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Neil Sandilands And Adeel Akhtar Discuss The Wickedness Within Sweet Tooth - Exclusive Interview

Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey produced an adaptation of Jeff Lemire's apocalyptic Vertigo comic series "Sweet Tooth" for Netflix — and it's not hard to see why. While "Sweet Tooth" is about how humanity reshapes itself after a deadly virus changes the world forever, it's careful not to take the easy out of focusing purely on the notion of "good guys" and "bad guys." Sure, there are exceptions — Gus (Christian Convery), Wendy (Naledi Murray), and the rest of the young hybrids who appeared at the same time as the deadly sickness, for example, are innocents. However, the adults live in shades of grey. Jepperd (Nonso Anozie) is helping Gus now, but he originally hunted down and killed hybrids as one of the Last Men when the world first ended.

Even the people we're meant to see as villains after a fashion can range from truly sinister to only on the verge of villainy. On the one hand we have General Abbot (Neil Sandilands), who is guiding the Last Men towards the purposes of securing a cure for the sickness, but one that comes at the cost of the lives of the hybrids. On the other hand, there's Dr. Singh (Adeel Akhtar) who has been struggling to keep his sick wife in remission. Singh's motivations are specific, but while he's tried his best to operate ethically in his search for a cure, the end of "Sweet Tooth" Season 1 shows a researcher willing to cross his own boundaries and commit murder in the name of a perceived greater good.

Looper sat down with Neil Sandilands and Adeel Akhtar to talk about the burgeoning relationship between these two men now that season one is over, where that relationship might go next, and how they can justify their characters' reprehensible actions.

Justifying Abbot and Singh's monstrous actions

Can you yourself justify your respective character's actions? Neil, I'd love to start with you.

Neil Sandilands: Yes. Yes. I think if you pay close attention to what is happening in the world today, I could certainly see very similar positions in fundamentalist thinking playing out as we are even speaking now, so that's not a far stretch. It's finding out why people inhabit that space, which I've found particularly interesting. I think once you can find the intellectual map there, the roadmap there, you can also find your way back. I think that's the trick. Like you just alluded, those psychologies or pathologies can swap over. Right? It's just the trick of knowing how to do that.

Adeel, same thing for you because you're headed into a dark place at the end of the season.

Adeel Akhtar: Indeed, yeah. I think he steps into that world a little bit. I mean, I suppose it's just a question of whether he has any semblance of himself while he's in this moral maze. I don't think that's a question we need to have any quick answers to right now. I think the idea is just to sit in that quandary a little bit and hopefully, the camera's running while he's doing that. You know?

Can General Abbot and Dr, Singh ever be friends?

How do you envision the relationship between your two characters evolving? Is there a way for them to get along? Is there a common denominator of a mutual need enough? Could they even be friends, or is that completely off the table?

Adeel Akhtar: Yeah, I wonder. I mean, situations where you find high stakes situations. You find yourself reaching out for any place to anchor yourself, and these two guys are definitely in this moral hinterland. They're sort of floating around the place, so maybe they'll use each other as a way to anchor themselves down a little bit, but you'll have to tune in to find out. Yeah.

Neil, what about you? How do you feel about their relationship going forward?

Neil Sandilands: Well, I think it's very early days, so a little bit premature for me to occupy my head space with those possibilities. But I tell you what, though — if it does indeed happen, I cannot wait to share that space with Adeel. It's incredible to be on set with him.

Adeel Akhtar: Oh, yeah. Likewise.

Neil Sandilands: It really becomes alive. Those ones are really tangible. If I can dream, I'd say bring it.

Adeel Akhtar: Yeah. One of the first things Neil said to me, I think, was "It'll be nice to ping-pong." That was one of the first things, and I felt like that's what we were doing in the scenes together. So yeah, if season two has more ping-ponging, that'll be excellent.

The world ends. You're allowed only one candy to persist in the post-apocalyptic world. What candy must continue?

Adeel Akhtar: This is super controversial because I'm from ... I'm up North at the moment in Bradford, and I went past the chocolate factory. Cadbury's, but I like Reese's peanut butter cups. Yeah. But that's really controversial coming from the land of Cadbury's. I've said that, you heard that here first.

Neil Sandilands: I'd go for something local here. I don't know if you get it in the rest of ... I'm sure you must, but it's called Wilson's. A Wilson's-type toffee. It's a toffee.

"Sweet Tooth" is streaming on Netflix now.