PlayStation’s Powers is right in the middle of shooting, but that didn’t stop the creator of the comic books, Brian Michael Bendis, as well as show stars Susan Heyward (Deena Pilgrim), Eddie Izzard (Wolfe), Noah Taylor (Johnny Royalle), Olesya Rulin (Calista) and Logan Browning (Zora) from hitting the Empire Stage at the Javits Center to discuss the show and unveil some new footage.
Not only do we have some Q&A highlights and a description of the scene screened featuring Heyward and Sharlto Copley as Christian Walker, but we’ve also got some material that you can watch yourself because PlayStation just released the very first Powers trailer. Hit the jump to check it all out.
Powers centers on two detectives who are assigned to the Powers unit, Copley’s Christian Walker and Heyward’s Deena Pilgrim. Pilgrim is a solid detective, but she’s got a thing or two to learn about folks with special abilities, and that’s where Walker comes in. He doesn’t have official police training, but he is a Power and combined, they could have the skills necessary to crack cases that are Powers-specific. Here are some additional details from the Q&A:
- They’re currently shooting episode 3. Copley couldn’t make the panel, but sent a video from the set thanking everyone in attendance.
- Bendis offered up a brief description of the show: “Powers is about homicide detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim who work cases specific to the world of Powers. That means that if there’s a dead superhero falling from the sky or if there’s a dead supervillain facedown in the gutter, that’s their case. And what we get to do is examine both the genre of superheroes and crime fiction from the dead body on up.”
- You’ll notice from the trailer that the material’s got some sass to it and Bendis did point out that comic is “feisty and it’s rated R, and sometimes a hard R, and we needed a home that would let that happen.”
- You might remember that FX attempted to turn Powers into a TV series a little while back, so when asked, why now, Bendis explained that while they were developing it elsewhere, everything was “nice,” but it still felt like something was off. He likened it to dating someone who isn’t the right one; “You’re dating someone who’s very nice and very pretty and you’re like, ‘Eh, something’s a little off.’ And then you meet the right person and you go, ‘Oh, there you go!’”
- Bendis pointed out that showrunner Charlie Huston is a great novelist and that he’s “coming at Powers like a 10-chapter crime novel.”
- Izzard on Wolfe: “We are going in a slightly different direction to the actual comic books and so I’m allowed to give it a certain artistic direction, distance or place.” But of course that’s dependent on where Huston, Bendis and the rest of the team want to take it.
- Izzard also pointed out that there’s no saving or destroying the world in Powers. He added, “We’re just the same f*ckers in this f*cked up world.”
- Izzard also suggests that Powers is a metaphor for celebrity.
- Bendis noted that he was never interested in a word-for-word adaptation because TV and comic books are two different mediums. “We wanted the show to be its own entity.” He added, “What Charlie did, which I love, was he cherry picked the stuff from the books that would make the best TV show.”
- Calista will start out a little bit older than the character from the comic books. Rulin also teased, “We’re gonna see this young woman develop into herself and find out what it means to be a power-driven individual.”
- Bendis spoke a bit about casting and began by pointing out that “what we’re asking of all of these actors is something real and also, at the same time, hyper real.”
- Bendis described Deena as the character who’s looking at everything that’s going on and saying, “Do you see how crazy this is?” He highlighted the importance of believing that she’s a cop from many generations and can handle lightning bolts being thrown at her.” Deena will be the one asking the questions that the audience would ask.
- Heyward also added, “She’s coming into the Powers division from working as a police officer in a sheriff’s office. Things didn’t quite work out in the sheriff’s office … she says things as they are. She cocks her eyebrow and is like, ‘Why doesn’t anyone else see this going on and admit it?’ So she’s coming to the Powers division kind of looking for a new home.”
- Here’s what Bendis offered up on Copley’s character: “He used to be a Power and he is now down here with us trying to figure out what that means and what he can do. Now, what he hasn’t come to terms with yet is that deciding to be a police officer is a massively heroic gesture, probably more heroic than the gestures he made as a Power. He may have been, as Charlie Huston calls it, the Charlie Sheen of superheroes during his heyday … and now down here, he’s kind of seeing the repercussions of actions like that and having to answer for some of the Powers he used to know.”
- Taylor dubbed Johnny Royalle “a very complex, conflicted character. He’s a smooth devil. He’s a fiendishly brilliant criminal mastermind. He’s a bad mother*cker.” He went on to explain, “It’s wrong to say that he’s a Peter Pan character, but I think in this world, I think he’s very much more concerned about the genuine kids with powers, who just have raw powers and the beauty of having powers rather than the, say, other Powers who have become much more commercialized and have celebrity endorsements. And I think he finds that distasteful. He’s really concerned about finding a place for these kids.”
- Browning noted that Zora “has a natural aptitude and natural power that is amazing, and she’s trained and honed it, but I don’t think she knows what else she’s capable of in the sense of the impact that she can have on the world. She’s doesn’t just want the fame that a lot of Powers get. She wants to be a hero.”
- Keep an eye on the Powers kids because according to Bendis, “Calista and Zora both represent the younger generation and what could happen.”
- Bendis also highlighted that Michelle Forbes is playing Retro Girl. She’s the most famous and is “the Beyonce of superheroes,” so we’ll get to see a whole world created around her including Retro Girl artwork spanning a number of decades. For example, comic book artist David Mack did some 1960s designs, and when you walk around Retro Girl’s house, you’ll see the illustrations hanging there. The artist behind the source material, Michael Avon Oeming, also lends his voice to a Retro Girl advertisement.
- We will get a Walker flashback and Bendis confirmed that it will happen during episode 5.
- When asked how much superpower action we’ll get to see, Bendis replied, “What you’re gonna see is very similar to how we handled it in the comic and that is, we stay on the ground. We don’t go up in the sky. It’s Deena’s point-of-view and Walker being stuck down here with us and can’t get back up there, that’s the point-of-view of the show. And to do anything else would be literally just like everything else.”
- In the comics, Calista and Wolfe pop up in the first issue, but then they disappear for a while. That won’t happen in the show. They’re skipping the baby Calista material. However, they do have some background actors who are making strong impressions and might earn more screen time, like Levitation Boy.
- What happens if you don’t own a PlayStation? Can you still watch Powers? The panelist didn’t deliver a definitive no, but they certainly suggested that the whole point of this from PlayStation’s point-of-view, is that they want you to own a PlayStation. On the bright side, if you do have a PlayStation, the first episode will be free and if you’re a PlayStation Plus member, you’ll get the entire season free when Powers arrives this winter.
In addition to the Powers trailer you’ll find below, the panelists also shared a brief scene from the show featuring Heyward and Copley that takes place around a vending machine. Walker tells Pilgrim, “This girl, one time after she blew me, she flew!” Pilgrim confirms, “You’re talking about girls sucking off heroes to get a dose of powers.” Walker adds, “Not just girls,” and walks away.
And finally, here’s that Powers trailer: