What would life be like if it didn’t actually have to end when you die? What if you could send yourself into an afterlife where you could still speak to your loved ones and just live an infinite time loop? That’s what’s at the center of Amazon Prime Video’s Upload, created by Greg Daniels. The show stars Robbie Amell as Nathan, a young man who dies suddenly and is uploaded into a beautiful afterlife by his girlfriend Ingrid, played by Allegra Edwards. But what she hasn’t seemed to figure out is that Nathan pretty much wants to be done with her. The only problem? She’s bankrolling his afterlife, and just like the real world, everything in the afterlife costs money. So despite him totally falling for his angel, Nora, played by Andy Allo, and who is human and lives on Earth, Nathan is still indebted to Ingrid.
The show’s second season, which dropped onto the streamer on March 11, picks up where the cliffhanger of season one left off, with Ingrid telling Nathan she’s uploaded. Throughout the second season, we see a whole other side to the affluent woman that helps viewers understand her just a bit more. Here she is, a woman who is desperate for love and who will do anything for Nathan. Sure, some of her methods are questionable at best, but she’s trying. Ahead of the second season’s premiere, I caught up with Edwards herself to learn more about all Ingrid’s layers and what goes into crafting this complex character.
I imagine COVID probably played a role in why we’ve been waiting a while for season two. How was filming for season two?
COVID did definitely play a role in impacting the shooting schedule for sure. One good way to think of it is we were able to do 10 episodes [for season one] in the same amount of time as we completed seven episodes for season two. The days were inevitably going to be longer than they otherwise would have been, and it’s a complicated show with a lot of visual effects. And then I think what people also forget is that it gets translated. It gets dubbed in every language that they offer on Prime Video, which is a lot of languages. Not only are you editing talking dogs, for example, and flying people, but you also have COVID that you’re working against and dubbing. That being said, I will say that even though it is a seven episode season, I think it’s a really strong seven episodes.
Take me through Ingrid’s evolution in the second season because I really had hope for her going into the first episode.
We get almost a more nuanced version of her, in a way, where with absolute power comes responsibility. And I don’t know how much responsibility Ingrid thinks she has. She definitely gets pretty power hungry and leans all the way into the fun of Upload, the fun of Lakeview, for sure. But I think what’s really exciting about her journey is that you see more self-awareness develop and that she will do pretty extreme things as we’ve seen, for Nathan thinking, “This is love. This is love. This is love. This is what people do when they’re in love.”
But then I think she has this recognition moment that Nathan is still not close to her, even if she’s in physical proximity with him. So that forces her to look inside herself, be a little bit more introspective. And then we have this glorious gift of the Prototykes, which is this new technology that Horizon has developed, where you can create a digital baby. I think the device of the Prototyke for Ingrid is a fascinating one because I think it opens up a new need and a new desire to course correct and rewrite some of her own trajectory. She acknowledges that she’s got this messed up family and it’s part of why she is the way she is. This digital baby becomes a lens through which she actually sees herself. And I love that, I think that’s so awesome.
I was fascinated that by the last couple episodes, you start to feel bad for her because you see all her cracks and that all she really wants is to be loved and have a family.
Yes, absolutely. And I also want to say, as me just being very empathetic and having great compassion for Ingrid, at the end of season one, I had this feeling myself, watching the season going, “Ingrid’s paid so much money for Nathan to end up where he ends up at the end of season two.” And it’s like, “Thanks, see ya.” And I’m going, “Somebody apologize. Can you Venmo her 50 bucks?”
That’s financial sacrifice, that’s discomfort. And I think what this points to is maybe my favorite quote of the entire season, maybe the whole show, which ironically comes from AI guy. She says to him, “This is love, it’s an emotion, and I don’t expect you to understand it.” And he responds, “I know that you’ve done something that’s made you very uncomfortable for a long time, with no end in sight, out of love. Approved for one digital baby.”
I hope that viewers take a second look at that or hear it differently and think about the motivation behind what we would usually perceive as extreme choices. Extreme choices are often motivated out of great love, even if it’s manifesting in a weird way.
She has had this journey on the show and you see there’s a lot more to her than you may have initially thought. How was it for you digging into this character?
Every new script that I would get would be a new discovery about the softer side of Ingrid. If she was having tantrums and behaving like a child and doing things that would make her an unlikable, more villain character, the writers and Greg [Daniels] came up with this great balance for her to show either a meaning behind it or a reason for it or a softer side or a human element. Or they literally put another person in her body or her avatar for folks to see what it would be like if someone else was wearing Ingrid’s skin for the day. And I think that maybe probably makes people a little bit more invested in her, just to see her relax and chill out.
Every day was really, really fun. I’m four and a half months pregnant now, and back when we were filming this season, motherhood was on my mind a ton because I was spending so much time with Ingrid and thinking about what that might mean to her and thinking for myself, “What would that mean for me?” That’s definitely a point of connection that I share with her. Exploring that and bringing that into the room and onto set was really a joy. And then now, I’m so curious to be able to watch the season pregnant, but then also maybe eight months from now with a newborn in my arms going, “Wow. Yeah, I wish I could put it to sleep with a button. I wish I could pay a little 99 cent upcharge to just give it a nap. Do I want to fast forward?” And that’s just a really cool parallel that I love.
I also love that Ingrid’s wardrobe is just so amazing. How much fun has it been to get to wear just all these gorgeous outfits all the time?
Oh gosh, the most fun. The only downside is when it’s a little tight or it’s a little short or the shoes are legitimately built like weapons. After 10 hours there’s pain involved. I love the wardrobe journey that Ingrid goes on this season. I’m really excited to see if the audiences click into how her wardrobe reflects her goals and what she wants to accomplish this season. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but she’s got a lot more Chanel, ESCADA two-piece, Stepford wife-looking. She wants to be perceived as a mother and taken seriously. It’s way less party girl but it’s still totally hot.
I’ve been watching Selling Sunset, and there are some Christine Quinn, Ingrid Kannerman parallels left and right in season two, and it’s a total treat. I love being a Barbie doll. I look forward to every fitting because I learn something new about the character. With really thoughtful costume designers, they’re careful in how they curate color. I noticed that Farnaz [Khaki-Sadigh], our costume designer, always wanted something sculptural for Ingrid. She kept gravitating towards things that were not just futuristic in the Jetsons sense, but that maybe Ingrid was a little bit more fashion forward, even for 2033. And choosing things that didn’t make her look comfortable for a reason, because she wanted to be noticed, seen, appreciated and respected.
The whole concept of the show is so interesting and not really anything I’ve seen before. This idea of uploading and having an afterlife makes you wonder if this could be our future.
We’re getting a metaverse this year, I’m just saying. There are avatars in the workplace.
It’s true. But have you thought about uploading and what your own afterlife could look like?
I go back and forth about it. Every day is different, I feel differently about it. I like the idea of being in an Upload world that is based on some of my favorite movies. If I could have an afterlife that was based on That Thing You Do or Princess Bride or Hook, these things that are just ingrained in my body so much that I could jump in and play any character and know all of their lines. But I think the reason is because those were movies that made me want to be an actor. And so I think what I’m actually craving is the desire to go be a part of those films. I don’t actually think that’s an afterlife that I would need because if I did it once, then it would be Groundhog Day. And please, I don’t need to do this movie 17,000 times for all of eternity, not ideal.
I probably wouldn’t choose it, for the reason that they explore in a really fun way in the show, that the idea of breathing in fresh air or an upcharge to crack your neck or when they pay an upcharge to have a cold because sometimes it feels nice to be taken of, those are the things that I don’t see any virtual afterlife, no matter how far ahead we get in our technological advancements. I don’t think there’s a replacement for this. And I think the whole point of an eternity would be something that we can’t imagine and that we can’t actually wrap our heads around what that’ll feel like, what that’ll be like. And I’d rather not trust it to folks that may have ulterior motives. I don’t want to put that in their hands. No matter how great they are, even if it was Oprah that was like, “Come on, come to my afterlife.”
That’s so funny because one of the things I love about the show is all the conglomeration names. What’s the Panera one?
Panera Facebook! The other really good one is Nokia Taco Bell. So ridiculous.
The show has all these parallels with the world we’re living in now, with corporate greed and everything being about money. The whole concept of wanting equity for the afterlife, feels like our current climate we live in. When you first heard about the show and where it was going, what were your thoughts on how realistic it is as far as the satire side of poking at the world we’re in?
I was trying to describe to people, “Imagine that your afterlife is a cellular data plan, where you have to pay for it every month. And if you can’t make the payments, then you have to go to a wifi cafe or a retirement community. And the retirement community or nursing home that you’re put in is already dependent upon how much money you’re able to pay for it. You get better aqua aerobics classes if you go to this one versus that one. Maybe this one has rotisserie chicken and that one has mush. It depends on what you can afford already.”
I think there’s already the idea that there’s inequity in the type of care that you’re able to receive or the type of healthcare that you can afford or the type of data plan that you can have and the type of phone that you have. All that is to say that access to a wealth-driven afterlife or vacation or that it can’t be equal if it’s based on how much you’re able or willing to pay — I think they’re all connected.
Totally! Speaking of wealth in this season, I didn’t expect to see a cult of people against all the money-grabbing, and yet, there it was.
Certain members evoke more of an extreme side, which I think touches on something very real, that there are people that have principles that aren’t as extreme as others but they’re all lumped into the same category. Nora may not feel as extreme as some of the others do and she may actually have more compassion for certain uploads that others don’t. There’s a spectrum of belief, even inside the same encampment. I love the scene where she comes really close to saving Jake Paul’s life but then doesn’t.
I literally laughed out loud.
That’s one of my favorite parts. They went all the way in.
Season one ended on your cliffhanger, and now season two, you have a cliffhanger and then Nathan has a cliffhanger, and we’ve got all these loose ends. What are your theories for what could happen next?
I think I know too much to have theories. If you watch it again, pay attention to Tinsley [Mackenzie Cardwell]. She’s got something going on. I think other than what’s going to happen with Nathan specifically, a lot of it is pretty up in the air. I want to see Ingrid interact with more characters and mix and match more. Anytime Ingrid gets to be with her family is so delectable. I’d love to see more of the Kannerman circus.
I’d selfishly really love for Ingrid and Alicia to overlap in real life, because Zainab is just a joy. I didn’t get enough time with Zainab this season and I got no time with her in season one. And I feel like they owe me one.Their personalities would be a really funny, weird mishmash.
I’m crossing my fingers for season three.
We would love a renewal. We feel like there’s still so much more story to explore. The hope would be that we’d get to go back sooner than we did last time.
You have to address those cliffhangers!
It’s a lot, I know. Big cliffhangers. They love it. They want you coming back and waiting.