Amazon Prime’s Invincible isn’t like other animated superhero shows.
Sure, there’s an underdog hero — this one is named Mark aka Invincible (voiced by The Walking Dead‘s Steven Yeun) — but he’s unique. Half Korean American and half superhero, Mark is a teenager who inherits his powers from his dad Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons), the most dominant caped crusader or Viltrumite in their world. But the more strength and ability Mark gains, the more he begins to see that his father is more flawed than he could have ever imagined.
Zazie Beetz, who is best known for her roles in FX’s Atlanta and the Joker film, voices Amber, Mark’s high school classmate. Mark quietly crushes on Amber until grabbing her attention by attempting to defend her against a handsy bully. Amber eventually develops feelings for Mark, and unintentionally lands herself in a love triangle with him and Eve aka Atom Eve (Weird City‘s Gillian Jacobs).
Beetz says she was drawn to Invincible, which The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman adapted from his comic book series of the same name, and made its Amazon premiere this past Friday, because of the show’s impressive and inclusive cast.
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“I had an opportunity to read the pilot and then to also look into the comic and the group of people that were already attached,” Beetz tells TVLine. “Steven Yeun and J.K., Sandra Oh (who plays Mark’s mom Debbie) and Gilly…. It was just a really great team that I wanted to work with and be a part of. Also, I loved that Robert Kirkman was involved with the series and I really trusted that the spirit of the comic was going to be in the television show, which I think is really important. I like being part of that world.”
Read on as the German-born Beetz teases the eight-episode Season 1 and talks about the show’s indirect connection to Atlanta costar and creator Donald Glover.
TVLINE | Did working with Kirkman attract you to Invincible?
He was super involved. He was in all of the recording sessions and was very involved in shaping the show. I was really drawn to that, and Amber’s character is a part of that larger world.
TVLINE | Amber has got some fighting skills. She’s not Domino and she doesn’t have superpowers, but she doesn’t suffer bullies.
Yeah, she holds her own and I think that is something that sort of shifted from her comic book persona, as well. She leads with confidence and leads with a sense of knowing who she is and who she wants to be and what she wants to do in the world. I think that’s actually a really interesting juxtaposition in a way to Mark, who is trying to figure it all out still. I liked the idea that a lot of people who watch a superhero thing are like, “Oh man, I wish I was like Superman or Wonder Woman” or whoever. But really, you don’t have to be that to be exceptional, or to be inciting change in the world and doing what you think is good. So, her role in that way is really important.
TVLINE | What was it like working on this during a pandemic? Were you all doing this from home, virtually?
We did this before the pandemic, during, like, the spring of 2019, so it was a normal recording where you went into the studio — but we didn’t record at the same time. I think Steven got to work with J.K. Simmons, but I did it alone, and I think Gillian was alone for all of hers. Obviously, Kirkman was involved when we were recording, and our director, and some of the producers. But I didn’t work with the other actors directly.
TVLINE | Oh, I imagined you and Gillian swapping Donald Glover stories because you have both worked with him. Is it like “Six Degrees of Donald Glover?”
Yeah, I was thinking about that. I was like, “Oh yeah, like she knows him because of her time on Community.” We were just doing a bunch of our interviews together, which is really how we are getting to know each other.
TVLINE | Have you started working on Atlanta Season 3 yet?
We’re actually just about to start shooting. So, we’re doing it. I’m leaving in like two weeks to go shoot in Europe, so we have to start the whole process of that with the PPE and everything. And you can never really get used it. I have worked during the pandemic, and I have to say I’m really grateful to be working, frankly. In this business, it’s interesting because it’s all about connecting with and communicating with people, and that whole element is harder to do. Sets are very strict about keeping everybody safe, which is good, but it doesn’t make the ability to really communicate effectively easy. You have to kind of get used to doing everything a bit differently, yet you never really get used to it, because it’s a little anxiety inducing.
TVLINE | What can we expect from Amber in Season 1 of Invincible?
Mark and Amber kind of have a romantic thing. But as Mark is coming into his own and sort of working on their relationship, he struggles with the pressure of trying to balance these responsibilities of being a super person, and just trying to live a normal life. So, yeah, I don’t know what I can really tell you beyond that. But get ready for more tension between him and Amber and Eve.