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‘Cult’ Star Alona Tal: Why Her Intense New Role Is ‘Double The Fun’

Tue, February 19, 2013 3:00pm EDT by Andy Swift Add first Comment
Alona Tal Cult
Courtesy of The CW

‘Cult’ premieres tonight on The CW! Alona tells she can’t wait to ‘jolt’ fans out of their comfort zone.

The CW may be infamous for churning out cult TV shows — The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and Smallville are just the tip of the iceberg — but a cult TV show about a cult TV show is uncharted territory for the fan-friendly network. Until tonight, that is.

Premiering at 9 p.m., Cult tells the story of a hit series — also called Cult — that begins inspiring fans to commit crimes similar to those seen on the show-within-a-show, prompting blogger Jeff (Matt Davis) and research assistant Skye (Jessica Lucas) to investigate.

Alona Tal plays Kelly Collins — a police officer in search of her missing sister, whom she believes was kidnapped by cult leader Billy Grimm (Robert Knepper) — on Cult within Cult, as well as Marti, the actress who portrays Kelly.

Alona recently spoke with about the challenge of playing two characters, the appeal of working on such a meta show, and her excitement over “fickle” fans.

Read on for my Q&A with Alona:

Obviously, this show is super meta. Do you think it carries a special message about the way we over-obsess about TV today?

I don’t know if that was the intention when Rocky first wrote it — he wrote it like five years ago, and I don’t know if we were to this degree of obsession — but I think that’s definitely something the network took under consideration when they picked us up.

You have some cult TV experience yourself, coming from Veronica Mars and Supernatural. Did that help you bring a unique perspective to Cult?

I was on it, but I wasn’t of it. I was watching from the sidelines, never the main focus for fans. Because of that, I was more of an observer.

And now you’re in the thick of it, as two characters even. Was the dual role part of the reason the show appealed to you?

Of course, it’s like double the fun! I get to play two very different characters, and that was always the main focus for me. If they were two characters that were somewhat similar in their lifestyles, it would be less interesting. I like that one is very arts-driven and close to my life, and then the other is the farthest thing I could imagine from my life. She’s very far away from me, and that was always a huge part of why I wanted to take the role.

A challenge of playing two characters is that the fans could love one, but hate the other. Are you prepared for both?

I’ve been down that road before with fans. They are fickle creatures; I know that, and I respect them for it. Either way, if they hate it or love it, they’ll have an emotion about it and I’ll be happy. It’s when they’re indifferent that I have a problem.

And have you seen The CW’s marketing for the show? It’s crazy.

I have! I’m really excited, it’s very different from what The CW does normally. I’ve seen a few of the previews online, and I find that to be a very cool concept for what we’re doing. And every time you jolt the fans out of their normal box, it’s very cool.

Watch a sneak peek of Cult below, then drop a comment: Will you be checking out The CW’s latest addiction?

— Andy Swift