Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Playing Both Sides of Uber CEO in ‘Super Pumped’ (VIDEO)
“There are two sides to Travis Kalanick, and I wanted to play both of them,” says Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who stars as the Uber founder and CEO in Super Pumped, the tense, fast-moving new Showtime drama that charts the “bad boy of tech”‘s rise and fall.
As the actor details, the series unflinchingly shows Kalanick’s unethical behavior, but in playing him he wanted to go deeper and ask, “What are his strengths? Why is he so successful?” He talked to many people who knew him and discovered that he had a magnetic, optimistic side that allowed him to rally the best people around him.
That included brilliant board members. One was entrepreneur Arianna Huffington (Uma Thurman). The actress prepared by listening to Huffington on YouTube, TED Talks, media shows, and other sources, “for hours and hours.” Another, venture capitalist Bill Gurley (Kyle Chandler) faced a constant, “uphill battle,” Chandler reveals.
Gordon Levitt says that, to Kalanick, Gurley “becomes a Jiminy Cricket conscious saying ‘you can’t do these things.’” But by the time he does that, Travis is so used to hearing “yes” that he is unstoppable.
Super Pumped, Series Premiere, Sunday, February 27, 10/9c, Showtime