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Not all heroes are born on the battlefield or created in a science lab. Some are born while mopping floors as a janitor in an STD research lab and playing a video game that’s never been beaten. Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson, yep, that guy from The Hunger Game movies, 2012-2015) is that undiscovered hero in sci-fi comedy Future Man (2017-current; Season 1 is now only on Showmax).
“When you meet Josh, he has no ambition. Nothing. He is 22 years old and lives with his parents. He just wants to work through his deadbeat job as a janitor by day and play his favourite post-apocalyptic video game Biotic Wars at night – his only goal in life is to beat the video game, something that has never been done,” says Josh.
But when he does the unthinkable, Josh’s nerdy world is turned upside-down, says executive producer Seth Rogen. “He is confronted by the game’s two avatar heroes Wolf and Tiger and they think that he is the saviour of mankind, which in their future has been destroyed by a herpes cure that mutated humans. The trio now travel to the future to save the world through their video game.”
Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough to get you up and running with Josh in his gameplay…
Level 1: Unsung hero
If a business tycoon can run a country (we’re looking at you, Donald Trump), then there’s nothing stopping a janitor video gamer from saving mankind.
“What’s cool about Josh is that he has a hero’s journey, but it’s not your typical ‘Oh, at the beginning, he’s a weak dweeb, and then he’s the most badass fighter of all time.’ He maintains his truth throughout the entire season and that’s what helps propel the mission forward through his genuine care for people and keeping a moral centre. That is very important,” says Josh the actor, although he and his character don’t have a lot in common.
“I’m not a great gamer. I don’t do it a whole lot. I’ll get in every now and then and play some weird random game. I did buy a game when I got to the show. And as far as beating people up goes, I stay away from it. Only when necessary!”
Level 2: Super-cool sidekicks
A normal mop just won’t do when it comes to cleaning up mankind’s mess. Josh’s help comes from his avatar teammates: purple-haired semi-sadistic Tiger (Eliza Coupe), who is also his avatar crush, and the gruff, dead-eyed, scar-faced Wolf (Derek Wilson).
“The future is bleak and brutal and they need Josh to jump through time to save humanity,” says Seth.
Tiger might be kickass beautiful, but Eliza says that she indirectly challenges the stereotypes of female crime fighters. “She doesn’t have a reference to patriarchy. She’s the leader of the Resistance and in charge of a whole army. I don’t fight in dumb outfits that are like leotards [ouch!] and like little things. Come on, you can’t fight in that. I have like legit warrior gear and I’m in my pants most of the time. That alone speak volumes without saying anything.”
Behind all the scars and evil stare downs, Derek is a softie. “I’m a classically trained actor and love Shakespeare. When this role came up, I thought, why not? Let’s see what Wolf can teach me.”
Level 3: Sci-fi trivia
Movie-mad Seth drew on films for ideas and makes no excuse for it: “This series is inspired by pretty much any science-fiction movie from the last, like, 35 years. There is a movie about a dude who beats a video game and is then recruited by mysterious visitors to save the world – that is the movie The Last Starfighter. And then you have Future Man, which is a show about a dude who beats a video game and must prevent the extinction of humanity.”
Seth and Josh are both fans of the movies that are referenced in their show. “You have Terminator 2 [“Gimme your clothes” in episode 1], Back To The Future [the running man dance move in episode 2] and even animated series Rick and Morty [which can be streamed on Showmax],” adds Josh.
But there are some references that he didn’t quite get the first time around. “Man, it happened all the time! I really like sci-fi. I’ve seen Terminator so many times, but there’s Terminator stuff in the show that I didn’t even know existed. That’s the fun: there are references that maybe only eight people will recognise, but if you’re not one of them, it doesn’t matter.”
Level 4: The beat
Much of the show’s tone is set with its music. “When I saw the pilot and had to get working on the music, I had to come up with a sound landscape that fits the theme of the series, especially the sound of the video game that Josh plays for hours on end,” explains musical director Halli Cauthery.
And the answer was right in front of them: in 80s science fiction. “The show is very much an 80s throwback. It was clear that it needed to be quite synthesiser heavy and futuristic in sound, so really it was a short leap from that to finding the overall sound world of the series.”
And Halli enjoyed every moment of picking through the 80s archives. “The episode set in producer James Cameron’s future house (episode 7) in 2023 was a funny one, as I had the chance to write a lot of music that was sort-of inspired by music from many of his movies.”
Level 5: Knowledge is power
There are a few things fans need to know:
- The series was originally planned to be a movie. “Because of the setup of the characters and the world, there were so many more avenues to explore. The world has changed in terms of R-rated movies and how hard it is to get those movies made and finding those audiences. I think we all just felt there was so much great stuff going on in TV, this is an insanely good idea for a show,” explains Seth.
- Eliza Coupe has two A-list stunt doubles: Jessie Graff from obstacle reality show American Ninja Warrior and lead Wonder Woman stunt double Caitlin Dechelle.
- Derek Wolf’s make-up takes about an hour to put on every morning and 45 minutes to remove.
- Seth claims that Josh Hutcherson “has a Michael J Fox-ish [from Back To The Future movies] quality in him.” So he fitted right in with the 80s theme.
Game over! Time to stream Future Man, only on Showmax.
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