'The 100 Q&A: Brenda Strong On Playing Ice Nation Queen Nia

On "The 100," Ice Queen Nia has been working behind the scenes to bring war.

All that changes on Thursday night when Nia comes face-to-face with the woman she wants to bring down – Lexa – and the woman whose head she put a bounty on -- Wanheda, aka Clarke.

"Dallas" alum Brenda Strong told Access Hollywood that playing the role of the fierce queen of Ice Nation, Nia, has been "exciting."

Brenda Strong as Ice Queen Nia in 'The 100' Season 3

Brenda Strong as Ice Queen Nia in 'The 100' Season 3 (The CW)

"There's a rawness to this character and I'm actually hoping most people don't realize that it's me and are surprised when they look up Queen Nia to find out, because it is a bit of a departure," Brenda told Access.

"I've been such a sci-fi fan my entire life. To be able to step into such an extraordinarily well-developed epic world of 'The 100' is such an honor to me and I just – I have so much respect for Jason [Rothenberg, 'The 100's' executive producer] and his vision and he was really instrumental in kind of helping Nia develop her look, both from a makeup and costume perspective," she added. "He was very involved in the process, so it was exciting to kind of find her together."

Brenda told Access more about her theories regarding why Queen Nia wants Lexa dead, and how she feels about Lexa imprisoning her TV son, Roan (Zach McGowan).

AccessHollywood.com: What is [Nia's] beef with Wanheda and Lexa? Why can't she get along with them?
Brenda Strong: Ultimately, I think the truth is whenever you have someone in power who thinks they know what's best for their people, and they're fiercely protective of their people, and it's in direct opposition to what someone else thinks is right for their people, you're going to have war, and I think that is really the thrust -- is she wants power, because it's what she feels will be best for her people. I'm guessing and I'm extrapolating and it's my conjecture, it's certainly not something Jason [Rothenberg] told me, but I'm thinking, based on the fact that the Ice Nation comes from a colder climate, there may be something in the planetary shift that is forcing them into a different area, and she needs to somehow take power so that her nation can survive. That's my guess. Again, he hasn't necessarily told me that, but my guess is that very much like our planet, when the resources start drying up, tribes have to move. It's been the history of this planet, and you can see migrations happen based on availability of other environmental factors to support life. So I honestly think that her need to take over Lexa has more to do with survival of her clan than anything else, but she probably doesn't like her very much either (laughs). So it's just an added bonus that she's getting to be in direct conflict with her.

Access: [Lexa] has your son and he's imprisoned – Roan. Is Nia worried at all about her baby boy?
Brenda: You know, I don't think Nia worries a lot. I think Nia's very calculated and I think she has thought through all of the different ramifications of Roan's banishment and what that will mean not only for him, but for her people and I think in a way, she's grooming him to be the leader that she knows he potentially can be and the banishment was probably an aspect of that -- and possibly even a ploy to get him deeper into the environment where she wants to take over. So I don't think she makes a move without thinking it all the way through and I do think she loves her son deeply and respects him, but I also think that she's grooming him. I don't think it sits very well with him, however (laughs). And sometimes, like we do with our children, we have to make very difficult decisions that they don't always understand, but as they get older, they start to understand the logic of it a little bit better.

Zach McGowan as Roan in 'The 100' Season 3

Zach McGowan as Roan in 'The 100' Season 3 (The CW)

Access: There's a big fight coming up in this episode, what can you tell us about filming it?

Brenda: Similar in some respects to filming a courtroom scene, there was a lot of block shooting that we did in order to maximize daylight. Our director Ed Fraiman was so incredible and incredibly patient. It's a very complex sequence of events that kind of culminates in the arc of the [episode] and it reminds me of kind of this epic, gladiator kind of scene. It's just very exciting, the dynamic cultural cross references that Jason has incorporated into this world. I think he touches on a lot of history and you see elements of it, and it just keeps making the environment richer and richer and richer with every episode. And obviously, you know [with] tribes, warring tribes, there's going to be fights – [there are] always fights and this one I think is pretty, pretty doggone epic. I can't say more than that, but I can say do not blink. It's going to be phenomenal and surprising and really exciting.

"The 100" airs Thursday at 9/8c on The CW.

-- Jolie Lash

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