get to embody an Atrian for a day. So I went through the whole works and got tattoos made especially for me and got a little Atrian flight suit and got to speak some Sondiv, which is the Atrian language developed by the same guy who developed Dothraki [from Game of Thrones]. That’s a fun fangirl moment that I got to have, because my character’s obviously not an alien, so getting to play an Atrian for a day was awesome. I’m excited to see how it looks.
So can a human become an Atrian?
A human can’t become an Atrian; they’re two different species. But there are some intergalactic hookups, so you could be a mixed breed. And there’s definitely a good amount of that that goes on as far as the hooking up on the show.
So how did you get to embody one?
I feel like if I told you that I’d give a lot of it away. [Laughs] You’ll have to tune it to see it.
Let’s talk about this new language, Sondiv. How do you go about learning it?
If there’s something Sondiv, the writers will write it out in English and then they will send it to the guy who created the language. And he doesn’t just create specific words, he does a whole entire language. You can come to him with any word or sentence or whatever and he will completely switch it into Sondiv and will tell you why this makes sense and what the origin of that word is. It’s insane and it’s beautiful and it’s its own art. We get a little MP3 downloadable thing where he will say the word in Sondiv super fast and then he’ll slow it down once, so I learned it just by putting the Sondiv on repeat over and over and over.
Is there anything else you want to add about why people should tune in?
I think that there’s something so beautiful about the relationship between Roman and Emery literally being from two different worlds, and their battle to overcome all the obstacles. There’s so many great characters and storylines and social issues that the show deals with that I’m excited to see everyone’s reaction to.
Star-Crossed premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW.