'Jupiter's Legacy' Cast Says Fans And Newcomers Alike Will Enjoy Netflix Comic Adaptation
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Interviews , Television

'Jupiter's Legacy' Cast Says Fans And Newcomers Alike Will Enjoy Netflix Comic Adaptation

Netflix has a new superhero show out — but it’s not just about the capes — there’s a whole lot of family drama as well.

Based on the graphic novels of the same name by Mark Millar and Frank Quietly, Jupiter’s Legacy focuses on two generations of superheroes. As the description reads, “after nearly a century of keeping mankind safe, the world’s first generation of superheroes must look to their children to continue the legacy. But tensions rise as the young superheroes, hungry to prove their worth, struggle to live up to their parents’ legendary public reputations — and exacting personal standards.

Ahead of the series premiere, Shadow and Act sat down with stars Josh Duhamel, Leslie Bibb, Ben Daniels, Elena Kampouris, Andrew Horton, Tenika Davis, Mike Wade, Matt Lanter and Ian Quinlan to talk about their roles and much more about the show.

What attracted you to this role and to this show? Was this the superhero that you envisioned yourself playing on television?

Josh Duhamel: Well honestly, I wasn’t even looking to do something like this because I thought this was something that might’ve happened 15 years ago. And then the script came along, Lorenzo de Bonaventura actually, who I worked on Transformers with, sent it to me and said, “I think you’re right for this.” And I really, really loved the story more than the superhero side of it. Of course, I thought it would always be cool to put on a suit and be that guy. But this was more important to me because I got to play this guy who was, two very different stages of his life in his 30s when he was young, ambitious and bright-eyed, and off to conquer the world, and had this optimistic view of everything. [He] witnesses his father jump off that building and goes into this traumatic mental breakdown, which leads him into these visions, which leads him to this island, which leads them to these powers. But then you cut back and forth to modern times and you get to see how having had these powers for so long has really affected him. And the way to that responsibility has really come at a price. That to me is where this really, really gets good because the family dynamics of this are so juicy. It has the makings of a modern tragedy in some ways, with all the betrayal, distrust, resentment and regret.

Could you speak to the way that your character evolves as the show progresses, especially in regard to how they view “The Code.” 

Elena Kampouris: I love her arc, knowing where she goes in the comic like past what would hopefully be season two or past [this] season. It was very helpful to know where she would go. So when we meet her, she’s in a downward spiral. She’s trying to numb the pain that she’s feeling about the fractures between her family, her brother, her mom, or her dad. So she’s turning to drugs and alcohol as a way to not feel this pain, but it’s only heightening it for her. So she’s going on this journey of trying to just feel comfortable in her own skin. I feel like she feels very disgusting inside. She feels like she’s being picked apart. She’s under a microscope. She’s being judged, like everything from her table manners to what she dresses and who she is as a person. She feels like she’s being domineered by this psychological prison of a construct of the code.

So journey-wise though, she ends up encountering a certain individual who really sees her for her soul, for who she truly is and gets her. And they connect as soulmates. So he doesn’t want to change her. He is right there with her in where they are at and understands. And he’s the son of the world’s biggest supervillain, and she’s the world’s biggest superhero. So we’ve got some forbidden love going on. She goes through a lot and she’s trying to navigate her pain and find where she truly belongs while also dealing with the love she has for her family and not feeling embraced by that unit.

Leslie Bibb: There’s an evolution that’s happening. I also think you’re seeing this woman and she is realizing that somehow along this journey of this very long life lived, that she has lost the beat that was the drumbeat for her at the beginning. And I think that’s an interesting thing. You don’t usually see characters, you don’t get to see them at either end of the spectrum. And so I think you see her realizing that she’s forgotten who she was and that in this…I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the strongest person in the world and you have to protect the world and protect mankind. And you’re always on call, you never have a day off. And not only that, you work and live with your husband. You both are in the same world and one of your children is in the same world. And it’s like there’s no balance there.

And so I think you’re seeing this woman tipped in a way. And I find, especially in episode six, you start to see the cracking happening for her. And at the end of eight where she’s like, “I can’t do this. I can’t toe the company line,” and her being the one person, because nobody stands up to Sheldon. And Grace standing up to him saying, “This isn’t working.” Like whatever we’re doing, look at us, this whole, every dissolution of the union. I find it so sad for them, but also so exciting because it’s likened to what’s happening in the world right now. When things split at the fibers, I feel like there is a breakthrough that’s going to happen, and a ceiling that will be broken, and an evolution and possibly a revolution. So I do feel that is exciting in the show and I do feel like there’s this interesting correlation with what’s happening in the world right now that is happening in the show. And so I hope that there’ll be conversations had and inspiration in that respect with the show.

What do you think will surprise people the most about the show? Because you’re going to have people who are going to come into it brand new and not knowing too much about the comic. And then you’re going to have people who are familiar with the comic and have a lot of information about these characters and these storylines already. So for both ends of the spectrum, how do you think people would be surprised by the show?

Andrew Horton: So with regards to people who are familiar with the comic books, I think just the thing that makes Jupiter stand out is the fact that it’s different from any other superhero film or TV series that’s out there at the moment. We’ve said the whole way through press week that it’s more of a drama than a superhero show. And we’re really focusing on these familial relationships and the wider relationships within this world that the series is based in. And I think just the fact that we don’t shy away from stuff. It tackles some hot topics, it tackles history, politics, religion. It delves into all of these different things in a way that others haven’t before. And I think that’s what is a very unique selling point for the show.

Ian Quinlan: I think for people who [aren’t familiar], what I love about it is that this is not a remake. This is a whole new set of heroes with a whole new origin story and a whole new reason for why they do what they do. And I think that’s just really remarkable that we’re going to actually because we don’t already have preexisting knowledge of these heroes, like you would Spiderman or Batman, that you walk in and you actually have to learn about this human and these humans and how they are. I think it’s a beautiful thing to actually see what a hero life is actually like. And for those who are familiar with the comics, I mean, Elena looks like she walked right off the page. So I’m really excited to see just like, for them to see how true to life it is and see the whole thing come to life and some new twists and some fun things that we’ve added. Yeah. I’m really stoked for people who are big fans to see what we did with it.

Ben Daniels: I didn’t know the comics either. So I read the comics before I read the script. I did it all in one go. And what is fantastic if you don’t know them is the scope of it as a piece is just huge. It spans 100 years. The six characters that start off in the 1920s are also the same six characters that you see in the present day. So you get to see them as young people and old people. And if we do more seasons, you will go for the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. But it’s a very political piece. But it also stems from a tight-knit family group. And that’s where the core of the drama is. It is first and foremost, a family drama that then extends into the superhero realm as well.

And all the characters are, they’re shades of gray. They’re very, very complex. There’s no real heroes, no real villains. There’s a lot to chew on this. It’s very, very meaty. And I think for people that do know the comics, there are changes within it that I think enhance it as a piece. You might get, say, two panels of the comic that is an entire episode in itself. So it fills in a lot of the blank. So I think for people that do know it, it’s also a satisfying experience to watch.

You two are adding to our on-screen Canon of black superheroes with your characters. How do you think these characters will go down in our history of Black superheroes as a different portrayal than we’ve seen on-screen? 

Tenika Davis: Jupiter’s Legacy is a story about complex family relationships. First of all, the relationship between me and my dad fits small, is one in which you don’t really see the dysfunction right off the bat. So I think that first of all, putting a family institution in which things are actually mended and strong and the ties that bind are strongly knit with one another is important. I think especially for the black community as well to really see a lot of people maybe not having a mom or a dad. They’re absent from the home sort of thing, right?

I know I grew up in a family that was divorced as well too and I didn’t have my dad around. So it’s cool having fits as that example. And then also these characters are smart, very intelligent. So I think in past we’ve seen a lot of black anthems in American characters typecast in a certain way in which you haven’t really highlighted the fact that they are intelligent. It can be things like doctors, lawyers, all of that stuff. And I think that these two characters turn that stereotype on its head, which is a really cool opportunity that was provided to the show through the writers.

Mike Wade: What I would just add to that is just a realness to these characters. I was talking with Mark pretty recently about fits and yeah, he’s not a perfect person, but fortunately where we come in on the story is our relationship has been mended. But at the same time, it’s not like other pieces where it deals with different groups and they’re just perfect. There is just nothing wrong with them. And that’s just not real. We’re human. And that’s what I love about this because yeah, we’re superheroes, but we’re still very human dealing with very human issues. And that I really enjoyed hearing from Mark and talking with Mark about that is that we’re just going to take a real look at this person and love them anyway, despite their falls.

Through this whole season, we’re going through this balance of hearing by the code specifically between the older generation and the new generation. And while I was watching, I was thinking a lot about how that applies to the dichotomy we have in society now. How do you think this applies to recent events?

Matt Lanter: Well, I think that we’re definitely going through a traumatic time in society where there’s a lot of change happening. But I also think this is an age-old story that goes back to the beginning of time. I think we’ve always, I mean, look at history, there’s always wars. There’s always people thinking we need to do one thing, people that think that we need to do another. Groups of people being treated poorly, groups of people in a privileged position. I think these are not new themes necessarily. I think we’re all relating the show and seeing that in the show because of what’s happening in the world today. But the comic was written in 2013 and before the last few years where it seems like everything has just gone off the deep end in a way. So they’re very, very human stories and they apply. I mean, good versus evil, goes back to biblical times. Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, there’s a lot of just parallels to how we grow as a society.

The above interview has been edited and condensed for clarity, but you can view the full video below:

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