VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: ‘NeXt’ Stars Eve Harlow & Jason Butler Harner Explain Why John Slattery Is ‘A Very Cool Cat’
If you’ve ever wondered what artificial intelligence (A.I.) would look like if it went rogue, NeXt offers one possible answer to that question.
The upcoming Fox sci-fi drama series, which is set to premiere in Spring 2020, centers on a Silicon Valley tech executive who teams up with a Homeland Cybersecurity team to combat a rogue form of A.I. Eve Harlow and Jason Butler Harner, two stars of NeXt, spoke to uInterview exclusively about the upcoming series at New York Comic-Con earlier this month.
The pair of actors laughed as they joked about playing Amazon smart devices Alexa and Echo and being locked in a “deathmatch.” In fact, the stars play an FBI data analyst named Gina and a tech company co-owner named Ted LeBlanc.
Harner explained how his character takes over NeXt, a newly formed tech company after his brother Paul (played by John Slattery) has a “mental breakdown.”
“We discover that something [Paul] created that was supposed to be silenced is still going,” Harner said.
Harner — who has starred in shows like Ozark and Ray Donovan and in plays like The Crucible — said he has “casually known” Slattery “for decades” through the New York City theater scene and raved about playing the chance to play the brother of the Mad Men alum.
“He just is a very cool cat, effortless and full of humor,” Harner said of Slattery. “It’s all really fun and you can get great technological jargon and facts but just casually and accessible. It doesn’t feel heavy or laden.”
Harner and Harlow both commented on NeXt’s central topic of A.I. by joking that the show makes it seem as if “we’re all going to die” because of the constant evolution of technology.
“We all should be thinking about it more and how we integrate technology into our lives without considering how it’s affecting us,” said Harlow.
“The next chapter for the human race is about how we have to factor in all this technology and take responsibility in a different way than we ever had before,” Harner added.
The two actors noted how their phones are the only electronic devices they frequently use, as they strive to stay away from smart objects like Alexa as much as possible.
Harner said he feels the reliance on technology is especially heavy when it comes to travel. He recounted an anecdote where he became frustrated because a family member who works in the military was meeting him for dinner and arrived late after going to the wrong address. He also reflected on the fact that we often no longer bother to memorize certain types of information, like phone numbers, due to a dependence on technological advances.
Harlow took it one step further, saying she is amazed her friends still need the GPS to get to her home even though she has lived in the same place in Los Angeles for three years.
“I think we all would like to think that means our brains are developing and that space is being used in another way,” said Harner. “And I don’t know if that’s happening or not.”
Harlow also showed off her scientific knowledge and impressed Harner by citing the fact that the hippocampus — the part of the brain that helps you figure out directions — develops short-term memory into long-term memory.
“We’re born with 60% of [the hippocampus], so that means the rest of our lives we’re developing the other 40% of it,” said Harlow.