You may remember him as Sean on Felicity or Weiss on Alias or his role on any other show created by his childhood friend J.J. Abrams, but now Greg Grunberg is best known as Officer Matt Parkman, the telepathic cop on NBC’s Heroes. Though some fans have been down on Heroes this season, the most recent episode changed a lot of minds, and Grunberg couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come.
BuddyTV spoke to Greg Grunberg about everything related to Heroes and some things that aren’t. He talked about the possible impact of the writers’ strike and what viewers can hope to see in the immediate future, revealing when the Big Bad Biohazard storyline will be resolved. Grunberg also spoke about reuniting with his Felicity father Alan Blumenfeld (now playing Parkman’s father) and about how awesome Alias co-star David Anders is. And for Lost fans, Grunberg clued us in to the fate of the character he played, the pilot of Oceanic flight 815. Continue reading for the full transcript and audio file of the interview.
Hi this is John from BuddyTV and I’m talking to Greg Grunberg, one of the stars from NBC’s Heroes. Hi, Greg!
How are ya?
I’m doing great. First off, I just want to ask, the writers’ strike is fresh in everyone’s minds. I’m wondering, how is that affecting Heroes and the production?
Well, it’s interesting, we got a really early jump on the season, the writers did at least, we were way ahead which is a really good thing for awhile. But as you know in TV, as soon as the episodes start airing, it quickly catches up to you. We had a couple extra scripts but now we’re pretty much caught up and I hope this thing gets resolved very quickly because we all want to get back to work. We’re still shooting, but we have another couple weeks and then we go down because the writers don’t have any finished. You know, they have, basically a break-down and some outlines of the next few scripts, but nothing complete enough for us to keep shooting. It’s frustrating because we’ve been on such a roll this year, especially right now with all the stories, you know. It’s a shame, I hope it gets resolved quickly.
Yeah. So what’s the last episode for which the script is officially fully done?
I believe it’s going to be 13.
Yeah, I believe so. But that could change. Things happen, you know, it could be 12, it could be 13. It depends. We’re in the middle of, just finished episode 11, so we’re just about to start episode 12.
And is that the end of…because season 2 was supposed to be divided into two chapters, I believe. Is that the end of the second chapter?
The second one ends with episode 11.
So you’re going to film the first couple and with the writers strike, would you air the first couple episodes of the new chapter, or would those be held off? Do you know?
I don’t know, that’s a good question. It depends on a million things, with the network, and how they want to do it. We’re lucky, Tim Kring and Dennis [Hammer] and Allan [Arkush], they were really smart in breaking this up into volumes, for a couple reasons, but this plays into it in a good way because we get to wrap up stories and sort of have two season finales and two season premieres every season. So, if people aren’t happy with what they’ve been seeing, story-wise or character-wise, it ends on episode 11 and there’s a whole new set of story points and exciting things that are introduced, to carry us through the second half of the season, so for various reasons, I think it’s a good thing. It also plays into the comic book element of our show, breaking it into volumes like that.
Definitely. So by episode 11, the biohazard in the future, that’s all going to be resolved by episode 11? Or is that going to carry over into the next chapter?
That’s all resolved. And the biohazard stuff is even resolved before that. A couple episodes before, which will actually be next week or the week after. Yeah, because that was episode eight that aired last night.
No, that was episode seven.
Oh, that was seven, OK.
Next week is the flashback to four months ago.
Right, right, right. Which is so cool. I love that we do that on our show, especially because people have been waiting. They’re like, “I don’t understand! What?” There’s some major looming questions that I think people have. We were, I think, possibly better at it last year at answering all these questions early on. I think it’s taken a little longer this year, over the course of more episodes to answer some questions, but everything will be answered as far as, how did they get from that explosion at Kirby Plaza to where they are, when we started four months later. A lot of those questions, almost all of them, are answered next week.
OK. And a lot of the stuff with your character this season, I think has been more emotional and more dramatic that it was last year, where you were like the tough guy cop action star and now you’re dealing with your father, played by Alan Blumenfeld, and Molly with Adair Tishler, I’m wondering, do you enjoy doing those sort-of more emotionally challenging scenes?
I love mixing it up. I can’t say I love one or the other. To me, unless you’ve got emotion and you’ve got the dramatic stuff and the character stuff, who cares about the action? You don’t want to take the ride with a bunch of characters you don’t care about. So, I think it’s very necessary, and I love playing that stuff. My career’s been kind of leading up to this role because Felicity was much more talking heads and emotional, and Alias was definitely a lot of action for me, so this is a combination of both and I love how it’s playing out right now in a big way. Last night’s episode I was just so proud of. The emotions, I played the emotions a little bit hotter and a little bit more that I normally would, but it was a dream sequence and a nightmare, and everything’s heightened in a nightmare, I hope that played out. I mean, I hope it didn’t play over the top, I was very happy with it when I faced my father and I actually am able to trap him.
You definitely should be proud of that, I wrote a recap of that episode, and I singled that scene out, I was like “Wow, Greg Grunberg is doing some heavy lifting in this episode.”
Oh, thank you so much, that’s so great. I can’t wait to see that.
And since you mentioned Alias, I’m wondering, now that David Anders is now Adam Monroe all of the sudden in the present, is there a chance of a sort of David Anders/Greg Grunberg interaction?
Oh, there will be a showdown, my friend. There WILL be a showdown. Anytime that the two of us get on screen, there’s going to be one loser and it’s going to be David Anders. [laughs] No, I LOVE Anders, I love working with him, I think he’s such an amazing actor, I actually wrote a romantic comedy with a friend of mine, worked with him for years, Lawrence Trilling, and we’re just about to get going. Dave Anders doesn’t even know this yet, I’m trying so desperately to have him star in the movie with me, he is such an incredible actor. This British accent that he puts on, I mean, he is like, he’s such a funny guy. I don’t think people really realize that, so hopefully we’ll get to do some great stuff on Heroes, but I was just THRILLED when he got cast, and that’s because if you’re going to cast a bad guy, you gotta cast an actor who can really go deep and that’s Anders for sure.
I definitely have to agree. With your character this season, I was at least interested in because your character exhibits the same powers as his father, and that’s not always the case with some of the heroes and parents and their children, and I’m wondering if that’s an issue that gets addressed later in the season?
It does, and you know, you don’t really know if my father is running scared, I mean, he mentions it. First of all, let’s give a HUGE shout out to Alan Blumenfeld who played my father on Felicity, he was so incredible on that show, and then I know personally how deep and scary he can be in other things he’s done, so I went to Tim Kring and I said, “You HAVE to read Alan Blumenfeld,” and he knew his work of course, Alan’s been on a million things, but when they brought him in, it was like: boom, done. So, I’m so happy to be working with him, and I think it’s really interesting that a guy like my character, there’s so many secrets, he doesn’t know what the hell is going on.
His father left so long ago, he down deep still wants to please and have a relationship with his father, and I think, I haven’t seen the scripts yet, but I’m hoping that’s the way it plays out. To understand his powers he can, either, his father’s in prison, he can either talk to him… because developing powers are sort of like the Jedi mind trick, I mean that’s where we’re going with this, we’re planting ideas and being able to trap people in their nightmares, for me, it will hopefully bring me to a place where I can hopefully use it for good or bad, and hopefully I’ll use the opportunity for good. It’s a great father-son relationship, and like you said, it hasn’t played out yet, which is great for me, not like I’m going to be copying something else from some other relationship that someone has with their parent on the show.
Definitely, and you actually answered my next question which was going to be about, now that you have more powers than you started with, is that going to explore, and change, and possibly with the dark side you eluded to, so there definitely is that sort of option.
Yeah for sure. Two things I’m waiting for, for that crossroads where we see, “Do I take it for good or evil?” I mean, we’ve already seen me just out of necessity stealing these diamonds a long time ago and leaving them with my wife and all that, but as far as something more important for the story, I’d love to get to that and make a choice one way or the other, and hopefully it will be good, but tempted by the bad, and then, the other thing, I want to have fun with this power. I want to walk into a bar and read the mind of some hot chick and she says, “Man, he’s cute.” [laughs] I want to have some fun with this power too! It doesn’t all have to be heavy.
Exactly, although some people can say that that’s still using the power for evil.
That’s true, that’s true.
OK, and actually I just have one final question, and it’s not Heroes, but will we ever get to see the pilot of Oceanic flight 815 again on Lost?
As a matter of fact, we will. And I have to leave it at that. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to talk about anything else, but yeah, we will.
Well that’s certainly enough to excite a lot of our Lost fans then.
Cool, I’m glad. Thank you.
Thank you very much for talking to us Greg and we’re all looking forward how the rest of the chapter of Heroes plays out.
My pleasure, Anytime. BuddyTV has my cell phone, so use it! Use it, BuddyTV!
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)