Greg Grunberg on Heroes

NBC’s new hour long drama “Heroes” tells the story of people who live around the globe and will eventually become intertwined in each other’s lives when they abruptly realize they are anything but ordinary and discover they possess special abilities and superpowers. In the pilot episode, Las Vegas stripper and single mom Niki Sanders (Ali Larter) learns she has a powerful alter ego, in New York a brilliant artist Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera) realizes he can paint the future, a high school cheerleader Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) finds out she’s indestructible, a male nurse Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) believes he can fly and in Japan, office worker Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) can teleport himself anywhere.

Superhero Hype! visited the “Heroes” set in Los Angeles for a day and caught up with Greg Grunberg, who plays LAPD cop Matt Parkman, who can hear other people’s thoughts. His character isn’t in the first episode and Grunberg joked about why he actually prefers it that way.

“I’m okay with it. I wasn’t in the pilot for ‘Alias’ or ‘Felicity’ and as soon as I was in the pilot for ‘Lost’ I got killed in five minutes.”

Yes, Grunberg is venturing out and working on a project that isn’t his best pal J.J. Abrams’, but he admitted he loved the script because it read like something Abrams wrote and said how his loyal friend couldn’t be happier for him.

“Today when I talked to him, he said, ‘I’m telling you this is going to be huge.’ He’s really excited about this.”

Grunberg is introduced in the second episode during a crime scene.

“He is outside a house and he hears voices that he knows is coming from inside the house,” he explains. “It’s a really gruesome scene. The husband and wife have been killed in a really terrible way. Their bodies are frozen. But, I hear a little girl crying and there’s a little room under the stairs that no one knows about. You open it up and she’s in it. She’s been hiding. So they immediately suspect me.”

For his character, one of the appeals of having this gift is that it’s now a possibility for him to move up the ranks in his career instead of staying a beat cop.

“I know that I have this potential. I know that I can be a detective or a FBI agent, but I’ve been held back because I’m dyslexic, I haven’t been able to pass the test and I don’t want to tell my superiors about it. I’ve been fighting with my wife because she says, ‘why can’t we be happy? I’m happy.’ And I say, ‘no I’m not going to retire a beat cop. I’m not going out that way. I need to do more.’ What’s interesting is they’ve given this character the one ability a cop would need. It’s just so smart what they’re doing.”

The scene we watched Grunberg shoot was at his character’s house in Los Angeles near Silver Lake. The scene starts with his wife Janice, played by Lisa Lackey, standing on the front porch on the phone. Greg comes outside, takes the phone and hangs it up. They go inside and shut the front door.

“I’ve been on hold for 10 minutes,” she says annoyed as they walk inside.

There are a few more lines of dialogue, but since we watched from the monitors without headphones, we couldn’t hear what was being said. But, we do know they were arguing because he didn’t come home the night before.

Grunberg filled us in on another scene that he was going to shoot later that day that helped us understand this one better.

In the show, Matt hasn’t told his wife yet about his newfound powers. But, that isn’t stopping him from testing them out on her by doing and telling her what she wants.

“I use my ability to satisfy my wife. It’s going to be very interesting. My wife read it and she was like ‘What?’ I said, ‘come on if I knew everything. Everything that turned you on it would be incredible.’

The scene that I watched being shot is for episode number five, which is titled “Hiros.” Up until this point, Grunberg’s character hasn’t met the other characters yet.

“We were just talking about this. They kept saying [you would interact] in episode seven. Episode eight. That was all just lies,” he laughed. “You know they’re doing these very, very cool crosses of characters where they are in the same place, but they don’t know each other yet. A couple of characters have already gotten together and have revealed to themselves that they have these abilities. Apparently at some point, we are going to have some interaction. All of us are questioning whether we are using these abilities for good or bad. We don’t know.”

The cast also doesn’t know who will live and who will die. Creator Tim Kring has said that not all of the characters will make it, but Grunberg isn’t too worried.

“Yeah, look it’s the ‘Lost’ scenario. Talk back to one of the grips and you’re going to be gone next year. I’m not a nice guy trust me, but I come off as a nice guy. I called for the coffee truck to keep the crew happy…Ratings my friend. Grunberg equals ratings.”

Besides hanging out on set, we got to walk around the soundstages at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood where we were shown the loft Isaac paints in. Inside was his unmade bed, shelves with blankets, and a desk with paint cans and brushes scattered all over.

On the floor was a huge mural painted of New York with grey mushrooms clouds of smoke with vibrant orange flames outlined in blue. The really cool thing about all of the artwork is that comic book artist Tim Sale actually painted all of the pieces shown.

The “Heroes” pilot debuts tonight on NBC and “Hiros” will air October 23rd.

Source: Heather Newgen