Dascha Polanco talks 'Samaritan' with Sylvester Stallone – mySA

Javon “Wanna” Walton (left) as Sam Cleary and Dascha Polanco (right) as Tiffany Cleary in SAMARITAN, directed by Julius Avery, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.
It’s safe to say that Marvel and DC have the superhero film and TV market monopolized these days. Just this year, countless new projects have hit the big and small screens, including Moon Knight, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Before 2022 is over, audiences will get a handful more.
While a non-Marvel or DC property will not likely elbow the two biggest players from their pedestal anytime soon, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little room for others to play in the superhero genre. Series like The Boys and The Umbrella Academy are resonating with audiences. Now, fanboys and fangirls will meet Samaritan, an aged albeit still powerful superhero played by Oscar-nominated actor Sylvester Stallone (Rocky, Creed).
Samaritan, which premieres exclusively on Prime Video on Friday, August 26, tells the story of a superhero thought to be dead at the hands of his rival 25 years prior, but is living as a recluse inside an apartment building in Granite City. When a young boy named Sam (Javon Walton) discovers his secret, Samaritan comes out of retirement where a new danger awaits. Dominican American actress Dascha Polanco (In the Heights, Orange Is the New Black) plays Sam’s mother Tiffany, who will do anything to protect her son from the perilous situation he has stumbled upon.
“I’ve always wanted to do an action film,” Polanco, 39, told MySA during a recent interview. “It’s not your typical superhero movie. I thought it was a great script. It’s not predictable. I think it’s relatable for everyone.”
Dascha Polanco (left) as Tiffany Cleary and Sylvester Stallone (right) as Joe Smith in SAMARITAN, directed by Julius Avery, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Daniel McFadden / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.
What was most relatable for Polanco was the dynamic she and Walton shared playing mother and son. Polanco pulled inspiration for her character from her own experience as a mother. She has a daughter in her early 20s and a teenage son who she raised on her own. Samaritan might have superhuman powers, but viewers wouldn’t be wrong to think of Tiffany as the real superhero of the film.
“There are elements of heroism within all [the characters],” she said. “In portraying Tiffany, I saw a lot of resiliency and sacrifice in her. I knew that audiences would be able to change the perspective as to what we consider a hero.”
While the idea of a cinematic hero has evolved, it wasn’t lost on Polanco that she was working on Samaritan with Stallone, who is considered by many as one of Hollywood’s most iconic action hero stars of the last half century. Polanco said she’s been a fan of all Stallone’s movies, “from Cobra to Rambo to Over the Top.” It was the 1985 sequel Rocky IV, however, that impacted her the most.
“It was one of the first films that made me cry,” Polanco said. “When [Rocky] wins and he tells his son, ‘I love you!’ – as a little girl, I was like, ‘I wanna be an actress!’”
Polanco was able to tell Stallone how she felt about him during production. “I was just honest with him and said, ‘I really respect you as an actor. I think you’re amazing. You’ve meant so much to me.’ He was so kind. He allowed me to express myself. That was all I needed.”
When Samaritan debuts this week, Polanco will not only have a film streaming, but she will also have her animated movie, DC League of Super-Pets, still playing at theaters. We joked with her that maybe audiences will get too much of a good thing. “You see that bar and you got to keep on pushing,” she said. “There’s never enough of Dascha Polanco.”

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