The rising star also talks One Night in Miami and High Fidelity.

By Sarah Rodman
October 05, 2020 at 05:11 PM EDT
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Soulmates
Credit: Jorge Alvarino/AMC

AMC's new Black Mirror-esque anthology series Soulmates takes place in a world where an (infallible?) test matches true loves. Each of the six episodes will chronicle the journey of different characters at varying points in their romantic lives and relationships. We caught up with Kingsley Ben-Adir (High Fidelity) who costars with Sarah Snook (Succession) in the first episode, premiering Oct. 5, and chatted about what attracted him to the series. The actor is in the midst of a fertile stretch, appearing in the recent Showtime series The Comey Rule as President Barack Obama and in the Regina King-directed feature film One Night in Miami as Malcolm X.

Love at first sight

"I read it and I thought, God, this is a really interesting exploration of relationships," he says of Soulmates. The pot was sweetened knowing he'd be playing opposite Snook. "It was really exciting because as it was unraveling, as the emotional aspect of the story becomes more clear, I say without giving away what it is, you just think what a treat this is going to be to get to explore and build this relationship and emotional world with someone as talented as Sarah."

To test, or not to test?

"I hope the show will make people think, because it definitely made me think about it so much from an acting point of view," Ben- says. "You start to question your relationships, and what love do you have in your life, and what love is, and what is a soulmate? Would I take the test? I say no and then I think it would shift from week to week, month to month, and year to year, depending on where you were at in your life and who you're with, and what particular point you might be in your relationship," he adds. "Romantically, I'd like to say no, I wouldn't. But if it was absolutely dead certain that there was someone who was your soul mate? I don't know."

Low Fidelity

Ben-Adir was just as disappointed as fans when he learned that his Hulu series High Fidelity would not be getting a second season. "It was very relatable and grounded, and just felt very real. And people in relationships that we hadn't seen in that way before," he says of the comedy, in which he starred opposite Zoe Kravitz. "I was a little surprised because I think it's really good work and my feeling was that, yeah this should go, it's solid. But you know, it is TV. When one door closes, another one opens. As an actor, you just never know."

Barack and Malcolm

Several doors opened for Ben-Adir after High Fidelity, including The Comey Rule and One Night in Miami. He has high praise for both projects and relished playing the disparate leaders. "Regina was awesome to work with, and we've become very close and good friends now," he says of the One Night in Miami helmer. "It was a wonderful time."

Of his experience on The Comey Rule, Ben-Adir says, "It was pretty awesome. It was like 40 days nonstop shooting. I was filming Malcolm and Obama at the same time. So it was a little intense, and there was just a few weeks over Christmas to prepare. I loved every minute of it. It was a super challenge, and it was really exciting."

Playing the former president was particularly thrilling for the 33-year-old Brit. "Obama is probably one of the most recognizable voices on the planet, and the challenge of trying to tap into that get the dialect and the essence — because there's a 20-year-age difference between us, so it wasn't about looking exactly the same, but just the feel of him. To explore that was a treat," he says. "I had to give myself a crash course in American politics, and the election, and the Hillary scandal, and it was an intense educational experience. And working with [costar] Jeff [Daniels] obviously was an absolute treat.

Soulmates premiere on Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.

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