Netflix's newest release, Project Power, explores what would happen if superpowers were available to the masses, for a short period of time at least. The film, which stars Jamie Foxx (Ray), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Snowden), and Dominique Fishback (The Hate U Give), will premiere on the streaming channel on August 14, 2020. Earlier this week I spoke to Gordon-Levitt and Fishback about their characters and the overall film.
Allison Rose: Hi, How are you guys?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Hello
Dominique Fishback: Hi
Allison Rose: Dominique, I'm going to start with you first. Robin is kind of sassy, she's street smart, she's doing what she needs to do for her and her mom to survive, so tell me how much of yourself do you see in her? How much of your self did you put into her? And how are you guys different?
Dominique Fishback: I put all of myself into her. That's the type of character she is. That's the type of energy she deserves. She's written so well so I couldn't give her anything less than like who I am. I really believe that she is a manifestation of my childhood self…in a sense that I was a spoken word poet and I really came alive and people were really inspired and said my power was when I was on stage performing and doing spoken word and acting so I really found myself and my mom actually targeted that saying, "Oh you're so dramatic. I think you should try acting. I think you could really make it". So in a sense, Jamie's character does the same thing. We're different in that she can freestyle. I haven't had the practice enough to say that I can freestyle… and I haven't had the misfortune of having to sell a pill to care for my family but I did have to go and train for the spoken word.
Allison Rose: Joseph describe their relationship. Is [Frank] somewhat of a father figure? Is he a friend?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yeah, maybe more of a big brother, I guess. Sure father, mentor…
Dominique Fishback: Best friend
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: yeah, friend
Dominique Fishback: BEST friend!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yeah, they really are close to each other. They really care about each other and that's a big part of what drives a lot of the logic of the story and it was something we were really intent on making clear. I remember the first time we ever met we were in rehearsal and Dom suggested that we do some improvisation and that we get to experience their sort of their beginnings of their friendship. How they met, how they decided to stay in touch. How they came to get closer and care about each other. That was really, really helpful. I thought it was a great idea and it meant a lot once it came time to shoot the scenes. We had that backstory and it kind of built up their rapport because I feel like when you watch the movie you can tell right away, even though this is an unlikely pair, it's a detective and a high school student, these two are like real friends.
Allison Rose: I feel like they kind of get each other in a sense even though they are very different. Dominique, tell me about working with Jamie.
Dominique Fishback: I don't know where to begin. He's just so encouraging. He's like the hype man. You know hype you up and make you really feel worthy and feel like you belong. I remember when we did the truck scene and I just was like, I was having one of those moments where I was just like "it's crazy" in my head "this is wild" and finally I kept looking at him and finally I said, "I can't believe I'm acting with Jamie Foxx". He was like, "Nah, I'm acting with YOU" and that's kind of the energy he brought all the time.
Allison Rose: Nice. Did you feel the same way Joseph? Was he a great partner?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yeah, absolutely. I've been a fan of his for so long. I mean ever since In Living Color and then watching him grow as an artist has been really inspiring for me. A lot of my favorite actors are the ones that don't just do one thing. You know they can do lots of different things and he's that way. He's a chameleon. He can be hilarious in like a sketch comedy show like that or he can win an Oscar for playing a famous musician or he can be a badass in Django Unchained. He can do so many different things. Like I said that's oftentimes my favorite actors are ones that can really be eclectic.
Allison Rose: Absolutely. This next question is for both of you but I'll ask you first Joseph. If you could take a pill like this and get some super powers for a limited time, would you and why or why not?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: So in this movie, you could take a pill and you don't know what's going to happen. It's different for everybody. You might get incredible power, you might get something that is harmful to you. It might kill you so I would NOT take that pill because I'm a dad. You know I just can risk it. I'm in the fortunate position of no one is threatening my life, I'm not in the kind of dire straits that I would need to take a pill so my answer is a resounding no.
Allison Rose: Dominique?
Dominique Fishback: You know, I'm not really experimental like some of my friends but after a couple of years, if it was still going on and the results were a little bit more, you know, collected enough data, I might dabble.
Allison Rose: Just to see what kind of power you'd get?
Dominique Fishback: Yeah
Allison Rose: Let's hope you don't blow up.
Dominique Fishback: I don't think so because it does have to do with your chemical inside. I think I'm calm. I've been really Zen, meditating so I think I should be good, hopefully.
Allison Rose: Is Frank a good guy or a bad guy or a little bit of both?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: That's a great question. It's one of my favorite parts of this movie is everybody's got their virtues and their vices and I think that's how the real world is. There's no such thing as a real hero or a real villain ‘cause humans are just more complicated than that. Anytime, anybody's going to try and tell you it's simple, don't trust that person.
Allison Rose: Absolutely. Life is a lot more complicated. Dominique, do you think Frank is good, bad, or a little bit of both?
Dominique Fishback: Well Robin says it herself. She says, "Why is somebody bad? Because they've done some bad things?" She knows…people can do things that are great and not so great and it shouldn't determine who they are and I feel the same way. But then again, I can't look at Frank as anything but a good guy because he's played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: (Laughs)
Allison Rose: She buttering you up Joseph.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I'll take it. Thank you.
Allison Rose: Dominique, which is first for in your heart - acting or rapping/spoken word?
Dominique Fishback: (pauses) Acting. It's hard to say because writing and acting came at the same time and I put it overwriting but I can see…the spoken word requires you to act your poems as well so how could I have spoken word without acting?
Allison Rose: Very true. They go hand in hand
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Like I said, it's not that simple.
Allison Rose: Yeah, no, exactly. Joseph are we going to get a sequel do you think and if so, would you consider signing on for it?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Oh, you never know about these things. It's not anything that's under my control. I had a great time doing this movie. It was so much fun. I would do anything again with Dominique, I would do anything again with Jamie. I hope we get to do lots of things together.
Allison Rose: That was a very politically correct answer.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Also true by the way.
Allison Rose: Dominique tell me a little bit about working in New Orleans because I've been to New Orleans and it's such a great city. So much culture. Tell me about your feeling about working in the city.
Dominique Fishback: DF: Honestly, it is a great city. I think I went in a hard time in my life where somebody close to me passed away the day that I flew out so that was a bit harder that I was away from home for four months so I think that played a part but having Jamie and Joe there really…I don't know if I could have been with better people at that time to work with. And I just love the accent so much. Getting to talk to the young girls. I went to NOCCA, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, just to sit with them, have voice memo record them speaking and go through the whole script and say, "How would you say this? Would you say it like this?" and try to sprinkle a little bit, not too much, sprinkle some of that New Orleans "Swagga" on it.
Allison Rose: Well thank you guys so much for your time. I hope really audiences enjoy it as much as I did. And I hope we get a sequel and see both of you back because I really loved the characters.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Thank you
Dominique Fishback: Thanks
Project Power is a cautious tale of what would happen if regular people, like you and me, were able to have greater ability just by swallowing a dangerous, little pill. Let's just say…the results wouldn't be pretty.
Check it out Project Power on Netflix this weekend.