Interview with Colin Morgan for Humans series two
Yeah, that was a big thing. You only find out halfway through the first series that Leo isn’t quite what he seems, with all the technology inside him, and then there’s his connection to Mia [Gemma Chan] and the synth family, and also that he’s playing an International Man of Mystery. It was difficult being asked the question, ‘Can you tell me a bit about Leo?’, and having to be answer, ‘Well, I’ve been told I can’t’! Now I can speak more openly, which feels good. Leo’s in transition in series two.
He feels quite different. While it was once about trying to find his place in his small family world, now it’s about finding his place in the wider world. He has to be more open and driven, and I think he is – he’s more passionate about achieving his goals of having a conscious synth family. It feels achievable.
He’s got huge abandonment issues after being let down by humanity. His mother and father were utter failures to him. His mother was mentally unwell and unable to look after him, his father was more interested in technology than his son. And he’s part-human, part-machine, so he wants to seek solace in someone who can understand both what it’s like to be part of the world, and to not be. Conscious synths are a bit like him in that sense, and he feels he’s the only one in the world who can help them, who can understand that internal conflict of what it means to deal with that technology and be human.
Max, Mia and Niska [Emily Berrington] were wired and developed from scratch to be conscious, but Hester [Sonya Cassidy] was programmed to do menial work and suddenly becomes conscious – she’s unequipped to deal with it. Max is learning to be a part of the world and wants his independence. He’s much more proactive and decisive, more leader-like, over and above Leo’s head in some cases. For Leo, the family he grew up with have served their purpose – everyone is now realising that. He doesn’t need them and they don’t need him as much as before. It’s like growing up naturally – you leave home and make your own future.
Definitely. Hester remembers being mistreated and abused, so she has a very logical approach to things. Max has been Leo’s moral compass for so long, but without him around to say ‘no’, Leo has to act on his own and question whether it’s about being moral and righteous, or doing whatever it takes to get what you’ve always wanted.
He’s never fully at peace – whenever he’s away from his family and comes back to them, it feels good. But somewhere in Leo’s head, he’s hearing that calling and trying to live up to it.
I don’t think he knows exactly, but he knows it’s not where he’s been and it’s not with the human world. By accumulating a group of newly conscious synths, they’ll look to him for everything. Somewhere in him, that level of responsibility and love is close to what happiness could be for him: he could be the father and mother for others that he never had for himself.
The idea that people are looking for their place in the wider world – it’s much more about grand ideas. The most fascinating thing about this series is the variety of relationships between everybody, between Leo and Hester, each of the Hawkins family having very complicated new relationships, humans trying to be synthetic.
We could say it’s a sci-fi show, but this is not far removed from reality at all. The technology we show in the series is being worked on as we speak. It’s such a comment on how willing we are to hand ourselves over to technology and become enslaved by it. You see people walking around like zombies, glued to their screens – if you took someone from ten years ago and put them on the tube, they’d think it was weird that everyone was staring at a screen. It is weird, and we’re telling ourselves it isn’t.
Merlin was five years of my life and of people’s lives who watched it, so it’s had a head start, but the success of the shows you mentioned and various films I’ve done have given me a variety of roles. People only ever have nice things to say, so far. But that can change!
Yeah, meeting the fans allows you to become aware of a whole new idea that you’d never even contemplated. They’ll ask about something and you think: Yeah, I wish I’d known about that when I was shooting that scene, I’d have done it completely differently…
Watch the trailer for Humans series two below:
October 19, 2016 5:11am ET by Channel 4