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How Elena Kampouris Really Feels About Playing Chloe On Jupiter's Legacy - Exclusive Interview

The new hit Netflix superhero show "Jupiter's Legacy" follows the storylines of many heroes, but Chloe is distinct from all of them. While most spend their time fighting villains and debating the philosophy of being a superhero, Chloe — despite her tremendous powers — makes her living as a model and celebrity. She's the daughter of the Utopian, the most powerful and respected hero on the planet, but due a mutual stubbornness, she's never quite been able to see eye to eye with her father. She's a party girl, partly to numb her own pain — which leads to a tremendous low point, one of the lowest of any character — and takes a long time to reconcile her place in the world.

Chloe is portrayed by Elena Kampouris, and Looper spoke with her about her work on the show. To call Kampouris "effervescent" is an understatement: she's high-energy, cheery, and beyond excited about her role. Almost every sentence of hers ends in an exclamation point. She's the opposite of Chloe, though she's quick to point out certain similarities — and just as quick to be candid about her character's Shakespearean bent, trying to square Chloe's chaos, and the before-and-after world of CGI.

Reading the comics and becoming a party girl

Did you read the comics before you did this show?

I know I'm asking you another question, but are you a comic book person? Did you know about this comic beforehand?

I knew about it.

Oh geez. Well, you could probably teach me a few things because when I grew up, I was not really a comic book gal growing up — I was in tea parties, I say this a lot, I was playing with dogs, but I love [Mark Millar's] movies and who doesn't like superhero stuff, especially growing up and pretending, trying to be one? But my brother was really the comic book person. When he actually went and "Jupiter" came along, he flipped out. He was like, "Oh my God." I was familiar with, again, Mark's movies so I was like, [happy noise] hey I'm attached to this. And then I looked up the comic, a Google search. And I was like, wow, looking at just the cover. [Picks up a volume of Jupiter's Legacy and quickly thumbs through the pages] Looking at Chloe and the aesthetic. And just the images, how vividly they really jumped off the page! I was so excited by this and the Shakespearian quality to this comic! So it was a really great first foray into reading comic books.

Chloe is something of a party girl. And I can't really speak to your background, but I also knew you grew up in Bridgewater, New Jersey and the most interesting thing to do was go to the mall. How did you tap into your inner party girl doing this?

Oh my God! You're hilarious! Bridgewater does have its own bounty to offer. There is the mall. We've also got amazing ... shout to Bridgewater Gold's, Mary and Rob who run that gym. It's incredible what they do. And there's such a family atmosphere and a lot of times that's what I'm doing when I'm home, if I'm not away working! But to your question, no, I'm quite the opposite of Chloe. I'm quite boring, actually. I never really partied before. I have no experience in any of the stuff she's got experience in. So that was what made her so fun and challenging to explore. I'm more of a [holds up a mug of tea] sipping tea by the fire, reading books and going to bed Early! Well, I actually am a night owl, I'm not really, but yeah.

She's very different to me, but we also have some things in common. I do feel like I related to the fact that she wears her emotions on her sleeve. She's an open book with how she feels, which I am like that. I don't know about you, but something to put my foot in my mouth to that extent. But that was fun because she is. It's funny to hear the reactions too, now that people are watching the show. So like "You're nothing like her!" I'm like, "Ohhhhhhh..."

A normal, Shakespearean, super powered family

That also leads into another thing, which is that Chloe's relationship with her father is ... there's a lot of the superhero aspect, but I'd also say in many ways it's kind of a normal father-daughter relationship.

Yes! You've captured it! I think you're right. Because what I love hearing is some people equate it a little bit to "This Is Us" vibes. 'Cause the superhero aspect of it does kind of take a bit of a sidestep to the family drama, which is what I think makes it so unique. As you're seeing these seemingly perfect human beings with very human flaws, human issues. You've got Chloe battling drug addiction, abandonment issues, she's super lonely and depressed. These are all real human things. So I think it's cool to be seeing superheroes in this light. I love the dynamic between her and her father or mom or brother. That whole family is just rich with dysfunction, which is I think the accessibility of the material and what excited me about it.

And again, I don't know if you like Shakespeare or not, but I'm a Shakespeare nut. I love the fact that you've got Romeo and Juliet with the forbidden romance clutch, that relationship. But then you've also got some King Lear happening, another favorite of mine. Because think about it, with the Utopian and Josh's journey of how he kind of goes crazy before he finds the island, it's almost like how in King Lear, it's almost like a descent into lunacy or what others perceive as lunacy. You have lucidity, you see things with striking clarity.

And then in Chloe's case, she's an outcast in a sense, she's the misfit of the family and she's very much on the outside because of her own doing, but when that happens, you also see people's true colors and you see people for what they really are past the façade. I'm rambling, but I just am excited by those themes!

I even get the old Shakespearian thing of, there's a ghost and there's a vision, but they're also not wrong about what's going on.

Exactly! I love that because someone pointed it out there was a dreamlike quality to some parts of the show. Which, again with Chloe, when she's doing drugs, everything's very heightened. I love that part, well, it's a very dark scene. Have you seen the overdose? But when she's staring into this TV screen, it's quite "Poltergeist"-y. Everything's really just quite trippy. And then you've got Josh seeing the ghost of his dad. And what does that represent for him and what's fueling his motivation to find this island, that everybody's saying he's crazy? I don't want to give out spoilers. But I think you're right. It's very cool how the ghost elements weaved in, which is also Shakespearean. Seeing those apparitions and what they symbolize for the characters, whatever's happening emotionally for the character. Are the apparitions really real or is it just the character's guilt manifesting these ghosts? Or is it their hatred for themselves? Like self-loathing they're navigating. I don't know!

The overdose

As much as I love the energy you're bringing here, I'm going to get a little serious for a second. Because you touched on something, which is the overdose scene. That's a very emotionally charged scene. And I'd say it's a low point of Chloe's, it's the big changing moment. What was it like doing that overdose scene?

Oh my gosh! You're so right! There was a lot leading up to it. This is a huge part of her arc and her journey, especially knowing where she goes in the comic books, she hits bottom here. She doesn't even care. She doesn't care if she dies, I think she's acquiescing and relenting to that. She doesn't care because what you see in the scene before, she's saying "I'm a jerk, nobody loves me. Nobody cares about me." She's almost about to call her mom and she realizes "What's the point?" In her opinion, it's futile, it's a futile gesture. Cause she's so, I'm getting back to the Shakespeare, but there's like an exile feeling going on.

It's this whole thing that she's battling so many inner demons. And I had to really dig into that and also research drug addiction and study. I had friends in my life that were gracious enough to talk to me openly about what they went through with drug addiction or are currently going through. And I was really appreciative of that because it was helpful to parallel that with my study of what Chloe is facing and how a big part of it is numbing the pain and trying to sedate that.

But all it does is just heighten those feelings again for her, but she's just trying to feel comfortable in her own skin and learn to love herself. And the whole thing is like, how can you be positive? How can she go and be a positive superhero saving the world and put on this flawless persona if she's not? How can she preach prosperity if she's not prospering on the inside first? Being healthy and loving yourself, not in a vain way, but loving who you are and accepting yourself is so important. You know, it's a step that you have to conquer first and she's up against that.

Chaotic Neutral Chloe

Chloe is not evil. But she is kind of selfish, as you say. In fact, the way I was told to describe it to you was using the D&D alignment, which is kind of chaotic neutral.

Yes! I see what you're saying!

What would you say? Where would you map her on that?

Where would I map Chloe on the map of chaos that she's on? I feel like we're doing a lit class right now! She represents disorder and chaos to the utopian's order in law or code. I feel like she, what you're saying, she's selfish, yes! I feel like everybody's got some selfishness in them, we're all fine. Nobody is good and evil. That's what the show explores, is the gray matter in between. And I think she's not evil. She loves her family so much and that's what drives so much of her pain and self-loathing, and all of this. And the guilt she feels towards her brother and hating the profession she's in. She's doing it because she wants to feel independent from her family and make our own money, be financially independent.

But she hates it because she is also putting on a persona of flawlessness. She knows she's being a hypocrite. I think that's not lost on her. She's selling out in a different way, even though she won't sell out as a super. But what I try to do, when you're approaching characters, is look at them as a real human being. Real human beings make selfish decisions or do things that we don't always agree with. I don't agree with everything Chloe does, but my job is to hopefully make us understand and sympathize with what drives her to make those decisions. Why does she punch a dude through a wall? Why does she throw the car? Hopefully we get the emotion behind it and what fuels those decisions. So we don't necessarily agree with them, but we can understand that journey. And hopefully it will resonate with us where we're along for the ride with her.

Pre and post CGI

You touched on throwing the car and punching the dude through the wall. You do a lot of this. Obviously you're not punching a real dude through a wall and throwing a real car. This is all pre-CGI. What's it like doing all these things when you can't see what you're doing?

It's so bizarre, actually, because there's a preconceived idea I have in my head. For instance, when I did "Sacred Lies," in which I played a girl who came from a cult in juvie, she's got no hands. It's off the Brothers Grimm handless maiden fairytale. I thought, "oh, I'm just going to wear some gloves when they're going to do it." I had to puppeteer her prosthetic stumps, without the hands. And that was like a puppeteering part of the character that I didn't even think, I didn't fathom that was a part of it. And I was wearing green gloves and they were rods in the stumps and I'm puppeteering every action. With this it was an even grander scale because of the green screens and the stunt work.

And I thought, "oh, this is going to be a certain way," but then you see it and you're on the day. And you're like, "You're going to do a super speed moment. You're just going to stand in place. We're going to say action. Make your face where you're emoting. Emote!" And then it's, "Okay, cut! Now you're going to do the big run! Do a run, but do little steps! Make it really quick and short and then run to the spot and freeze!" It's all really choppy. It's extremely choppy, but it's very fun to see what goes into it. Again, when you're punching a dude through a wall, it's a lot of, "Punch. Hold it on his face. Stop now. Do it again." And you can do another take where it's like a follow through, but you never hit the face. Hopefully if things go right, oh my goodness!

You've got a great group of professionals guiding you through it. But there's so many aspects to it, the sorcery, the magic tricks that are happening to have what you see. But I think it's a lot more impressive once you've got it on kit, once you see it. Because the actual process is like, "Oh, this is different."

What was your reaction when you finally saw the guy getting punched through the wall, and the car getting thrown, and all the amazing CGI the show has?

I kid you not, when we're shooting the scenes I'm like, "Oh my God guys, how is this going to look good?' Because it's just standing in place. It's very strange. I'm not even explaining it properly, but it's just very standing in place, and then moving. I'm like, "Guys, I don't know how this is going to add up, or how it will look," but they're like, "Don't worry. We got it!" And boy, they do have it because when I see it, I'm like, "Whoa, this looks so cool! This is it, they were right!" Because it's a stark contrast, but it looks so cool. It's a cool kind of endorphin rush when you see it finally.

Closing thoughts

What do you want people to take away from the show?

Oh my goodness! What do I want people to take away? I hope that people take away from it, as far as Chloe's journey is, so far in season one, that you don't need to compromise who you are and your self-expression, and your own personal path. Keep going because you will eventually run into the people that get you, embrace you for who you are and aren't trying to label you like her family is trying to do and judge her. Even though there is love there, there's some tension. But you'll run into the Hutches, for instance, your fellow misfits that get you, and aren't going to try and stifle your personal being and your expression. And you can find that.

But also I hope people get that it doesn't matter if you can fly or you have super strength or wherever you are on the globe or your wealth or status. We all have family issues. No one's immune to that. That's the kryptonite of all of us. And that's what we see in the show in such an intimate way and a gritty way that I don't think has really been looked at before. And hopefully it will be a comfort. And also awakening to people. I don't know. I just hope people enjoy it and also there's great action, fun and all that jazz. I think there's something for everyone.

"Jupiter's Legacy" is now on Netflix.