'It’s a story that happened in our backyard and not many Americans know about it,' says Kyle Chandler about Uber

Kyle Chandler talks about his new anthology series Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, the relevance of the story, and what drew him to the show

Ayesha Tabassum Published :  23rd February 2022 06:14 PM   |   Published :   |  23rd February 2022 06:14 PM

Kyle Chandler

The trailer of Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber opens with the dialogue, “I’m Travis Kalanick and I will never back down from a fight. If no one wants to believe in me, I’ll make them believe by being undeniable.” It’s this go-getter attitude and powerful words that build up the excitement for Showtime’s new anthology series that brings to screen the rise of Uber in its first season.

The actor who is cast as Travis Kalanick is the popular and much-loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His character as the disruptor who shook up the startup industry in America with Uber’s unanticipated rise, is based on the 2019 non-fiction book of the same name and is created by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, the team behind Billions. Gordon-Levitt who has played a variety of roles in movies such as Inception, Looper, Snowden and The Dark Knight Rises, portrays the aggressive and ambitious streaks of Kalanick’s personality convincingly. His previous outing was Mr Corman in which he played the reluctant Josh Corman and the show received a mixed response. But with Super Pumped, Gordon-Levitt is all set to surprise fans.

Cast opposite him is Kyle Chandler who plays the role of Kalanick’s nemesis Bill Gurley. Chandler has earlier impressed audiences with performances in the Godzilla movies, The Wolf of Wall Street, Grey’s Anatomy and Bloodline. In an interview just ahead of the show’s premiere, Chandler talks about what drew him to the script, the challenges he faced while interpreting and performing his role and what the audience can expect from the show. Excerpts:

You have been part of so many different television series and films inspired by real-life stories so what was it about Super Pumped that excited you?
After reading the book it dawned on me this is what I consider a true American story and I wanted to be part of it. This was a story that I knew nothing about. I was flabbergasted. It’s a story that happened in our backyard and not many Americans know about it. Super Pumped just raises so many questions and tells a story that needed to be told. Uber was a company that changed the face of the world. But it’s not just what they did to make our lives better, it’s also about what they were doing behind the scenes. I knew who was involved in it and who was making it, and I knew their reputation as well. I am glad to be part of it.

Kyle, how did you interpret the role of Bill Gurley and what did you bring to the table?
Regardless of who we are playing, whether it’s someone who is dead or alive, we will never know the real story. But as actors, we protect our characters. All the characters that I have played, I have had an affinity for them. I have been part of them. When playing a historical character, there are a few more things that I grab as foundations. But when I am playing a real person who is still alive, there is a definite burden upon our shoulders to see it in a different way. This isn’t a documentary. They are telling a story and we need to bend a few rules for storytelling. During my research, I think I got to know him well enough and the decisions that I took helped me be close to the essence of that person.

Did you meet Bill?
I’d asked if I could have a conversation with him and things were being worked out but then I made a decision not to do it. I didn’t want to be influenced. I felt more free to do what I did within the realm of being responsible.

Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber premieres on February 28 on Voot Select