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From The 100 to Quantum Leap: Eliza Taylor Talks Time-Traveling & What's Next For Hannah
For genre TV fans, Eliza Taylor is a familiar face having appeared in series from The 100 to The Orville. Now she's a Quantum Leaper!
One of the best new additions to Quantum Leap has been actress Eliza Taylor who plays Hannah Carson, Dr. Ben Song's (Raymond Lee) recurring leap "friend" featured in the episodes "Closure Encounters" and "Secret History." Akin to their mutual deja vu vibes whenever their paths cross in time, many Quantum Leap viewers also recognized that Taylor is a familiar face know for her work in some of the best sci-fi shows of the last decade.
For seven seasons, Taylor led the ensemble cast of of cult hit, The 100, as Clarke Griffin. In that role, she evolved from a teenage post apocalyptic pioneer to a dedicated mother who sacrifices her destiny for the greater good of humanity. She also had a guest appearance on The Orville episode, "From Unknown Graves." And then Quantum Leap Season 2 came calling...
Eliza Taylor's transition from future space to quantum entanglements
Having anchored The 100 as its primary character from 2013 to 2020, Taylor was intimately aware of the passionate fans that bloom around sci-fi and genre series. And so, while she hadn't watched the original incarnation of Quantum Leap, she recently told NBC Insider that the series was on her radar because of the circles she runs in due to The 100.
"I am really familiar with the fan base because I go to so many conventions," Taylor said of her Quantum Leap awareness before being cast as Hannah.
She said the legacy of the original series coupled with the buzz around the revival made the prospect of joining the series "really exciting" and one "she didn't want to miss. "Just reading Hannah for the first time when I got those audition scenes, there was something so special about her."
Taylor said that once she was cast, Quantum Leap showrunners Martin Gero and Dean Georgaris brought her into their offices to explain Hannah Carson's unique role in the story arc, and on Ben's heart.
"I feel like I was really lucky because on The 100, the [executive producers] were very tight-lipped about everything," Taylor said of the typical secrecy around sci-fi series story arcs. "But on this show, I feel like Dean and Martin are so giving. They've also thought so hard about where the story is going. I was lucky enough to sit down with them and they told me everything I needed to know about where Hannah's been, where she's going, and how she fits into the story."
She laughed, "Information is power, so I felt like the more I knew, the better. I'm really glad that they did that with me. Not all people do in this biz."
Hannah Carson: Super smart woman out of time
The series establishes a six-year advance in time between when Ben first meets Hannah in New Mexico during his "Closure Encounters" leap and then when he finds her studying to be a physicist at Princeton University in "Secret History." Having sensed Hannah's bright mind and curiosity for science, Ben provided her the tip to try and apply to a Princeton science program opening to women. She took the advice and by the time they meet again, they are most definitely well-paired science peers who both passionate about their chosen professions.
Asked if she had to bone up on any physics lessons or women who were in the field at the time, Taylor laughed that perhaps other actors would jump into that kind of research, she did not. "The character was just so well fleshed out and leapt off the page," she said of her process in figuring out Hannah. "As soon as I started reading, I felt like I knew her."
In particular, she loved getting to exude Hannah's enthusiasm despite the misogyny of her mostly male peers who didn't take women seriously in the classrooms of higher education at the time. "I loved playing a character who was so seemingly limited in her time period but isn't bogged down by that at all. She sees the world very differently and doesn't see those limitations as something that's going to stop her. She just says, 'Okay, I'm gonna do it anyway.' And I love that about her. There's something really playful about her as well, which is just a dream to play."
Catch up on all of Season 2 Quantum Leap now streaming on Peacock in prep for the last two episodes airing before the winter break!