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Hayden Panettiere & Eric Roberts interview

Date of publishing: 14th May 2007

Hayden Panettiere & Eric Roberts interview Hayden Panettiere stars in NBC’s hit ensemble drama series “Heroes” as Claire Bennet, a high school cheerleader in Texas, who learns through trial-and-error that her flesh is indestructible. “Heroes” follows the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities.

Brother of actress Julia Roberts, Eric Roberts is an Academy Award nominee for his role in “Runaway Train” and a three-time Golden Globe nominee for “Runaway Train,” “Star 80” and “King of the Gypsies.” He also won a Golden Satellite Award for the 2002 season of “Less Than Perfect.” More recently, Eric Roberts can be seen in Heroes, playing the mysterious Mr. Thompson.

The Scifi World had the opportunity to take a part on a press conference with both of them. Here is the full report of this conference. A few audio files of this interview are available to download. Check them below on this page.

Question: In the latest episode, five years in the future, it seems you have somewhat reconciled with your adoptive father. Do you see that as something that’s to happen in the real future?

Hayden Panettiere: Well, as of course the story goes with that episode, it what will happen only if we don’t save New York City. Only if the bomb explodes. Something like that I don’t even know the first episode of the next season, so I’m not positive about whether in the few seasons, or the end of this season. I doubt it will come to that bad sort of relationship. But anything is possible in the series. But as the story goes in that episode, five years in future and that will only happen if we don’t save New York City. So let’s hope we do something about that.

Hayden Panettiere interviewQuestion: How’s the success of this show and the fact that you’re suddenly an iconic tv character, the cheerleader. What effect has that had on your life? Plus and minues.

Hayden Panettiere: Pluses, it’s always, always great to be a good role model, and especially to have people look up to you. I’m big into charities and foundations. I have a bunch, a handful, that I’ve been working with. And as an icon to certain people, if it’s the cheerleader, or just me as a person, I hope I can get them to maybe buck up a little bit and see what I’m doing with charities. And maybe partake and participate in things like that, and things that they believe in. And just sort of use your equivalent to my quote on quote ‘celebrity’--that has to be one of the worst words in the world--for good. To be in a spotlight for a good reason. Of course the media doesn’t want to hear about the good things, but just want to hear about the bad. There’s only so much you can do about that. Minus is you’re constantly being watched, you’re constantly being looked at to fall off your horse. People are constantly trying to knock you off to see if you screw up. At the end of the day, I am still a normal teenage girl who is making mistakes still in her life, and trying to find where I am as a person and growing into an adult. It’s hard when you get that pressure of “you’re a role model, don’t screw up.” But it’s been pretty good so far.

Question: There’s a big debate going on in the watercooler blog on TV.com for Heroes about whether in fact Claire is indestructible. Whether or not that she can be killed. What can you add to this discussion?

Hayden Panettiere: I think that’s a question that was never really answered for me by anyone. I sort of put together a theory for myself in my head. I think that she is indestructible. She can jump off the highest building. She can go through a wood chopper and she’d be fine. But I do think that there is a reason why she was so scared when Sylar comes along. And there’s a reason why Peter Petrelli has to save her. There’s a reason why of ‘save the cheerleader’ obviously. It means the opposite of having her die. I think in general, yes, she is indestructible, but there is one spot in the back of your head where if we do get stabbed, or destroyed, then I do think we do have the ability to die. Like, for instance, the last episode, the second episode…the episode before that when Peter has the glass stuck in his head. He doesn’t come back alive until I pull that glass out of his head. And the question kind of remains is, well, if you leave it in there, how long would we be able to regenerate before… I’m trying to figure how to reword this. How long can we leave the glass in there before we are no longer able to regenerate? And if, if, we are no longer able to regenerate. There’s questions I still have.

Question: Just to be clear, it has to do with that mark on the back of the neck, you’re saying?

Hayden Panettiere: No. There’s no mark on the back of the neck. It’s just a spot in your brain, I think, is kind of my theory.

Question: The Achille’s Heel.

Hayden Panettiere: Yeah. Kind of.

Eric Roberts interviewQuestion: This is for Hayden and Eric. How has the fan situation been for both of you guys? This show is such a major hit. Have you had any fun or weird encounters with Heroes fans?

Hayden Panettiere: Oh goodness. I usually just get screamed at, like, “cheerleader”. I’ve almost gotten into a couple car accidents because I’ll be driving and people scream at me from their passing cars. It’ll make me jump. I’m not quite used to it yet. But I haven’t too many wacky, weird ones.

Eric Roberts: Every traffic light I stop at it’s, “Are you a bad guy, dude? We love the show. Are you bad? We can’t tell yet!” That’s like every traffic light I stop at I hear something about it.

Hayden Panettiere: But other than that, I don’t think we’ve had some really weird, crazed fans. It’s interesting to hear their theories of what’s really happening in the show.

Question: Did you see it coming that Nathan was your biological father or did they drop that on you suddenly?

Hayden Panettiere: Oh no, I didn’t. I didn’t at all. I stopped guessing. We all kind of stopped guessing. We started guessing in the beginning, like what would happen in the next episode, but the show is completely unpredictable. The writers are completely unpredictable. They like to leave us in the dark a lot of the time. So, no, I had no idea, but I was very excited.

Question: You guys were all in different universes at first. And all of a sudden, in particularly, these last couple of episodes. You’re going to be in one place, on the plaza and so forth. How new of an experience is this? For the last few episodes, was this the first time you pretty much met most of these people?

Hayden Panettiere: Um, yeah. The show is kind of about people crossing paths and how small the world really is. Yeah, coming and going, and coming together. There’s so many of those little near-misses, where they are having conversations with each other and they have no idea they are in the same boat.

Eric Roberts: There’s a lot of six degrees of separation going on.

Question: Give me an example of how interesting this was for you, when suddenly all of these characters were thrown together in one area, for one scene. What did you find interesting about being with all of these people?

Download the audio file of this quote by clicking here (Zipped MP3 file)
Disclaimer: Please, do not direct link to this file, link to the page ONLY.

Eric Roberts: Every week is like being thrown into first day of school, of every year again. It’s like, “Hi, guys.” You know some people, but don’t know half the people. And everybody is so happy to be there, because everybody loves this show. It’s one of the funniest casts you ever work with on a drama. It’s not like we’re on a drama at all. But it’s like starting school every day. It’s like, half the people have to go to new and then so and so gets killed, and you go, “Oh no! He’s dead? I loved him!” That’s what it’s like.

Hayden Panettiere: We’re all really super, super close. We’re all usually on set. A lot of us are on set at the same time, but off doing different scenes. But just to stand there, it wasn’t really that weird, but it was fun. It’s a good cast and group of people. We’re very excited. I sometimes question why we’re doing a drama and not a comedy.

Eric Roberts: Hayden’s one of the most welcoming cast members in the makeup trailer out of everybody. Because when I got there, she and Greg Grunberg were like, “Hi! Do you know how long you’re going to live yet?” And we hang out and we talk trash. And we have a great time.

Hayden Panettiere: Ah, Eric, you make me blush.

Eric Roberts: She’s like very welcoming and very sweet to everybody.

Hayden Panettiere: I don’t know about to everybody, but to the people I like.

Eric Roberts: Anyway, she was very nice to me every day when I was new kid on the block. And it’s just always fun to see Hayden, because she’s always cutting up. It’s not like running drama at all doing that show.

Hayden Panettiere interviewQuestion: So it wasn’t enough to save the cheerleader one time. This is an ongoing task for everyone to keep saving you.

Eric Roberts: It’s our damsel.

Question: Because it seems like we thought you were saved and then we see in the future that maybe you’re not saved. And you have to be continually saved. Is that kind of the feeling that you’re getting from this? Is that save the cheerleader goes on?

Hayden Panettiere: Well, not really. It was save the cheerleader in order to save the world, in order to save New York. And that episode, five years in the future, is only if we don’t save New York City. So, if we don’t save New York City, I could possibly have not so nice ending on life. But I don’t know. I don’t think it’s an ongoing thing. She’s pretty indestructible herself. But she may need saving. I don’t mind it. I don’t mind being the damsel in distress. Eric, you can come back from the dead and save me.

Question: We didn’t see you five years in the future: why was that?

Eric Roberts: I’m the present…and a part of the future that you saw, but I wasn’t in. I wouldn’t scratch me out totally.

Question: What Claire’s attitudes are toward her two fathers. Does she still fully love HRG. How does she feel about Nathan.

Hayden Panettiere: There’s a lot of love/hate going on here. HRG, I mean, he’s the dad that raised her. She loves him more than anything. I think at this point she’s learning that she can’t be so naïve. Imagine if you grew up someone you were raised with, someone you found this whole dark stuff that you didn’t know. You’d still love them, but you’d question them more. I think it’s a relationship that just needs to be built back, and needs to be understood, because everybody thought in the HRG was a bad guy, and now he’s chosen his daughter over his work. And Nathan, I think she has mixed feelings about Nathan. She wants to love him, because he is her dad, but at the same time, she’s listened and watched him show up at her real mother’s door with a suitcase full of cash to get rid of her. And trying to ship her off, and not wanting her there. She’s a pretty savvy girl. She knows that the election is worth more to him than his own daughter, which she might find questionable. But I think there’s always room for building and understanding.

Question: Is Thompson a bad guy?

Eric Roberts: It’s ambiguous and like playing a bad guy, I have to say: bad guys never think they’re bad guys. So from my point of view, it’s a no. But I think from everybody’s point of view it’s ambiguous.

Question: Where would you like to see the characters going? For Hayden, particularly, since Claire can run into a burning building and rescue people, would you like to see her do a little more of that in the future?

Hayden Panettiere: You know, it keeps me entertained. It’s fun. I love doing that stuff. She is the invincible one. And I’m kind of getting jealous of Milo a little bit because he’s starting to shed more blood than me. And I’m kind of getting jealous. I think I need to break something really soon. I think we have to keep in mind, though, that the series is about ordinary people who have extraordinary abilities, who are still trying to keep in touch with their lives. We don’t want her to be like Kenny from South Park, the guy that rips. Gotta keep it fresh.

Eric Roberts: And I hope that I recruit Heroes to restore world peace. There’s this girl who can change her look and stuff to become like Donald Rumsfield, under the Bush administration.

Eric Roberts interviewQuestion: I would like to know how you got involved with the show.

Eric Roberts: They were casting for a character called Thompson, who recruits the heroes and they had open call, open auditions. And I was sent in, and I read for it a couple of times, and they offered me the job. It was really neat.

Question: What else are you working on?

Eric Roberts: I play his nemesis and then I play go play the mafiaoso in the new Batman movie. So that’s what I’m doing these days.

Question: Has this show had a different impact on your career than other projects?

Eric Roberts: Well, it’s a comboination I think from Heroes and a couple of big-hit music videos. The Mariah Carey video and the Killers video. And it’s given me a whole new audience under fifteen that I didn’t have before. And like I said in an earlier answer about the popularity of the show, every traffic light I stop at, literally, I hear a Heroes comment. And I thought I was really famous up until I got Heroes. I had no idea how much more famous I could get overnight. It’s been fun and it has been silly.

Question: Have you seen a difference in the type of roles you’re offered or anything like that, just based on playing this kind of scary character? Has it changed that aspect for you at all?

Eric Roberts: No, they still want me to play bad guys and they still want me to kill the good guys.

Question: You’re in a lot of scenes with Jack Coleman and I wanted to know if you have talked to him about the balance of your relationship. Is one of you trying to play more evil versus more good. It has the chemistry working there. And you both are pretty comedic too. What’s it like working with him and how’s that process been.

Eric Roberts: We never talk about work at work. We talk about everything but work at work and we have a great relationship that’s absolutely high school silly. And we tell jokes all day. I mean, literally. Me, Jack, and Greg Grunberg do nothing except tell jokes all day. Do knock-knock jokes. We act like adolescents all day long. And I’m not making this up. And Greg kind of leads the way, but Jack and Eric follow. We are just kind of like three stooges all day at work. And it relieves all the tension of having to be so dead serious on camera.

Question: With this season of playing Thompson, what for you were been some of the highlight moments of giving shades to revealing who he is. And it’s like you said: it’s been very subtle, and he’s obviously got a very big impact leading towards the finale of the season. What have some of those moments been for you?

Eric Roberts: He is almost like proud of the fact to say that I can recruit the heroes. And to be the guy, obviously number two, under Malcolm, but I’m one of the honchos, and I have this ability to know who has powers. And if you can’t have the powers, at least know who does, so you’re on the right team.

Hayden Panettiere interviewQuestion: I think this show is so interesting because it really plays with the notion of good and evil. Nothing is really that clear. I just wondered, for you, has it changed your perspective about what equals good and what equals evil. And when you play Thompson, how do you imbue that role considering you really don’t know what role you’re one.

Eric Roberts: Okay, good and evil. I think good people go after peaceful resolutions, and evil people don’t. So I’m a little of both in this. And the other question was has it changed my perspective on good and evil. No it hasn’t. I think that good is very cut and dry, and evil is very and dry. You’re either one or the other. Even though I think most of us are gray, as opposed to black or white, evil or good, it’s still pretty easy to decide what is what there.

Question: In this show, do you think evil and good are black and white?

Eric Roberts: No. They stretch that gray area real big. But I think the end result, in hindsight, I think you can always tell what was black, what was white, and what was gray. But as you go through it, of course, it all looks a bit gray.

Question: Can you tell us if you are going to be back next season or not?

Eric Roberts: All I can tell you is maybe.

Question: In the finale, are there anything we should be looking for you to be doing in the next few episodes? Do you have a standout moment that you can hit at?

Eric Roberts: The only thing I can kind of give you a hint about without giving stuff away is Greg and I have a scene in the hallway where I’m trying to sneak up on him. But he keeps hearing my thoughts so he keeps on getting away from me. We do have a confrontation, although it does not end up with his having to pay anything dear.

Question: I'm curious, when you come into a show like this that has an air of mystery about it, how much did they tell you about your character, you know, going in? And does how that affects how you play your role?

Eric Roberts: They told me nothing. They told me nothing. It was all - what I got - what I developed for the auditions that I had to do to get the part. That's what they let me act with. And said, okay, I'm good with that. And they're really nice about everything. They allow the actor to have fun. And it's a good group. I don't really know - it's a really nice group. And it's also fun. You talked about walking onto under a show like this, I've been on - I've been a lot of shows but they haven't been in the top 10 hits. And also, I've never even done a show that I didn't have to help make a hit. And I just walk on this. It was already hit. It's already in the top ten and it's so much fun to do nothing except show up. And… And it's just fun because this show kind of runs itself, story-wise and like fan-wise. And as an actor for hire, you need just you walk into it and if you're lucky to have the job, it just pure fun. Does that answer your question?

Question: And for Hayden, have you kind of been a fan of the other characters/stories and their progress?

Hayden Panettiere: I'm a really big fan of all of them, honestly. They're just so completely different and it's like comparing apples and oranges, like it's - they're all stories that I've seen developed and I've seen grow. So all of them just have these really different elements to them. They are very diverse. And they're intertwining and they're connecting and then they're sort of coming together. So, yeah, so I can't really choose.

Eric Roberts interviewQuestion: Hayden, I know that networks are always trying to hook younger viewers and as a younger person yourself, I'm just wondering, do you have time to watch much TV and if so, what do you watch?
And I guess, I would ask both Hayden and Eric. If you guys weren't on Heroes, is it the type of show that you would watch? Would you watch Heroes?

Hayden Panettiere: I would - I think Heroes is an incredible show. I don't really watch a lot of TV. The only show I actually watch is Heroes.
But I mean when I used to watch TV, I was more of a Heroes-ish kind of girl. I used to watch things like Six Feet Under and I loved it. But I think - I mean personally Heroes is definitely a show I would watch.

Question: How about you, Eric?

Eric Roberts: I don't know if I'd be watching it or not, but I know that I'd made to watch it because of my stepdaughter Morgan Simon and my daughter Emma and my stepson Ethan Simons and they would all drive me to the TV room and they, “Got to watch your show, dude.”
And I'd be watching it.

Question: You're in The Dark Knight. You're on Heroes. What draws you to these superheroes genre movies or shows?

Eric Roberts: I think there is drawn towards me as I am to them. They say - they asked me to come addition for them, and they want to see what I'd bring to them.

Question: And, Hayden, are we going to get to see Claire cut loose since she has this ability of not being hurt, she always runs into building, saves people, et cetera, et cetera. But do you guys in the last three episodes have one big knockdown drag-out fight where Claire gets to use her ability?

Hayden Panettiere: Classical question. I remember these last three episodes, what's going on? I mean anything is possible on the show. I think at the moment we're really concentrating on the human stories that are going on with the show. And the fact that there are, there's bigger more, heart pumping to concentrate and to deal with than on powers because it's not just about our powers. It's about mankind. It's about the world. If we don't do this, the world will be completely changed. Every one's lives will be shipped and pointed in a different direction and for the most part as you saw like - it's not for the good. So at the moment it - I think it's about more than just our abilities. I think it's about doing what's right and we're kind of meant to do. But I am indestructible and things happen all the time.

Question: Do you have a stunt double on Heroes?

Hayden Panettiere: I do. I have - actually the same stunt double I had way back in the day on “ Ally McBeal.” She's the best. She's fun. She's very, very cool. And she's taught me a lot. We have a lot of fun.

Question: Do you wish you could ever do your stunts or do you plan to in the future?

Hayden Panettiere: Well, I do, I do at times. But she's kind of my coach and she leads me as well as teaches me, as well as our stunt coordinator and…

Eric Roberts: I'm on the outside looking in and Hayden does a lot.

Hayden Panettiere: I do. I pulled teeth. I pulled teeth. Please let me do it. So I do as much as they will let me do.

Eric Roberts: Yeah.

Eric Roberts interviewQuestion: Does any of it ever freak you out?

Hayden Panettiere: No, they couldn't afford to break me so I'm thinking that they're going to be pretty careful.

Question: I just had a quick question. Of all the other characters on the show, if either one of you could take one of their superpowers, what would it be and why? And you can't choose Peter or Sylar because that's kind of cheating.

Hayden Panettiere: Well I'd like to be able to teleport. I would be at the meeting that I have to be at right now and then right after I'd be on a beach somewhere in a deserted island of the tropics.

Eric Roberts: And I want Grunberg's power to be able to read minds.

Hayden Panettiere: Oh God, I would hate to know what people are thinking.

Eric Roberts: I want that power.

Hayden Panettiere: I would love and hate to know.

Eric Roberts: I love that. To always know what everybody's thinking, yeah…

Hayden Panettiere: You could never have a relationship. It would go down the drain.

Eric Roberts: Well I would like to think that my wife is so blatantly honest. I know everything anyway so it wouldn't change anything even though it's probably not true, I know.

Hayden Panettiere: You're funny.

Eric Roberts: I know.

Question: Hayden, first for you. I wanted to ask, you talked about Claire's perspective on her two fathers, but just as an actress, what it's been like for you to have all these great teens with Jack but this interesting dynamic with Adrian, too, to play out?

Hayden Panettiere: I love it. I love it. I'm so looking forward to working with every single person on the show. There are so many actors that are on the show that I just haven't gotten the chance to work with that I have kind of worked closely with them because I'm with then all the time and I'm just - I'm honestly, I'm just dying to work with them, the actors and just have that connection and kind of see what you pull out each other.

Eric Roberts: And wait till you guys see what Adrian has or does to get reelected.

Hayden Panettiere: But, yeah, I'm dying to work with everyone and Adrian was definitely one of the people I'm dying to work with.

Question: Eric, can you give any more details about your role in Batman and what role the character has in the story?

Eric Roberts: All I can tell you is I'm a mafiosa in Batman and I have not even seen the script. I've only seen the sides that they gave me.

Eric Roberts interviewQuestion: Eric, can you give us any more insight into exactly what the company is? Is it a government organization or a private organization?

Eric Roberts: I can't only because I don't know. I just talk about like I know, but I really don't.

Hayden Panettiere: That is one of my biggest question in this show!

Eric Roberts: Yeah, who is the company.

Question: And, Hayden, can you explain exactly what the bond is between Claire and Peter Petrelli other than the fact that obviously he saved your life?

Hayden Panettiere: Well he's my uncle. Uncle Peter, well I don't know. They had sort of weird. I think it's kind of like the senses that you've seen these people who discovered his ability isn't, most of them want to push it aside. They don't want to do anything with it. They want to be normal. They want to go on with their lives. And they've all found themselves not ignoring it. I'm - not going on with their lives, but embracing it and just having kind of a sixth sense and knowing what they have to do with it. Knowing what they have to use it for. So I think in a lot of ways, it's kind of the same thing. So, when they met, it was kind of a weird sixth sense that they just knew each other and they knew that they felt safe around each other and like they belonged in a way. Other than that, I have no idea, they can do anything in the world. So at the moment, I'm working with - he's my uncle and we have this bond because we've kind of had this sixth sense about each other.

Question: Hayden, can you tell us a bit about what's going on with your singing career and how you balance that with the show?

Hayden Panettiere: Hi. Well hopefully, be releasing an album in August and how do I balance? Actually, that's why I'm on my way to go write a song right now with Matthew Wilder, so. How do I balance it? I just - I don't want to sound weird, but you just kind of do. It's not a question of can you do this or can you do that. It's really a matter you can do it. You have to do it. You just do it and - but it - I mean it's difficult. It's difficult trying to be a normal human being and balancing work and personal life and school. Thank God I'm done with school right now. But it's time management. I've got some incredible people working with me on my schedule and stuff. So they make it pretty easy.

Question: And, Eric, you were talking about how you went to this open casting call for the show, but did you have a sense of how successful the show was? Did you have a sense of all the buzz around it?

Eric Roberts: Well I was very ignorant. I just gotten back from overseas, making a movie and I've been over there for many months and I just gotten back and I was tired, and my agent asked me to come in to an audition for the show. "It's a big hit show, Eric, come audition for it". And I said, “No, I'm too tired.” And they got a bunch of phone calls to my lawyer, my daughter, my stepdaughter all saying, “You idiot. This is a great show. You got to go audition with this show.” So I went in and I auditioned and I was lucky enough to get it, but I didn't know that till I was on the set and then I just - it's like, I mean, it sounds kind of overwrought, but it's kind of a paid vacation because all these people are just - they have such fun everyday and they're so nice to everybody and they're so - it's just a great group and it's like being on a sitcom set, even though it's a drama, that everybody cuts up all day.

Question: Eric, your daughter Emma is playing Nancy Drew. And your character on Heroes is kind of a detective seeking the people with super abilities. So I thought, do you guys like share detective tips?

Eric Roberts: I taught her everything she knows about.

Question: Oh really.

Eric Roberts: No, Nancy Drew is far more progressed than Thompson is as far as the show goes.

Hayden Panettiere interviewQuestion: Hayden, how do you feel about the fact that you've brought cheerleading to everyone's attention. You know, it was already a humungous thing. Now, cheerleading is skyrocketing past Jupiter. How do you feel about that? Are you getting calls from cheerleaders all over the country? What's going on with that?

Download the audio file of this quote by clicking here (Zipped MP3 file)
Disclaimer: Please, do not direct link to this file, link to the page ONLY.

Hayden Panettiere: It's fun. It's very cool. I definitely have a new found respect for cheerleading after doing Bring It On. I'm very proud of it. But it's awesome. I think the reason why they made Claire the cheerleader is because you needed her to be a normal teenage girl. You needed her to be down to earth in a way because our powers are so farfetched that you needed to ground it and by making her the cheerleader, it made her very relatable to girls and to teenagers. And I think she has become a really amazing role model and I think our show has become a really great metaphor for people. So I'm proud of it. I'm privileged, so.

Question: Do you have any plans to go to any postsecondary education?

Hayden Panettiere: I do plan on continuing to learn. I believe in learning. I believe in expanding your mind. Do I see a whole four-year - full four-year college in my future? I'm not sure. I'm more interested in really going in and taking classes and learning about things that I'm really excited to learn about. Things that really interest me like psychology or anthropology. Things I really want to learn about, but they - do I have an interest in going back and taking my requirements again? If I wasn't on the show, I would 100% be going to a four-year college. I would 100% be drawing myself in there, and it's always been a dream of mine to go to college. But yes, I do plan on continuing to learn.

Question: Every episode, it seems to have this kind of big crazy twist going on. So how long do you guys think the show can keep it fresh and keep audiences interested before it goes still?

Eric Roberts: I think it's got a shelf life for about a decade.

Hayden Panettiere: I don't - I think it's got a lot of longevity on it.

Eric Roberts: Really go forever. That's what I'm seeing.

Hayden Panettiere: Yeah. I - these writers, yeah. I sort of had the same question, too, when I started the show. How are they going to continue this? This is an awesome episode, awesome pilot, but how are they going to continue this really. They've done it incredibly, and I have all the faith in the world in our writers and Tim Kring, our creator, who kind of have big pictures for all the potential upcoming seasons.

Eric Roberts: Well there are 10 writers and they all work on every episode.

Question: From Heroes to the Dark Knight, do you have a newfound appreciation for that genre? And then even though you said you haven't read all the script, but do you know if your interaction is going to be more with the Joker or more with Christian Bale, are you a villain? Are you a good guy?

Eric Roberts: I've been in actions with both those guys and I am a bad guy.

Question: Had you thought of newfound appreciation for the comic book genre?

Eric Roberts: Oh hell, yeah. I mean it's - and it was, thanks to Heroes, I think, till I started to get this newfound appreciation because Heroes is likea comic book. And yeah. So to answer your question, succinctly yes.

Hayden Panettiere interviewQuestion: Hayden, besides - do you have any other upcoming projects during the hiatus, movie-wise and stuff?

Hayden Panettiere: I just finished the movie with Julia Roberts and Willem Dafoe and Emily Watson, Ryan Reynolds called Fireflies in the Garden, which is an independent film that is directed by Dennis Lee and hopefully will be joined at Sundance with something. I think it's going to be an incredible film.

Question: I'm wondering if there's been any talk of you getting a boyfriend in the upcoming maybe few episodes or really next season or is that something…?

Hayden Panettiere: Yes, there has been. It's possibly in the future. They can't - they won't promise me anything, and I haven't heard or seen anything from this upcoming season. So I can't tell you what exactly is going to happen, but yes, there is potential.

Question: Is that something you'd like to see for your character?

Hayden Panettiere: Yeah, I think so. I think people want to see her being a normal teenage girl. They want to see her have boyfriends. They want to see the human side of her which is what normal teenage girls do. They date. They like boys. They kiss boys.

Question: How you feel like you identify with Claire?

Hayden Panettiere: How do I feel like I identify with Claire? I feel like I've really grown up with her in a way because the show, it's not like a movie where you have to do this huge character arch within two hours. It's a show that we've been working on for the past year and in this past year it has held a lot of growth for me as a person.
And so, I think I kind of brought that into her, she turned out being more naïve and more of a young girl, more of a little girl in the beginning and it has now found her footing a little bit and becoming less naïve and more of a strong human being, strong girl who's not scared to stand up for herself. So I think in that way, she's definitely like me, I'm a Leo… And I think I've been able to bring that into her, a little fire into her and so that's been pretty fun.

Question: And, Eric, how did you get to doing music videos and will you be featured in more?

Hayden Panettiere: Mine.

Eric Roberts: What, Hayden?

Hayden Panettiere: I said my music video.

Eric Roberts: Good for me. They called me and it was - they're so much fun to make. And I went and I made them and they happened to be huge hits. So suddenly, I've liked hundred video offers, and my manager was going through them all and we're just having fun…

Hayden Panettiere: Milo did a video the other day. I want to be in a music video.

Eric Roberts: There's so much fun.

Eric Roberts interviewQuestion: I just wanted to find out, as you're talking a lot about being in the public eye and how it's really hard people watching you fall. How is it being part of a celebrity couple? You're in one of the hottest TV shows on TV, you're trying to live, your private teenage life. What is it like?

Hayden Panettiere: What's it like? It's difficult, but at the same time it's - I mean it's sort of like having any other relationship. Being in the spotlight is difficult because we try not to take pictures. We try not to talk about it much because I feel when you put something like that out there, then you give people the right to formulate their own opinions about you. You give people the right to judge. So if you don't put it out there, if you keep it to yourself, then they have nothing to judge.

Eric Roberts: Can I say something about how Hayden handles fame? I first heard about Hayden from my daughter Emma, about when they were working together, and it was all very positive and very normal. And then I meet Hayden and the whole of the circumstance and she's the most charming, welcoming normal person on that set and that's really a fact, and it's just so much fun to meet somebody so young who's a grownup with a sense of humor and she is all that.

Hayden Panettiere: He makes me blush every time. He just he just makes me blush.

Question: Does your boyfriend ever visit you on the set while you're working?

Hayden Panettiere: Actually, when I go to work, it's kind of a work thing. It's not, playtime, although it's fun for me. But he's out doing his thing. I'm going to work. He'll come once in a while but it's not a frequent thing. I'm here to do my job.

Question: I'm sure you had an initial perspective on playing Claire, when you first shot the pilot. And I was wondering how you think your portrayal of her has evolved and changed over time?

Hayden Panettiere: Well I think with the - all of our characters, I think it's been a learning process for us. I think we came in with one script and had to discover our characters, had to develop them and make them our own and really use what we kind of bring to the table as actors. But she's evolved from the beginning, she's very naïve, very young girl who is simply interested in dating the quarterback of the football team … She's a normal girl doing what normal girls do. And she discovered this power and doesn't want any part of it. She wants to live a normal life, but over time, she realizes that she has to use this for better. She's been let down by a lot of people and she learned that she can't be so naïve and she can't trust people as much and she needs to really find her footing and stand her ground. She's really grown by the end of the season into a very strong girl who is still sweet. And she'll continue to grow. So we'll see what happens to her this next season.

Question: NBC has obviously had pretty low ratings over the past couple of years. I was wondering how you think that benefited the show as far as you guys being able to take creative risks, maybe break out from the pack and mostly maybe having the network be a little more patient with your growth.

Eric Roberts: Well that's the creator's question, but I like to think you might have hit it on the head. They allowed more freedom because they had more room, because they weren't confined to a certain kind of structure and/or hit. So they allowed them to create and they allowed people like Mr. Arkush to direct. They let everybody take chances… and they made a great show out of it.

Hayden Panettiere interviewHayden Panettiere: At the same time, it could go both ways. It could go with the - they've had pretty low ratings or that they had nothing to lose in a way, and it's good to really help or it can go in the way of… I mean we really have high hopes in this and don't throw it up and we got to make sure, it's really on track and we really get this right because this could be it. Fortunately for us this hasn't been bad at all. They've been the most amazing group of people to work with and it's really a million - it's like all of the writers, all the directors, all the actors putting their heads together - putting all of our heads together and just creating and being artistic with each one of our arts. So it's been incredible.

Question: Yeah. I mean it seems to me, a show like Drive got cancelled after four episodes, so who knows how it was going to do, but you guys literally got better with each episodes this season and a less patient network might have just been like, oh well it's not as good as we had hoped.

Hayden Panettiere: Yeah, I think when we come into the - into a show, it's difficult because - especially with the show like this, there's so much to - so much information to grasp that it's so difficult to make a really good pilot come binding everything that you really need the audience to know. There are certain things that you have to put in it, whether they're boring or not, you have to sort of make it aware - make people aware that - and there's sort of no way around it. So the fact that they made it entertaining was a good thing. But when we got pass that, the ratings got better, the actors became more comfortable, they found so much more chemistry with each other and confidence in the characters that they've developed. And so I think everyone just really bumped it up and that we saw, say, halfway through this season that everyone just took it up…

Question: So I guess it's a less than that other network should pay attention to that, first few episodes aren't necessarily representative of where the show is going to go.

Hayden Panettiere: Yeah. It's true. You have to - but at the same time, I've seen amazing shows go down the drain. I've seen amazing shows - Friday Night Lights is an incredible show that's on and that is so incredibly underrated. And it's just because people just - I don't know whether it's - you don't know whether it's the time, you don't know whether it doesn't work with people's days, but somehow along the way they didn't grab the viewers that they should have. So it's kind of a master of luck in a lot of ways and publicity, too.

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A report from Gilles Nuytens for The Scifi World
© 2007 - Transcript by Jennifer Redelle Carey for The Scifi World. Special thanks!


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