Robbie Amell has made a name for himself starring in sci-fi shows (“The Flash,” “The X-Files”) and rom-coms (“The Duff”).
His new Amazon comedy, “Upload,” combines the two genres.
“I love comedy and I love sci-fi, that’s kind of where my taste lives,” Amell, 31, tells The Post.
“I knew that I wanted [to do] a half-hour comedy for a streaming network and a good producer,” he says. “As [‘Upload’ creator and executive producer Greg Daniels] says, I got 2 out of 3. I obviously got 3. I couldn’t be happier.”
Premiering May 1 on Amazon, “Upload” is set in a near future world where people can purchase digital afterlives to “upload” their consciousness after they die. There, they can live forever (kind of) and still communicate with their living loved ones via phone calls and virtual reality headsets.
After his untimely death in a car crash, Nathan (Amell) ends up in Lakeview — his girlfriend’s family’s swanky digital afterlife that looks like an idyllic lakeside hotel (the show was filmed in Vancouver). But to complicate matters, while he depends on his narcissistic girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards, “Briarpartch”) to foot the bill of his stay in Lakeview, he becomes close with his afterlife customer-service rep Nora (Andy Allo, “Chicago Fire”).
“The first thing that attracted me to the show was Greg Daniels. He’s a genius — I love ‘Parks and Recreation,’ I love ‘The Office’, ” says Amell. “I thought it was such an interesting idea. We’re living in this post ‘Black Mirror’ world, everybody’s ready for a show like this. And I just thought that Nathan — we have a similar voice and a similar sense of humor, which made things easy right off the bat.”
While Amell says he relates to Nathan, figuring out his personality was also the biggest challenge.
“We wanted to make Nathan pretty shallow … in the first episode, so he had somewhere to go,” he says. “But we didn’t want to lose the audience with somebody who was too unlikable. So Greg and I talked about how we could make it real, where you understand where he’s coming from but at the same time you see that there’s room to grow. Part of that stems from him being a mid-to-late 20s guy who has a hot girlfriend and an okay job, is maybe kind of coasting through life but thinking he’s doing a little more than he actually is.
“He has to die to essentially realize he wasn’t really living.” he says, “and he meets Nora and she shows him that maybe there is a little more to life and relationships.”
While several Hollywood stars are well-known siblings (like the Hemsworths) or parent and child (like Margaret Qualley and Andie MacDowell), Amell, who lives in LA with his infant son and his wife Italia Ricci (“Designated Survivor”), has the rare distinction of being in the industry alongside his cousin, “Arrow” star Stephen Amell.
“We were really close when we were young, and he’s seven years older, so there was a little gap when he was 15 and I was 8 and we didn’t have a whole lot in common,” he says.
“We’d see each other occasionally at a family dinner, but we both fell into [acting] with … really lucky coincidental happenings, and we both just ran with it. It’s been really fun, we had a movie [‘Code 8’] come out that we produced and starred in together go number one on Netflix, which is unbelievable.
“We got to shoot ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ together, which is cool, so it’s been pretty wild.”