Minka Kelly describes herself as a “sci-fi illiterate.” Don’t nerds teach night courses in that kind of thing?
Nonetheless, Kelly is getting a fast education in the genre with her role in the crime drama Almost Human, which is a set in a futuristic world with highly evolved, human-like androids.
“I’m very new to the sci-fi world and also rather sci-fi illiterate, so it’s a lot of work for me to really understand what is going on here,” Kelly admits. “Because there is so much more going on than just the words on the page.
“It is a challenge to make these words grounded and find the meaning to what I’m saying and why I’m saying it. It’s a lot more challenging acting-wise than being in a conversation with someone and reacting to them and having an emotional sort of experience with another actor, which is what I’m used to. But it’s really exciting to dive in and exercise this whole new muscle.”
Executive-produced by J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman, Almost Human has been airing Monday nights on Fox and Global. It is scheduled to return with a new episode on Jan. 6.
Set in 2048, the story focuses on a robotics-repaired human detective named John Kennex, played by Karl Urban, and his human-like robot police partner named Dorian, played by Michael Ealy. Kelly, who is well known to TV audiences for her roles on Friday Night Lights, Parenthood and the short-lived remake of Charlie’s Angels, plays a human detective named Valerie Stahl.
“I auditioned and I was one of the last ones to be cast,” Kelly recalls. “Then a couple of days later I was flying out to Vancouver to shoot the pilot.
“I was attracted to it because of the people making it. I’m big fans of theirs and I just had a strong feeling it would be something very interesting with these guys, because they’re so smart and creative. And also the cast. The rest of the cast was already in place and I was really excited for the opportunity to work with these people.”
Moving forward with Almost Human, there have been hints of a romantic attraction between Kennex and Valerie. In the most recent episode that aired, they had a pretty deep stare at each other. Just sayin.’
“As you saw in the (debut episode), she met him for the first time but she’s known of him for years,” Kelly says. “When it comes to sort of sticking up for him, she has a real strong compassion for all beings, but especially for him, just because she holds him in such high regard. She’s just always admired him and looked up to him, and I think that’s why.”
Yeah, yeah, whatever, but what about all that sexual tension?
“I don’t know yet,” Kelly says. “I think (the writers) are sort of flirting with the idea, but I don’t know how long that may or may not take to actually act on. Right now maybe they’re just having a little mutual admiration, I guess. I don’t know where it’s going to lead.”