A cop who is part machine and his partner, a robot with human emotions, team up in the new sci-fi drama “Almost Human,” from Emmy Award-winning executive producer J.J. Abrams and creator/executive producer J.H. Wyman.
“Almost Human” will have a special two-night premiere at 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday on Fox.
In the series, set in the year 2048, Karl Urban, 41, stars as John Kennex, a detective recovering from an attack that killed his partner and took one of his legs, which now has a synthetic replacement.
Michael Ealy, 40, stars as Dorian, a discontinued android given another chance when he is assigned to work with Kennex.
The actors discussed their roles during a media conference call.
For Urban, preparing for his character included more than one element.
“It involved a lot of discussions with Joel Wyman, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk,” Urban said. “When I 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 shared some information on the inspirations he used for his role as an android.
“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.”
Acting as a robot with human emotions has been a challenging aspect of the role for Ealy, as well as familiarizing himself with the series' world of 2048.
“I think originally it started out that that was probably the hardest part for me, was to try and absorb the idea that a machine is being human or a machine is trying to act human. … I'm starting to get the hang of that now,” Ealy said.
“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,” Ealy said. “Can you talk on the phone or do you talk through your com? Sometimes I can get a call from Mackenzie (Crook)'s character, Rudy, and Karl can't hear it and sometimes he can. So, it's like we're trying to find out what are the rules of the world that we set up.”
Kennex's temperament is what Urban enjoys the most about playing his character.
“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,” Urban said. “I particularly like his relationship with Dorian. At first, 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.”
While “Almost Human” has the police procedural component, it also will focus a great deal on its characters.
“This is definitely a character-driven show,” Ealy said. “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.”
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.”
stars as Dorian in “Almost Human”