FandomWire Editor-in-Chief Reilly Johnson had a chance to interview the star of Luke Cage and Sons of Anarchy, Theo Rossi! Below, you can read the full interview transcript or you can watch the full video above via our YouTube channel.
[00:00] Reilly Johnson: All right, hey guys. We’re here with Theo Rossi, the star of Luke Cage, and Sons of Anarchy. And we’re excited to have him here today and just talk about his career and the upcoming show: Luke Cage Season 2. So we’ll get right into it. All right well, how are you doing?
[00:31] Theo Rossi: I’m good. Sorry if there’s any noise here; they seem to be doing some kind of construction right next to the house, so there’s stuff going on. But if you can hear me, I’m doing great. I’m in Austin, Texas and it’s a beautiful day and we’re getting ready for Cage Season 2 to come out, so we’re excited.
[00:50] Reilly Johnson: That’s awesome. I’m very excited myself. So how did you get into acting? What made you want to get into it and involve yourself?
[01:05] Theo Rossi: You know, getting into it was actually kind of a mistake but it just happened by mistake, but I don’t know, I think that maybe it wasn’t because ever since from a young age, I was always one of those kids that would, like, draw all the time and play with my action figures and kind of disappear into different worlds in my mind and just kind of create all these different things with—like I said, my different action figures, my GI Joes, my He-man, and then I would draw; I was always drawing comic books and kind of all that stuff. And then you know life takes over—you get older, you kind of stop playing, and just stop imagining, and you get into the grind of regular life. But what happened was I got real lucky. I just stumbled upon an acting class by mistake in New York City, and one thing led to another, and that was 18 years ago, and I’ve been working ever since, and there was a series of events that got me somehow into that place at that time, and now I’m here talking to you. I’m excited about it.
[02:15] Reilly Johnson: Wow! That’s really great. What were some of the first acting jobs?
[02:29] Theo Rossi: Yeah, my first thing I ever did—I had started doing like a lot of these like small industrial commercials, like, weird things that [Cross-talk] I did like some kind of dance catalog. I don’t know—I’m not much of a dancer. I did a music video for MTV karaoke machine. And then all of a sudden, I had gotten this movie, this independent film that they never finished but I did it. And when I did that, I made the move. I moved to LA. Back then, you kind of had to be in LA. I left New York and I went to LA. And then my first real deal job—I did this small movie that no one saw, I don’t know if that came out. But my first real job was a TV show called Boston Public, I think; it was either Boston Public or Malcolm in the Middle. But it was one of those, and I had like a bunch of scenes and I played with really cool character on Boston Public. And I was really excited, I remember being like really, really excited because it was on TV and people were gonna see it. And that was it; I kept working after that all the time. I got really fortunate in my career. I was surrounded by some amazing people. But yeah, I did an Olson twin movie in the beginning that was awesome. I did, like I said, Malcolm in the middle, Boston Public. And then I just became that guy who like guest-starred on every single television show, like you know I was on—at one point, there was, I remember, like a Wednesday night, there were like two or three shows on at the same time like on CBS, ABC, and NBC, and I was on all three of them. Yeah it was one of those—if you switched the channel, I was on it. It just so happened that they all aired on the same night. So I was the guy who was always doing guest-star. And then in 2008, Sons of Anarchy happened and it changed my life.
[04:35] Reilly Johnson: Wow, that’s really cool. That’s really cool. So, one of my writers wanted me ask, what can you tell us about the upcoming Ghosts of War?
[04:53] Theo Rossi: Ghost of War is really cool. I really hope that it all gets together. it’s the guy, Eric Bress, who wrote and directed The Butterfly Effect and he wrote The Final Destinations and those films. So it’s really in the vein of those films, just a really kind of sci-fi twist and turn, horror type thing. And it was really like a real mindbender, the film. What I’ll tell you is that it’s a shocker, it’s one of those films that when you watch it, you’re like, “What?!” like when it ends, it just turns you a little, like it shocks you, you didn’t see it coming. And I hope that—I’m excited to see what they do with it. I know they’re in the final phases of special effects and post-production. So hopefully, we should hear something soon or at least get a trailer relatively soon, I would think.
[05:52] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, I couldn’t find the release date anywhere; it’s not out yet.
[05:56] Theo Rossi: No, not yet. The movie business is crazy. You do movies and they might come out like a year and a half later, so it’s interesting.
[06:05] Reilly Johnson: Yeah. Wow! That’s really good. When you said about the shock thing, what came to my mind was Avengers: Infinity war.
[06:18] Theo Rossi: I know.
[06:18] Reilly Johnson: Wow!!
[06:19] Theo Rossi: That was… I love moments like that that you don’t expect and I think that that’s kind of what makes movies so interesting.
[06:27] Reilly Johnson: What do you think of that movie?
[06:31] Theo Rossi: I think that right now, I think it was an amazing way to pull everything together, you know that’s going on and being a comic book fan and seeing the way it ended and not ruining it for people who haven’t seen it, it’s just, I think it’s—I think when you first think about it from my side of the fence, you go, “Man, how are they gonna tell all those stories and put all those characters together, and really not have a disconnected film?” But it didn’t feel like that at all. The film felt flawless and seamless. And I just think that the last few have been so great. I just watched Black Panther the other day with my son for the fifth time, and I just think it’s an incredible film. And I think that that’s what’s so cool about comic book films right now is they’re actually becoming because of the talent, because of the writers, because all the people going to it; they’re just really becoming really good films as well, as not just big spectacles, they’re becoming really good films. So I feel great.
[07:40] Reilly Johnson: Yeah. I loved it too, a lot of great action but most of all great story and the characters are –I obviously, we know the heroes, and all that but Thanos was really developed well; his character was compelling. All right, let me see, the next question I have for you is, what can we expect from Shades in season 2 of Luke Cage?
[08:21] Theo Rossi: Everything. I mean everything that the way it ended, you know, the way that I mean season 1 ended was with him and Mariah at the top of the perch of Harlem’s paradise and Luke getting carted off to jail, and you know now there’s a lot of things that had happened between The Defenders, and other stuff but what we get to see in Luke Cage Season 2 is: we get to see what it looks like with Shades and Mariah really running Harlem, and being at the top, and being the people to take down. And what I love about Luke Cage, which is done so different and so incredible, is that Luke Cage has multiple villains, so the threat to Luke is from every angle. And yeah, he has people like Misty and other people around him but usually in a lot of these shows and a lot of these movies, you have an antagonist and a protagonist, you know you have a villain and a hero. But what’s so great about these is you have multiple threats. So now, you know with the new trailers that came out, we get introduced to the character Bushmaster, who comes in but really what we get to see is we get to see Shades and Moriah, their relationship, and what it looks like with them in charge of everything, and how devious and violent that becomes. So I’m excited for people to see that.
[09:45] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, how does that, like, you mentioned The Defenders: how does that impact season 2, if at all?
[10:02] Theo Rossi: Yeah. There’s always a thing, I mean obviously, Misty, with her you know losing her arm, we’ll address that. And there’s a lot of hangover from that show that comes into ours because that’s kind of just the way it is, it’s all happening in the same city, in the same world, in the same thing. So there’s a lot of ramifications about that, and a lot of things that come from that. And it’s gonna be—especially, with Luke, but mainly with Misty, we get to really tell that story of Misty and the people who are involved in the defenders and how that plays out with Connie Lin and a couple other people who make appearances come throughout the show.
[10:52] Reilly Johnson: Well, that’s really great. Particularly with appearances and stuff, like, how does Iron Fist get involved? What can you tell us about that?
[11:07] Theo Rossi: Yeah, the Heroes for Hire thing, I mean I know a lot of people if you read the comic have been looking forward to seeing them kind of fight side by side and The Defenders kind of teased that a little, but he makes really cool—he’s cool. Danny Rand definitely has a bit of a presence. And in the hands of someone like Chao, it’s really cool to see Iron Fist and in the world of Luke Cage, because when you step into our world, it’s a little different than maybe in other ways that you’ve seen him. So Iron Fist—I used to read Iron Fist when was young. Danny Rand, that character is such a badass. So we get to kind of see him in a really cool light in the show. So I think the fans who like Cage and Rand together and like seeing that, are gonna be really excited about it.
[12:09] Reilly Johnson: Oh, that sounds great!! I know when I met you at Philly Comic-Con, we talked about how you have an interaction with Iron Fist, right?
[12:26] Theo Rossi: Yep.
[12:28] Reilly Johnson: What will that be like? What can you tell us about that?
[12:34] Theo Rossi: The cool thing about Shades is almost like how Little Finger was in Game of Thrones. You know he kind of is one of those characters that navigates with everyone, he meets, he’s involved with everyone. He’s involved with Mariah, he’s involved with Luke Cage because of their past, he was involved with Diamondback, he’s involved with Misty. Now, you’ll see stuff with Iron Fist and Bushmaster. He’s just that guy that he’s kind of involved in everything, and I think that that is the foundation of his character; he does whatever he has to do, he’s kind of like a master chess player. And this year, it really gets completely expanded. And all his relationships, past and present, are the focus of his character this year. So I think that what’s really cool about him, and what’s really cool for me as a character is that I get to interact with every single person in this giant universe of a show and the MCU in the Netflix world; I get to really be involved with all the characters. So yeah, we’ll see some stuff with him and we’ll see a lot of stuff with other people too but every time that we realize we see a relationship that he’s in, we’ll reveal a little bit more about him, which I think that people are really interested in seeing.
[13:59] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, that sounds great!! I’m very excited to see what kind of interactions he has. So the next question I want to ask is about Ounce Water, what can you tell us about your involvement with that? It’s pretty cool.
[14:28] Theo Rossi: So I am one of those guys who’s like super health-conscious. I’ve always been about, you know, I want to be, you know, I want to live my life on my terms and just kind of like I understand that what goes into our body is extremely important: what we take in, what food, how much water and what we—it starts from the inside out. And so I’ve always been one of those people that drinks a gallon of water every day– excuse me [yarns]. Two little boys keep me up all night; my son’s three and one and they deciding that sleep is not a good idea anymore. So I decided that I was going to make it easier: how can I get people to drink more water? What’s a little thing that I can do in the health world and in another side of a business – because we’ve got a couple other different businesses – what’s something that I can create and come up with that can make it easier for people to track their water and drink their water? And that’s kind of where Ounce Water came and we have 20s and 40 ounces. And we try to get people a recommended 80 ounces a day, and if you buy two 40s or if you buy four 20s, and it was just kind of one of these things that came up, and it’s really just absolutely exploded, and it’s pretty cool. We’re all over the tri-state area, Amazon Prime, and expanding now into Chicago, Maine and Florida. And then we’ll eventually just start expanding nationally. And it’s been pretty amazing now. We’re in hotels and stuff, and it just came up from an idea when I was doing this movie Lowriders. I just kind of came up with the idea and to watch how big it’s gotten is… it’s pretty amazing. So again, it’s just to get people to drink more water because not enough people are drinking water.
[16:33] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, and so do you own the company?
[16:37] Theo Rossi: I do, yeah.
[16:38] Reilly Johnson: Okay, cool. Yeah, I’m a business junkie myself so that always interests me. But yeah, that’s awesome, that’s great. What other businesses do you own?
[16:55] Theo Rossi: We have a production company where we, you know, we made our first film Bad Hurt and it came out – I think it was a year and a half ago. It premiered at Tribeca and iTunes and Netflix and all that stuff. We made that film because it was a story I really wanted to tell. And now we came in and produced my latest film I’m part of a — we kind of came in as a small, you know, helping out on Vault, the film I just did. And then we have a couple other projects in development. And then the other businesses we have, we have Go Get It LIFE which is a kind of a lifestyle company like really just to help people, just kind of encouraging people to live their best life. And gogetitlife.com; it’s kind of been just a hub for blogs and recipes and motivation and anything that can kind of get people to better themselves, and at the same time, it’s also acts as a catch-all for a lot of the charities that I’m involved and help out with or I’m an ambassador for. So that’s what’s going down, yeah.
[18:12] Reilly Johnson: Oh, nice, that’s great. You got a lot of good stuff going on there. So I’m going to move on to fan questions. I put a thing out over social media. So bunch of people wanted to ask some questions; we selected from those. And for everyone watching; you can follow us @FandomWire on Twitter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @FandomWireNews. All right, so let’s get on to these questions; these are good ones. First of all, Angel Olivia’s writes, “Which Marvel character would you like to interact with on the series if given the opportunity?”
[19:24] Theo Rossi: Kingpin.
[19:26] Reilly Johnson: That’s a great choice. That’s a really good choice, yeah, Kingpin is a great character. I would love to see that, that would be great.
[19:42] Theo Rossi: Thank you, for sure.
[19:43] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, all right. So the next question comes from Carter Alders, “What is it like going from a show like Sons of Anarchy to Luke Cage? Big fan of yours.”
[20:02] Theo Rossi: Pretty amazing. I’m super fortunate; the people that I’ve looked up to in this business have been people like Jimmy Smith, Katey Segal, and in the television world, people who have just been doing this and doing it at a high level on great shows for so long, and I’ve always been so intrigued by how they can move from, like, one big show to another big show because it’s just not the way it works, like, most shows don’t succeed; they don’t work out. And I always thought—I was so intrigued by that and by no means that I think when I was on Sons of Anarchy because it was such an incredible ride and it was so massive-so massive and so fan-driven and such a classic, did I think that I would go right to another show that has that same exact… Hold on, I let this truck pass; it sounds like they’re dragging the Millennium Falcon with it. There’s a lot going on with that truck — so much construction. So did I think that I would go from one that had such rapid fan base, like Sons did all over the world, did then jump into the MCU and Netflix which has such an incredible fan base and that’s very similar. So the transition in the scope of the show was great because it felt like a continuation with the fans, just the different set of fans like opening up a whole new audience but two totally different characters—completely different characters in every way. And I’m just really fortunate, I’m really, really lucky to just to be a part of two pretty iconic shows, I think.
[22:10] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, they both have such strong fan bases. I still see people wearing Sons of Anarchy shirts. All right, so let me see, next question comes from Ryan Sherlock, “What’s it like working on set?” I think that means like in general or–
[22:42] Theo Rossi: In general?
[22:42] Reilly Johnson: I think in general. He didn’t say.
[22:49] Theo Rossi: Let’s do it in general.
[22:50] Reilly Johnson: Yeah.
[22:50] Theo Rossi: You know, very different than the outside imagination probably believes it is. It’s a lot of waiting around. Paul Newman says a very famous line, or said a very famous line, I should say, “You don’t pay me to act; you pay me to wait.” Because you probably only actually act for probably two hours out of a 16-hour day. I mean usually you’re waiting for them to light and you’re in makeup and you’re rehearsing and you’re kind of doing all your other stuff. You don’t—so you’re waiting because there’s a lot that goes into making film and television. So what’s it like being on set? You wait around, you’re kind of hanging. So you can get, you know, if you’re like me, I kind of like to stay alone. I don’t really — I like to kind of just stay in my character and kind of like be separated from everybody else and depending on how heavy the day is, I tend to play heavier characters, so I stay away from people more, but it’s a little different now as I do this longer, it starts to become more like a muscle that I could kind of turn on and turn off a little faster, so I’m able to, for lack of a better word, enjoy it more. But I’m not the kind of guy – I’ve never been the type of actor in the 18 years that I’ve done this, that I’ve ever done like kind of fun, romantic, comedy type roles. I don’t do that, but my roles are always very emotionally dark and deeper, and so that’s kind of made me —I have to just go to a different place for it; I have to kind of stay different. And plus I really try to take as many aspects of myself out of the character as possible because I really want my characters to stand on their own; I don’t want to ever be one of those people that you can’t tell if they’re acting or doing an interview. I want it to be where I’m totally different in my character. So I try that. First, it starts with the look and then it starts with just little things here and there. So my experience on set is probably a lot different than other people’s.
[25:27] Reilly Johnson: And what type of techniques do you take to get into character?
[25:34] Theo Rossi: Music is a huge part for me. I start off every character with a playlist of specific songs that will keep me into certain emotions, and then I listen to music almost right until they call “Action.” I could just see people but I don’t hear anything, and then I take my headphones off and they call “Action.” And mentally, I’m in the place that I need to be. Depending on how heavy the scene is, but yeah, that’s kind of a big way for me.
[26:10] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, that’s very cool. Music is a very powerful thing emotionally that can really set your mood.
[26:20] Theo Rossi: If it reminds you of a specific time, or a specific person, or anything like that.
[26:29] Reilly Johnson: That’s awesome. Next question I have is from Zsolt Jelcs… “Hi, Theo, where you have some powers in the show, or were you remade this serpent type character was just pretty cool?
[27:04] Theo Rossi: You gotta watch it. I can’t say anything. It’s a spoiler.
[27:06] Reilly Johnson: Zolt, you will have to watch it, buddy. Let’s do another question. We kind of discussed this… Smithy Lee writes, “How did you get into the mindset to play a character like Shades, and did you take any ideas for the comics?”
[27:47] Theo Rossi: No, the comics were so long ago, and as much as a fan of it as I was, they were just a little different; they were a little more fantastical and a little more arch nemesis, archenemy type thing.
[28:00] Reilly Johnson: The Netflix side is very serious.
[28:03] Theo Rossi: Yeah. It’s more realistic. It’s more in the present world as opposed to the comic book world. My thing is just working with the man who wrote it, working with Chao, being able to pick his brain and see what he’s thinking, and then he trusts me because you know we did another movie together; he wrote a movie I did, called Lowriders. He trusts me to kind of take my take on it and then if I have any questions, he’s like right there, and he’s like, “Hey, this is what I’m thinking here with this scene and this is what I’m thinking with this.” And as the creator of the show, that’s something that I’m so fortunate to have, a relationship with a creator of a show that I can really ask if I have anything. So he’s super collaborative, so that helps me get in the mindset.
[28:58] Reilly Johnson: Oh, that’s really cool. That’s really cool. Yeah, because Netflix universe is very grounded. So you almost can’t really take anything from the comics. But yeah, I think you have to make it your own—so you do. All right, we have the final question from our fans. Germán Molkuc, sorry if I’m butchering your name, buddy but I probably can’t get it right. He writes, “If you could play any DC character, which would it be?”
[28:52] Theo Rossi: Batman. No, lie, Joker.
[29:53] Reilly Johnson: Joker. I think you would be a very good Joker; that actually fits, that totally fits, like wow.
[30:05] Theo Rossi: Easily the Joker. I think he’s the—see, I see Joker very different than others. My favorite comic book ever is The Killing Joke. I think that he’s a lot more flawed, and I think that a lot of people play him like completely insane, but I also think that Joker has so much heart to him and no one ever plays. Like, stuff that’s happened to his family because of the way his wife was, because of all this other things; there’s just deep stuff that you can really go into. So I would love to explore something like that and what makes someone become arguably the greatest villain in the history of comics. There’s a real backstory there that I just I love. I was gonna actually put a picture on the Gram today that I’ll put on tomorrow of the Joker that I love—this one picture, but yeah, I’m a huge fan of the Joker. So I’m just a huge – I love Batman in general but I stick more to graphic novels because certain films just aren’t my style. But the Joker, I think, is the character for me.
[31:28] Reilly Johnson: What did you think about Heath Ledger’s take and Jared Leto’s?
[31:35] Theo Rossi: Everything to do with Nolan’s Batman is amazing, and there’s not a bad part or a false beat of those films. I could watch them all day, every day. I think that the performances are incredible. I think that the way he played the Joker is, his version is incredible. I just think that it’s just very real, kind of what we try to do on Cage, it’s an afterthought that you’re watching the superhero movie; it’s just like you feel like you’re just watching an everyday drama film. That’s what I loved about that film and those performances. The other stuff is, it’s really hard to make; it’s really hard to pick any of those, and another film after that because they’re kind of perfect.
[32:36] Reilly Johnson: Yeah. When you brought up about creating a back story for the Joker and that kind of stuff. I totally agree because the best–
[32:54] Theo Rossi: I’m just letting one of my dogs out.
[32:55] Reilly Johnson: Okay, no problem. The best villains to me are the ones that think they’re right, not just like a mustache twirling kind of, you know, the ones that think they’re right and have a motivation for why they’re doing what they do, and even though it’s wrong, you can understand why they are the way they are.
[33:28] Theo Rossi: That’s the truest thing. What you just said is, you know, and especially as someone who plays, I guess, technically, a villain. Everyone’s the hero of their own story; everything thinks what they’re doing is right, everyone can justify what they’re doing. So I think that whether you’d be a villain or hero, you feel that your actions are justified. And for the Joker or anyone else, they feel that what they’re doing is the right reasoning. You can’t argue that. So no one—very few people are just causing chaos to cause chaos, and if they are, they’re causing chaos because they like chaos. So it’s right to them; they enjoy it. So I just think that the best villains are ones that people kind of go, “Man, I know that they’re doing all these bad things but I love them. I just really love that I feel for them or I understand them.” And that’s what I’ve tried to implement into any character I play. I try to like—I just want you to feel something and I want you to feel a love or hate or something. So that’s why I love playing villains or nefarious characters because they’re bound by nothing. Heroes are bound by a code, they can’t do certain things; they can’t—they would be looked at, there wouldn’t be a hero anymore if they did really bad things or if they did things that upset the populace, where villains can do anything; that’s why they’re so much fun to play.
[35:24] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, exactly. And you’re like, when you mentioned about characters that people love like, I think about yours, Thanos, and Kingpin… they’re great. I mean, great motivation behind the characters that really enriches the story. But yeah, so I don’t know how much time we have but I think we’re done here.
[35:58] Theo Rossi: Thank you so much.
[35:59] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, but I want to ask you one more question. Put on a salesman hat for just a second… if people are not familiar with Luke Cage, like the show or anything like that, what would you say to them, and like, how would you get them to watch it?
[36:26] Theo Rossi: Luke Cage has every single thing that you would want in a television show. If you’re into superheroes and comics, okay, you have that; it’s Marvel. If you’re into heavy drama and high stakes, you have that. If you’re into incredible seasoned amazing actors, we’ve got that, you know, all the actors on it are people who’ve been in this game for a long time. If you’re into action, there’s fighting and there’s this. If you have Netflix, which I think everybody in the planet does now, it’s on Netflix. You can binge watch it.
[37:05] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, I like that.
[37:06] Theo Rossi: Yeah. And so it’s got all the qualities that everybody is looking for. And if you love hip-hop and you love, you know, seeing maybe a culture or a thing that maybe you don’t get to see every day. So I think the question is like…Hold on, I’m gonna let this truck pass. I think they might be building a Taj Mahal across the street, I don’t know what’s happening. I would say the question is not like why should you watch it, the question is like why wouldn’t you be watching?.
[37:45] Reilly Johnson: Right, exactly. I know I’ll be watching. And when does it come out again?
[37:51] Theo Rossi: June 22nd. So you can go catch up on season 1 right now, and then get into season 2.
[37:58] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, everybody catch up,so you can go into season 2. One question I’m sure that somebody will ask in the YouTube comments, so I’ll just ask it here, so you can tell them. For someone who wants to get into acting, what advice would you give them?
[38:26] Theo Rossi: You can’t have a plan B. You want to do it, it’s the only thing you should want to do. You can’t think like what if I don’t make it, you can’t think what if it doesn’t work out, you have to give your entire mind, body, and soul to it. And if there is no alternative, if there is no back door that you can slip out of, you’ll succeed.
[38:48] Reilly Johnson: Yeah. Wow! That’s good advice. All right everybody, Luke Cage: Season 2, June 22nd. Everybody check it out, write it down, look it up, put it on your phone, whatever, just watch it. Because I know as soon as it comes online, I’ll be bingeing probably all 13 episodes at once. I won’t get any sleep. But yeah, watch it guys. I mean I’m so excited to see where the characters go and see how Shades sort of takes over Harlem, that’s gonna be really great to see him in charge and Luke Cage, from what I understand, he’s cocky this season and apparently that doesn’t really work out for him. So yeah, check it out guys.
[40:04] Reilly Johnson: Great seeing you again.
[40:24] Theo Rossi: @TheoRossi. Find me anywhere, find me all over that social media, whichever one, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, I don’t know, all of them.
[40:31] Reilly Johnson: Yeah, really good Instagram, so check him out there for sure. All right, so thanks for joining us, guys, and thank you Theo for joining us for this special interview. I really appreciate it. All right, guys, until next time, bye-bye!
After clearing his name, Luke Cage has become a celebrity on the streets of Harlem with a reputation as bulletproof as his skin. But being so visible has only increased his need to protect the community and find the limits of who he can and can’t save. With the rise of a formidable new foe, Luke is forced to confront the fine line that separates a hero from a villain.