John Slattery stars in Fox's new series neXt, and the star is opening up about the white-knuckle techno-thriller. Speaking with ET, Slattery dished on why the grounded sci-fi story is so relevant to our modern world.
In neXt, Slattery plays Paul LeBlanc, a tech mogul who joins up with investigators from a Homeland Cybersecurity team to investigate a rogue artificial intelligence program that could be learning, evolving and killing people.
"The most interesting part of it is that everybody has these devices -- we have computers, we have laptops, we have iPads, we have phones, we have these supercomputers in our possession at all times," Slattery told ET's Rachel Smith via video chat. "And they are listening, and they are watching, and they are recording information, and they are learning about you."
According to the former Mad Men star, this series asks the question, "What if this artificial intelligence gets into these devices that we're so reliant on, and how easy [would it be] for it to do what it wants?"
Slattery -- who will be participating in the neXt panel at Comic-Con@Home on Sunday -- said he's looking forward to people watching the series and how it relates to their lives.
"I think they'll get hooked on the show," Slattery shared.
Adding to the complications of killer AI and advanced technology run amok, Slattery explained that his character -- who created the AI in question before trying to shut it down -- is struggling with "a degenerative brain disease called fatal familial insomnia."
"You lose the ability to sleep, to get rest, so your brain starts to break down," Slattery said, explaining the effects of the very real disorder. "[My character] hasn't slept in weeks, and so he starts to get paranoid... it gives you paranoid hallucinations, and so he's losing his marbles, or thinks he is, or isn't sure if he is or isn't."
NeXt was originally set to premiere earlier this year, but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic. Slattery explained that they managed to shoot all the episodes before the shutdowns were implemented, and he recognizes how lucky they were to have completed production when they did.
"The timing was really fortuitous that we got it done. I mean, so many people that I know were just about to start something or had a week left of something or finished something and can't get it out because there are no theaters," he shared. "To have a show that people can watch in their homes, that is relevant and timely and fast-paced and a little scary... I feel really lucky that we got finished."
For more on neXt, check out the Comic-Con@Home panel on Sunday at 8 a.m. ET/11 a.m. PT. Panelists will include creator and executive producer Manny Coto, Slattery, Fernanda Andrade, Michael Mosley, Jason Butler Harner and Eve Harlow, and will be moderated by Thrillist's Esther Zuckerman. The show premieres this fall.