Vanessa Hudgens stars in the new NBC comedy Powerless based in the world of DC Comics. Hudgens plays Emily Locke, a woman who goes to work for Wayne Security’s R&D department creating devices to protect regular citizens from the damage of superhero battles.
Powerless was originally developed as a comedy about an insurance company that handled claims from superhero damage. After a panel for the Television Critics Association, Hudgens talked about how the show and her role has changed. Powerless premieres tonight at 8:30 on NBC.
Did your role change much when it became Wayne Security?
Vanessa Hudgens: I think the overall attitude of Emily has stayed extremely bright eyed, bushy tailed and optimistic. She is now the boss. She’s now the director of research and development so it’s a little more weight on her shoulders this time around.
What are some other fun gadgets Emily has to play with?
Vanessa Hudgens: We have the “rumbrella” which is the anti-rubble umbrella which is very important, because a lot of people are killed in our world because of flying rubble.
What would you like to see invented in real life?
Vanessa Hudgens: Oh my gosh, I’ve always had the dream since I was a little girl that we would have cars that drove themselves, which we’re getting really close. I mean, get in, punch in your destination and then it just takes you there and you arrive. Hopefully I’ll be able to see that in my lifetime. We’re so close. We’re so close.
Are the special effects just like a playground on the set? It seems like a lot of them are practical.
Vanessa Hudgens: Yeah, our set’s amazing. We have our office, we have our balcony that looks real and we have our research lab. There’s so much stuff in there. There’s a 3D printer that I saw they were printing things off of. There’s just a lot of fun things.
What are the challenges of physical comedy on Powerless?
Vanessa Hudgens: I mean, comedy is hard. I haven’t done a lot of it before. There’s definitely some physical stuff. I’m eating some weird things. I’m definitely tripping a lot and getting things thrown at my head but it’s all in the name of comedy.
How much of the action does Emily get involved in?
Vanessa Hudgens: Action itself, there’s not that much. We’re just normal people. She’s kind of klutzy a times but that’s the extent of it.
Were you looking for another sitcom?
Vanessa Hudgens: I think after Grease I was like TV’s an interesting idea. When I heard about this I jumped at the opportunity. It’s really great being on TV because then you don’t have to worry about what your next movie’s going to be for a little bit.
What attracted you to Powerless?
Vanessa Hudgens: I am a lot like my character. I’m very positive and happy. To be able to stay in that place all day and be able to pull from that is really nice.
Who was your favorite superhero?
Vanessa Hudgens: I mean, Catwoman was my number one babe.
Would you ever do another High School Musical?
Vanessa Hudgens: I’m too old. I’m 28. I can’t be in high school anymore, even though I just did for Grease but that is different. Even when they did the original Grease, no one was 18 so it worked.
Is there any way they could do a reunion you’d like to be part of?
Vanessa Hudgens: I don’t know. I think it was such an amazing thing that really affected the world and inspired children everywhere. I feel like if we can keep it at that, that’s beautiful.
What’s your favorite High School Musical memory?
Vanessa Hudgens: Probably just our last day was such an emotional day shooting High School Musical 3. I just remember crying and hugging everybody.
Who do you still keep in touch with from High School Musical?
Vanessa Hudgens: Me and Ash talk almost every day.
Where do you see yourself in another five or 10 years?
Vanessa Hudgens: It’s good to set goals but I feel very fortunate to be at where I’m at. I’m having so much fun. I’m doing things I never thought I would so I think that if I can continue to do things that I haven’t done before, I’ll be in a good place.