01x92 - More Of Who You Are

Hey, you heard of modafinil?

Mm-hm.

Neuroenhancers?

Well, it's like that. Just better.

A lot better.

Hill: These neurotrophic drugs, as they're called, they exist, not as strong in the form of NZT, but our show, Limitless, is kind of a glimpse into the future.

It's nice to imagine going back to the way things were before.

But you can't. Neither of us can.

We all sort of have this sad reality where we all know we're capable of so much more and there's this frustration where we wanna be able to access these parts of our brain.

Hangover's rough, and the trip can be intense.

Usually you use about 10% of your brain...

Yeah, that's a myth, actually, that whole 10% thing.

But who's to say?

We had a neurologist come in and talk to us very early on and he said, "That's completely not true that you use 10% of your brain."

"You use different parts of your brain for different things all the time."

"It annoys me more as a neurologist to hear that myth than anything."

Woman: Sir? Are you OK?

Matthew: There's a downside to any drug.

Anything that is making your body do something it wouldn't naturally do, there's always going to be a flipside to it.

...this enormous thing by tomorrow, but maybe I can help.

[HIGH-PITCHED BLEEP]

Brian?

If Brian doesn't get his booster shot in time, what's it like for that character to experience these escalating and really quite frightening side effects?

The writer Jenna Richman and I explored the idea in that that it worked in three stages.

The first stage was paranoia. The second stage was hallucination.

And then the third stage, which he's only just reaching when he's finally rescued by Eddie Morra, is outright psychosis.

So we saw him face the choice of subverting his partner Rebecca's career or facing the side effects.

He made the choice to face the side effects.

Brian.

Shauna.

Shauna was interesting because she was the ex-girlfriend, the one who got away.

He finds her again and she's much more attracted to him again now that he is NZT-enabled.

I'm wondering, does she like me or does she like me on the drug?

It's the first place where you really start to see him push against the NZT persona.

They're the same guy.

Absolutely not. Not true.

What is the difference between Brian Finch on the pill and Brian Finch off the pill?

It's Rebecca who first advances the notion that Brian on NZT is just a crystallization of Brian without the drug.

Sure, you can do more when you're on the pill, but, either way, it's your character.

What is really special about him is he's the kind of person where it's like, well, if you had the Midas touch, if you had this power where you could accomplish everything, his life wouldn't look that much different.

He cares about the people in his life. He's a happy person.

Why are you trying so hard to hold on to the person you were before NZT?

What's the fundamental difference between these two characters?

That scene was born out of that.

That's who I am.

Well, it doesn't have to be.

We've seen Eddie Morra operate on kind of this post-human level of NZT.

He wants to create a world that he envisions and knows that if he's gonna make an omelet, he's gonna break some eggs.

And they might be morally reprehensible things that he does, but it doesn't matter to him because he's above morality.

You're above the kind of concerns that you're letting weigh you down.

Put them down, walk away.

You'll feel so much lighter.

There's always a morality question when it comes to any use of technology or drug or a weapon.

Are you using it to actually protect and serve or are you using it for greed and power?

We definitely explored the theme of NZT as a kind of moral equestrian fence that you could either jump over successfully or trip up on.

And really what I think is most unique about Brian is how in spite of his seemingly soft exterior, he cleared that hurdle every time.

No, no, no.

Brian, it's OK. It's over.

I'm not gonna frame Rebecca.

I know.

For the most part, when people go on NZT, the person who they already were is really magnified, but the things that would keep them in line start to fall away.

If Brian doesn't have his own internal moral compass, it's not gonna be given to him.

In fact, it would be harder to develop it after having the pill.

The thing about the family is they are a kind of moral compass for Brian, and in that way for the show, about how things stray.

And there's something very solid about this family and an essential kind of responsible goodness.

You grew up surrounded by love and support, which suggests a strong moral framework.

Why do you care if I have a strong moral framework?

You could remain who you were on NZT, but it would be an effort, because it's hard not to leave behind the more limited way of being yourself.

This drug, I think it's making me a better person.


Every different character you meet has their own moral compass pointed in a slightly different direction.

So someone like Piper, who is I think still a good person but obviously is very willing to kill for what she believes in, where Brian doesn't seem to be.

And I care because I know how Morra works.

He has a way of corrupting good people.

You're one of them... same way I was.

With knowledge comes anxiety and pressure and responsibility, and I think that's what Piper feels.

She's incredibly anxious and incredibly weighed down by this responsibility of what this information she's been privy to, what it means and what the right thing to do with it is.

With a lot of the characters who took NZT, they would succumb to thinking in the bigger picture at the expense of small bits of morality that arguably are what make you who you are.

Let me be very clear. I'm not saying Nick should have killed Russ.

But since he did, from a macro perspective, the best thing we can do is to pin the theft on Russ.

Brian's ability to effortlessly remain Brian while he's on NZT is part of what makes him really unique and such an asset.

Rebecca takes NZT.

That's actually an episode that we wrote and shot through Rebecca's perspective.

First time's always a little trippy.

You said Sands killed my father. Tell me everything.

And so it was a chance for Jennifer Carpenter to flex muscles that she hadn't had the chance to flex before and do amazing work in it.

I don't feel the pain. The NZT's taking care of that.

You're gonna sew me up and we're gonna find Hawks.

There's a dead guy lying in a field over there.

Yeah. We'll call it in when we can. I can still use my right hand.

Tag me in.

Dope.

We had several other people taking NZT who were not Brian and we watched them very quickly just do what they wanna do without really giving a lot of thought to what it means.

So what we did with that was try to kind of counterpoint that with Brian always kind of keeping a moral register within himself.

Just cos you're on NZT, you can't see what you're not looking for.

Your immunity.

You gave up Sands. You came clean about Morra. Y...

You sacrificed your connection to him, to the immunity shot.

You sacrificed all of that for me?

As I said.

He is the person that you want on NZT because he still retains a moral conscience while he's on the drug as well as when he's off.

If I took NZT, like personally?

Oh, wow. Um...

It's amazing I've never thought of that question.

It would be music for me, if I had NZT, just to be able to just soak it all up.

All the things I've ever heard I could just play.

That would be amazing.

If I were to take it, I would certainly learn all of the languages that I've bought in Rosetta Stone and might actually open them.

Figure out a way to infallibly get ten good hours of sleep a night, which never, ever happened in my life ever.

If someone just would record me like playing the piano brilliantly for the time, you know.

First thing I would do is get a cure for cancer.

There's such a pressure to do so many great things. You know what I mean?

I think the show has that same pressure, where people watching at home are like, "Why doesn't he do this, this and this?"

We're like, "I don't know. You make a show about you, then, guy."

Or girl.