Josh Duhamel stars as The Utopian, the leader of superhero group The Union (Picture: Netflix/Getty)
In the upcoming Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy, based on the comic book series of the same name by Mark Millar, Josh, 48, plays Sheldon Sampson, a powerful and highly moral superhero otherwise known as The Utopian.
Having gained his powers in the 1930s along with his brother Walter Sampson (Ben Daniels), best friend George Hutchence (Matt Lanter) and wife Grace Sampson (Leslie Bibb), the present-day Sheldon is now an aged superhero, with a grey beard and matching shoulder-length grey hair.
During a recent conversation with Metro.co.uk and other press, Josh said that while he ‘loved this stuff’ as a kid, he felt that ‘there’s just so much’ superhero content out there at the moment.
‘I was like, “Really, are you going to do this?” I don’t know. And I felt like my time had passed, you know,’ he said.
He added that he ‘wasn’t looking to do anything like this until I read it, maybe because I felt like I was already too old to do it.’
Actor says putting on costume and make-up ‘wasn’t the most comfortable experience’ (Picture: Marni Grossman/Netflix)
‘It’s like, ok that ship has sailed,’ he said, before adding jokingly, ‘I’m never going to be a superhero, so therefore I don’t want to be a superhero, how’s that?’
Nonetheless, when the Transformers star was introduced to Jupiter’s Legacy, he was enthralled by the comic series’ ‘dark’ narrative.
‘I hadn’t heard of Jupiter’s Legacy, I hadn’t read it before. It’s pretty subversive,’ he said.
‘I don’t know if you’ve read any of the comics – it’s pretty dark and weird, and I love that stuff. I love the family dysfunction. It felt like a family drama more than anything.’
Ben Daniels plays Sheldon’s older brother Walter Sampson (Picture: Marni Grossman/Netflix)
The actor said that the ‘story’ was what ‘convinced’ him to be a part of the show, as ‘it was more of a family drama’.
‘It felt like a saga. I loved the dysfunction and human take of it all,’ he explained.
Jupiter’s Legacy is set to premiere at a time when the superhero genre is as popular as ever, with Marvel recently releasing The Falcon and The Winter Soldier while preparing for the launches of Black Widow and Loki, and DC enticing fans with Suicide Squad sneak peeks.
Josh feels that despite the tale centering on a group of enhanced, superpowered individuals, the Netflix series ‘takes a realistic approach’, which he ‘loves’.
‘We do treat these people as human beings,’ he said of the gritty show. ‘They bleed, they bruise, they die, they deal with real stuff that we all deal with. And I think that to me was the most interesting part of this.’
Grace Sampson, aka Lady Liberty, is one of the most powerful heroes in the world (Picture: Marni Grossman/Netflix)
Jupiter’s Legacy flits between two different time periods, revealing how Sheldon and the other veteran members of the superhero Union gained their superpowers in the first half of the 20th century, while also showing the difficulties that he and Grace are facing in their attempt to connect with their grown-up children Brandon (Andrew Horton) and Chloe (Elena Kampouris).
When it came to filming the present-day scenes, Josh said that he would usually arrive two hours early to have his prosthetics and aging make-up applied, which also involved putting on his fake beard ‘piece by piece’.
While the whole process of donning the hair, make-up and an extremely tight superhero suit ‘wasn’t the most comfortable experience’, Josh said that when he was suited and booted, he ‘immediately felt like I was 50 years wiser, like I’d seen some real s***’.
‘It definitely does something to you psychologically when you get into that hair and make-up and they age you up like that,’ he said of his ’empowering’ look, adding that his voice would go ‘a little bit lower’ to match his aesthetic.
‘I felt like some combination of Moses meets Zeus meets Santa Claus, or something.’
Jupiter’s Legacy premieres on Friday May 7 on Netflix.