Breaking out of the dome with Colin Ford at MCM Birmingham Comic Con

Colin Ford at MCM Birmingham (4)

“It’s awesome,” said Colin Ford when asked what it was like to meet his fans at MCM Birmingham Comic Con. “I get to hear about other TV shows that are out. I also get to hear about what you guys like about the projects I’m working on. It’s kinda cool to find the same connections that the audience members have.”

Portraying Joe McAlister in CBS’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Under the Dome, Colin Ford took to the stage to answer questions about his involvement in the series, with the second season having recently come to an end on Channel 5 in the UK.

Questions went straight to attendees, with the first one asking whether Colin was still watching Supernatural, having played the young Sam Winchester is some episodes of the series. Colin said that he does still watch the show, but is about “a season and a half behind,” so he requested that the audience not spoil anything for him. “Before I started doing Supernatural I watched every season that was out at the time,” said Colin, saying that he was studying the character and trying to tap into the mindset of a young Sam. “I love the show, I fell in love immediately with it and continue to watch it.”

He was then asked what it was like for him to have the author Stephen King involved in the production of Under the Dome, producing the series, as well as writing and making an appearance in one of the episodes in the second season. “It was excellent,” said Colin, saying that when Stephen King approached him he actually called him by his character’s name, Joe. “That threw me for a loop. I didn’t get to do the whole, ‘Nice to meet you, sir’ thing. It was just, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ He was just a really funny, nice guy. You wouldn’t think that from the way he writes. Getting to see him on set was really, really fun.”

Under the Dome (Britt Robertson, Colin Ford and Mackenzie Lintz)

The second season saw Joe lose his sister Angie (Britt Robertson). “Angie was very much like a mother figure to him,” said Colin. “Especially because his parents were outside of the dome and losing her was really hard for Joe.”

Asked on how early he was aware of Angie’s demise in the series, Colin said that it was about a month beforehand that everyone knew she was going to leave. He also revealed that the reason for her departure was because she had landed the lead role in Disney’s film Tomorrowland. “The dates weren’t going to work out when we were shooting the second season,” said Colin. “They tried to get her back. We wanted her to be a part of the show for as long as she could be, but she had an opportunity that she wanted to pursue.”

Because Joe is very technically driven, Colin was then quizzed on whether this was a trait he shared with his character. “I like phones and computers, I’m really good with that kind of stuff,” he responded. “I’m not as techie as Joe, he’s more into the science experiments. He’d be able to explain probably the entire periodic table, whereas I can only remember one through seven. There’s little things and little differences, but Joe and I are very similar.”

Colin Ford at MCM BirminghamWhen asked about favourite parts he has enjoyed playing on the show, Colin highlighted the irony of playing a character that, “almost had ultimate freedom in this town that was not free anymore. That’s kind of funny to think about. It’s also interesting to get to be free as a character and have complete control over my path. Even though I have to follow a script I still get to create Joe and figure out who that is.”

A question from an attendee had Colin being asked if he draws on any childhood experiences in any of his work. “In We Bought A Zoo I had to be pretty upset about the loss of my mother,” said Colin of his character Dylan in the film. “I have my mother, but I actually lost my grandmother at a very young age. I drew on that experience to play that sadness.”

Discussion moved to movies and if there were any particular genres he would love to be involved in. Colin said he would love to take part in a comic book film. “I would love to be a part of a Marvel film one day, that would be a lot of fun, right? Something with DC Comics? I really love the genre, but my heart’s with sci-fi because I’ve been doing it for so long.” He added that he didn’t feel like he was being typecast into any particular genre, but wanted to better himself as an actor by doing a variety of different things.

He was then questioned on how it felt for him to start acting at such a young age and if there was any advice he would offer to other young actors. “Starting at a young age is very difficult, due to the fact that you have to go to school as well as work and maintain a normal lifestyle,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is just to stay humble. Just have fun, try your hardest and don’t ever let anybody put you down.”

One attendee asked Colin if there were any jokers in the cast on Under the Dome that keep things lighthearted. “Dean Norris, 100 percent,” said Colin without hesitation. “And Dwight [Yoakam]. They crack each other up back and forth whenever they’re both working together.” He also added that Dean’s Twitter page is “pretty out there.”

Given the success of Under the Dome, Colin was asked at which point he realised just how globally popular the show was. “I think the first time I realised was when we did the Comic Con in London last year,” he said. “I didn’t know how large it was in the UK; I found out at that time. It was a huge smash over here, so that was really, really, really, really, really pleasing to me.”

When asked if there was any particular part of the show he could have changed if given the opportunity, Colin replied that he actually loved the direction that the show is going. “I wish they wouldn’t leave us on a cliffhanger every single episode though,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

Colin Ford at MCM Birmingham (3)Colin was then asked a hypothetical question – which characters from Under the Dome would he like to have on his side to survive a zombie apocalypse? He chose Junior Rennie, “because he’s kind of a bad ass,” Big Jim, “because he’s never let anyone stop him yet,” and Norrie, “because I need to protect her from the zombies.”

Following the trend, he was asked another hypothetical question, which show would he like Under the Dome to crossover with? “Ooh,” thought Colin. “If Breaking Bad was still on the air, then Breaking Bad.” His response resulted in some cheers from the audience. He then said, “Under the Dome tripping out!”

With the cosplayers at the convention, stage host Stuart Claw asked Colin which costumes he would dress himself and the cast in at a future convention. He revealed that he was considering dressing up for MCM Birmingham. “I was going to get a Superman costume, or something simple,” he said.

Stuart threw in his idea, suggesting, “You could all come as the Power Rangers.”

“Oh that’d be good,” said Colin, “I don’t know why I didn’t say that. I was going to do the Power Rangers for Halloween. Dibs on the red ranger though!”

Given that he was currently starring in a Stephen King adaptation, the final question had Colin being asked if there were any books he has read which he would like to see adapted into a TV series or film. “I read a book a long time ago, a Gary Paulsen book called Hatchet,” said Colin. “I love it, I’d really like for them to make a movie, but I don’t know why they haven’t yet.”

With that the panel came to an end. “Thank you so much for having me,” Colin told the crowd.

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