Guy Burnet On The Feed and Opening Conversations about Technology and Kindness

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You've seen Guy Burnet before. Whether you caught him on Ray Donovan, Chicago Fire, The Affair, or my favorite, Counterpart, you'll recognize him and recall his considerable talent.

Now starring on The Feed for Amazon (he's also been on Amazon's Hand of God, Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams), he's leading an ensemble cast in a story that brings to light some pretty frightening possibilities for our future.

Guy is incredibly passionate about the subject matter at the center of The Feed, and if you weren't considering it after reading our full review of the Feed, then you will be once you read our interview. Enjoy!

Guy Burnet at Series Festival

I've seen six episodes of The Feed, but I would love for you to describe it to my readers.

Oh, my goodness. All right, that's all right. All right, it's a bit complex, but I can do that. I was just literally reading an article on TV Fanatic about The Feed now about clicking the mouse in your head. I enjoyed the article. 

All right, so what it is, is basically it's a psychological thriller set in the near future when this piece of technology that exists in our body, which encapsulates everything that we have on our iPhones, our devices and our laptops, etc., and we all relying upon it as we pretty much are today but, it's actually embedded in our bodies.

It goes down, and it goes down for about six seconds. And the consequence of that happening and what it means and why it happened, that's what the show is, in essence, the exploration of why it went down and the exploration of what it means to humanity really and the world itself,

That, in essence, I think, if I could give you the explanation of what it is in short form. But I think more interesting than that, really, is the world itself and what it means philosophically to really ask an audience including me what, perhaps, we can take away from it, which is, you know, it's not really a science fiction show per se, it's more based in science facts.

It's kind of that grounded element that's set in the very near future. But it's very relatable to what we're experiencing today with all reliance on technology too.

Tom Is Surprised on The Feed

And I would say, Tom Hatfield, your character is probably as close to a modern-day man and, and kind of the point of the everyman in the series. Can you describe him for us and what it was like to assume that role on The Feed?

Yeah, absolutely. That's exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to bring somebody that, hopefully, the audience can relate to.

Tom Hatfield is your protagonist. He's the first character that you meet and the person that, hopefully, you experience the show through his eyes and you go, okay, I am going to go on his journey. I'm going to meet a lot of characters along the way. I'm going to meet the technology along the way and as crazy as it goes and whatever happens, okay, we're on this journey together.

The importance for me in that capacity to create a history for the character, for myself, and to try and make somebody who's, you know, not a hundred percent hero, not a hundred percent flawed character.

The Beginning of a Relationship

You're going to see a different Tom Hatfield in Episode 10 than you're going to see in Episode 1 when we meet. And that was my biggest objective to create. And so in doing that, you need to kind of build it, and you need to build that road, and you need to build that momentum with time.

What interested me about Tom Hatfield was that he'd had a lot of the same philosophies that I had in my life. You know, he was a person who was reluctant to be completely reliant on technology.

I don't have social media, I don't have these things. I don't judge it, but I just find my life kind of separated from it wherever I can be. And so, from his separating himself from his family philosophy, from his family creation of this technology and works as a feed psychologist, somebody who is helping people not be a hundred percent reliant on it.

We meet him at a time where he's coming back for his brother's wedding, and he'd probably been away from his family for most of his adult life. He then meets his wife there, and he then needs a family again and we, and we see him make this small little bubble with his family that he's happy to have, that he's created for himself.

And then he gets embroiled and dragged back in to this family dynamic, and because the technology goes down, because he wants to save and protect his own family that he's created from the dire consequences of what the technology going down means to his family and the world itself.

Sharing Dinner with Friends on The Feed

You know, I did look you up to see that you didn't have social media, and I was wondering, from your kind of unique perspective in 2019, what part of the feed has you most concerned about the direction technology is taking us?

Well, I think that's the most interesting aspect of it. I'm an audience member. I love film, and I love television, and I love to watch these things, as well, just like everyone else.

And I would like to be honest with audiences, and I always thought to myself, okay, you either going to love the show and hope, some of you do love the show, and it's going to take time to stick with the show, and is there something really interesting to be taken away from it.

And the best thing that I've experienced from it is that I get to have some interesting conversations with people almost philosophically about what this technology means to the world.

I don't want to seem as if I'm like one of those guys who is judging social media. So like I'm not that guy, you know, I completely understand why people have it.

Tom Hatfield in the Woods

I completely understand why people enjoy it and why people might need it for work or all the other aspects. You know, monetarily, people make money from it. You know, maybe I could if I wanted to a part of it. But I don't want to; and it's not what I fancy in my life. So, I just separate myself from it.

But in essence, I think it's interesting to look at the feed, and think, okay, wow, it's scary to think that might happen with us one day.

But in reality, it's scary because actually today we are relying on these things. You know, people talk about money. Oh, the importance of money, but really, data is the most important commodity today.

Data being mined, basically being taken from us. We are pieces of data and we're being marketed to according to that data. Or you know, our political philosophies are played against each other. There is a great polarization.

Guy Burnet at Zurich Film Festival

And that's the great irony; a piece of technology, social media, where we're being social with people who live on the other side of the world, we're bringing the world together. We're actually separating ourselves by creating this polarity between people where we are constantly in need of validation. 

How many people like me? How many followers do I have? What does that mean? Does that mean this doesn't have more followers? Oh, do I get a blue tick? What does that mean? Who gives a shit? Like, in essence, I think to myself why are we in constant need of this validation?

It's like being in constant need of like, 'Oh, this person has a blue tick,' which means that maybe you're more important. Oh, he has more followers. Oh, they have so many likes. I think if somehow, during this conversation, Carissa, that we can someday go, hold on a minute here, that's a load of nonsense really.

Really, what is more important in life? Let's see the beauty of what was happening around us. And really have interaction with human beings and be kind to one another, in real life, not in this kind of augmented reality that we all live in.

The Feed Season 1 Episode 1 - Tom and Ben Hatfield

But if I told you ten years ago what we have today we'd go, 'no way man, that'd be crazy. That would be really scary.' 

Let's really see things for what they are, and you know, just enjoy each other as we are as human beings. And you know, embrace the technology and evolve with it where we can, but let's at least try and do it with a moralistic kindness to one another. Does that make sense?

The Feed Season 1 Episode 4 Tom and Lawrence

You're exactly right. I think you're one of the sane people.

Oh, thank you, Carissa, I appreciate you saying that, but in essence, who knows? Maybe, maybe I'm not. Maybe it's the other way. I don't know. Maybe I'm the one who's falling behind. I'm not sure.

But I think the bottom line is if we can just, and I know it sounds cliche, be kinder to one another and understand that people might have opposing views to one another, and sometimes that's just the way it is.

But that doesn't make that person a bad person. Let's try and figure out a middle ground so there's an understanding and a connection with one another. I think that will bring people together. And I think that's the most important aspect of what's happening in today's world.

You can't turn on the TV without people just talking about exactly the bloody same thing every day, every day.

There are so many more interesting things happening in the world, you know, so many more interesting things and things that we can help people with. I think it's important for us to see the forest through the trees, or whatever the bloody saying is.

The Feed poster

Absolutely. It looks like our time is up, but I really appreciated this conversation and agree with you entirely. But I've also enjoyed your body of work, so I can't wait to see what's next. Keep being as passionate as you have been because it comes through in your roles.

Hey, well, listen, Carissa, obviously, I've had ups and downs and this and that, so I to hear something like that I greatly appreciate it. And I really, I look forward to reading your work.

And you know, I read when I can, and I read the other TV Fanatic article that was written about the show. And, and I appreciate anybody taking the time to watch the show. And I appreciate everybody taking the time to read and write about the show.

The Feed is available now on Amazon Prime. 

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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