One of this spring’s most anticipated shows in the DC Universe’s Stargirl. Neil Jackson stars as the villain Jordan Mahkent AKA Icicle.
“It’s about a girl, Courtney Whitmore, who’s life is upended from Los Angeles to this middle of nowhere town in Central America. She doesn’t want to move there but she’s moving there to start a new life for her mom and her stepfather. And she feels very much like a fish out of water. She’s in the new high school, she doesn’t seem to fit in, she’s trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be,” said Jackson. Courtney then finds a staff in a box with a star and when she touches it, it glows. “She finds that she can do incredible things when she’s in the presence of the staff and slowly she uncovers that she believes her father was this guy called Starman, and therefore as his daughter, that’s why the staff responds to her and she’s Stargirl.”
Jackson plays Jordan Mahkent, a villain, who is a very altruistic philanthropist. He also has an alter ego named Icicle who has the power of cryokinesis. He can manipulate, harness, and create ice-based substances.
“He, in his own mind, believes that he’s the hero of the piece. His wife died of cancer and he found out that the reason that she contracted cancer was that she was working in a school that was built on top of a toxic waste dump from a large Pharma Company, and they uncovered that they covered up the fact that they’ve dumped a lot of toxic waste which led to her getting cancer,” said Jackson. “And so he made it his personal mission from that point on, to make sure that nobody would ever suffer the same fate again. And he wanted to make sure that everybody is made accountable for their actions in society… It just so happens that, the way he goes about it isn’t necessarily noble, in many people’s eyes.”
Jackson and writer/creator Geoff Johns compare Jordan to Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although the intentions are there, the execution is questionable. “As a result of chronic overpopulation. and with one click, he (Thanos) can indiscriminately wipe out 50 percent, which would mean that the other 50 percent has a better chance at life. And so even though it’s arguably a heinous act he’s doing for egalitarian reasons, he believes that he has the strength necessary. So in a very similar way, that’s what Jordan Mahkent AKA Icicle is believing in the DC Universe, that he is making the very hard choice to make sure that ultimately society flourishes.
Jordan’s mission statement is to improve society and make people feel more connected to their community while making sure that no one is exploited like the way this Big Pharma Company exploited his family.
“I love making audiences conflicted because nobody is a villain in their own eyes, everybody who has ever done a villainous act, I believe, has their own intrinsic reasons that they think are noble or just or righteous. And if you can make the audience understand that, hopefully, they empathize with the character’s motivations, then they’re going to be conflicted, because of course, they want to support the hero and the hero’s quest. But if they’re looking at the villain and realizing that the villain isn’t all evil, then they’ll become conflicted and hopefully, then they’ll want to root for the “villain” to succeed,” said Jackson. “And that’s what Geoff (Johns) has done so brilliantly with this story but specifically with the character I get to play, Jordan, because all of his motivations are completely understandable… everybody he’s explained them to goes ‘Yeah, I kind of get that.’ So that’s what made him so fun to play is that he’s not the villain. He just so happens to be doing something that other people don’t have the ability to understand.”
Jackson is very excited for viewers to see this show.
Stargirl premieres May 18 on the DC Universe streaming site. You can also catch Jackson in Amazon’s Absentia as well as the upcoming The King’s Man prequel film, set to hit theaters September 18.