Keep reading for interview extracts from the latest Heroes Magazine from Titan Publishing:
An interview excerpt with Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman) from the new issue of the Official Heroes Magazine:
HEROES MAGAZINE: A few months ago, your childhood pal Jesse Alexander said you used to run a frozen yogurt delivery service. Even back then, were you harboring dreams of becoming a Hollywood actor?
GREG GRUNBERG: I’ve wanted to be an actor my whole life. Growing up, I would do community theater. In elementary school, I was Tom Sawyer [in a school show]. I was always that kid who wanted to either play sports or act, so I’ve always known I had the bug.
I never thought of it as a career until I realized I had to take a chance on this. It was right after college that I decided now was the time. I opened a frozen yogurt store with my Dad on Melrose Avenue [in LA] – I’ve always had the business bug in me. I was sharing an apartment with [Lost creator] J.J. Abrams and I didn’t know whether I was going to write or act. I was actually Joel Silver’s personal driver for a year. I was doing everything I could possibly do, so it was either take acting seriously now, or never.
HEROES MAGAZINE: Were you pleased how they’ve utilized Matt’s detective skills to piece these mysteries together during the series?
GREG GRUNBERG: That was always something I brought up to them; it’s Matt’s nature to be the investigative character. He’s not going to sit and wait for somebody else. That’s what a cop does; he just powers through to get these answers. It became more than just being able to dig into someone’s mind to get the answers. It’s a personal thing for Matt. To give you an example, we shot two endings to season two. One was where Matt is standing at the podium with Nathan when he gets sick from getting the virus, and then there was the assassination. When we did the assassination, we didn’t know what was going to happen to the show. During the writers’ strike and hiatus, I remember having conversations with [Heroes creator] Tim Kring. Then [former writer] Jesse Alexander called and said, “We have some great stuff for you.” Those are the greatest calls because they get excited when they write. When I got that call, I said to Jesse, Tim, and [former Heroes writer] Jeph Loeb, “Let’s make sure this is consistent. If there is an assassination, I’m a cop! I’m going to start my hunt at that moment. I’m not going to let whatever security is there chase after this guy. Someone in this room is the shooter and there are only about 50 people there. They are mostly reporters so if I see someone suspicious, I’m going after them!” That’s the way we picked it up, which was awesome!
HEROES MAGAZINE: In Fugitives all the heroes have to combine forces to survive The Hunter. How did Matt fit in with that?
GREG GRUNBERG: Without question, the hunters have become the hunted. The Hunter is ultimately following orders but like all of us, he is letting the power get the best of him and can’t control his vengeance on all of us. The Hunter is vulnerable and we just have to find out what his weakness is.
We shot an amazing scene when The Hunter is leading a band of agents and I use my power to turn The Hunter on his own men. It’s another one of those great mind-reading moments. Just when I think they’ve dried up the well, they come up with something so cool. It goes back to me being able to read the mind of Ted Sprague’s wife, who was in a coma in a hospital. That stuff is brilliant. I really liked being inside Angela Petrelli’s head recently. It was so creepy. The director of that episode had a very clear vision of what it should look like – it was very spooky, and something we hadn’t done on the show.
An interview excerpt with Heroes casting director, Natalie Hart from the new issue of the Official Heroes Magazine:
HEROES MAGAZINE: Is it more daunting when you have so many roles to fill, like on Heroes, as opposed to a show that only has two leads?
NATALIE HART: Absolutely, for a lot of reasons. There are a lot of people who need to agree on the same thing. On a show like ours, we have huge recurring characters. It’s not just Tim, Dennis [Hammer, executive producer], and the writers; it’s also the studio and network that get involved in a lot of the guest-casting, because it’s more than one episode. Nine times out of 10, the writers will give us a heads-up on what we should be looking for. Because we knew Tim so well we have a lot of freedom, so we’re able to take chances with him. One example being Zach Quinto; the character was originally much older but we were really big fans of him as an actor and thought he would do a really good job.
HEROES MAGAZINE: Who was the first actor you cast for the pilot?
NATALIE HART: It wasn’t Hayden [Panettiere, who plays Claire], but she was in the first group along with Sendhil and Masi [Oka, who plays Hiro]. Masi might have been the first one because we knew it was a little bit limited. By limited I mean we needed someone who could be endearing, a good actor, and needed to fluently speak Japanese. It’s not like you have a large talent pool, like when you are looking for a handsome 30-year-old – there are a ton of those guys in LA. When you have something as specific as Hiro, you are going to show producers 15 to 20 people, tops. We cast Tawny Cypress [who played Simone], Ali Larter, Sendhil, Masi, and Hayden in the first group. I think Masi stood out to me because it was so specific. We had Tawny and Ali come in for the same role, but Ali seemed the way to go with the character of Niki. However, we fell so in love with Tawny that Tim changed the character a little bit to fit her.
HEROES MAGAZINE: A lot of shows cast well-known or cult actors to surprise viewers. How important is that on Heroes?
NATALIE HART: We try not to do it. Malcolm McDowell [who played Linderman] was our first bit of stunt casting. We wanted a good pay-off for the audience and Malcolm is a bit of a cult figure, so he would be a good match for the show. We generally don’t go after the big stunts, though.
HEROES MAGAZINE: How often do you skip the audition process and approach a certain actor you already had in mind?
NATALIE HART: It does happen, but it happens more on other shows than Heroes. Unfortunately, people think of an actor portraying one role and then that’s how they always see them. In showing Tim and the writers that this person might be great, their body of work can be the same kind of guy over and over. You might not see that the actor can bring something else to it from their existing footage. We tend not to make offers. Although Christopher Eccleston was an exception. He was coming into the country, was somebody we were really excited about, and he had a very diverse reel. He was terrific and I think if he wasn’t busy making feature films, we would still use him more.
Read the full interview in issue 9 of The Official Heroes Magazine!
On-sale in the US 17 March
On-Sale in the UK 2 April
For more information and to subscribe visit:
US – http://www.titanmagazines.com/heroes
UK – http://www.titanmagazines.co.uk/heroes