Jake McDorman says that what initially drew him to CBS’ Limitless was the fact that the people involved with the feature film, including Bradley Cooper, were involved with the TV series. “If it was something like, ‘Oh, we’re going to remake that movie into series,’ it would have been a little bit of a different situation. I think looking at it saying, ‘Wow, there’s been this great world that’s been created with the film, now the same exact people all the way to Bradley Cooper acting in it,’ everyone now transposing into television with hours and hours of TV in this expanded universe is one of the first things that I was attracted to. Also, Marc Webb directing was awesome,” explained McDorman during our interview at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con.
“I think originally it was supposed to be Neil Burger who directed the movie, so it was down to a T the exact same creative team from the film. And then at the last minute they swapped for Marc which is great – (500) Days of Summer and both Spider-Mans. It’s great. So there’s the creative aspect which puts it in a category you can trust,” added McDorman.
Hill Harper says all you have to do is look at the pedigree of the show to know it’s something worthy of checking out. “Bradley Cooper’s a huge star who doesn’t have to be involved. That’s a good indication. He decides that he’s not only going to executive produce but also be in the show as his character. That shows you that they’re shooting for top, top, top quality. It’s not just like there can be some projects where some star throws their name on it and says, ‘Send me some tweets that I’m going to copy and paste about it.’ Clearly that’s not the case in this situation. So everybody is reaching for something great and you can tell by watching is pilot it is so good. Jennifer Carpenter is fantastic. [Jake’s] fantastic. Every character is great. The director is great. The cinematography is great. We hope people are going to watch it but at least we can be proud of what we throw on the screen.”
McDorman says Limitless doesn’t recreate the movie but instead expands on the universe of the 2011 film. It also presented challenges to him as an actor that he couldn’t resist. “Bradley’s pitch to me was, ‘Dude, as an actor this was one of my favorite things I’ve had to do.’ To play two characters, the duality of who you are before you encounter this pill and who you become after you take this pill,” said McDorman. “It’s a real journey. It seems like it was for him and for anybody who steps into the role.”
McDorman describes playing what feels like two separate characters as part of the fun of the project. “I think they really wanted to get that there would be a similarity between how anyone acts on NZT. No matter your background, whoever you are, when you take that drug you have a certain level of enlightenment,” explained McDorman. “These are all the notes that Bradley gave me from when he did the movie. You stand up straighter, you talk deliberately. No gesture is wasted, it all has a purpose and there’s a lot of eye contact. Without NZT you can just have fun with it – slouch, be a totally different guy. Someone compared Brian off of NZT is like The Dude in The Big Lebowski, which I thought was awesome. It was challenging but in the best way, and that’s what you hope out of anything that you do that it’s a healthy, creative challenge. You don’t want to just coast through it.”
Watch the full interview for more on Limitless with Jake McDorman and Hill Harper:
Also, director Marc Webb and executive producers Craig Sweeny, Alex Kurtzman, and Heather Kadin discuss the series, the world of the film, and adapting that story for a network show:
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