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Interview wtih Alpharetta's Mackenzie Lintz (Norrie on 'Under the Dome')

mackenzie lintz
CBS

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Alpharetta 16-year-old Mackenzie Lintz was familiar with Stephen King's 2009 novel "Under the Dome" because her mom Kelly had read it. And when she tried out for a role on the TV adaptation,  she was also psyched when she heard Jack Bender was involved because he was an executive producer and director for  "Lost," one of her favorite shows of all time.

But she didn't think she had a solid chance to win a role, that they'd more likely hire an 18 year old who wouldn't require a tutor on set and could work longer hours.

And her acting credits were modest up to that point: a small role on "Drop Dead Diva" and a brief appearance on "The Hunger Games."

"Under the Dome" picked her anyway. She nabbing the role of Norrie, an unhappy teen daughter of a lesbian couple passing through Chester's Mill just before the Dome trapped them there. This was a major coup for the Covenant Christian Academy senior.

Then the show became the first huge network drama hit during the summer in at least a decade, a pleasant surprise for CBS. "Under the Dome" averaged more than 11 million viewers a week (not counting DVR usage), more viewers than "America's Got Talent" or "Duck Dynasty" (though "Duck Dynasty" was the master among 18-49 year olds.).

Mackenzie's character started as an eye-rolling, bitchy teen, but after her diabetic mom dies midway through the season, she softens up and eventually hooks up with another key character Joe (Colin Ford). When they thought a military strike was going to kill them, they even kissed.

Her mom said Mackenzie, while not a problem child the way Norrie is, has a similar sarcastic, dry wit.

"Me and Norrie are alike," Mackenzie admitted. "It's a blast. If Norrie were real, we'd be friends. She's very blunt. She feels all the time. She cares about the people around here."

The coupling of Norrie and Joe is a popular one among fans on social media who dub them "Jorrie," Mackenzie's mom said.

"I love Norrie and Joe," Mackenzie said. "They are adorable. They need each other to become the people they really are. Joe's quieter, a thinker. He tones Norrie down."

The pair both had seizures related to the egg that controls the Dome and are key players in getting to the core of why the Dome even exists. Mackenzie promises many questions about the Dome and who the Monarch is will be answered Monday night during the season finale.

Interestingly, her character started as a relatively minor one but grew in importance, especially once she was attached to Joe.

Mackenzie was grateful her character survived season one since so many people died. "I didn't have too many expectations. My sister {Madison Lintz] was in two season of 'The Walking Dead.' " (Lintz played Sophia, who died early in season two of that popular drama.)

This past Monday, Norrie got dragged to jail with Joe by the increasingly unhinged Big Jim (Dean Norris, also known for his role of Hank Shrader on "Breaking Bad') for hiding the egg. "I have these little battle wounds," she said. "Working with Dean Norris is an incredible part of being on the show. We had such a fun day."

While this show is hardly a place for job security given the death toll, Mackenzie will be back for season two - at least for however long the script writers want her around. She said they found out about the renewal during the last week of taping and that made the last few days "much more special."

Missing part of junior year was a bummer, she said, and she may have to skip out on her final weeks of senior year as well (though she plans to return for prom and graduation.) For now, she is back to school being a normal teenager, playing volleyball and basketball.

And she doesn't feel her friends are treating her any different. "I am trying to keep my head straight," she said. "I'm a big Auburn Tigers fan and when I went to a game, people recognized me."

TV preview

"Under the Dome" season one finale, 10 p.m. Sept. 16, CBS

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