Gemma Chan On New Cult TV Show Humans

Addictive TV at its best


At last, there's a new Sunday night show we're all very excited about. Humans launched last night on Channel 4, and already we're entirely hooked. British actress and star of the show Gemma Chan called ELLE to chat about the role and what we can expect from the series...


ELLE: So Humans has just started - ICWMI tell us about it? 

Gemma Chan: It's a character-driven drama, set in London in a parallel present where, with the technology we currently have, like iPhones, there is also a common use of humanoids that families hire to cook, look after the kids and do any of the mundane tasks that humans don’t really have much time to do anymore. 

ELLE: And you play a synth, Anita...

GC: Yes. Without giving it all away, she has been created in a different kind of way to other synths. She is more intuitive and can use her emotions more than most synths should be able to. 

ELLE: What preperation did you do before filming?

GC: We did a couple weeks with a brilliant choreographer and he helped us come up with a physical language to play the part. We didn’t want anything typically robotic – like the typical head-cocking, or the jerkiness - we wanted something that looked very graceful, but was just not quite human.

ELLE: TV feels so strong right now – stronger than film even...

GC: Everyone has said that it’s the golden age of television and, as a viewer myself, I’ve gotten into so many good TV shows recently that I just think the bar has been raised. There is a different kind of scope, and there has been a lot of crossover talent between TV and film – not just of actors, but also with directors and writers as well. I just think its a really, really exciting time.


ELLE: What's else are you hooked on?

GC: I’ve been watching Game of Thrones and The Affair – both are very good.

ELLE: What projects do you have lined up next?

GC: There are a couple of films that I finished recently that haven’t come out yet. I did an adaptation of London Fields – its got a great cast actually, with Billy-Bob Thornton and Amber Heard and Cara Delevigne is also in it…and Johnny Depp! Then I also recently did a French film called Belles Familles with an amazing actor called Mathieu Amalric – from the film 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly'.

ELLE: Who is your favourite female lead?

GC: I adore Julianne Moore.

ELLE: And if you could play anyone in a movie, who would you play?

GC: There was an actress called Anna May Wong, who was a star of the silent golden era of Hollywood and no one has really played her. I would love to play her – she had a fascinating life.

ELLE: We’ve noticed you’re on Twitter - who’s your favourite person to follow?

GC: I love Caitlin Moran – she’s brilliant.

ELLE: So, what is your Emoji spirit animal?

GC: Probably the monkey that has his hands over his mouth.

ELLE: And your most overused word?

GC: Probably 'amazing'. Or actually it's 'probably'!

ELLE: So what will you be wearing most of this summer?

GC: I’ve got a suede bag that I love. It’s a bucket shape and it’s not too big, but big enough to fit everything you need.

ELLE: Do you have a life motto?

GC: Be true to yourself, and be kind.

ELLE: Finally, describe self in 3 words...

GC: Work-in-progress!

Humans aired on 14 June on Channel 4, and will continue every Sunday at 9pm

Words by: Lauren de Beer

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