Bringing a superhero to life from a comic book is not easy, but Elena Kampouris takes it on in Netflix's new series Jupiter's Legacy. Based on the comics by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, the series spans decades and follows a group of superheroes and their children. When the first-generation superheroes start to look to their children to continue their legacies, the young heroes realize that it's harder to live up to their parents' massive public reputations.
To celebrate the release of Jupiter's Legacy, we sat down with Elena to chat about bringing Chloe Sampson from the pages of the comics to one of Netflix's first major superhero shows. Here's everything we learned:
Favorite things about playing Chloe Sampson on Jupiter's Legacy?
1. I enjoy playing Chloe's unpredictability because you never know what she's gonna say or do. She's strong. She's raw. She's unfiltered. She could be throwing cars one second, then she could be punching people through the wall the next.
2. I love that she's multilayered. I love playing her complexities. I love that she's not just one thing. She's not just angst. She's not just attitude. She's also heart. She's very loyal, but she also has guilt. She's a whole amalgamation of different emotions. I love that she's devastatingly loyal, but she's also self-destructive because she's working through all of this pain.
3. I love playing her free-spirited nature because I admire how she is so outspoken and so passionate, and she marches to the beat of her own drum. There's a fearlessness that I do admire and that I love to play.
4. I love that Chloe's "a bad girl," in the sense that she kicks butt, and I love that fact that she's sassy while doing it. She's got cool one-liners in the show, and her attitude and fire is fun, especially when it comes to her relationship with Hutch. They butt heads one minute, and then the next they'll be making out. That unpredictability is so fun to play.
5. And while there are a lot of emotional aspects to Chloe, I also enjoy playing the physical side of her too. She's strong and she knows how to throw a punch. I loved stunt training. We learned Filipino martial arts, Krav Maga, and wushu, which is very similar to Chinese traditional ballet, which I love and I studied. It's actually how I learned Mandarin, which is a big passion of mine. Whenever a personal passion of mine intertwines with a project I'm working on, I get so excited. Also, just learning new things in general, it's a highlight with every character. There was an empowerment I felt with this character, which I loved.
TV and/or movie characters you loved growing up?
1. In the comic book world, I loved Blade. My parents are very creative free spirits, so my brother and I grew up watching all different genres of movies and TV. They would play us all these movies of all genres, like, no matter what rating they had.
2. My mom and I are big fans of Kill Bill, so Beatrix was a favorite. Just, like, kick-butt characters in general.
3. Not a human being, but Beethoven the dog. I would watch the VHS of those movies so many times. We love animals in my house, and I was obsessed with dogs growing up. I mean, I'm still obsessed with dogs, but when I was younger, I had all these dog breed books and I would study them. Like, I could name any dog on the street I would see.
4. Okay, I'm getting real young now, but Olie Polie from Rolie Polie Olie. That was my favorite show.
BuzzFeed: Oh my god, I loved that show growing up. I still remember all the words to the theme song.
Things you remember from your Jupiter's Legacy audition?
1. Well, first, I had never heard of this comic before, but I was a huge fan of Mark Millar's movies, like Kick-Ass and all of that. But I'm not a comic book aficionado. Like, is that something you are into?
BuzzFeed: Yeah, I'm a big comic book nerd. Mostly Marvel comics, though.
Yeah, see, that's my brother. He loves superhero stuff. He loves all comics and will watch anything superhero. So, growing up, he was more in that realm. I was not so much. I was more busy doing tea parties with stuffed animals. But I appreciate and love the comic book stuff, so I remember googling and researching just comic books before this audition.
2. Then I remember seeing the images of Chloe. I saw them and I was like, "Okay, she is a cool girl." I realized pretty quickly that I hadn't played a character like this before. I was just really excited. So then I put in a self-tape and I tried not to get attached. I didn't read the comic right away because if I didn't get it, I was just going to be heartbroken. Like, if I book a job, then I'll get really in the weeds with research. I just get very emotionally invested. So there was a bit of a waiting game before I heard if I booked it. Like, mentally, I had to forget about the audition. It's just so much waiting.
3. And then I actually got the news that I booked it, and it was just a celebration and experiencing all of the feelings. Then you kind of realize that that was just booking it. I mean, that was a huge hurdle, but now you have to go actually shoot the thing, do it justice, bring Chloe to life, and try not to blow it. Especially because Chloe is a comic book character, so people love her on the page, and there's a fanbase. So I kind of realized there was a pressure, but hopefully I did her justice and people will enjoy our adaptation.
Favorite behind-the-scenes memories from filming Jupiter's Legacy?
1. There were moments bonding with the cast, of course. Tenika [Davis] and I are very close; we call ourselves "Thelma and Louise." We really bonded on the shoot and we would get into mischief. It started really harmless, and it became where we would get into a little bit of trouble. We would do stunt training, and then we would do weight training with our trainer in the gym. So we would just request music all the time. You have to have music when you're getting physical. Since Tenika and I always hit it off, we couldn't help ourselves — like, whenever certain songs would come up, we would look at each other and just start dancing. It became that we could not focus at all, and they banned dancing for us. Like, we were supposed to be doing punches and parkour, but we would just be dancing. Then it started to spread because other people would see Tenika and I dancing and they would join in. I have so much footage of us dancing. Then, even on set, we would be shooting scenes, and Tenika and I would just be grooving behind the set. Eventually they knew to not keep us together for too long. So that was one thing I loved.
2. And then just hanging out with our crew on Jupiter's Legacy was super special. I would always be hanging out at crafty, and Yamata, our lovely crafty gal, she would make all of these amazing goodies. In between takes, I would go to her and just be like, "Please, Yamata, feed me something." I would sing to her in Spanish, and we just really bonded. If it was a really good song, she would give me something extra special. What was so cool is, there were crew members from all different walks of life, from different parts of the world, and that was a big highlight for me on any project, but especially this one. You just get to meet new people, and they enrich your perspectives. Seline Shenoy has this great quote, "When you encounter different customs and beliefs, you inadvertently stumble upon unknown hidden parts of your being," and I'm all about that. I love learning other languages, and it all starts through music, art, song, and dance. It's so exciting when you meet people on set and you're there with each other every day, and you can learn about their ways of life. Like, it's just really enriching; it's a gift.
Favorite Chloe Sampson moment from Jupiter's Legacy Season 1?
1. There are so many. Every single scene was a highlight. I love the moments with her in the club and all of the scenes with Chloe and Hutch. But the one moment I absolutely love is when she says, "Can you take a punch?" and boom, she sends the guy through the wall. Like, that was so fun because, I mean, c'mon, it's the perfect moment for Chloe and sums up her personality. Part of that scene is, she realizes she's being used by this dude just to get to her dad, and it really just sums up her trust issues and why she has such a problem connecting with people. There's the moment when she's hurt, but then she has that switch where she serves it right back to this guy. It was so fun and just a big moment.