Jamie Foxx and Dominique Fishback star in Project Power.

Project Power: A Conversation with the Cast

Dept. of Raps and Confabs


Netflix’s latest superhero-esque flick, Project Power, takes place on the streets of New Orleans, where a new drug is starting to escalate crime within the city. The mysterious new pill unlocks superpowers that are unique to each user. The catch, however, is that you don’t know what will happen until you take it. The movie stars Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback, and Rodrigo Santoro.

We caught up with the four leads for a chat about their gritty new take on superpowers.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

A behind the scenes look at Project Power.

Umapagan Ampikaipakan: Everyone in Project Power is morally compromised in some way or other. No one quite fits the description of what you would call a superhero. What was it that drew you to this particular part and this particular character. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Well, I honestly just thought it would be really fun. I just took a couple of years off acting because I’m a dad now. And I wanted to spend some time with my babies. And my first job back was this movie called 7500 – which also just came out. And it’s a very intense, very heavy, very serious movie. And after doing that, I just want to do something fun. So when I read the script and saw that it’s going to be Jamie Foxx, and we’re gonna get to go to New Orleans, I mean, this was definitely going to be fun. So, I signed up, and it was. 

Rodrigo Santoro: The first thing I had was a good reaction to the script, which I thought was a very fresh take. You know, it’s not a superhero movie. It is a movie that talks about superpowers. But superpowers and regular people. I like the premise of the film. I like the idea of playing this part. I also thought that it would be fun. The character I play goes through a very interesting transformation and I thought that I’ve never done that before. Then I had a great conversation with the directors of the film. They are not only incredibly talented, but very open to talk and discuss, and want to hear your ideas and suggestions. And it’s what an artist wants to have an environment of. You know, they can be creative, and you can collaborate. So all of that was really great. I had the same experience, like just Joseph just said, I had had a lot of fun doing it.

UA: Dominic, sandwiched between all of this action and explosions is a thread about Robin finding her own superpower, which in this case means finding her own voice. I was wondering if you could speak to Robyn’s insecurities as well as her determination to stay away from using power and stay clean. 

Dominique Fishback: That’s a great question. I think she feels a little bit lost. Her mom is sick. And if she loses her mom, she has no one, because she doesn’t have a father. She has this dream of being a rap star. But how do you get that? She’s too nervous to do it in front of people. And so, when Jamie comes blazing into her life, it looks unfavorable. But he really does change her life. She opens up to him and he’s the first adult she shares her rapping with. And he encourages what she already has inside of her. And so, I just loved that change, from her thinking that she needed her father, to learn that, no, she’s actually just looking for herself. And that this is the way in which you find yourself. That was that was really exciting. 

Now, as for that second part. Her determination to not use Power is admirable indeed. But for me, I would rather take a pill. Can we see what kind of powers she got? I would have been excited to see that. But I do understand her. Just the power of her having not taken it. Tapping into who she actually is, was probably a bit more powerful. No pun intended.

Jamie Foxx and Dominique Fishback star in Project Power.

UA: Jamie, it’s so rare that we see movies shot where they’re set. As an actor, what does it mean to you that a movie set in New Orleans is actually shot in New Orleans? And does that help with the authenticity of your performance in any way? 

Jamie Foxx: I’ll tell you, New Orleans has a has a vibration. It’s like a vibration that can like get inside of you and really make you feel amazing. Like even the rain there makes you like being wet. It was something about the place that just made it special. So, when you can show the city, and the way the city looks, it becomes a character. It actually became a character in the film. And so a shout out to the people that were in New Orleans that helped us make this incredible, incredible project. You know, because they have a leg up over everybody else when it comes to where we want to shoot. I mean, to me, that’s where I would love to be. They have a certain amount of skin that is just like beautiful. And I like to be wrapped up in it. I don’t even know what I’m saying. But it’s just amazing. 

UA: Joseph, you took a two year hiatus from acting and have come back into it at the strangest time. 7500 and Project Power are both digital releases, and I was wondering if there is a difference in approach when you know you’re making a movie for the big screen and when when you’re making a movie for the small screen. 

JGL: That’s a really good question. Honestly, I don’t think there really is much of a difference. There’s definitely a difference in how it’s received. But when we’re shooting, we shoot it like any other film. I suppose that, as things evolve, there will be more and more differences. But for now, we just made a movie, and it’s exciting to me that so many more people are going to be able to get to see it because it’s on Netflix. And, you know, let’s be honest, movies can be expensive. And I love the cinema. I loved sitting in a dark room with a crowd full of people and sharing a film together. I think it changes it. But, cinemas can be expensive. Say for a family to pay for all the tickets, and buy popcorn, and parking, and everything else. And I like the idea that the things I work on get out there and be accessible to as many people as possible, and not just people that have money. Granted, not everybody has Netflix, but a lot more people do. And that’s exciting to me. 

UA: Rodrigo, in movies like Project Power, it’s clear that the person having the most fun is the one playing the big bad guy. So who is Biggie and what makes him tick? 

RS: I agree with you. I don’t know if I had the most fun, but I had a lot of fun playing it. Biggie is, you know, a salesman. He is the main representative of Power. He has got big ideas. He wants to sell Power all over the world. wants to make it big. Like make a big splash with this product. He thinks he’s going to change the world. He’s a visionary and he’s very confident in his vision. That’s the character he built for himself to be able to seduce people and to sell underneath that. He is also a very insecure, weird guy that doesn’t know how to be or how to fit. And he just wants to be accepted and to be somebody. There’s a reason why his name is Biggie, which becomes very clear in the movie. I mean, not only physically, but it’s about getting big. It’s about making it big. It’s about, you know, having power. It’s about how far human beings go just for power to have things become bigger. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

UA: What do you want audiences to take away from Project Power?

DF: So it’s super exciting, the idea of this pill, and that’s the big question, what would you do if there was a pill for five minutes? But at the end of the day, we don’t have that pill. And so, I would hold on to the fact that Robin’s power is within, like Jamie’s character tells her. So I would want people to be excited of the fact that we we do have power. We have power inside of us. And discovering it can be one of the most beautiful experiences of our lives. 

JF: What I want them to take from this film is Dominique Fishback, because she is amazing. She will be standing in front of an audience one day saying: “I would like to thank the academy. I’d like to thank the members. I’d like to thank my momma. I’d like to thank Brooklyn.” To me, this is a coming out party for her. The movie itself is amazing. But she’s someone who really brings the humanity to the film. And she brings it in a way, man, that is vulnerable. That is powerful. And it really is to her power that does lie within. And so, I cannot wait. Hashtag Fishback.

Project Power premieres on Netflix on August 14, 2020.

Uma has been reviewing things for most of his life: movies, television shows, books, video games, his mum's cooking, Bahir's fashion sense. He is a firm believer that the answer to most questions can be found within the cinematic canon. In fact, most of what he knows about life he learned from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He still hasn't forgiven Christopher Nolan for the travesties that are Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises.

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