If you’re invested in thrilling dramas, chances are you’ve seen actor Richard Harmon before. His impressive list of credits include the likes of Bates Hotel, Continuum, and The Killing, though he’s also acted in films like The Age of Adaline and If I Had Wings. Most recently, he’s gained attention for his role in the hit CW show The 100. The show follows a group of teenage prisoners as they set out on Earth, which had been abandoned for a space station called The Ark after a nuclear disaster. While they have been sent to test the planet’s habitability, they must also learn how to survive with not only each other, but with the Earth’s mysterious and dangerous inhabitants. Harmon plays John Murphy, a dark, brooding character with a violent streak. But as he spends more time on Earth, his rigid exterior seems to be softening, leaving viewers eager to learn more about his background and the reason he was imprisoned in the first place. We talked with Richard Harmon about his experience playing Murphy, as well as his future projects and the role of his dreams.
Cliché: John Murphy’s come a long way. What can we expect from John this season?
Richard Harmon: You’re right. He’s come a very long way, both in distance and mentally. As far as this season is concerned, I believe we will continue to see that growth from him mentally and emotionally. I think you will notice his morals change slightly and [Murphy] starts to take others into that very tight circle he has. The characters on this show have no choice but to constantly evolve. There is too much going on around them for them to remain the same people they once were. Evolve or die.
Will we learn more about his background, like why he was arrested prior to season one?
Yes, we do get to learn a little bit about Murphy’s past, which I don’t think anyone was more excited to hear about than I was. I knew nothing about who he was or what the circumstances were that led him to getting arrested when we started the show, so I’m always excited to learn more about his past.
What has been your favorite scene to shoot of the series? What about your favorite storyline?
My favorite scene was easily the first scene of season three. It was a montage sequence where I am stuck in a bunker, and over the course of 80 days, you see my mental state crumble. What made it so much fun was that it’s very freeing to just let loose and go crazy and not have anyone tell you you’ve gone too far. ‘Too far’ was good, in this case. I owe a lot to our director Dean White for that scene; we both fought very hard for it, and I think it turned out great.
My favorite storyline, I think, was the “City of Light” storyline I had in season two, where Isaiah Washington and I were in the desert looking for this safe haven called The City of Light. Isaiah and I have great chemistry on set, and it was a pleasure going on and getting to battle him every day.
What do you enjoy about playing this character?
Honestly, what I love most is that we established him in the first season as a person who might do anything at any given time. So when I play him now, I feel complete freedom that no matter what choice I make, it probably remains true to the character.
On television, you’ve played other “bad boys,” like Jasper Ames on The Killing. Is there something in these characters that you’re drawn to?
I think originally it was just my look that drew those characters to me, but over time, I’ve fallen in love with playing them.
Who has been your favorite character to play so far?
I have been so lucky in my career to already have so many fun characters under my belt. There is no way that I could choose a favorite. I’m very grateful to all the people who have hired me in all these different roles. My life would be very different without them.
Is there a specific kind of character that you’re dying to portray or a specific TV/film genre that you’d love to get involved in?
The character I would give anything to play would be Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. There is also a movie I am trying to get into development right now, and if I ever get to shoot it, it would be a dream come true. But I can’t talk too much about it at this stage.
Besides The 100, are there any other projects of yours that we should keep an eye out for?
A fun little horror/comedy I did called Puppet Killer is in post-production right now. That movie should be fun to watch.
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“Richard Harmon Chats ‘The 100’ and His Favorite Roles” was originally published as “Down To Earth” in Cliché Magazine’s April/May 2016 issue. Photographed by Kyla Hemmelgarn.