An Interview with Humans’ Colin Morgan and Gemma Chan at NYCC 2016

We had the opportunity to speak with the cast and producing team of AMC’s Humans this past weekend at New York Comic-Con. Fans from all over the world submitted fantastic questions for Colin Morgan (Leo) and Gemma Chan (Mia). Even though the show doesn’t return until February 2017, here’s a sneak peek of what we can expect from their characters in the upcoming season.

All right, so let’s talk a little bit about what happened at the end of Season 1 and where do you think that’s going to lead your characters in Season 2?

Colin: ”Well, we left off with quite a significant cliffhanger. Niska (Emily Berrington) was holding a key, or a weapon, or a whatever it could be to change the course of the future…she has the key to consciousness. And the power she wields has been untested. It’s uncertain. It’s unknown. If she chooses to use it…who knows what it does to the world? Every single synth in the world would become conscious. That’s the idea that they are playing with in Season 2. These things that have made their way into people’s lives, that are in their homes, that are looking after their children, that are cooking their meals…could maybe make decisions for themselves now. That brings up what that does for the characters you’ve known and met in Season 1 and what that does for their relationships. Also, vaguely the new people and the new developments and the new characters, which there are loads of in Season 2 as well.”

Gemma: “Brilliant new characters.”

Colin: “That is only scratching the surface of what Season 2 is because it is quite massive. That’s my pennyworth.”

Gemma: “Yeah or me, Season 2 follows my character. I think for the first time, she is trying to figure out what her place is in the world. She is trying to assert herself, which she has never really had the chance to do that before in her life. With the others, she had Leo and then she ended up with the Hawkins family, against her will. So this is really the first time she has had the opportunity to explore the world. There are positives and negatives to that. I still think Mia, as a character, is quite innocent and quite naive. She has limited dealing with humans in the outside world. She puts herself out there, and it doesn’t necessary go how she hoped. So that is for my character. I would say broadly; I feel the show explores…morality. How do we do learn right from wrong? How can you give ethics of morality to a machine? Or a newly conscious machine? How do the experiences…the very first experiences that that AI or that machine has shape the way it views the world and how it is going to treat others? I think it definitely goes darker and deeper along those lines in the show.”

Do you think Mia would want to stay with her synth family? Or do you think that she would want to be freer? (via @JoselynMorgan3)

Gemma: “I think she would love to keep her family together. That is a really good question because that is a struggle that she has to face up to. She’d love for them all to be together, but she also feels like she needs to be free. She needs to do her own thing. It does become a conflict. Am I allowed to say that?”

Colin: “Yeah.”

Gemma: “Specifically between our characters-“

Colin: “Between us, yes.”

Gemma: “We have different objectives now. Although we love each other, I think there’s friction. There’s conflict.”

Colin: “One of the big things about a synth family… they are actually technology…that’s physically developed to be conscious. What consciousness has occurred to the others, they were not designed for that. That’s a program kind of working in a machine that was not built to deal with that kind of level of input-“

Gemma: “They were thrust into the world…I suppose for others it would be a gradual awakening. And growing up within a family where there is structure. Whereas you have this newly awoken…like you say, that overload of sensory-“

Colin: “It’s a baby. Like a child.”

Gemma: “But a super strong one. (laughs)”

Colin: “That’s a really interesting question because it does…it is very complicated. You are moving in the world and discovering people, relationships, things and have a really good understanding of the world as it is. So it’s tough. I think it is a really interesting point. That’s a real theme, I think, moving through the second season.”

Do we still get to see the Synth family with the Hawkins family? Are they still intertwined or are they on separate paths? (via @Leeh_Everdeen)

Colin: “I mean, I think it’s okay to say. I think they are pretty much separate-“

Gemma: “At least in the beginning. Everyone is trying to move on with their lives, including the Hawkins family. They’ve moved to a new house. Toby’s started a new school; there are challenges that that brings. Matty’s gone to university. Everyone is trying to get on with their lives but of course…the story…I can tell you. It’s not the last that the synths and the Hawkins will see each other.”

Do you think that there’s any hope for a peace offering in exchange for the code? (via @Eri_danus)

Colin: “I believe that it’s too late for peace offerings actually. When it gets into it. Things have kind of gone beyond that. I think, like we said, with the family…there are all going their own ways, and actually forging their own paths as it were. You have to remember that when a synth family lived together with Leo to look after, they were confined in their own space. They were just living in their world.  It’s like have you seen the film Dogtooth? No? (laughs) Have you seen it? It’s about a family that are all growing up in a really confined compound. The father is, at the moment, the kind of man who is caught up in his own way of life. To them this is a giraffe (points at cup), that’s what you could call a giraffe. Of course, if you didn’t know any better you thought it would be and so…It’s coming into the world and discovering actually, that you can be all the things you never knew you could be. The possibilities are endless. That’s what everyone is trying to do. I think for Leo personally it’s a bit upsetting to see that all his family are doing that. They were designed to look after him in a way“

Gemma: “Kind of selfish.  I mean…”

Colin: “But again, he has never known any other way. You know? It’s the same thing… but he is selfish.”

Is there a new character, or actor/actress that you have worked with this season that you didn’t last season? Or a new character that you can tell us about? That you found interesting in that pairing that will add more to your character.

Colin: “One for me is Sonya Cassidy. She plays Hester. She plays a synth who has worked in a manual labor factory where a lot of abuse has happened to all the synths, as it does. But obviously for a synth that’s going to become now a bit more self-aware. There’s a lot of issues there. Leo has a lot of…he’s got a lot of connections to her that will develop over the entire series. And as inevitably he doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with his family. He has to be on his own, and she is one of the first.”

Gemma: “Mia…I would say she, probably feels the strongest for Ed…he is running a diner that is failing. A failing business in a run down seedy kind of town. She has started working there. But she is using the Anita persona to pass off as a normal regular synth, but she is not revealing her true nature. A bond forms between them. Mia gets to see a side of Ed that most don’t get to see because he is someone who has a lot of weight on his shoulders. His mother is unwell, and his father has passed away. He has a lot of responsibility. She gets to see all the pressure that’s on him. So yes there is a bond. There is a rapport between them, and then things elevate from there.”

We never find out where you took Sophie at the end of episode one. Correct?

Gemma: “Not specifically no. (laughs)”

Will we ever find out where you took Sophie?

Gemma: “I took her for a nice walk. A nice walk in the rain. In the middle of the night.”

I think it’s a generic question that gets asked you so many times. But this time, I am curious. What is the most difficult thing filming this show for you? What happens on set? What do they say to you? (via @LemonyLL)

Gemma: “Well for me, I suppose a lot of the physical challenges come with doing emotional scenes but not being able to do all the things you normally do as an actor in an emotional scene. You can’t breathe too much. You can’t blink too much. When I cry my nose starts running which, as you know, or when it’s cold outside. Then we have to cut. So all of those things, I find it hard to, all the challenges to be able to feel, to emote what you need to emote in the scene in a truthful way but without doing all of those messy things.”

Colin: “To be fair, I often am on set thinking I’m glad I didn’t have to do what Gem has to do because it’s incredibly hard to have to shut yourself off from all your little idiosyncratic movements or emotions. You do give emotional performances; she’s incredible enriched in that, but instead of…I’m just glad I didn’t have to do it. (laughs). For me, for Leo, this season is probably an opening up of this area (points to chest) for him, his chest cavity. He is getting the chance, to I suppose, feel things he has never felt before. Not that I’m skeptical, but I’m excited for him.”

So does that mean he is opening up to humans or is he still seeing them as not to be trusted? (via @Justkahlan)

Colin: “He has been burned badly by them. He really was very very headstrong about that fact in Season 1. I think the problem is when you don’t know how to deal with the problem you tend to get quite hostile and block out the thing that is perceived as the enemy. And you go, ‘Why would I look for an answer there when humanity’s failed me so much?’ But I think he knows how to get what he wants. Humans don’t factor in the spectrum for him.”

If synths were real would you guys want one? (via @HannahSwan1193 and @DawnMDuval)

Colin: “Would you?”

Gemma: “Yeah.”

Colin: “No, I don’t care.”

Gemma: “You would try it right?”

Colin: “(laughs) I can come around to yours. No, I don’t think would, I’m too independent I think.” 

Gemma: “I think the idea of an unconscious synth I quite like. You are still kind of on your own expect you have someone to help around the house with ironing.”

Colin: “Keeping watch in the middle of the night. Just like a dog.”

Regarding Mia’s inner workings, are those all special effects or are there any practical effects? (via @MARK_S_EMERY)

Gemma: “There was some CGI, we did scenes where I got cut, and there was some there. In the eyes as well, they aren’t contacts they’re all VFX as well.”

So we know that you are the oldest conscious synth at 14 now. You last much longer as a conscious, so the life expectancy, will there be more of that this season? Touching on why you guys last so much longer than the regular basic models?

Gemma: “I think we are really hand made with a lot of care. Whereas the regular synths which are factory produced, with cheaper materials then they’re not going to last as long.”

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