A character that leaves behind a meaningful memory can be quite rare, especially if the character only has a limited amount of time to leave an impression.
Leah Gibson rose to the challenge and captivated the audience with her portrayal of Gina, adding a layer of love to an unmatched character.
Her presence was a breath of fresh air, making us believe that maybe there was a future where things were just wonderful.
Gina Martin also brought some happiness to our favorite leading man, Bellamy Blake. Although Bellamy and the audience weren't lucky enough to keep Gina with us, she still left her own legacy behind.
The time that we got to spend with Gina was an incredible memory, and it symbolized the possibility for more.
Gina's death was also an inspiration for fans to express their frustration with the character offering more than just her relationship with Bellamy.
Gina and Bellamy were lovely, but so was Gina's friendship with Raven, her contributions to her people, and her brilliant mind.
She left such an impact that even a hashtag formed for her entitled, "Gina Was Real." It was all about highlighting that Gina was more than just a girlfriend, and she shouldn't be forgotten just because she is gone.
Taking some time out to answer our questions, Leah Gibson shares her thoughts on how beloved Gina was to the audience and the connection she formed with her character.
Leah also talks about working with Bob Morley as her love interest in the show and her favorites memories from her time on set.
What was it like being on a show like The 100?
It was awesome and unexpected, as is the nature with many things in this industry. It happened very quickly and was a major surprise to me initially when it entered my life. I had a very busy work year that year, and I was living and working in Vancouver, where The 100 is filmed.
I was just coming off a TV show that we found out was going to be canceled, so I packed up my things and packed up my little car and drove down to LA. I stayed in LA for a week or two, just trying to sort of figure out how I was going to do that major transition because I am a Canadian-born actress and wanted to come down here [to LA]. Then, of course, I get this audition opportunity for The 100.
And what's funny; well, it's funny to me -- how things somehow are all related.
One of my closest friends at that time was Rhys Ward, who was in The 100 Season 1 as a character named Atom. So, he and I had just come up working on another show, The Returned, together. He and I were so close, so he was kind of my buddy in transitioning to LA. He was the person that was with me putting my audition on tape for The 100, which was so funny to me when I ended up getting the part.
The audition material was actually dummy sides, which means that there was no kind of real information about who the character was or what she would be up to. I think even her name was either nameless or something different.
It was just this audition material that had her speaking difficult engineering and scientific jargon.
That was the nature of the audition that I put on tape, and I knew it was for The 100 when we sent it out. Then, of course, right away, I get this interest, and they want me. So, I have to go back to Vancouver, when I had left to transition to be down here.
My time on The 100 was the best surprise -- it was so much fun, and it happened at a transitional point in my life. I didn't know what to expect of the character’s life or longevity, for one thing. And I remember being in a state of just gratitude and excitement for being there because Gina kind of showed up.
My first day with the cast and crew was on their first day of filming The 100 Season 3. Everyone was coming together again for the first time after the seasonal hiatus, so there was that energy. And here, of course, I show up as a character named Gina.
Well, she's a bit of a techie later on, but the nature of my role as Gina was to be the romantic interest. So, it was a fast change of gears. It was all very exciting. I remember feeling very gracious to be there and not really knowing what to expect of how long I would be on that show. No one really was saying anything at that point.
I remember arriving on set, and everyone was so warm and lovely, and Gina’s first scene was one of the opening scenes. Most of the cast was there, so there was a lot of exciting energy. Everyone was so fun. It was the dead of summer in Vancouver, and I felt thrilled to be there.
I was very aware I was stepping in to play a romantic interest to Bob, who has a lot of fan-following and consideration from [the fans], and I caught wind very quickly of the interest in romantic choices and shipping.
I remember meeting Bob Morley very quickly, having an aside with him, and looking him in the eye and just saying, "Look, I'm so happy to be here. I want to be here to support you. Is there anything you would like me to know before we begin about how I can do that? How can I do that to help you support Bellamy Blake? And how would you perceive and how you would hope for this relationship element and Bellamy's path to being honored right now?"
I wanted to honor him and his wishes, so we had a really lovely connection and respect. It was so much fun to collaborate in that sense.
As a fan of Bellamy and Clarke, actually, I did want to mention, I'm not sure if you know, but after Gina died, Bob Morley's character, Bellamy, talked about Gina on the show.
He talked about how Gina was real, and Bob then took that line and made it sort of this iconic thing. So I was curious if you were surprised by the impact Gina still has on the fans and how known she is in regards to the show's legacy?
It's so wonderful to feel that, in any sense, but seriously thank you.
I did catch that “Gina was real,” and I found it very moving and sweet.
As I said, from the beginning of my experience on the show, however brief it ended up being, that I felt grateful to be a part of it. I had great respect for all of the actors I worked with.
They had a couple of years together, this bond, and a wild ride in launching such a truly successful, heartfelt, and meaningful concept, that, in many ways, obviously touches and moves the fans, as it deserves to do so.
I researched before, even though it was a very quick turnaround between receiving the news that I would have the role and actually arriving on set. But with the time I had, I watched as much of everything that I hadn't seen yet.
There were a few sequences and elements of the storytelling that I felt so moving. The kind of moving that really speaks to the human condition, grief, loss, and longing. It speaks to the higher calling of it all and what brings us together and why at times, we are against one another.
There were just a few elements of it that really kind of grabbed me, and truthfully at the time, I was surprised by how moved I was by them. So, I did have that sentiment of respect for the material before I showed up. I thought, “Wow, this is talking about some beautiful, moving, and very human sentiments.”
So, in that sense, Gina had to end quickly. It’s all right; she's a part of the lost ones. And, she, perhaps, in some ways, presented that sense of loss, longing, and grief.
And to say Gina was real -- when I saw that fan response and that hashtag sort of floating about a bit, I did find it very moving. It goes to speak about losing someone. Are they really gone? They were here, and they still are here, somehow. It made an imprint that forever is real.
It’s Jason's moving way of capturing that sentiment and, in my experience, a lot the deeper qualities that The 100 speaks to.
We didn't know too much about Gina, unfortunately, except how Bellamy spoke about how positive and good she was. When you approached this role, did you try to build a backstory for her, or did you create some details that you thought fit who Gina was?
That’s such a great question. To be honest, I do remember having a few questions, but there was a fair amount that they didn't tell me. Her time was so brief, but I feel they purposefully withheld information because maybe they weren't exactly sure she would go so quickly, or maybe they did know and, and just didn't want to share.
Oftentimes, creatively speaking, if you know it too soon, sometimes it can affect [the performance]. Maybe, it's just a misconception that it would affect our performance. It’s strange to think that it would, but I'm not sure, regardless.
I would say, up until the day I showed up to film the death scene, I still wasn't quite sure if that was really what was happening. There was an air of mystery and secrecy about it. The writers and producers on set, and Jason, didn't want to tell me everything. At all.
And I don't really believe I could speak too much about this, but I do recall, very vividly, that there were some shakeups or some surprises in their dealings as producers. Jason had to deal with that, which was kind of unexpected for them. So, there was a little bit of shuffling, trying to figure out some puzzle pieces out of a surprising series of events.
I'm not sure if they were trying to find their own processes and figure it out, but there wasn't a lot told to me. I just wanted to honor that. The different elements of my experience with Gina were a surprise. And you just accept that and say, “Okay, well, here we are.
My priority is Bellamy, and I have this heartfelt relationship with him, and the most important thing to honor is that.” The most important thing for me to honor was the heart in it.
I wasn't even told how much Raven and Gina were to be close. Luckily, that's not hard at all because Lindsey’s awesome. And we were close after a couple of days of working together. It was just about being open to building as the information came to me.
Sometimes as wonderful as it is to create a character backstory, when you're in a situation creatively like this, the most important quality to have is to be able to be open.
And as wonderful as it is to create and flesh out the ideas of a character's life proceeding what we're about to film, unless everything is open, upfront, and given to you that way from a creative team, it's important for me to be fully present and alive with what's given to me, using that adaptability and the energy of the other characters close to me that I'm working with.
I hope that's a proper explanation for it. The more we talk about it, it's so amazing these images come to life. I remember how good the process was, but it was a bit of a running gun situation. I do remember the very beginning scenes with Bob, and for me, it was more an experience and a process that came to life.
Gina came to life to me so quickly with just her way, her spark, her Joie de vie. She’s been there with everybody. She's suffered great pain and tremendous hardship. She’s been wounded, but she's also there to forge ahead and make the most with the others. She tries to have a sense of humor and a sense of warmth and nurturing.
I loved her. She was nurturing with Bellamy but also understanding that he needed to be who he was and wanting to honor that. I remember identifying with those feminine qualities that made her a strong woman that I feel helped me connect with her, bringing her to life.
Bellamy and Gina's relationship was shortlived on screen, but they had an established connection and a really lovely relationship. How did you and Bob approach building that seamless connection into such a familiar feeling relationship?
I'm so glad. I showed up just wanting to honor Bob, wanting to honor him as an actor, wanting to honor him, and wanting to honor Bellamy.
And so, I remember having this aside with him on set, which was the first time we were meeting. There was a lot going on. It was tons of moving parts and the first day of filming. I remember saying, “I'm here to support you in whatever it is that you need. And any ideas that you have about wanting to honor different sentiments of your Bellamy. Please. I'm here to support that.”
He was very thoughtful, and it meant a lot to him that he honored that relationship in a particular way that brought a sense of intimacy to them quite quickly, by showing the way they looked at each other or their tender touches -- the sort of shorthand that you have with someone that you've already opened your heart to and shared that energy with.
A couple of times, we were scripted to kiss. Once in particular, we felt that it would be more intimate if we just shared a particular look and then a soft hand at the back of the neck. Things like that worked because they brought a more genuine, authentic intimacy to two lovers that have already been in that energy for quite some time.
He was wonderfully thoughtful with regards to bringing that real genuine quality to the relationship.
So you mentioned this a little already, but fans really loved that energy that you shared with Lindsey Morgan's character Raven. What was it like getting to film scenes that were a bit more lighthearted?
Oh my god, that was super fun. We had a couple together, but what I remember, of course, is the day Mr. Mendes showed up. I was a new guest on set and trying to make my way. Then to have this important day where a major global pop star shows up and makes a cameo? That was so exciting and sweet.
It was just a beautiful scene, too. I remember that scene between Raven and I, and, of course, Shawn Mendes. We catch him stealing, and then we play with him a bit. That was so funny.
What can I say about Lindsey? I'm in love with her. I've been in love with her for as long as I've known her. She's so awesome. We bonded right away. We have a lot in common, and we have mutual friends.
I think the absolute world of her, and we're still in touch.
She’s just so much fun. She's filled with life. She's deeply passionate and very committed to Raven and everything that she does. She works very hard and is very committed. It's just so much fun.
You take that energy with any woman, and it’s so wonderful to have to share a sister with that energy. She was just a wonderful blessing to be with.
I do recall that it was wonderful to have Paige as well. Paige and I did film a scene together that I don't think ever made the show, for whatever reason. I loved working with her too. I love seeing Paige, and she's a beautiful, beautiful soul.
Was there anyone you wish you shared more scenes with?
Well, of course, Miss Eliza Taylor. At that time, I just remember she had red hair. She was locked in a cave and was in a different direction.
I would have loved to have material with Eliza just for the sake of hanging out with her, but I'm fortunate enough to spend time with her outside of work. I love her so much, and she's just a joy. She's a pure light. I adore her. I actually got to know her a little bit more after I was even a part of the show.
Gina's last scene was really heartbreaking but also so heroic. What was the experience of filming those last moments of Gina's life for you?
Great. Nice and gory.
First of all, not only is the cast wonderful, but so is the crew. They were a joy. I remember bonding with a lot of the crew that I worked with on that show.
I distinctly remember when I was receiving some of my final make-up touches, which was like a chocolate sauce, because of course, she's been stabbed, blood’s coming out of the mouth, and she's sputtering blood.
But it was chocolate sauce. It's very tasty. One of the make-up artists doing my touches right before one of the last scenes whispered to me, “They can always cut this out of the film; it doesn't mean you're gone.”
And I said, “Well, whatever! I think we are filming it.” I still didn't know. Is she gone-gone? There was still that energy. It was sad, but it was also fun because it was a highly energized scene.
It started with great news; she found the thing and then immediately she is taken out by this grounder, who was a wonderful stuntman and a wonderful actor, too.
It’s a joy to always work in a physical way. This may sound like a strange thing to say, but to be able to honor a character through the end of their life is an honor in many ways, but it also has a nature of physicality about it. Often physicality is, of course, involved in a death scene, but it's fun, and you get to physicalize. You really get to be in the body.
It was physical, and it was difficult. It was challenging. It was painful, and I do remember the last scene with the clock in her eyes. That was one of the last shots I did. It was also very technical because I had to keep my eyes wide open without crying.
Of course, I had this emotion building up, and they needed to see this ticking clock numbers reflected in her eyes. It was fun, and it was fulfilling. It was sweet and very heartfelt all around.
What was your favorite memory from your time on The 100?
What comes to mind right now is one of our late-night shoots. It was a Friday night, and we were all there. It was reaching towards the middle of the night. There was a whole bunch of us on set. That was the night I hung out the most with Marie. I love her so much. It was great to have her around. Tasya was there and Bob.
I know that some pictures have surfaced online because they keep popping up. I think one of the writer/producers took some behind the scenes snaps of us that night. It was this really hot night, and there were these great big yellow tubes of air conditioning blowing cool air. We were all sitting back in between takes.
Those are the moments in between that you just love. Where else would we rather be? We are in kind company, there together, and doing the work that we love to do. Those moments definitely come to mind.
What did you learn from your time on the show?
I remember coming away from The 100 feeling really moved by the cast as a collective. The dynamic of every show is different. I've worked on many different TV projects now, and the energy and environment are very different with each one. It’s created by the energy of the actors and the crew, but largely the actors that you're working with.
They can be very different experiences, one show to the next.
On The 100, I was really moved by the dynamic between the castmates. There was a deep general sense of joy from all of them.
They were deeply committed to honoring their individual character storylines and bringing the best that they had with a lot of heart. There was also a tremendous amount of joy, camaraderie, and joking.
Having that sense of deep commitment collectively from everybody, and the play, the care, and the love for one another -- that really moved me. I still think about it a lot, to be honest.
They were so warm to me, and they didn't have to be. In other shows, that’s not the case.
The 100 was one of my favorite experiences in that way. As short-lived as she was, I did love Gina.
I loved her spark of life. I loved her energy. I loved her joy. I loved her joie de vie, and it was just a joy to embody that.
This is slightly unrelated to this, but very early on, people started joking by the end of the first day.
They started joking about Bellamy having this new girl, where she comes from, how long she been around. They started calling me J-eye-na, not Gina, but Gina because they thought it sounded funny.
It got to the point where everybody just called me Gina, and even the camera operators started calling me Gina. It was more of a dig at Bellamy, but it was so silly. I loved that. I loved the silliness and that kind of energy from everybody. It was great.
Coming off The 100, you have a really interesting career and your projects vary so much compared to one another. What is it like to go in and out of so many worlds?
That’s a good question. I don't know if I ever really considered that, preparing for or engaging in a project.
I start with the heart of the woman that I'm playing, and once that begins to come to life, and I feel that energy, everything else is informed. As I slightly mentioned earlier, flushing out ideas of the past of this person is so important.
Still, I've learned one of the most important qualities to have is to be open and flexible, arriving at the moment with all the preparation I've done, willing to completely adjust it according to whatever is in front of me, what the director is thinking to shift, or with whatever my co-star is bringing.
It’s truly such a collaborative experience in that way.
It’s a joy to be able to play the infinite range of human expression within many different sorts of worlds, as you put it.
Whether it's swinging drinks behind a bar, living off the streets as a homeless woman struggling through PTSD from intense trauma, or it’s something more high class and well adjusted.
It's trying to find the real human heart and sentiment within that woman and then following that pulse of life to inform everything else in the wonderful world that is created around us through the set-dec, costume, hair and make-up, and every element of the process that informs what is unfolding.
It’s such an intoxicating experience and to be able to share that process with your castmates and with the crew members around you; it's just truly one of the most profound experiences.
Of course, globally, most of us are still in quarantine where we're kind of in suspension from our daily life and habits. It’s an unprecedented time, and it's a time hopefully all of us can take to reflect on what's important to us and on the qualities of our lives and relationships.
For me, I have never loved my career as much as I do now when I can't physically be on set. It gives me such tremendous love for the memories that I have on the projects I've worked on, and The 100 is certainly one of the most heartfelt experiences for me.
Is it more challenging to come into an established show or to start from the very beginning on a project?
It's a very different experience. When you’re launching a new project from the beginning, there's sometimes more of a ‘let's figure this out together as we go’ mentality. I have had some of those experiences, and they're wonderful. When you join a show that's already well established, you're kind of the new girl.
It's the first day of school or the first day of a new job. It’s very important to me to honor the actors that I'm stepping up to meet. I want to honor the life that they've created and the energy they've created with the show. It may sound silly to say this, but every show, whether it's a movie, a TV movie, TV series, or what have you, it has its own life to it a particular way that’s affected by every piece and part.
So when stepping on to something that already is established in that manner, I want to completely honor that as an idea and honor the actors I am about to work with and step up to collaborate with the work they've done and contributions they've given. There’s a great element of humility involved in that.
Is one easier than the other? I'm not sure. I don't know if it's black or white, but it is a different experience for me in that way.
What can you share about some of your upcoming projects?
It’s such an interesting time with that question. We are all on pause at this time. It's such an unprecedented time. We’re a couple of months in now, and there are different projected timelines about when social things will start.
I can't think of many other arenas where so many people are so intimate with one another with large amounts of bodies on a film set.
I hope it all unfolds as we all need it to unfold, of course. Any momentum work-wise that was on the way is on pause, as everything is on pause right now. So, the most recent work that I've completed has already aired.
I think Manifest was still airing right when this started happening with social isolation.
So, other than that, I’m truly taking this time to create my own content, which is the closest way I can connect to my acting at this time, which a lot of us can't have.
A great deal of my focus has just been set on that, and the shows that I have out on Hulu and Netflix that are binge-able.
For The 100 fans still looking for some more nostalgia, TV Fanatic will continue a new, ongoing, The 100 interview series, "Looking Back on The 100," that centers on monumental cast members and characters from the show that left their mark.
We recently spoke with Eli Goree about his time on the show during The 100 Season 1 and the legacy he left behind. Then we also spoke with Michael Beach and the journey he had when it came to The 100.
We then had the chance to take a walk down memory lane with the iconic Christopher Larkin, as he talked about his time playing Monty Green. And we got to hear Aaron Ginsburg's insight on his most iconic episodes and his writing journey on The 100.
And after that shocking cameo during The 100 Season 7 Episode 1, Zach McGowan spoke to us about his time on the show and what it was like coming back on set.
Keep checking TV Fanatic for more upcoming interviews with surprise cast members from seasons past.
Share all your thoughts with us in the comments section! Stick around TV Fanatic for more features, slideshows, episode previews, interviews, and reviews of the upcoming season, and watch The 100 online if you need to catch up on the adventure.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.