EXCLUSIVE | 'Artificial Remote Intelligence': Christy St John on Elle and why live streaming is nerve-racking
It's an all-new season of 'Artificial' and there are some major changes being brought to the show, including new character Elle, which is played by Christy St John. In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), John talks about her new character and what it's like to join such an interactive series for the first time.
"I play Elle, an idealistic scientist, who's tasked with becoming friends with SV3 and aiding her in her effort to become human," she said. "I'm new to the universe, both as the character of Elle and as me, Christy, so there's definitely a feel that Elle and I are both jumping into the deep end."
She further added, "I feel very nervous, I'm not gonna lie, especially about the live stream. On a normal set, if I flub a line, you just go back and I take it again. In 'Artificial' my mistakes are permanent, and this is made even more challenging because the audience is literally changing the story." She continues, talking about her preparation process. "I've been doing a lot of memorizing, and a lot of making sure that I think through each logical conclusion that would happen, and how my character would react to it. I've also been watching those past seasons, listening to the podcasts." She notes that, "Reading the chat in Season 2 has been really, really helpful to see what audiences have responded to."
The actor has, so far, not been given a lot of information about her character, but that hasn't stopped her from speculation. "Elle was hired right out of college by Sebastian. We — and I — don't quite know why. I can give you my opinion as the actress and what I've come up with, but I don't know if that's true or if that will remain true during the series," she says. "There's a reason that they gave this very important job to such a young person, such an idealistic person, kind of a naive person. And I think that the powers are trying to manipulate Elle in way that she's maybe not wise, and we'll see that come out throughout the series."
She teases some conflict between her and Matt Lin (Tohoru Masamune). "I think he very much sees Elle as a replacement," she says, though conflict is not something Elle wants anything to do with. "I as Elle think that I'm very nervous and tentative and scared of Matt." She expands on Elle's approach to the new AI's development. "I'm coming at it very much from a psychology perspective," she said, even though the new AI is not quite entirely human. "I think that, as someone who's not coming at it from, per se, a coding background, but coming at it from a very human background, I think there's definitely room to be surprised and shocked and scared of SV3."
She also explains the safeguards being taken to keep the new AI from becoming dangerous. "There's a reason why we're doing remote, obviously. The acting reason is because of Covid-19 but the in-character reason is because Sophie is potentially dangerous and we do know what happened last time," she says. "At the beginning, I feel very safe and secure in the fact that this is an experiment. I don't need to get emotionally involved, and this isn't gonna be invasive in my life, this is just about me talking to a person as I would a therapy session, and I think that Elle is, unfortunately, going to find very quickly that that assumption is incorrect."
Though she's excited about meeting the chat, she hasn't always agreed with their decisions, referring to the Marshmallow Test from Season 2. "It was about should Sophie meet Ada right now, for a short amount of time or should Sophie meet Ada next week for a long amount of time? And I think that this would be much more interesting story-wise to have a longer meeting with Ada in the next week, and I think that it can help the story progress a little bit more. The audience didn't choose that. They chose the immediate gratification of having Sophie meet Ada right now, and that's something where I as a storyteller thought — 'Ugh, no! Like don't you wanna see that other scene? That other scene is so much better!' — and that's where as a storyteller you have to relinquish control."
Speaking about the upcoming Season, John talks about her excitement for the LifeScore technology. "Music is an amazing storytelling tool. Like when I think of 'Star Wars', my favorite sci-fi series of all time, John Williams' score is at least as iconic as any of the characters and since the audience will have control of the music and really make them storytellers, and that's what the series is about — telling a story together." John can also be found on 'In the Cut'. "I play Karen, a ditzy waitress. It's a completely different role — it's comedy, not drama — and playing ditzy versus playing a scientist is really fun."
The next episode of 'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' airs on June 12 on Twitch.tv/ArtificialNext, at 6 pm PT. John can be found on Twitter and Instagram.