James Gunn‘s much-anticipated Peacemaker series makes its HBO Max debut in less than a week. The series is full of characters that look like they have jumped straight out of a comic book, including John Cena‘s Peacemaker and Freddie Stroma’s Vigilante. The series co-lead, Danielle Brooks, however, recently opened up to Variety some of the anxiety she experienced as someone who didn’t herself fitting into the superhero or comic book world the series takes place in.
The Orange Is The New Black star revealed that Gunn wrote the part of Leota Adebayo with Brooks in mind. When it came to the casting process, Brooks stated:
It’s  this kind of nerve-racking experience, because you really want to fit in their world. When you audition and you get the part, you know that you were the right choice, but when you didn’t audition, you’re like, “I hope they don’t feel like they made a terrible mistake.”Danielle Brooks
Obviously, Gunn and Peacemaker did not make a terrible mistake. When Brooks expressed her concerns to Gunn, the writer and creator made it clear to her that she fit in Peacemaker‘s world:
So we ended up having a meeting, and we just hit it off. I explained to him [that] I’ve never seen anyone like myself in this world. It was really exciting for James to say, “I like you the way you are. I don’t want you to get all this training and try to lose 100 pounds” or all this stuff. He didn’t try to make me fit into his world. He said, “You already fit.” I really appreciated that.Danielle Brooks
It is always great to see that level of support between members on any project, and that will almost certainly be reflected in the series’ final project. Peacemaker’s confidence to bring in characters that challenge the traditional view of what a “superhero” project character can be undoubtedly seems like it will payoff for the series. Still, Brooks also noted the importance of her character to comic books and their stories in other mediums:
I started doing research before getting this part of, like, if I were to ever be asked which [comic book] characters I could play, who do I actually look like? There are a few that look like me, actually, but when they’re reflected on TV or film, they change them completely. Their look does not reflect what you see in the comics. I’ve always tried to manifest doing an action project, because I do feel like a big part of my driving force in this industry is changing the narrative of what leading ladies look like and what plus-size women are capable of doing. Part of that was getting out of my own way. When I had my daughter, I ended up gaining 60 pounds, so I didn’t feel confident. Before, I was doing Spartan races. Like I was out here over 200 pounds, doing Spartan races, and now I’ve gained 60 pounds on top of that, and I just felt like, “Can I do this [show]?” But I knew in the back of my head I could because I had the support of James Gunn, and not someone saying that you need to change any parts of yourself.Danielle Brooks
You can see Brooks bring Leota Adebayo to the screen when the first three episodes of Peacemaker drop on HBO Max on Jan. 13.