Wednesday night, The CW introduces The Tomorrow People, a new drama from Arrow‘s Greg Berlanti and The Vampire Diaries‘ Julie Plec centered on Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell), a high school student just discovering his superpowers — teleportation, telepathy, and telekinesis – and the danger they put him in.
Amell had worked with Berlanti on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters in 2011, and emailed his cousin, Arrow star Stephen Amell, to get back in touch with Berlanti to ask him to sign a letter for his green card. The week his green card came through happened to be the week casting began for The Tomorrow People pilot. Originally, casting didn’t want to see Robbie because he was technically under contract for the short-lived NBC comedy 1600 Penn.
“So I emailed Greg just saying, ‘Thank you so much, my green card was approved,’ hoping that he would remember me and kinda maybe push for me to come in,” Robbie says. The first response didn’t mention it. But five minutes later, he got another email from Berlanti. “It said, ‘I want to bring you in for my pilot.’ And I was like, ‘Yes! Thank god! It worked!'” He initially read for the part of John, a more mature member of the Tomorrow People, that ultimately went to an older actor, Luke Mitchell. But he was brought back to test for the role of Stephen, and producers gambled on his schedule clearing.
Peyton List, who plays the female lead Cara, was cast first, without a test, because producers didn’t want to lose her to an NBC pilot that was also courting her. “I remember when I was testing, my dad was like, ‘Who’s in it?’ And I sent him your name, and he’s like, ‘Oh, good. Mad Men. She’s great. I love her,'” Robbie told List when they stopped by to take our EW Pop Culture Personality Test. Watch it below. Considering Stephen, Cara, and John form a love triangle, it’s good to know chemistry isn’t an issue.
The Tomorrow People premieres Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.