Playing robocop’s pal

November 29, 2013 6:03 PM

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Playing robocop’s pal

FROM acclaimed executive producer J.J. Abrams and creator and executive producer J.H. Wyman comes Almost Human, an action-packed police procedural set 35 years in the future, when police officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids.

Detective John Kennex (played by Karl Urban) is a cop who survived one of the most catastrophic attacks ever made against the police department.

After waking up from a 17-month coma, he can’t remember much – except that his partner was killed, he lost one of his legs and he is now outfitted with a highly ­sophisticated synthetic appendage.

Suffering from depression and the ­psychological rejection of his synthetic body part, Kennex returns to work at the behest of longtime ally Captain Sandra Maldonado (Lili Taylor). By mandate, every cop must partner with an android. Despite his aversion to robots, Kennex is eventually paired up with Dorian (Michael Ealy), a discontinued android with unexpected emotional responses. Although such ­responses were deemed flawed, it is in these ‘flaws’ that Kennex relates to Dorian most.

Almost Human will follow the week-to-week missions of Kennex and Dorian, as they fight crime across the futuristic landscape, while the mysteries concerning Kennex’s attack and the larger ­mythology of this new world unfold.

In an interview transcript provided by Warner TV, Ealy talks about his role in the series which will premiere on Warner TV (HyppTV Channel 613) on Dec 2 at 9.50pm.

“First and foremost, I think it was probably the script that attracted me to the show. The pedigree of the producers didn’t hurt either. When you’re signing up for potentially five or more seasons of television, it’s a large commitment.

“You really need to know that the people driving the ship have a licence. J.J. Abrams and Joel Wyman have got a licence. You feel confident knowing that these guys have got more than a couple of hits under their belt.”

“When you delve 40 years into the future, political correctness is still present and the term ‘robot’ is offensive, so he’s a synthetic.

“I like to define him as a reflection of the humanity that we all take for granted.

“His heart, or his search engine, if you will, is designed on a programme called Synthetic Soul. He can basically take in data like a machine or a computer – but at the same time, he can learn from it.”

“There’s such a big canvas to be painted with Dorian and that’s every actor’s dream; especially when you start thinking about taking on a character for five to seven years.

“I’ve never been asked to play a robot before, so I thought, ‘Yeah, this is ­different. Sign me up!’ Interestingly enough, I thought that Dorian would never have a love ­interest in the show – but that was before my meeting with Joel. He said that Dorian operates from a place of free will, so who knows? He might have a love interest. Instantly, I became interested.”

Where do you see Dorian and Kennex going in the course of the first season?

“I’m probably going to beat him up a couple of times! No, I think it’s funny because I’ve seen the show described in reviews as a buddy cop drama.

“I think we need to be given the time to earn that because we have a man and we have a machine… Can they really be buddy cops? I don’t think so right now.

“We have to develop a relationship and trust. You’ve got to go through some stuff before you can do that. Hopefully by the end of the first season we’ll be one step closer to being a buddy cop drama.”

There are serious and dark themes in Almost Human, but Dorian often seems to lighten the mood. Would you agree?

“I think there’s a lot of truth in the comedy and I think that Dorian finds his sense of humour is evolving.

“There’s a moment in the trailer where he’s just come out of the lab and he’s making noises with his mouth. That moment was an accident.

“I was doing acting exercises before the take and our director, Brad Anderson, said, ‘Ealy, do that actor action again.’ It just felt genius. It’s these little accidents that I think the audience will find funny.”

“If you watch the pilot, you’ll see that he definitely has some capabilities. In the second episode, he has even more. And in the third, you’ll see more again.

“His capabilities are going to grow, but Dorian is not indestructible.That’s the one thing that was important to me and I talked to Joel about it.

It’s not like he can’t be killed. He can be thrown out of a car and rolled over by a truck. That’s important because if he feels danger, then you, as an audience, will feel that too.I think we have to have that.”


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