When Resident Alien premiered on Syfy in 2021, it shook up the standard science fiction tropes. In the series, an alien arrives on Earth, finds a reclusive doctor vacationing in a small town … and kills him. Afterward, the alien takes the man’s shape, becoming ‘Harry’, and sets out on his mission to destroy humanity.
Throughout the series, the audience watches Harry form relationships with the townspeople and slowly become more human. It’s part Schitt’s Creek and part Mars Attacks, all wrapped up in an oddly endearing coming-of-age tale. But the midseason cliffhanger in season 2 revealed that Resident Alien is about to take a wildly different turn.
The show’s fantastic ensemble cast — Alan Tudyk, Corey Reynolds, Alice Wetterlund, Levi Fiehler, and Elizabeth Bowen — were joined by the show’s creator, Chris Sheridan, to talk about season 2 and the inspiration behind the show.
Digital Trends: Harry is such an interesting character, and as an actor, I imagine he must be so much fun to play. You’re portraying someone who isn’t human … but is trying to convince the world he is human. How did this character come to be and how did you bring him to the screen?
Alan Tudyk: I used something I learned when I was at clown school, which is to act like a child who has never been told no. It was also really fun to play with the character like he’s a puppeteer using this human body for the first time. His alien body had four arms, and they weren’t like human arms, so I made sure to play the character really awkwardly and always move around with jerky motions because he had no idea how to operate this human body.
Chris Sheridan: I can’t speak enough about how much Alan shaped this character. I had written the character and I had a sense of who he was, and we had auditioned a bunch of great actors for the role during the casting process … but it wasn’t until I saw Alan come in that I fully knew who the character was. Something about his physicality and how he so fully became an alien who had just arrived on Earth, I immediately knew that he was the guy for the role.
Normally, the quirky personalities of the supporting cast tend to stand out because in most shows the main character is a blank slate the audience can insert themselves onto … but with this show, every single character is unique, funny, and engaging. Do you think it makes it easier or harder to have your characters stand out when you’re surrounded by so many other compelling characters?
Elizabeth Bowen: I feel like it’s a really exciting tennis match where we’re all hitting the ball between us and feeding off each other’s energy. We’re all admiring each other’s work, and it’s really exciting. It’s such an adrenaline rush. It forces us to all play at the top of our game, not just because we want to, but because we have to.
Corey Reynolds: I agree, you can’t check out during a scene in our show because you never know what someone else is gonna throw at you. It kind of creates an anything-goes scenario, where if you think you have a good idea, you should try it. Everyone respects the material enough to know what will work and what won’t, and thankfully nobody is trying to upstage each other or anything, so it always feels positive. As Liz said, we all have this great way of passing the ball, which totally betters the series as a whole.
Sheridan: I think Harry basically being a child inside of a 45-year-old man’s body leads to tons of great interactions with the rest of the cast. An excellent example of that is his interactions with the character Max. Those scenes wouldn’t be funny at all if Harry had taken on the body of a 10-years-old. What makes it funny is that he looks like a grown man but acts like a child.
Levi Fiehler: So much of this cast is great at improvising. I always find myself standing in awe watching how skilled everyone is. Their ability to just go with the flow and create something amazing is really inspiring.
Elizabeth, this next question is specifically for you. You are absolutely hilarious in this show. How do you manage to be the comic relief in a show that’s already a comedy?
Bowen: I had a lot of practice trying to be funny growing up. I was the youngest child and only had brothers, so I learned from an early age that when you’re the youngest, the littlest, and the only girl in the family, you have to use everything you’ve got just to get someone to pay attention to you. I really feel like my childhood primed me for this show! I improv some of the lines, but honestly, a lot of the great material is already in the script. I literally laugh out loud whenever I read it.
What can viewers expect from the second half of this season? The first half left off with Harry discovering that he’s not supposed to destroy the world, but actually save it, which completely changes the trajectory of the series.
Alice Wetterlund: Oh yeah, the vibe is tense. There’s now a lot more on the line for our characters. My character, D’Arcy, is having some relationship drama, which is really important to her, but as viewers, everyone knows the stakes are much higher — everyone’s lives are in danger. It’s really fun for me to play with that dichotomy in this half of the season.
Fiehler: Viewers can definitely expect to see some relationship drama for sure!
Bowen: I’ll respond with one word — discovery.
Sheridan: We’re going to solve some mysteries … but new mysteries will arise.
Tudyk: Harry definitely undergoes a lot of growth. He starts realizing that there are humans worth saving and he slowly starts to form relationships with people, which ends up changing the way he views the world.
Reynolds: It’s going to be like a trampoline. You think we’re coming down and reaching a resolution, but then we’re going to bounce right back up again and shock everyone. I’m still shocked every time I read new pages of the script.
Season 2 of Resident Alien airs at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesdays on the Syfy channel.
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