After some executive schedule jostling, it’s almost time for the premiere of Fox’s new sci-fi drama, Almost Human. From the producers of Fringe, Almost Human has the look of a high-class network genre drama. Whether the quality is there to match remains to be seen, but the pilot does have a solid hook and some things to build upon.
In advance of the premiere, TV Equals got the opportunity to sit in on a conference call with the series two stars, Michael Ealy and Karl Urban. Here’s a bit of what they had to say.
Preparation for the role
To prepare himself to play a cop, Karl Urban went all out: “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 job.”
Ealy mentioned similar preparation, but also mentioned his research into playing a synthetic human. In particular, he said he modeled his character Dorian after Jason Bourne, Termintator 2 and Jeff Bridges in Starman.
The hardest part of the show
Though you would assume Ealy would be having the most difficult capturing the essence of a machine that’s trying to act human, but he went in a different direction: “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? So it’s like we’re trying to find out what are the rules of the world that we set up. I think that’s probably the hardest part for me right now.
For Urban, he mentioned the physicality of the show. He said there were many days he left the set so sore after a big set piece, only to have to come back to the set and do it again the next day.
TV vs. Movies
With both men having success in movies the past few years, someone was curious about what drew them back to television. For Urban, it’s his relationship with J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk after working on Star Trek. Ealy really loved the pilot script, which he said underwent several changes throughout the process, but “each time it got better”.
The futuristic technology
The gentlemen were both asked about the futuristic technology that is quickly becoming a trademark of Fringe alums. Both Ealy and Urban were excited about the technology they get to fiddle with on the show, and are really engaged by the idea that this technology could be present in our world in the near future.
When asked about costar Lily Taylor, both men took the time to sing her praises. Urban said, “Working with Lili is absolutely fantastic. She is one of the most grounded and in-the-moment actors that I think I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. She makes your work better because she is so real and so in the moment. She is constantly exploring the scene in different ways. She is fantastic at keeping it alive and making sure that each take is different and authentic, and most importantly grounded in a reality.”
Ealy added, “Working with Lili, I’ve worked with her before on a reading series and the power that she has, the vulnerability that she has, the sensitivity and the strength; Lili is a spitfire. She’s got a lot of spunk, if you will. She’s not one to mess with. I don’t mess with Lili. I mess with most people on set. I play jokes on them. I don’t mess with Lili. Not that she can’t take it, because she’s a joker too, I just don’t want to get on her bad side.”
Procedural vs. Narrative
Continuing the Fringe comparisons, the question was posed regarding the show’s set up. While there are some long form arcs introduced in the opening episode, both Urban and Ealy said that the show will follow a procedural model for now. They said that’s open to change at any moment, but right now they are committed to doing an exciting, action-packed network procedural.
Almost Human premieres this Sunday night at 8 PM on Fox before running in its usual time slot on Mondays at 8 PM.