Gillian Jacobs and Zazie Beetz reveal why Amazon Prime Video’s adult superhero series Invincible is a must-watch

Gillian Jacobs and Zazie Beetz reveal why Amazon Prime Video’s adult superhero series Invincible is a must-watch

By Alex Fletcher Published: 26 March 2021 - 5.23pm
Drama Prime Video

Animation

Fans of the Skybound/Image comic Invincible have waited a long while for a TV adaptation of the adult superhero series, but the story of 17-year-old Mark Grayson and his superhero father Omni-Man is finally on Amazon Prime Video.

Created by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and collecting an all-star voice cast including Steven Yeun, JK Simmons, Sandra Oh, Mark Hammill, Jon Hamm and just about all the coolest actors in Hollywood, you might imagine this series is going to be standard superhero fare.

Young man with superhero father, discovers his own powers, fights bad guys, while also battling his own personal demons and parental issues. Nah-ah. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Imagine Prime Video’s other superhero series The Boys, but with an extra helping of darkness, surrealism and violence.

Invincible - Voiced by Steven Yeun Amazon Prime Video

Two of the show’s female voice cast are Gillian Jacobs and Zazie Beetz, who play superhero Atom Eve and student Amber Bennett respectively. Two kick-ass characters – in very different ways  - who find themselves romantically entangled with Mark.

We caught up with Gillian and Zazie to get their take on why Invincible is a little bit special.

Characters unlike any you’ve seen before

Atom Eve and Gillian Jacobs Prime Video/Getty

Gillian Jacobs, best known for her performance as Britta in cult comedy classic Community, provides the voice of Samantha Eve Wilkins aka Atom Eve – the young leaders of superhero collective the Teen Team.

Atom Eve and Mark are thrust together to help keep the planet safe, but there’s also an immediate chemistry between the pair.

“I’ve never thought about this character in relation to other characters I’ve played. But I think the things that feel similar – it’s someone grappling with big questions. ‘Who am I? What do I want from my life? This is who I’ve been so far in my life, but what do I want to be in the future? That feels similar,” said Jacobs

“But what feels distinct about this project is the way that Robert wrote it and the way that it deals with the tropes of comics and superheroes. I think that was what drew me to this project.”

Amber Bennett and Zazie Beetz Prime Video/Getty

Zazie Beetz, who is best known for her roles in Joker and as Domino in Deadpool 2, plays Amber Bennett, a non-superhero student who Mark is attracted to at school.

“Amber may not be a superhero, but in the show she is a very confident character and a strong sense of self. That is something to admire,” said Beetz.

“I’ve never really compared her to other characters I’ve played before, but she would be one of the most confident. I guess Domino in Deadpool 2 is pretty confident, but Amber has a confidence she has built for herself and is fighting for things she believes in – something the superhero characters are perhaps struggling with in the show.”

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It feeds our desire for realness on screen

Invincible follows in the footsteps of The Boys and rips up the superhero rule book. Poking fun at the shiny glossy world of Marvel, Invincible is seriously dark and also concerned with the consequences of superhero powers.

Why are viewers so keen for a different and more twisted take on the world of superheroes in 2021?

“I think people are craving realness on TV,” says Beetz.

“People have less desire for sitcom fantasy. They want to see their own lives portrayed. In Invincible the comic it is really interesting because it takes a fantastical world and grounds it.

The emotions are very real, the family dynamic is very real. And the violence is incredibly real. That’s something which gets lost often.”

Invincible and Atom Eve (Voiced by Steven Yeun and Gillian Jacobs) Amazon Prime Video

Beetz argues that viewers are interested in the concepts of sacrifice and trauma that are at the heart of any superhero stort.

“I think people are interested in engaging with the reality of that,” she said. “I haven’t seen The Boys, but I know about it and I’ve seen clips. It’s bringing stories back towards how we behave as humans and not just what Superman means. That’s why I wanted to be part of the show. It felt different and I related to it.”

Jacobs added: “I think originally Invincible felt like a response to other comics when it was first released. And that is why people gravitated towards the comic and it got such a devoted fanbase.

“I hope the animated series will feel similar to fans of the comic and get a similar response”.

The show deals with death head-on

Invincible aka Mark Grayson - Voiced by Steven Yeun Amazon Prime Video

Having seen the comic series, Jacobs admits that it wasn’t a “total surprise” to see some of Invincible’s more gruesome and brutal moments come to life on screen.

“This show is dealing with violence and action in a different way,” she said. “When I was standing in the booth, doing scenes by myself, I did get a disconnect from it, so I think watching the show back will be very different to just doing my parts alone.”

However, one person excited by the show’s more explicit handling of fight sequences and death is Beetz.

“I do get annoyed at films where a lot of death is happening and it just brushes it off. ‘Ah they died’. Sometimes it just feels excessive,” she argues.

“The violence in Invincible is what draws you into the storytelling. I like that the show really reckons with it and looks at the layers and complexities of death and violence in ways other shows don’t.

“Invincible isn’t just a superhero story, it’s truly about family, identity, anxieties and those things are really visceral and that is reflected in how that the show handles death. So I don’t think I was taken aback by anything, I was more happy.”

Watch the first three episodes of Invincible on Amazon Prime Video.

New episodes will be released weekly at 9pm.

Get Prime Video on BT TV

Don't miss The Grand Tour, Jack Ryan, The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and more.