Amazon’s Invincible: Steven Yeun, J.K. Simmons on being prepared for show’s intense violence

Amazon is bringing Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, Invincible, to its streaming service this week, and the first three episodes will be made available. It follows a teenager, Mark Grayson (voiced by Steven Yeun), as he learns to use his powers to become a superhero while also dealing with high school life. He won’t be alone since he’ll have help from his superhero dad, Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons), to become stronger and faster.

During the Invincible press junket, the voice actors and Kirkman talked about the series, how dark the show is, and whether the series was always meant to be animated.

“You see it in the frames, but when you see it animated, it’s a whole different thing,” Yeun replies to Nerd Reactor about how dark the show can go. “In the West in America, it is different. You can watch old anime like Fist of the North Star and be like, ‘What is happening?’ And I remember watching that when I was a kid and being like, ‘Are we allowed to watch this?’ Probably not.”

“Not to get all larger than the answer needs to be, but I’m glad that we’re in a time where we’re revealing a little bit more to ourselves,” the actor continued. “And not necessarily celebrating in the violence, but actually just kind of making – I don’t know about an objective statement – but just showing a reality and not shying away from the truth in some way.”

“In their world, they hold immense power,” Yeun said. “And there are things about that power, how that’s used, the destruction and the things that come as a result of those things. And I like that we’re in a time where we can talk about that and show that in this way. I totally ran with your question in a way that I apologize.”

“Yeah, getting back to the actual question,” J.K. Simmons jokingly added. “Obviously, when they approached me with it, they told me about the intensity of the violence and all that, and I was like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ But I wasn’t fully prepared for it, and it is intense. And to me, one of the aspects that is maybe not completely unique to Invincible that I found surprising and unusual was the real sense of the stakes and the consequences of violence. And I think there are certain scenes that I won’t spoil where it’s more evident and more palpable and more just horrible and heartbreaking. And I found that really, really intriguing and impactful. And I’m trying to think of a word other than fun. It was challenging and wonderful to play.

Robert Kirman (The Walking Dead) is working on a live-action film for Invincible, but was the show always planned as an animated project? The creator/writer reveals that the show was always meant to be animated.

“No, I mean, this was always meant to be animation,” Kirkman tells Nerd Reactor. “We’re working with Universal to develop a live-action Invincible movie, so that’s something that we’re doing separately. That’s where we’re having our live-action discussions. When it came to this series, this was always meant to be animation. We knew exactly why we wanted to do it as animation, and we knew what benefits we would get from animation. So there was never any consideration and to do a live-action version of the show.”

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