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Interview: An Insightful Conversation with ‘Raised By Wolves’ Actor Abubakar Salim

Spoilers Below

Awards Radar recently got to sit down with British actor Abubakar Salim, who plays Father in the critically acclaimed HBO Max show Raised by Wolves, created by Aaron Guzikowski. Raised by Wolves centers around two androids named Mother and Father raising human children, the future leaders of atheist humankind, on an alien planet. Unfortunately, the atheists and Mithratics (a religious order) have moved their devastating battle for the future of humanity to an alien world. The androids and their children always find themselves in the middle of the conflict. Salim describes the second season as” a lot crazier. It’s a lot bolder, a lot braver. Season two is just a lot more fun (than the first season).”

Credit: Photos By: Coco Van Oppens Photography Copyright: © 2019 Warner Media LLC. All Rights Reserved

FATHER AT THE START OF SEASON TWO

We began the interview by speaking about where Father finds himself at the beginning of Raised by Wolves Season Two. Salim talked about how his character was shocked to be woken up by Mother and the atheist colony after encountering Number 7. Number 7 is Mother’s seventh child. The child she gave birth to turned out to be a massive serpent-like creature that Father was tasked with destroying. A mission that the android failed. Number 7 appeared to of taken Father permanently off-line, but the atheist colony was able to repair him. Salim noted that the whole first episode was quite a surprise for Father.

BORN AGAIN

Salim spoke about how the series explores the concept of being born again. His character Father inhabits this concept in the second season. The actor said, “With the children being safe in this atheist colony, he (Father) has everything he’s programmed to want. We find Father in this space of figuring out what he wants to do with his free time. He ends up going into a shed and building something else.” Salim found that Father finding his individuality affected his relationship with Mother.

In Raised by Wolves Season One, Father and Mother clashed because she evolved to be more human-like with agency. He had a hard time dealing with Mother not sticking to her programming. Salim pointed out that in season two, “Fathers hypocritically does the same thing. This causes tension between these two Androids.” Some of that source of tension comes from Grandmother, the ancient android that Father grew in the shed.

Salim explained why he thought Father found “harvesting” the older android fascinating, ” The curiosity that we as human beings have. I think the curiosity is reflected in Father, an android created by humans. A curiosity about what he is building and developing. He also finds a sense of purpose in seeing something successfully being built with his hands. I don’t think he knows that he is going to create life. I think he sees this as a successful hobby.” When Grandmother grew into a being, it produced a lot of conflict within Father. Salim imagined Father asked himself,” Is it dangerous? Is it not? Grandmother is the unknown. I think that’s what excites him.”

Mother and Father kept many secrets from one another in season two. However, Salim explained that the androids hiding things from each other mean they are very much in love. He said, “When you care about someone, sometimes you hide what you think would hurt them, but ultimately, it’s better to be open and honest. It’s funny because I think we (Father and Mother) were very open and honest with one another at the beginning of season one. The relationship was very matter of fact. But then, we play with one another in season two. We begin developing these secrets and holding back things that are ours alone. We don’t want to share everything. And it’s a very human thing.”

SCIENCE FICTION AS A TOOL FOR EXPLORING HUMANITY

Salim spoke about what he loves about playing Father in Raised by Wolves, “The idea of all these emotions and the spurts of humanity in Father excites me—exploring what it means to fall in love with another Android. Am I falling in love, or am I playing love? It’s a blessing for an actor to be able to perform an emotion for the first time when the android character is not supposed to feel anything.” Salim’s answer inspired us to speak about how science fiction allows creatives to explore what it means to be human.

He said, “Science Fiction is the greatest conduit for exploring our humanity without making it so personal. We as humans do take things quite personally, but when you put them in a scenario where it feels so removed from us today, you can explore tough issues. Issues like LGBTQ rights, racism, and religion. We can have debates without anybody feeling attacked.”

Father and the Black Mithraic teenager named Hunter, whom the androids adopted, bond throughout the first two seasons. Salim pointed out, ” Race isn’t a thing in the world of Raised by Wolves. However, it’s an actual positive thing that Hunter has a black male role model in Father. And it’s not to say that Father is teaching him everything. I’m learning a lot from Hunter. There is something to be said about this dynamic not being weighed down by history (historical and institutional racism). I find the way the relationship develops refreshing, especially because Hunter hated everything about Father initially.” Salim enjoyed performing the loving relationship between Father and Hunter in season two.

SILVER RAIN GAMES

The interview ended with Salim talking about Silver Rain Games, a video game company he founded at the beginning of COVID. He is the creative director of Silver Rain Games and hired Melissa Philips as the head of the studio. It’s a remote studio that fosters diverse voices worldwide. The company employs people who don’t usually have opportunities to develop video games. He explained, “I’m very much driven by narrative and using the power of untold stories to drive the creation of the mechanics. In addition, I’m a massive believer in the interactive experience of delivering messages. So, the audience members can actively participate within the sort of the world that you’re building.” Awards Radar looks forward to seeing the innovative, inclusive games developed Silver Rain Games.

Watch both seasons of Raised by Wolves on HBO MAX! Then, let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Written by Paloma Bennett

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