Karl Urban and Michael Ealy stars of the new hit show Almost Human, sat down in an exclusive interview to discuss the premise of the show and what fans can expect for the season.
Q: Can you just talk a bit about kind of how you prepared for these roles?
Urban: The preparation for me was a multi-level process. It involved a lot of discussion with Joel Wyman, J. J. Abrams, Bryan Burk. When it got on the ground here in Vancouver we started shooting. We had a bunch of tactical training. I went on a bunch of ride-alongs with some cops just to get a sort of feel of what the reality is of their job.
Then there’s also a physical component. Our show is a fun, action-packed hour of television. Michael and I both need to be in good shape to do our jobs. We pay a lot of focus, time and attention to keeping ourselves in good shape.
Ealy: Basically kind of a similar situation in which I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Joel Wyman. As I said before, I try to model my version of synthetic droid or Dorian, in this particular case, after three particular characters in film. That’s “Jason Bourne,” the “Terminator 2″ Robert Patrick’s version and “Starman,” played by Jeff Bridges. Those are all three movies that I kind of watched over and over again to try and find a good, strong foundation for Dorian.
Q: What’s the hardest part of this show for you guys, as actors? Like for Michael I would imagine it’s the having to act like a robot that’s acting like a human.
Ealy: I think originally it started out that that was probably the hardest part for me; to try and absorb the idea that a machine is being human or a machine is trying to act human. That was definitely difficult at the start. I’m starting to get the hang of that now.
So I think right now the hardest part is actually trying to understand and develop somewhat of a bible for the world that we live in. You know what I mean. So it’s like, can you talk on the phone or do you talk through your com? Sometimes I can get a call from Mackenzie’s character, Rudy, and Karl can’t hear it and sometimes he can.
Urban: For me, one of the aspects that I find most challenging, I think, is the physicality of it. As I said before, this is a real fun, action-packed show. When you are attempting to achieve the quality of action and sort of the engaging performance that we are on a weekly basis, it certainly takes its toll.
We shot an absolutely amazing sequence last week where—it’s a little bit of a spoiler—Michael was fighting with another robot. I was fighting with another cop. It was absolutely amazing, but I tell you, the next day both of us couldn’t move. And of course you don’t have a day off. You’ve got to get back to work and do it all again the next day. So I think there’s a certain physical aspect of doing this show that I’m definitely finding a challenge.
Q: How far are you in shooting the season? You haven’t finished yet.
Urban: No, we are I think just about to start shooting episode eight.
Q: So for each of you what is it that you most love about your roles and then also about the show?
Urban: Many things. I guess what I most love about Kennex is firstly his temperament. Often, you know, he can be kind of prickly on the surface but as we get to spend more time with him in the show we get to see a real softer side to him. I particularly like his relationship with Dorian.
At first, as you see in the pilot, Kennex is pretty adverse to accepting robots, robot technology, but the wonderful thing is that he forms this incredible bond with Dorian and he really comes to accept and see the value and the special unique qualities that this robot has. For me that’s such an endearing evolution in the character. I think that’s been one of my most favorite aspects of portraying Kennex.
Ealy: I think for me one of the things I like the most about Dorian is his sincerity and his—we’ve had some episodes where he’s kind of come to this conclusion that there’s an automatic protocol. When, for lack of a better term, the … hits the fan he has like an automatic protocol that takes over and he has to do things that are—he has to sacrifice himself in a lot ways.
Q: Are we getting a good amount of Dorian B plots where he’s developing and also trying to find his place emotionally all of this, rather than it just kind of servicing the story?
Ealy: Yes, this is definitely a character-driven show. It’s a cop show. It’s a fun cop show, but I think we focus more on the characters than any other cop show that’s really out there. The cases are good. They’re definitely good. They’re even better, I think, when the cases affect us personally.
That’s where, I think, we hope to stand apart in that way and get people to follow the characters of this show. I think that’s really going to help us in the end. Yes, Dorian’s still dealing with why was he decommissioned in the first place and he’s still trying to rectify that and live the best possible life that he can with this second chance that he’s been given.
Watch Almost Human on Mondays at 8 pm EST on Fox.
Photo Courtesy of Justin Stephens/FOX
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