Prime Video’s The Power explores, well, power in more ways than one. First, there’s the discussion of sociopolitical power that we see on display in our everyday world. What are the possibilities for those who have money, political status, and influence in our society? Are they truly above “the rules,” or do they simply trade in one set of boundaries for another? Then, there’s the electrical powers that girls around the world develop to reframe what it means to access and hold onto power. The former describes Margot Cleary-Lopez (Toni Collette), the Seattle mayor who leverages her status to effect change in this universe with the support of her husband Rob Lopez, played by John Leguizamo. Nerdist caught up with Toni Collette and John Leguizamo to talk about Margot’s big decision in The Power episode three, Rob’s mindset, and more.
I love your onscreen chemistry as husband and wife. Did you cultivate a relationship together intentionally or were the vibes just there?
John Leguizamo: Toni came [on set] so graciously, and she’s so generous. She’s so talented, first of all. She’s just a pleasure to work with. And it was amazing. So instantly, because we had no time to create a rapport, so it just had to happen, and luckily…
Toni Collette: I feel the same way about John. And when you’re paired with an actor…
Leguizamo: You don’t know what you’re going to get.
Collette: …you don’t know what the chemistry will be like, how you’ll connect or if you’ll connect at all. And it was just so easy because John is so open and available and present and just alive. He loves improvising, I like improvising. So it just really keeps it fresh and I found it really exciting working with him.
Leguizamo: It felt like we were a real marriage and you can’t really fake that.
And you finish each other’s thoughts like a married couple! So, let’s dig into The Power. In episode three, Margot makes a huge decision by deciding to tell the world the truth behind this newfound power. Toni, why do you think she’s driven to do that despite the risk it poses to not only her career but her family?
Collette: Yeah, it’s a tough one, isn’t it? I think it’s incredibly brave of her and selfless because she can see that it’s a much bigger issue and nobody’s telling the truth. And that’s a thing that I find very interesting and inspirational about my character, that she looks around and sees all these people trying to quell the truth and demolish it and put it under the carpet, pretending it’s not happening. And she realizes she’s the one. She’s the person who has to step up and speak the truth. And it’s interesting because then she’s kind of judged for doing it, and she’s honestly a good woman and a good politician.
It’s a hard choice but I think she did the right thing. And in regards to Rob, his family is going to a major transition right now. He’s got his daughter with these new powers and his wife stepping into a new realm of power, too. How do you think he is processing this big shift in his family dynamic?
Leguizamo: Rob represents most men. I think most men are vulnerable and can be very nurturing if they’re allowed to or if they give themselves permission. And I think Rob is dealing with so much in his household. His daughter [has] the power. Is she going to be safe?… He’s feeling very protective. His wife is moving into a whole new level of power and ambition. It’s hard for their marriage because there’s so much coming at it. And what marriage could survive all that stuff? So [he’s] trying to keep it together, but his own ego is a little bruised.
For sure. Outside of power, what are some major themes in this series that you hope will resonate with viewers?
Collette: Ultimately what I love about the show is… in our very imbalanced world, it’s a golden opportunity to create more balance. It’s about inclusivity, it’s about equality. And these are things that yes, we’re dealing with in reality, but we need to step into it a bit more.
Leguizamo: It’s imaginative exercise. Imagine if women had that real power and they could defend themselves, what a world it would be. And that exercise is what’s fun about this series.
Collette: I just thought, on a very basic level, this is going to be so inspirational for women and girls of all ages, to see so many different women from different backgrounds who look different with different experiences, all coming into that very potent sense of self for the first time through this electricity, which is ultimately a metaphor for the inherent power we all have, but not all of us have been encouraged to nurture.
Absolutely! And if you had this power, Toni, what would you do with it?
Collette: I don’t know! I’d harness it and I’d use it for good. I mean, you see the way different people are engaging with it, and some of it’s not so positive and some of it’s overwhelming and some of it is incredibly positive. And I just think I would try to use it for good to help people to heal, to free people.
So I can confirm that you would not go into your supervillain era with this power?
Collette: (laughs) Correct. I won’t be going there.
That’s a good thing! Maybe…