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Billy Magnussen: 'Made for Love' explores human interaction at extreme level

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Billy Magnussen: 'Made for Love' explores human interaction at extreme level
Billy Magnussen can now be seen in Season 2 of "Made For Love." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, May 3 (UPI) -- Billy Magnussen says Made for Love is smart, funny storytelling that also addresses important, real-life issues that involve human connection.

"Using the veil of comedy and sci-fi to talk about relationships is a brilliant tool to put them at the forefront of our minds," the 36-year-old actor told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "It's important. How else do you have these discussions unless it's entertaining or dialogues talking about this kind of stuff? I love it."

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Season 2 of Made For Love, based on Alissa Nutting's novel of the same name, airs Thursdays on HBO Max.

Satirizing aspects of technology, privacy and how people's perceptions of reality can be shaped, the critically acclaimed series follows Hazel (Cristin Milioti), a woman on the run after 10 years of marriage to tech billionaire Byron Gogol (Magnussen), who implanted an emotion-monitoring and location-tracking device in her brain.

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Season 1 ended with Hazel agreeing to return to Byron so her father, Herbert (Ray Romano), can receive cutting-edge treatment for his life-threatening cancer, unaware that his care will take place at Byron's high-tech compound called The Hub. The cast also includes Noma Dumezweni, Dan Bakkedah and Caleb Foote.

One of the biggest themes of the show is how people, even couples, might have completely different comfort levels when it comes to intimacy and how much of their lives and their thoughts they want to share with one another.

"It kind of highlights that maybe we don't a lot of times, in our society, put up enough boundaries," Magnussen said.

"I think Byron puts too many up and doesn't let people in and, at the same time, is trying to get in everyone else's space. It's a really great exploration of human interaction at an extreme level."

The premise doesn't seem far-fetched to the actor in 2022, as many people still work, communicate and even date online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I feel like we're behind," Magnussen laughed, referring to the futuristic lifestyle elements of the show. "I think it's probably happening."

This season, Magnussen is eager for audiences to see the lengths Byron goes through to try to win Hazel back.

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"The most exciting thing to explore in Season 2 is the effort a man takes in trying to become better for his partner -- the effort and the struggle and misunderstanding and just the roller coaster of trying to do the right thing, but it doesn't matter what you try, it doesn't work," the actor explained. "I think he is a hopeful lover."

Since the show's serio-comic tone is tough to pinpoint, it"s better for viewers to just roll with it.

"We're talking about relationships and characters needing and wanting things," Magnussen said, admitting he thinks more about the story and people in it than he does about how they will be interpreted by audiences.

"I did Aladdin and I don't know if I knew the tone of Aladdin. I was just like, 'This is the character I made up. This is what I am going to do.' I don't know if I [as an actor] have that much effect on it."

With roles in projects as varied as Into the Woods, Vania and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The People vs. OJ Simpson, Get Shorty, Tell Me a Story, Maniac, The Survivor, No Time to Die, Many Saints of Newark and The Offer, Magnussen has been building up an impressive body of work.

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But the genre-hopping he has been doing isn't by design.

"Every project I've had the opportunity to be a part of so far has helped me become more of the man I'm supposed to be," Magnussen said.

"Every project has helped me develop as an individual," he added. "[Made For Love] is just another aspect of my journey. Whether it's a play, television show or a movie, the writing has to be there. The relationships and the characters have to be there."

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