Sam Palladio, who joins the cast of HUMANS in Season 2 as everyman Ed Hooley, discusses the challenges of having a robot as an acting partner, why he has a soft spot for Mia, and why he’d be afraid to ever actually own a Synth.
Q: Were you a fan of the first season of HUMANS?
A: Absolutely. I’m a sci-fi and comic book geek, and thought it was really compelling. Then I had this audition to be a part of it – I thought Ed was a character I could relate to and play.
Q: How was Ed relatable?
A: He’s a good representation of the everyday human. He has a lot on his shoulders, financial burdens and a mother in very ill health. He has qualities you can see in everyone. He’s struggling to balance the books in a time of recession, which clearly hit a lot of people in real life. He’s a good guy trying to get through life and there’s nothing particularly extraordinary about him, which I really liked.
Q: Was it unsettling to work with Gemma Chan playing a Synth?
A: It really was. Her attention to detail is astounding and every movement is thought through. You’d think a simple act like walking down some stairs and into a room would be easy, but Gemma can’t look where she’s going because a Synth would never fall down the steps. So she has to memorize everything while respecting the economy of movement. Being on the receiving end of that was a weird, creepy kind of energy – you’re usually feeding off facial expression or tone or mood, but you get nothing off a Synth, in a great way. It all helps the drama. Ed looks for the humor in a dark situation, so he’s trying to be funny and cracking bad jokes, and they don’t land on the Synth, as far as he’s aware. Everything is getting through to Mia unbeknownst to him, so every moment of humanity – he’s a generous guy and always does his friends favors, hence why the business is failing – is taken note of.
Q: Ed seems to have a good relationship with Mia.
A: Yeah. Ed’s lonely – he doesn’t have many friends and he’s been left with the burden of the business while also being a carer for his mother. To have Mia there is a comfort, even if he doesn’t realize it at first. Companionship is what he’s been missing. He treats Mia with compassion, and that’s part of Mia’s journey to having feelings for this guy. He’s a softie.
Q: Did you stay in Margate during filming?
A: Yeah – I’d never been there before but it was a pleasant surprise. I grew up by the coast in Penzance, so any excuse to be by the sea is great with me. It gave the sense of isolation for Ed that I could relate to, having grown up in Cornwall. Seaside towns are beautiful and tranquil, but to get out of there can be difficult sometimes.
Q: What sort of a relationship do you have with technology?
A: The entertainment industry in particular is all about communication and being aware of what’s going on, which can take over an actor’s life. My grandpa has always been the tech-savvy one of the family. He’s 95 now, and he has a YouTube channel and always knew how to convert files and so on. I think he’s a Synth, to be honest!
Q: Would you want to own a Synth?
A: I don’t think so. Like Ed, I like to try and do things myself and I’m a bit of a control freak. As much as it would help with keeping my apartment clean, the loss of control is a funny topic. They would be useful in the real world, and for science, technology, healthcare and so on. It’s when they become domestic and part of everyday life that it becomes a bit creepy.
Q: Where do you stand on the A.I. debate?
A: It’s all got to be paced. It could come too quickly and we’ll find ourselves more disconnected than ever. Gone are the days of going out on your bikes with your mates after school and swapping Pokémon cards. Now kids are walking into traffic because they’re staring at their phones, playing Pokémon Go. I hear stories of kids trying to swipe left or right on books – we have to rein that back a bit and not become drones ourselves. The more we embrace it, the more machine-like we risk becoming.Read More