Vanessa Hudgens pretty much exploded on to the scene with the phenomenally successful High School Musical, and has gone on to a variety of film and TV roles. Now she’s entering the world of comic books in Powerless, a workplace comedy set at one of the worst insurance companies in America. The twist is that it also takes place in the DC comics universe, serving as a look at the reality of working life for a normal, powerless person in a world of superheroes and villains. Hudgens plays adjuster Emily Locke.
How comfortable are you in the DC Universe?
I feel extremely naïve, because I don’t know a lot of comics. I didn’t grow up reading them. I went through a phase where I dressed up as Catwoman, the Michelle Pfeiffer version, for like a year of my life, but that’s pretty much the geekiest I get. I wish I was more involved and knew more. I think I’m going to have to do my homework, because my character lives in the DC Comics Universe. She’s approving claims all day for incidents that the superheroes or super-villains have caused. I got a lot to catch up on.
Do you feel like the show is an antidote to the kind of explosion of superhero TV series?
I just think its genius, because we love seeing superhero television shows and movies, but no one’s ever explored the aftermath. You see massive cities being turned into rubble, and then just left behind and never touched on again. What happens? Where are the people that are there picking up the mess? I think it’s just a brilliant new take on living in a world of supers. But it’s not about the superheroes, although they’re definitely a part of it. It’s about the people trying to live their mundane lives.
Is that what drew you to it?
When I first read this script, the character was completely different. She was much more timid, very observant, and did not have balls, I guess. We did the table read and they’re, like, “She seems a bit more feisty,” which I don’t necessarily see, but I guess that’s something that they liked. So Emily grew a pair of balls. She stood up to a superhero, which is something no one ever does, because you’re supposed to just be the victim. She’s up with it. It’s fun. It’s just neat seeing the different perspective of that world.
Powerless will air on NBC in the US later in 2016, with a UK air date and channel to be announced. For all the latest TV news, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.