Ripped straight from the pages of Mark Millar's self-described "Lord of the Rings with superheroes" comes Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy. Over one hundred years ago six ordinary people traveled to a mysterious island where they are granted powers far beyond those of mortal men. A century later The Union must not only battle supervillains but also struggle with the next generation of supers in a world that has somewhat outgrown their antiquated ideals. Jupiter's Legacy isn't about battling evil super villains or stopping runaway trains for eight episodes. Although that does happen, this story is about kids who never asked for superpowers wanting to live their own life. Imagine your relationship with your parents, now add capes.
As her story unfolds across timelines Grace Kennedy, played by Leslie Bibb (Talladega Nights, The Babysitter), evolves from a young, whip-smart reporter in the 1920s to the super-powered Lady Liberty in the present day. Not only Sheldon's wife, but she also co-founded the Union and is one of the most powerful superheroes on the planet. She strives to balance Sheldon's ideals with the reality of the modern and often violent world they try to protect. Recently Leslie chatted about her character, her inspirations, and what it's like to wear a super suit.
Grace starts off as an energetic journalist and then a superhero and she is sort of the glue that holds her family together. Play a multifaceted character to see her evolution from the 20s to the present day. How would you describe your character?
LB: I think you are finding Grace, you see her in the 20s, you see her as a journalist, a photojournalist, and someone who is seeking the truth and has chosen a life that probably her parents wouldn't want for her. She is not picking a husband or kids at that time in her life…I think you are seeing Grace sort of unable to tow the company line right now. And watching this pursuit to support 'The Code', and support her husband, and to keep it all afloat. She's watching her relationship with her kids fall apart, she's watching herself as a woman, and who she is in her makeup, fall apart. .. And I think that she's trying to hold space for her kids because it must be incredibly hard to grow up in the shadow- can you imagine if your parents were superheroes? And you were pushed into a life that you didn't really ask for. .. I think one great thing about Grace Kennedy is that she, or Lady Liberty, is very compassionate. And I think she has always an ear for those young superheroes.
Mark Millar writes a lot of characters that are analogs, mashups, and amalgamations of other superheroes. What is it like to put your stamp on a new character and what past superheroines did you use as inspiration?
LB: I hadn't thought about that. I didn't use other superheroes. I had to start with her roots. I had to start before she was Lady Liberty, who she was, which was Grace Kennedy. I love Grace in the20s. I love her moxie and her hutzpah, her fearlessness…. Unapologetic. A good listener. Because I think as a journalist you have to be a good listener. Otherwise, you're not going to get the scoop. And curious was an important adjective for her. So I think those were sort of my basis for her. And then the superhero was just the cherry.
Something really interesting I discovered was that Grace was the captain of her wrestling team back in the 20s. I understand that during rehearsals for the big fight sequence that starts off the show there were conversations about how Grace should be portrayed in action?
LB: I said, 'This isn't this woman.' He said 'Well your name is Lady Liberty.' And I said 'Yeah. She's not a lady…She's a fighter, she's a badass. She was the Captain of her wrestling team. She's a woman who's picking career over marriage. She colors outside the lines." So they changed all of our stunts up so that I did like this crazy suplex with Blackstar (Tyler Mane) and we did more grappling. So, I don't know. I love her grace. I kind of think she was kind of like a superhero before she got the crazy catsuit on, and wore a cape. But that was part of who she was. The powers are just icing on the cake for her.
Costumer designer Lizz Wolf ("Creed II," "The Expendables") did a fabulous job on the super costumes, taking what Frank Quietly ("All-Star Superman," "Batman and Robin") had designed on the page, Liz elevates and brings to life instantly iconic superhero looks. Can you describe the first time you put on the suit.?
LB: It really does literally take your breath away, and take your breath away. You're suited in and you're like 'Oh, I can't breathe.'…It's like every childhood dream. Not like some janky costume that you get from Halloweens R Us, or something. It's like a real super suit. And the Cape and the boots and the authenticity it's so incredible. And then they put you in a rig and you fly. And you're hovering above the ground at like forty-five feet, …It never got old. It was always cool. I feel like you can't put on that suit and feel crappy. It's like It's built to make you look great. …
Grace's journey is central in both the 1920's 'origin' storyline and the generational shift towards the new supers in the present day. Did you enjoy seeing her timelines overlap as she evolves from a young reporter to matriarch of the Union in the present day?
LB: I think it's probably the reason I did the show. Because I love that journey. I kind of feel like Grace is someone I'd want to be. Like I find her to be… She has such a wonderful moral compass. And I think that glue, I love the way she holds everything together. And again, this journey for her to find her fearlessness, again, But yeah, I love her…. It feels like you're seeing somebody who's just been told 'This is what we do, this is what we do.' and she's not having to think about it. Suddenly these rules of engagement aren't working. So I find it really exciting that journey for her. And to see hopefully where, if it continues, hopefully where it will go.
I really enjoyed the time in the past. I loved putting on all those old clothes. I loved it. I loved everything about it. I don't know, I think I prefer the past to the present. I think it's interesting to look back at the past. You never really have that in a show. You sort of talk about it, or you maybe have one or two flashbacks about it. You don't really see this simultaneous, each world living and breathing, and seeing someone's response back then and seeing (in present-day). Also, I like seeing all of these people when they are sort of at their most idealistic.
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. Based on the graphic novels by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, Jupiter's Legacy is an epic superhero drama that spans decades and navigates the complex dynamics of family, power, and loyalty.
From executive producers Mark Millar, Frank Quitely, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Dan McDermott, Steven S. DeKnight, James Middleton, Sang Kyu Kim, Jupiter's Legacy stars Josh Duhamel as Sheldon Sampson aka The Utopian, Ben Daniels as Walter Sampson aka Brainwave, Leslie Bibb as Grace Sampson aka Lady Liberty, Andrew Horton as Brandon Sampson aka Paragon, Elena Kampouris as Chloe Sampson, Mike Wade as Fitz Small aka The Flare, Matt Lanter as George Hutchence aka Skyfox, Ian Quinlan as Hutch, Tenika Davis as Petra Small aka The Flare II, David Julian Hirsh as Dr. Richard Conrad aka Blue Bolt, Tyler Mane as Blackstar, and Gracie Dzienny as Ruby Red. Jupiter's Legacy is currently streaming on Netflix. For more info check out www.netflix.com/JupitersLegacy