Leslie Bibb unearths new adventure as she tackles a high-action tale on Netflix

Don’t get her wrong, Leslie Bibb likes the idea of playing a superhero as much as the next person. “Listen, I never thought I would be,” she says, calling TVWeek from Australia. “I thought maybe that ship had sailed for me. And I was so thrilled and intrigued by having to learn how to fight-train and all that.” But what truly drew the Talladega Nights and Iron Man actress to Netflix’s new genre series was a script that showed the span of a superhero’s life, and how time changes not just us, but our mission. “With a superhero show, you usually don’t get to see the beginning and the end,” says Bibb. “I love that journey.”

Jupiter’s LegacyNetflixIn Jupiter’s Legacy, Bibb plays family matriarch Grace Sampson, known to the rest of the world as Lady Liberty. Not only is she married to The Utopian (Transformers alum Josh Duhamel), leader of the six-person superhero team known as The Union, she is one of the most powerful superheroes on Earth. “I knew I loved Grace. I loved that energy she had. I loved that know-how, and her ‘no bulls***’ attitude and how she was such a truth seeker, and wanted to hold people accountable,” says Bibb, who at first wasn’t even privy to the bulk of her character’s journey, which takes place in the latter half of the first season. “I was titillated by this woman who in 1929 was choosing a career over family, which felt very present-day woman versus a woman of that era.”

It didn’t hit Bibb until later that her character was a reminder of her own mother. “My mom had passed away suddenly about six months before I got this show. She used to be the most fearless person I knew and as she got older, she really lost her fire. And I think in a weird way, that part of the script really [resonated],” says the actress. Bibb’s mother worked in political campaigning, for John F. Kennedy among others. “I always said she was like a cat on a hot tin roof. She’d always land on her feet. My father died when we were really young, and she raised four girls. She was just badass, and she was a superhero. As she got older, she really got scared. I remember just thinking, ‘Where’s that fearless woman I knew my whole life?”

Jupiter’s LegacyNetflixBibb saw those similarities in Grace, in the sacrifices she makes, all while actively trying to save the world. “She’s this woman who had chosen career her whole life, and then she married The Utopian and she has kids. Now, I don’t have children, but I think it’s a really hard job,” says Bibb. “Women are told that, ‘You can be a mom, and you can have a career, and you can cook your kids dinner, and you can be a good wife,’ and you see this woman who literally has the weight of the world on her back—she’s the glue that keeps her family together, like a lot of women do in their families—trying to juggle it all. And she’s given up her love, which was being a journalist. You can’t do it all.”

Based on Mark Millar’s comics about the generational conflict between a group of heroes and their kids, who are daunted by the prospect of escaping their parents’ shadow, the themes of Jupiter’s Legacy are as relevant today as they were in 2013, when the comics were launched—or 1929, where the story begins. “What’s interesting to me is looking at this family, and treating the superhero aspect as their day job, but underneath it, there is a family dynamic of working together and trying to raise a family while not screwing it up,” says Bibb. “And then the weight of the world you are going to pass down to them. Like, ‘Don’t screw this up, kids!’”

Jupiter’s LegacyNetflixIn addition to family dynamics, the series also tackles a changing world, and how one set of rules in 1929 may not apply a decade later. “Grace says something like, ‘What we’re doing is not working. The code is broken.’ There is a sense of a revolution, and a new set of rules need to be set in place,” says Bibb, who feels that the prevailing feeling that the real world’s operating systems might be broken, may also resonate with viewers.

Jupiter’s LegacyNetflix“Sometimes when I get overwhelmed, I keep thinking, ‘This is the moment when we’re on the precipice of great change.’ I hope it’s like that,” she says. “I hope there are many superheroes out there who want to create change in this world. And they might not be able to fly and have blue lights shoot out of their eyes and lift their cars above their heads but I hope that they use their voices and their sense of good and bring people together to create a new world that’s more loving and kind.”

Jupiter’s Legacy streams on Netflix