The Heroes Speak!

NBC’s “Heroes” has only been on the air one season, but the cast of the superhero drama is already so popular that creator Tim Kring, accompanied by the majority of the season one cast members, held a press conference at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood to announce plans for a world tour in celebration of the show’s success. During the press conference, they also talked about how important Comic-Con is to them, season two, as well as the spinoff “Heroes: Origins.” Hype! was on hand to listen to Kring excitedly broadcast the news.

Tim Kring: Hello everyone, I’m Tim Kring. I’m the creator and executive producer of “Heroes.” We’re here with the cast of the first season that we’re here to talk about. I wanted to give a sort of overview about what we’re doing here today. About six months ago, a few of the cast members and I, along with Dennis Hammer and Jeph Loeb, who are two of the producing partners on the show, were invited to the NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) Convention in Las Vegas. There, we met with literally dozens and dozens of buyers from territories all over the world, foreign buyers. To be really honest, we didn’t really know what we were supposed to be doing there and we didn’t really have an agenda. We were just kind of happy to be asked to do something. We don’t leave the building here much. But, the second that we got there, it became really clear that the fact that we just showed up was a big deal to these people. They were really excited about the show. You have to understand, this was before the award season had started and so we really hadn’t gotten out much. This kind of reaction was really new and very surreal to us. It was also the first time that it started to sink in that the message of the show was going to have a unique connection to people all over the world. Everyone of these buyers asked us the same question. They all wanted to know when we could come and visit them. So we smiled and tap danced and made small talk and shook hands a lot, but we didn’t quite know what to tell them. But, all the while, this small spark started to form in our minds and on the plane ride home, Dennis Hammer and I hatched this crazy idea of doing a “Heroes” world tour. I assumed that we would be laughed out of the building when we approached NBC with this somewhat audacious idea. But, Dennis Hammer felt otherwise and pushed on. Boy was he right and I was certainly wrong because NBC embraced it immediately. Now, after several months of planning and tireless efforts from dozens and dozens of people at NBC and Universal Media Centers at GE, navigating their way through complicated logistics involving six different countries as many languages and multiply times zones, it gives us great pleasure to announce this crazy idea of ours that has now become a reality. The central message of “Heroes” from the very beginning has been one of hope. The idea that people from all around the world could come together to do great things and in the process, make the world smaller and more interconnected. This tour is the embodiment of those ideas. The timing really couldn’t have been better. The show has been licensed now in nearly 150 territories around the world. Wherever it’s launched, it’s met with tremendous success, typically premiering with record breaking ratings. Clearly “Heroes” has struck a cord with people around the world and the launch continues with many countries rolling out the show in the next couple of months. So we are thrilled and eager to visit these fans and to celebrate the show’s success as well as to spread the word of the release of the DVD and the HD DVD. The release of the first season, the box set. And that’s why we were proud to announce our continued partnership with Nissan. This began with the series premiere last fall when they were our sole sponsor for the opening episode. Now, Nissan continues this relationship with us, co-sponsoring the world tour with NBC and utilizing “Heroes” as a central hub of a multi prong marketing campaign starting with the premiere of the second season at the end of September. The “Heroes” DVD and HD DVD will hit the stores on August 28th for the launch of the first season box set. That same week, cast members from the show will embark on the “Heroes” world tour. With personal appearances in at least seven cities in seven different countries. That’s so far. We’re still thinking about talking about destinations to come when we can work out the logistics. The cities that I can tell you right now are Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Munich, Paris, London and New York City. Along the way,, the online destination for the fans who want to follow our adventures and our travels, the “Heroes” world tour website on will include photos and video from each of the international locations as well as blogs and personal photos from the actors in each city. It is also worth telling you right here that here at “Heroes” we try to be as environmentally conscious as possible so the plans are now underway to make the tour as green as possible as well. As you can see, we are excited about this.

Q: Have you thought about shooting an episode in any of the cities you’ll be visiting?

Kring: We have discussed that, but in reality, we wanted to just focus on the release of the show and the first season and the role out of these various territories.

Q: There are cast members here that may not be in the second season so will they still be involved in the world tour?

Kring: Yes, it’s about the first season. The world tour is representing the first season of the show both with the DVD and the release in the foreign markets.

Q: What exactly will you be doing on the world your?

Kring: The itineraries are sort of being formed right now, but it’s a lot of press and press events, meeting with the various channels that are showing the show and press in these countries and various fan events as well.

Q: For the actors, is there somewhere specifically you want to go?

Hayden Panettiere: Well I think we all know who wants to go to Tokyo.

Milo Ventimiglia: I’ve kind of made it known that I speak Australian, but we’re not going there.

Panettiere: I’m happy to be a part of it and I’ll go wherever they send me. Wherever the wind takes me.

Q: So everybody isn’t going everywhere?

Kring: Yes, we’re going to be dividing the cast and the tour will last one week. In order to go to these various countries, we’re going to divide sort of strategically and spread out so as a result, it’s a fairly whirlwind tour. If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium type of thing.

Q: How is season two coming along so far? Is it evolving as you expected?

Kring: Well it always evolves. That’s just the nature of this kind of story telling. We’re well into the middle of the season now.

Q: Has anyone done anything like this before?

Greg Grunberg: The Brady Bunch went to the Grand Canyon. So this is pretty cool for us. Some of us traveled actually this summer. I took my wife to Paris and it hasn’t premiered on TV in Paris yet, but people were stopping me left and right, literally all over the place because they’re watching it on the Internet. That’s how they’re excited they are. So when we go, I think it’s going to be like Comic-Con I think all over the world. At Comic-Con we got this tremendous reaction so it’s going to be really exciting I think.

Q: Speaking of Comic-Con, can you tell us what you have planned?

Kring: Comic-Con for us has got a very soft spot in our hearts because last year we premiered there. We launched our sort of press of the show. We went there with basically very little to show. We had a pilot and some high hopes. They embraced us and took to the Internet and really helped launch the show so this year we’re going back with kind of a big thank you. We’re going to try to bring everybody involved with the show, the entire cast and all of us writers and producers. We’re going to be doing a much bigger venue and a bigger room with some behind the scenes and some clips and some announcements that we’re saving just for them.

Q: Have you started shooting season two?

Kring: Yeah, we started production two days ago.

Q: Will there be any footage at Comic-Con like a little thank you for being so supportive?

Kring: We’ll see what we can put together between now and then. It could still be wet by then.

Panettiere: There’s also a Comic-Con in London and I think some of us will be there for that as well.

Grunberg: Also at Comic-Con you showed the 73 minute version of the pilot that’s a huge plus on the DVD.

Kring: Comic-Con was the only place that the uncut version of the pilot was aired. But, now with the release of the DVD and the HD DVD, fans will get to see it.

Q: How are you going to make this tour green?

Kring: You know we are talking about that. Obviously the idea is to counterbalance the carbon footprint of various activities we can do here as well.

Q: Have you thought of what that is yet?

Kring: I’m kind of not the one to talk about it. I don’t have all of the details, but this is what I’m aware of so far.

Q: Can you talk a little about “Heroes: Origins,” the series you’re working on to sort of fill the gap with the regular series? Have you started scripting it yet?

Kring: No, not yet. We are now in the process of talking about who is going to be writing and directing them.

Q: Would it be fair to describe the show as an anthology series?

Kring: Yes. Right now that’s the idea. It will not be a continuing cast or storyline.

Q: Do you see a lot of the current cast members being in it?

Kring: Right now, no. This cast has 24 episodes which is a giant mountain of work to do already. The idea is that these are the stories of other people. The show has deposited this idea that this is happening all over the world and so this is an opportunity for us to tell some stories about some of these other people out there.

Q: Do you think all six episodes will run in one six week block between a break in the regular series?

Kring: Right now that’s the idea, yes.

Q: Can you tell us about any of the new characters we might meet?

Kring: I don’t know if that’s something I’m supposed to be talking about or not. There are a couple of new characters that will fold in and a couple of them have already been announced in the press.

Q: You have a blond hair, blue eyed guy (David Anders) playing a Samurai war lord. Can you address that?

Kring: Like with everything on “Heroes,” nothing is quite what it seems to be. That becomes a huge part of the story.

Q: Can you talk about how long Hiro will remain in the past?

Kring: For a hand full of episodes. That’s it.

Q: What’s it like to be back to work?

Panettiere: Amazing. I can now work more than 10 ½ hours.

Jack Coleman: It’s not that great for the rest of us.

Panettiere: No one gets off the hook this season.

Kring: We’ve had two days of production and it was the storyline that focused on Hayden’s character.

Grunberg: I actually go back to work today so if this is any indication of what this year is going to be like, it’s pretty cool.

Q: This question is for Jack Coleman. Are your scripts now saying Noah or is it still HRG?

Coleman: Am I allowed to answer that? My name is Jack Coleman and apparently this question is for Jack Coleman. The scripts still say HRG which I’m perfectly happy with because I’ve grown quite fond of the acronym.

Q: Are Adrian and Milo coming back?

Adrian Pasdar: I’m Adrian Pasdar and I play Nathan Petrelli. I played Nathan Petrelli. No, I think Tim said so clearly before that on this show, anything can happen. I’m very happy to be up here today, but we’re just going to have to wait and see.

Q: Theoretically, if the Petrelli brothers were to return this season, would they look like this as opposed to Milo having bangs and Adrian being clean shaven?

Pasdar: I shaved this morning. Nobody tells me anything.

Q: How surprised were you by the way the season finale ended?

Pasdar: How do you mean surprised?

Q: There was some idea that there would be a detonation, but I don’t think people thought it would end with the Petrelli brothers flying away and then that’s when the explosion happens. And then Hiro was running from feudal Japanese warriors.

Grunberg: That was the first three minutes of season two. And I took four to the chest. Thanks for remembering. Hello! I start shooting today, but I could be laying in a hospital bed or a coffin. Who knows?

Q: What other kinds of extras will be on the DVD?

Kring: There’s a whole bunch of extras obviously designed for this thing. One of the things that we’re really excited about though is the HD DVD which allows viewers to connect to the Internet through their DVD player. We also ran commentaries all year long on all of these episodes. We have oodles of behind the scenes stuff. Does anybody else know?

Grunberg: Deleted scenes.

Kring: Oh yeah, that’s right. There’s like 50 deleted scenes.

Q: Does every episode give commentary?

Kring: I think the commentary actually starts at about nine episodes.

Q: You say the connection to the fans is the reason for this tour, so for the actors can you say what people tell you they are connecting to?

Pasdar: I just got back from Monte Carlo. Masi Oka and I were there last week and the fans were universal in their appreciation I think for the sense that’s what the show is about. It’s about hope and about love. That communicates across any linguistic boundaries. The show is downloaded illegally everywhere. Every journalist that I ran into had seen the show. It was bizarre. They had all seen it illegally. So I think the themes that Tim had brought up earlier were the ones that ran universally through every journalist’s head.

Masi Oka: Yeah.

Pasdar: Whenever I’m right, that’s what Masi says.

Zachary Quinto: In April, we went to Paris. There was a festival there called the Jules Verne Festival. They honored the show with an Adventure Spirit Award and we showed up. It was the same thing. The show hadn’t aired in Paris and when we showed up to the event where the festival was honoring the show, there were 3,000 people lined up outside waiting to get in. I don’t know if we even need to talk about with our fans what the themes are because they automatically just connect and sort of respond to it in an overwhelmingly positive way.

Kring: Let me just clarify one thing by “Origins.” The idea of when we’re going to air. As of now, the idea with “Origins” is that “Heroes” will run as continuously as much as we can throughout the season. Obviously there are a couple of tiny breaks along the way. When “Heroes” ends in April, “Origins” would begin.

Q: So you’re going to do the season finale and then do Origins?

Kring: Yes.

Q: It won’t be in sweeps?

Kring: It will not be in sweeps, no.

Source: Heather Newgen