Hulu's Future Man may feature the raunchy, testosterone-driven humor that's long informed the work of executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, but at its center is a badass female warrior: Tiger, a time-traveling soldier from 2162. Tasked with the job of keeping an unwitting recruit and a destructive maniac on track, she's arguably the driving force of the series, but behind all her electric purple hair, you might not recognize that the actor who plays Tiger on Future Man is Eliza Coupe.
If you're a comedy fan, you've undoubtedly seen Coupe before. Across her decade-plus career, she's landed roles in Scrubs, Benched, House of Lies, and The Mindy Project, among others, though she's perhaps best known for her turn as Jane Kerkovich on the short-lived but beloved Happy Endings. She's also dabbled in drama, nabbing parts in both ABC thriller Quantico and fellow Hulu series Casual. She most recently appeared in James Franco's The Disaster Artist, about the making of Tommy Wiseau's 2003 cult film, The Room.
In Future Man, her character is described by Hulu as "tough, driven, and extremely intense." She's been hardened by the nightmarish dystopia she's grown up in, where survival is a constant struggle, and as she embarks on a mission to save the world from an imminent super-race invasion, she begins to wonder if fighting for humanity has to mean giving up her own chance at happiness. It was Tiger's grit that initially drew Coupe to the role, but her complexity, her capacity to evolve, that kept her engaged. "We know what she went through. She’s not just some tough-looking girl in a really hot outfit. That would never be appealing to me,” Coupe told the New York Daily News in a recent interview. She continued:
“Tiger has an authentic toughness ... [and] because we can see what made her so cold, there’s room for her to grow and change. By the middle of the season, we see that with her actions and her beliefs."
Alongside Coupe, Future Man stars Derek Wilson as Tiger's brusque, barbaric partner, Wolf, as well as The Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson as Josh Futturman, an avid gamer who lives at home and works as a janitor. Wanting more for himself but feeling trapped by circumstance, Josh breaks the monotony of his everyday life by playing The Biotic Wars, a famously un-winnable video game.
Eventually, Josh becomes the first and only person to beat Biotic, and to his astonishment, its characters — Tiger and Wolf — then suddenly appear in his bedroom to inform him that everything in the game is real, and it's actually a recruitment tool sent back in time to find the hero capable of saving humanity. Apparently, that's Josh, and the only way to prevent the destruction of civilization is to prevent the research facility where he works from developing a herpes medication. He has two options: kill its creator, or go back to the '80s and prevent him from getting the STI in the first place. Josh chooses the latter, and Tiger must try in vain to train him to carry out their mission, all the while keeping Wolf in line. It's a lot for one woman, but Tiger is up to the task.
If the premise sounds absurd, it should. Future Man is half R-rated comedy, half high-stakes action — a hybrid that simultaneously pokes fun at superhero epics and plays into them. And based on Coupe's filmography, it's right up her alley, the kind of show that requires guts and personality. See her story unfold when Future Man premieres in full on Tuesday, Nov. 14.