The product: a mysterious pill called Power that is taking over the streets of New Orleans.
Uses: unlocks a superpower unique to each user, but a caveat: you’ll never know what kind of power you can get until you take the pill. And you’ll also get to use that power unique to your DNA for only five minutes at a time.
Special Precautions: While one can develop pretty awesome superpowers like invisibility, a dosage can cause serious–deadlier–health problems.
What would you risk for five minutes of power?
In the new Netflix sci-fi action film Project Power, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Frank, a friendly local cop who teams up with a teenage dealer named Robin (Dominique Fishback) and Art (Jamie Foxx), a former soldier going against the people reponsible for creating the pill. Playing the role of Power supplier is Rodrigo Santoro. As Biggie, he wants to traffic the pills on a global scale.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rodrigo Santoro recently held a virtual junket to meet international press to share more about their new Netflix film. The two actors talk about superpowers and real life power in their interview:
Do you see the pills in this story as a metaphor for anything and is there such a thing as a magic pill in real life?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yeah, I see it as a metaphor. Sure, I would say for technology. And technology always has the possibility to harm or the possibility to help. And I think it’s really up to human beings to decide how that technology is used. We’re certainly experiencing it now more than ever, and are going to continue to experience it more and more.
Power is used as currency to survive these days. Was power something you wanted to have growing up? Whether as a child who wanted to be a superhero or someone older who wanted to wield a measure of influence over something or someone?
Joseph: Wow, that’s a cool question. Rodrigo, do you want to go first?
Rodrigo Santoro: Let me go back to my childhood, I’m gonna access that box. I could say yes and no. I think that growing up, of course I fantasized with so many things in terms of traveling, flying, or even like a superpower, having a superpower. I’ve never been a very ambitious person in terms of having things. I didn’t dream of having the big house or car… Those things were never big for me. I’m very connected to nature, always been. The way I grew up, the way I was raised. So those are the biggest values for me, and they still are. If I have a small house but has trees around and I can be in nature, that’s my thing. So I would say that power for me, that way, is being close to nature. That’s where I am right now. I chose to be during this pandemic. I came back where I was born in Brazil, and I haven’t been here for a long time. I rented a house and I’m here in the middle of the woods.
Joseph: Yeah, well, it’s funny, it’s sort of similar to what we were just talking about with technology. That power is the ability to have an impact on people. And that impact could be helpful to people or it could be harmful to people. And I certainly strive to be helpful in whatever way I can, and than can be in small ways with, you know, people in my life. My family, my friends. Sometimes in more far reaching ways, I think art, movies, stories can be powerful. And I like to hope so and I try as much as I can to do work that is powerful, that does make some kind of impact on people. But I don’t know how much it does or it doesn’t, but that’s what I try for and yeah, I hope that answers your question.
Joseph–your character as a cop decides to take the drug to fight power with power. Do you think this is a reflection of our society in any way? That good guys are powerless against the bad guys?
Joseph: Wow, that’s a great question. I think it’s remarkable that the character I play he’s trying to do good and he ends up having to break the rules. And it does throw in the question, “Well, are those rules right? Do we have the right rules in place?” And that’s sort of the question that runs through the movie. Who does have the power, and why? Is that right? Is that just? Is that fair? Who has power in this world? And these are some of the same questions that I think everyone in the world is asking right now. Because we’re seeing power consolidate into more and more power in the form of money in fewer and fewer hands. I love a movie like this that can be a really fun thrill ride on on the surface and deliver that kind of, you know, entertainment, but underneath that, ask those kinds of questions. And I’m glad you’re picking up on that.
So if this drug existed in the real world, would you guys take it or not? And what sort of power do you hope you’d get?
Rodrigo: It depends. If it was dangerous like it is in the movie, I would not take it myself. If it wasn’t, I’m gonna go for time traveling. Time traveling… I would go somewhere in the past and I would jump forward. I would jump right now to next year, the end of next year, September. September 2021. Just to see what’s going on. And then I would get back and.. “Dude. I got to tell you…” I hope good news!
Joseph: Yeah, I think the same. The thing about the pill in the movie is you don’t know what you’re gonna get, and it’s different for everybody. You don’t control what happens, and it could be good and it could be bad. So I’m in the fortunate position where I don’t have to risk my life. And I consider myself lucky for that reason. So no, I wouldn’t take that pill at all, I’ve got too much to lose. I’m, a dad. But if I could choose a superpower, which in the movie you cannot, you don’t get to choose what your power is. I’ve been saying that I would choose the power of empathy. The ability to see through someone else’s eyes or hear through someone else’s ears or touch, taste, smell what other people sense. And this is kind of always what we try to do as actors, is put ourselves in someone else’s shoes when we play a character that’s different from ourselves. But if you could really take it to the next level and do it as a superpower, I think that would be incredibly illuminating.
Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, with a script by Mattson Tomlin, Project Power stars Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback, and Rodrigo Santoro. The film premieres this August 14, 2020 on Netflix.