By Jorge Solis (email@example.com) Published June 28, 2015 12:00 AM EDT
Viewers are just hours away from the season premiere of Humans on AMC. In an exclusive interview with MStars News, renowned actor William Hurt (A History of Violence) discusses playing the pioneering robot scientist, Dr. George Millican, who’s fighting against time itself to save his outdated Odi (Will Tudor).
Before the season premiere airs on AMC, June 28, Humans is an eight-part sci-fi drama series. In a parallel but futuristic present, the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a so-called “Synth.” These Synths are a highly-developed robotic servant eerily similar to its live counterpart. While a suburban family purchases a refurbished synth, Anita (Gemma Chan), Dr. Millican strives to hold onto Odi (Tudor), who has all the memories he lost in a previous stroke inside his programming.
MStars participated in conference event speaking withThe Incredible Hulk actor as he dished on the highly anticipated season premiere, the dynamic relationship between Odi and George, and being a fan of the sci-fi genre itself.
On what drew him to the role:
Well, initially it was just the title. And because that’s my topic. And then I realized that it was about human beings and machines, but still titled Humans; it was intriguing. And it’s about a topic that I’ve been interested in most of my life.
And then when I started reading it, I realized it was full of character and good questions like the nature of this interview today. The technology that we’re using to have it, which is so dislocating but at the same time, pretty interesting. So this is an example of why the series interested me.
On creating George Millican:
You can add anything you want as long as it doesn’t contradict anything that’s there. That’s the rule. The rule is you can invent anything that doesn’t contradict the truth of the character as described.
And no character as it exists on the page, in any script I’ve ever read is a large percentage of its potential because they leave you, in a good script they leave you creative room. So they didn’t write down how his hair, his hairdo, so I did that.
There are lots of things I invented about him, using, you know, my own personality, traits and other ones that I invented for him and, but I didn’t contradict anything on the page.
How the script relates to Isaac Asimov:
As I began to read science fiction, important science fiction, specific, most especially Isaac Asimov and began to realize that it wasn’t anywhere near as much fiction as people were thinking, or generally people were thinking.
It fired my imagination, you know, to red hot. I just realized what they were talking about was anything but imaginary. And so, I was enthralled and always have been.
On discussing the show’s central theme, ‘What makes us ‘human?’:
It’s the present being asked what the future’s going to be with, by introducing that future to us now, who we are now. So it really is a vivid way of posing the questions to viewers today.
What I mean is that in our daily lives, we’re watching the television, and in that television is a family, and in that family, there’s a house, and in the house is a living room, and in walks the Synth.
And that living room is like our living room. That kitchen is like our kitchen. Those people are like our people, like us. And they’re going to ask the questions that we would ask if that happened right now. And that’s the most vivid way to pose questions about the help, the hindrance, the invasion, the furtherance of human beings.
On George’s complicated backstory:
Well, George made a choice, an important life important choice not to go forward with designing Synth since what he prematurely. He was involved in the engineering of the mechanics of the bodies but not the so called minds.
And what he did was make a choice to remain human in the most fragile sense of the word, the most vulnerable sense of the word because he saw something in that experience though it was, you know, fraught with the worst risks any of us faced, the risk all of us face, morality itself, of realizing the potential, or his potential as a human being.
On George’s relationship with Odi:
He went home and he lived with his wife. His wife passes away and then he suffers an anomaly, a cerebral malfunction and he loses some of his memory systems, which makes Odi, who was a robotic of the fundamental sort, not the sentient kind in the life that he had with his wife.
And he, that robotic has all the memories of the event that took place while that robotic was part of their life. And that becomes George’s relationship to his wife because the Synth are not – and Synth means synthetic – remembers all those events in rudimentary fashion.
And that helps George continue the life of the life of his relationship with his wife. And that’s why the emotional part exists. He knows that Odi is a machine but he also is grateful to anything that helps keep his memories of his beloved alive.
And so, he allows himself the responsible pleasure of rejecting onto Odi some of the feelings, but at the same time, he always differentiates between real and unreal.
On the most challenging aspect of his character:
I find it more challenging when I’m asked to play characters that aren’t so interesting, which I usually refuse. It’s challenging – I can’t say that this was challenging because I was so furiously kind of in love it, you know. So I just went to work very excited every day.
I didn’t feel challenged in the sense that I was worried or, you know, that it was an impediment. There was no impediment here, unless it was the standard pediment that not having enough time to prepare, but which is a great one. So that would be the challenge.
The challenge would be the standard idea of preparation, but in this particular case having it done in Britain and that comes the culture of theater, which I come from, so there was a lot more possible there for me, lots of levels of communications.
The season premiere of Humans airs on AMC June 28 at 9pm.