On TV, he’s Matt Parkman from NBC’s Heroes. In film, he provided the voice of Captain Kirk’s stepfather in Star Trek. On stage, he’s part of the TV actor musical super group Band from TV. On your iPhone, he’s a creator of the Yowza application. In video games, his voice will be heard for the upcoming Halo: Reach.
All these titles, and many more, describe actor Greg Grunberg, a true master of all media platforms. I recently spoke to Greg about an upcoming performance of Band from TV in California, the future of Heroes, his musical influences, and his devotion to charity and social media.
Listen to the full interview below:
While there’s still no word on whether NBC will bring back Heroes for another season, Grunberg is very confident that it will return. Part of that confidence comes from the devotion of the show’s fans. “Heroes, fortunately, has such a great fan base all over the world,” Grunberg said. “It’s the number 1 most illegally downloaded show on TV.”
He also thinks that the “Leno disaster” will mean NBC has a greater need to keep existing shows around. Even if it doesn’t return for a full season, Grunberg is confident that Heroes will get a fitting ending. “Hopefully we’ll get a full season. If we don’t, maybe 13 is kind of what I’m hoping for so that there’s an endgame the way Lost had an endgame.”
Speaking of Lost‘s endgame, Grunberg returned to the series to provide a voiceover as the pilot of Oceanic 815 at the start of the final season, and keeping that secret wasn’t easy. “It’s really tough, especially since I have such a big mouth. I love interacting with the fans. J.J. [Abrams] and Damon [Lindelof] and these guys, they’re like, ‘Greg, shut your mouth. Don’t say anything.'”
However, it all worked out, because Grunberg also realized that giving out little hints about what he was up to helped increase interest, so he was encouraged to use his social media savvy to get fans excited, just like what he did by posting photos of himself doing voiceover work for the upcoming video game Halo: Reach.
Lost fans may also want to read into Grunberg’s answer, or lack of one, when asked whether his character would return this season. “That’s a very good question” Grunberg said stoically before letting out a big laugh, leaving his answer at that.
Long-time fans know that Grunberg’s Lost connection comes by way of his lifelong friendship with creator J.J. Abrams, who’s developing a new show called Undercover for NBC. While Grunberg isn’t in the pilot, his brother Brad is, and Grunberg had nothing but raves for the potential new series. “I think that show will make it to air and do really well. They have some great actors in it, the script was awesome, and of course J.J.’s just such a talented producer/writer/director.”
But for right now, without TV shows to work on, Grunberg is busy with his music. He’s the founder and drummer of Band from TV, a rock band featuring TV stars Hugh Laurie and Jesse Spencer from House, Desperate Housewives‘ James Denton and former Bachelor Bob Guiney.
As is the case with everything he does, Band from TV is Grunberg’s way of fusing various passions, including charity. The stars all donate the money the band raises to charity, raising over $2 million since it was first created. The next show in Costa Mesa, California is for the opening of a Loehmann’s store, which they booked because Grunberg also has an iPhone app called Yowza which offers coupons to various stores, including Loehmann’s, so Band from TV will perform thanks to a charitable donation from the store.
The performance is the perfect example of everything that Greg Grunberg does. He starts a band with other TV actors, books gigs thanks to his iPhone app, and donates the proceeds to charity for epilepsy.
“That is exactly the kind of synergy that I love,” Grunberg said, “Putting these different areas of my life together and benefiting all these charities.”
For more information on Band from TV, visit: www.bandfromtv.org
(Image courtesy of NBC)