The Power's Toni Collette and John Leguizamo talk chemistry, empowerment, and their "emotionally intelligent" relationship

Toni Collette and John Leguizamo
(Image credit: Prime Vido)

Amazon's new sci-fi drama The Power takes place in a not-so-distant future where teen girls suddenly develop the power to electrocute people at will.

Toni Collette plays Margot Cleary-Lopez, the high-strung mayor of Seattle, with John Leguizamo as her grounded husband. Already stressed out from the sexism she faces at work, things take a turn for the worst when unexplained electrical fires and accidents erupt all over the city – and her oldest daughter Jos develops a supernatural power that she can barely control. Total Film sat down with the duo to talk chemistry, empowerment, and playing someone a little different.

Total Film: You guys have great chemistry. What was it like working together?

Toni Collette: So easy. I mean we didn't know each other beforehand. I came to the project late and we were kind of thrown in together, but I think John is such a present, available actor. He listens and he's just very alive in the moment and I think that creates an open window where beautiful things can happen. It was really exciting.

John Leguizamo: I was a huge fan of Toni before, and so when we got the call that she was gonna be on it, I called all my friends and they were like,'Oh, snap That's so cool. I'm so jealous. I'm jelly.' And I was like, 'That's right. You better be jelly.' [laughs] And she proved everything I've ever seen in her work before. She was so strong and vulnerable at the same time, and funny and yet, you know, has pathos. I mean, all these beautiful qualities that you wish in any actor.

Speaking of Toni's performance, it seems like you get cast as a mother a lot, but Margot is so uniquely her own, so different than Tara Grayson [United States of Tara] or Laura Olive. What did you feel like you did differently this time around?

TC: Well, I think every person is different. You know, you can't generalize mothers just because they have children. But I think, for me, playing Margot was really exciting because I could really relate to having a lot of different responsibilities, wearing a lot of different hats, and having to support and be responsible for a lot of different people. I think it's a lot to juggle. She's just so cool because she's passionate and idealistic and always wants to do the right thing and to play a politician who actually cares about the people she's representing and is quite honest and determined and truly good and wants to create a better world – it's unusual.

So I think it was good to see someone, a politician in a kind of healthy regard like that. You also see that even though she's empowered compared to a lot of the other females in the story, she's quite privileged. She's empowered, but she still struggles with judgment and misogyny, and all kinds of unnecessary crap in the workplace. So even for someone in her position, it exists, you know, this, this thing that we're fighting.

And she's in this incredibly supportive, loving marriage which I feel is something that's not portrayed a lot when we see politicians or characters in positions of power on TV.

TC: That's what I signed on for. It was such a well-written relationship, you know? It was so real, so granular – the emotional intelligence in the script. That's what grabbed me. I've never seen such a relationship that's played out so specifically and real and organic and complicated. Because it's not simple. It's not easy. I mean, no relationship is simple, but then neither is a global phenomenon. So it lands on top of them, on top of everyone, you know. I guess our family is one of several storylines where you can kind of really get right into how it affects people on a day-to-day basis.

The Power is set to hit Prime Video on March 31, 2023. For more, check out our list of the best new TV shows coming your way in 2023 and beyond.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.