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Jack Coleman interview

Date of publishing: 18th February 2007

Jack Coleman interview Jack Coleman stars on NBC’s “Heroes” as the mysterious H.R.G. – “Horn Rimmed Glasses,” Claire’s (Hayden Panettiere) father, as well as a man of mystery who has a special interest in people with special abilities. Jack has performed on Broadway, off-Broadway, in film and on television. Series roles include “Dynasty,” “Nightmare Café,” “Oh Baby,” and “Steven King’s Kingdom Hospital.” Recently, he has been featured on such programs as “Entourage,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Without a Trace,” and “CSI Miami.” Jack is a graduate of Duke University, the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, and the Writers’ Boot Camp in Santa Monica, California. His grandfather, Herbert Agar, won a Pulitzer Prize in history for “The People’s Choice,” about how Americans choose their president. Jack’s sixth generation grandfather is Benjamin Franklin.

The Scifi World had the opportunity to take a part on a press conference with him.
Here is the full report of this conference.

Question: I've talked to actors who've played cowboys on westerns, and a lot of them will say something like they didn't really have the character pinned down until they found the right hat?
Jack Coleman: Uh huh.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: I'm wondering if the same might be true for you and the glasses, which is to say -- was there much of a hunt in the props department for the perfect pair of glasses, and did the right pair help you find your character?
Jack Coleman: We probably went through about, oh, man, I don't know, probably about a hundred pairs. Just when I say we, props and myself and Dave semel, the Director -- and can you hear that truck outside clearly enough -- and Dennis Hammer and Tim Kring and everybody sort of put in their opinion on it, and, yeah, we came up with sort of the perfect -- it's funny, we sort of -- the hero pair of horn-rimmed glasses, which we use every day and then there’s a backup pair, and occasionally, I have had to wear the backup pair, and it feels completely different and off and uncomfortable; so, yes, as soon as I put the glasses on the character -- well other than having an epiphany that I look exactly like my father did when he was my age, which is shocking, beyond that, it was just kind of nice to sort of find a pair that really felt right and looked right. And then you know the glasses do have to work, there generally is -- amazing how much something like that can, becomes the character for you to a certain extent.

Question: It would appear not to be a coincidence but that horn rimmed is interested in all these peoples powers and his daughter has powers, but do you think it was the chicken or the egg situation? Did he adopt this little girl and discover she had powers and go on a quest, or was he already kind of on that mission and then through that process Claire came to be in his custody?
Jack Coleman: Well. Actually, the next Episode 117 will address that, but he took the job and then came into custody of Claire and 117 will show you how that happened, and sort of the journey from how that changed everything and eventually brought everything to a crisis where he has to choose between that.

Question: So my follow up then is -- was your character present at the fire that theoretically killed Claire and her mother?
Jack Coleman: This -- I don't know that that will be answered, but I can tell you that the fire in which that happened -- there was -- Claire’s mother was a person of interest to HRG and the organization when that happened.

Question: Do you know what your characters first name is, or have you given yourself a first name?
Jack Coleman: Well, there was a first name in a draft which was then removed. I think partly because it just sort of stopped the scene where it was delivered cold; and so, in other words, I think maybe they are sort of happy right now going without a first name, but my personal preference had always been Anthony because then I could be Tony Bennett, but I don't think that’s going to go anywhere.

Question: And on a more serious note, his motives are not necessary evil, how does he justify himself?
Jack Coleman: Uh-huh. Well, I think it’s the same way anybody justifies himself. I think he sees himself working for the greater good and taking on a job which is dirty but has to be done, and I think, it's sort of the same way that people can justify doing all kinds of things in their personal and private, personal and professional, lives, but then you also see that it comes a cropper. Eventually, he's been able to sort of separate the personal and professional -- for a long time -- and that is about to end.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: So, basically, you have an opportunity to reinvent your career and play this extremely interesting character on Heroes, but what does that mean for your past character on Dynasty and which one, which character, have you played, the one that you’re the most proud of, if it’s not heroes, or maybe it is?
Jack Coleman: Are you saying between the two or in anything that I've done?

Question: In general. And do people come up to you on the street and do they recognize you more from Dynasty or do they recognize you more from Heroes?
Jack Coleman: No. It’s much more from Heroes at this point. Anyone who recognizes me from Dynasty is, dare I say, of a certain age; because, Dynasty’s been off the air for quite a while. I still get recognized all the time from Dynasty, but it’s not the kids. Whereas, now, the show is so big with teenagers and 20 year olds and stuff that it’s a whole new audience, which is fantastic. To answer your question, I have to say that this character is much more interesting and fun to play for me than Steven Carrington was. Don't get me wrong, it was a great opportunity. I loved doing that, but this is a much juicier role, and the devil gets all the best lines. It’s a lot of fun to play and definitely loved it and that I’m proud of. There are obviously other roles I’ve been very proud of and I've been on stage and seen by hundreds of people as opposed to millions of people, but that's the nature of the beast.

Question: Right. So you say you’re the devil. Are you a bad guy?
Jack Coleman: No. I, certainly, have been set up as the bad guy for the first two thirds of season, but I think there's going to be light shed on both his motivation and his loyalty, which will, I think, broaden everyone’s understanding, of who HRG is and what he's been trying to do. And I think it will make him in one way more sympathetic and in other ways maybe even more horrific, but I think there will be a lot more light shed on who he is and where he came from.

Question: For somebody whose been -- done a lot of very high profile roles and stage and TV, did it bother you at all that we're actually talking about your glasses? And the glasses aren't even that unusual, I don’t think; are they? They don't, is it odd to you that you’re known for a pair of glasses now?
Jack Coleman: I don't think it is odd, because after all, the character’s name, he's an acronym, HRA, I think the glasses were a very very big part of how the character was originally conceived, behind a veil kind of a 50's throw back to the old sort of, you imagine this guy in a romantic revolution in some South American country in the 50’s.
It really is a throw back and the glasses are a huge part of the look, and also sort of who he is. It’s sort of a curtain between him and other people. A bit of a disguise, a bit of a wall; so I think it makes perfect sense to discuss the glasses.
If that's all anyone is interested in then maybe they are missing the point. I think that the glasses are certainly a huge part of.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: I guess there was a time in both movies and TV were there were good guys and there were bad guys, and it was pretty difficult to mess that up. It was quite obvious to everyone, and you’re playing somebody with a lot of gray area, do you think that, first of all, do you enjoy that ambiguity and being able to play both sides of the street a little bit?
Jack Coleman: I love the ambiguity. I think it’s what makes the character so interesting, and I know that people are perplexed and, certainly, the question I'm asked all the time is, are you a good guy or are a bad guy? They want to know.
They want to be able to pigeon hole you. They want to be able to figure out exactly who you are and what you are, but I think the fact that he is both good and bad is what makes it so fascinating, and you realize people can do horrible things and come home and love their children. It’s a perfectly human way to behave in the world, because I think most of us are living in areas of gray, in some part or another of our lives, and I think it’s what makes the character interesting and fun to play.

Question: I know the actors are kept in a little bit of the dark as to what the overall plan is for the show, but have you developed your own conspiracy theory to fill in the blank and any one of them you can share with us?
Jack Coleman: You can come up with all kinds of things, but you'll be wrong. Which is what’s so great -- I kind of learned a long time ago, in this sort of game, in this serial television, that you know you've got to play what's in front of you. You’ve gotta play what you know. There are certain scenes you go in and you go, okay, I really don't know what I'm alluding to here, I don't know what this reference is to. You gotta tell me something. And then you, basically, they'll tell me something which then, okay, now I know, and now I can play it. But in general, I don't spend too much time worrying about what's coming on five episodes down the road because it's just one of the things that's so amazing about this show is, how much happens in every episode and how action packed it is, and how much story there is. The writer’s expression is stuffing 50 pounds of story in a ten pound sack, and they really do that and more and more as the season goes on, you'll see that from here till the end of the season. It’s just going to be chock full of story. And, also, paying things off, bringing them up and paying them off, not just leaving things dangled. So, yeah, it’s -- there's only so much speculation -- only gets you so far, and you’re going to be wrong anyway. So you might as well just kind of go for the ride.

Question: One of the major elements of the character is that he's also a doting father. At least on one level, how much of that is your own personality seeping into the role as a father?
Jack Coleman: Well, certainly, you bring your own experience to the table, you know, generally, on television, parents tend to be a lot more patient and a lot more interested in every utterance their darling child makes than in real life. When you're trying to get things done and you sort of -- it’s kind of an idealization of my parenting skill, and of course, I'm not bagging and tagging people or doing horrible things and putting chips in them and following them around and performing experiments. So that part of the parenting thing is quite different from my own experience. But, yeah, you bring your own experience in parenting to it, and I do -- and I have a daughter that I dote on so the whole thing with Claire makes sense to me, but it’s, certainly -- if you -- it’s not an entirely accurate equivalent from one to the other.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: What were your first impressions? Did you see it becoming as big as it has been -- the show in general?
Jack Coleman: I first became aware of the show from my friend who is a writer on another series -- said that there's this wonderful pilot called Heroes, and I've been hearing really great things about it, and he said "it’s my favorite script of this season". And then I realized it was being produced by David Hammer, who I know. I did not know Tim Kring before Dave Semel, Who directed the pilot, was somebody who I know. So I went in knowing that the part was a very small part. It was, basically, a one-page audition a cab ride with Suresh from the pilot, where I'm sitting in the back, out of focus and very sort of fuzzy sepia tones, and threatening him; so that was all I knew about it. But then when I saw the very end -- he's Claire’s father, I said to myself, this definitely has potential to carry on forward. Having said that, I had no idea that the role would become what it did. I had no idea the show would become the sort of juggernaut that it has become. I did know that there was a tremendous buzz within the industry about this show; so it’s kind of being seen as the little engine that could. But I think that within people in the industry, this show was always seen as something that was potentially going to break out.

Question: And I'm also wondering what comic books you read as a child, and what superheroes you looked up to?
Jack Coleman: Well, it’s funny, because I was -- generally, people are kind of DC guys or Marvel guys, and I was sort of a Marvel guy. I liked Spidey. I liked Spiderman. That whole thing, and I always felt that the Marvel comics had that great sort of an angst to the characters. There was a soon to be -- sort of more of a personal cost to all of this stuff as opposed to straight square-jawed heroes going in and cracking heads and making things right; so I was -- that was -- I was kind of a Marvel guy, and those were the comics that I really liked.

Question: Coming back on the questions on the glasses again, have you seen anybody who has actually been wearing the glasses? Because this is sort of thing that, you know, the side burns on the 90210, that you can imagine people trying to do on their own. Have you seen anybody actually falling in your fashion footsteps?
Jack Coleman: I'm not sure that I've actually set off a fashion craze. I certainly have seen some pairs of horn-rimmed glasses that maybe I just wasn't aware of before because they didn't stand out. You know, like, when you go and buy a white car then suddenly you notice all the white cars. But I have seen them out there and they are kind of anachronistic, and it takes a certain -- you have to have a certain fashion courage to be anachronistic in this day and age. I don't know if it’s going to be setting off a trend or not. You know, there is a kind of a hipness to being that retro.

Question: And any chance that you might endorse some yourself -- kind of on the side or something?
Jack Coleman: Well, you know, I'm just waiting for the call to come in.
No. I don't know, I haven't taken it down that road. I haven’t even thought of it in those terms.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: Since you are on a show where there are heroes and it looks like there are good guys and there are bad guys, but there is all that ambiguity to it. What do you think? Do you think the show would be just as popular or just as watched now if there wasn't all those shades of gray. If there was more straight forward -- you're good you're evil?
Jack Coleman: It very well might be. It wouldn't be as interesting a show though. That's for sure. In my opinion, to me what makes the show interesting are the shades of gray are the fact that, although, we're talking about super abilities. No one’s donning costumes. People don't have to deal with the fact that it does make them a freak. It does make them hunted. I mean, if you think about what -- how people might actually respond to these types of things. There could be sort of widespread panic; so I just like the fact that there is a price to pay, and that it -- that you really have to come to terms with your ability. If you look at the difference between say Peter and Nathan, Peter is trying desperately to embrace all of his abilities; whereas, Nathan is trying desperately to deny his abilities, because it is a total liability to what it is he does for a living. So, yeah, I think the shades of gray and the nuances, is definitely what makes it interesting. And just the fact that people really have to try to deal with these things. I think the realistic human consequences are what makes the show interesting, and I think it’s what makes it appeal to people. I think that the old days of the straight forward super hero are probably behind us, for better or worse.

Question: As someone who you said a few answers ago -- that you were a Marvel guy. How does it feel to have Stanley make an appearance on the show?
Jack Coleman: Oh. It was brilliant. I was working on the day that he came in to the makeup trailer, and he was just the nicest guy, and he was shaking hands and signing autographs. Everybody loved him, and it was great. I don't know how old he is, but he's a spit fire. He's in great shape. It was really fun to have him on the show.

Question: Is HRG aware that the Haitian can speak?
Jack Coleman: Ahhh, that little tidbit rears its head very soon and much we say causes a bit of friction between the two of them. So, yeah, and at the moment, no, at the moment, no, and but very very soon. It becomes aware of it and is a -- does cause a problem between the two of them, at least temporarily.

Question: Okay. And have you had a particular sequence in the series that has stood out to you in 15 episodes that have aired thus far?
Jack Coleman: Well, yeah, I mean there are several. I’ll just say that the end of episode of 117, which I will not tell you exactly what it is, but it’s very emotional, and it stuck with me for a while. So it’s that I think of all the scenes that I've done, and there are many that are fun and memorable, but I think the end of Episode 117 or 17, which airs a week from Monday, is the one that has really stuck with me. Sorry I can't be more specific.

Question: The heroes have only come to discovery in the past six months or so; so what has your character and his organization been doing for the past 15 years?
Jack Coleman: No. Well, I think that there's -- that's actually not accurate. The organizations been going on for 15 years and people have manifested well before this. The episode which was entitled -- six months ago, which was Episode ten, was -- that's where Claire first manifests. That's where a lot of things start to happen -- instead propelled our story from this point forward, but there's a lot of back stories to a number of these heroes, that and some heroes that we haven't met yet that go back well before then.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: I also understand that your character is teaming up with Matt Parkman for an episode. Can you talk about that relationship, and maybe any other cast members that you haven't had a chance to work with yet that you’re hoping to?
Jack Coleman: Yeah. Well Matt Parkman, Greg Grunberg, and I -- our characters have met a couple times in very sort of odd and confrontational ways, and we're about to do the episode, that again -- that airs a week from Monday the 17th. That's kind of ... I won't call it a marriage of convenience, but there's sort of an allegiance which takes place out of necessity, and the allegiances are constantly shifting. That's one of the things that I really love about the episode, is that as soon as you think you know who is on whose side, and who knows what and who doesn't, all of a sudden the land shifts beneath you and things are suddenly very different.
So that is something that, and so I really had a great time working with Greg, and that’s been a lot of fun and also with Matt Armstrong who plays Nuclear Ted. He and I have worked together before. And then I've still -- I have not worked with Masi. I haven't worked with -- that's actually just about to change too, and I haven't worked with Ali yet. I've barely worked with Adrian. I haven’t really worked with Adrian. And so there is a bunch of people on the cast, and I've actually integrated with more story lines than many, but I look forward to all these things expanding as they are about to.

Question: How do you think he feels about his wife basically turning into a vegetable?
Jack Coleman: I, actually, I think that it's one of the things that really brings all of this to a crisis. Brings this story to a crisis -- is this toll that it is taking on his family, and I think there's maybe a scene cut out that was -- it doesn't matter I won’t talk about scenes that were cut out -- anyway, I think you will soon see that the toll it is taking on his family is starting to really wear on HRG and he can no longer just sort of roll with it and gloss it over.

Question: Because your character remains so enigmatic throughout the show, is it wrong trying to figure out how to play the part or are the writers building up enough info about the general direction to give you something to work with?
Jack Coleman: Well, one of the things that usually happens is, there’s usually one of the writer/producers is on set, or a lot of -- several of our directors or producer -- and they tend to have knowledge of things that I may not have knowledge of. So they are good at filling in the blanks where they need to be, because, there are some scenes where I'm just kind of at a loss, but I don't think it's not the grayness or the ambivalence, because I think my feeling is, I have a very specific attitude toward and motivation for every individual scene, and those things are often kind of at odds with each other, when they are taken in total. But for the scene itself, you know, I just try to play what I think is going on at that moment, and not worry about how does this fit into the greater picture; because, again, on serial television the greater picture is ever shifting, and this show is as well. So you just sort of have to trust that that your own truth -- that you bring to it -- will kind of work as a glue to hold together things which might seem to be contradictory, if that makes any sense.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: Touched on the fact that your wife’s a kind of unraveling, mentally, given that HRG is clearly a smart guy, did it occur to him that re writing someone’s synapses might eventually cause some damage?
Jack Coleman: I think it probably occurred to him, but this, he's kind of guy -- he’s living in the moment. Deal with it -- now deal with it -- deal with it now, and I think that's sort of his overriding concern, and also in Episode 17, you will, when we -- there's a flash back to a period when this kind of stuff starts, and I'm sure in this line of work it can become kind of addicting knowing that you can be found out and then go back and erase it. Providing that the Haitian is available. But, yes, so it’s all just about to come a cropper.

Question: Sylar is well established as HRG’s biggest nemesis now, having targeted your daughter and leading home and attacking your wife. What can you tease about how HRG, is now going to approach and handle Sylar. Now is he going to be overwhelmed by feelings for revenge, or is he going to be vowed by his duty to (???)?
Jack Coleman: Well. I can tell you that the antithesis or the -- I'm getting a little cross-eyed here. The antipathy towards Sylar is put on the back burner for a while, because other things come up and supersede it. Sylar’s out on his own, reeking havoc sort of, away from the prying eyes of HRG for a little while, and HRG has other things on his plate, which are demanding his full attention. So I can say that I'm not exactly sure what HRG’s approach to Sylar is going to be toward the end of the season, but how it's all going to play out, but there is no question that that’s the guy that would very much like to get his hands on or somebody’s hands who can deal with him, but that is something which I think will keep HRG moving forward.

Question: Certainly for sure. And as you're going along shooting the season, have you been working on anything in terms of extras or anything featurettewise, that you think may be included on, in an inevitable season one DVD?
Jack Coleman: Yes. There's all the sort of ETK stuff that we've been doing behind the scenes. Yeah, it will be fascinating to see what the DVD set is put together first season, however, they are going to do it, because, there's been plenty of stuff and interviews and behind the scenes stuff, and also, probably some scenes that didn't make it, and just sort of exploration of the first season. It will be fascinating, yeah, there's been quite a bit of that.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: You know the dynamics between you and Hayden, Claire, and, of course, as a father and daughter has escalated and gotten worse. The point in time where those characters will almost be enemies, and is that somewhere where you think your character can go, and what do you see moving along as you continue to get scripts?
Jack Coleman: Yes. I mean as any allegiance on this show is subject to change; so it certainly can happen. I think and suspect that the relationship; I mean, certainly the relationship between HRG and Claire has been very strained lately and, again, 117 you will see a lot of it, again, comes to a head there's a crisis situation in which brings it to a head, and then you know possibly some kind of at least temporary resolution, I suspect that the relationship between Claire and HRG is one of the core values, sort of speak, of this show in that, as twisted as the relationship is, they have almost said so many lies to each other, but, ultimately, I think they really do love each other and there’s a tremendous bond there. I think that it will -- there’s one of the sort of the bed rocks, that they will build story on; so in other words, I think ultimately, it's -- I can't imagine that -- that they're going to be at each others throats and trying to go kill each other to that extent. I think it's much more of a domestic issue than some sort of a super hero issue.

Question: Does it bother you that you and a very few members of the cast don’t actually have a super power? Do you feel like you’re missing out on fun prosthetics and the other things they get to do, or and if there was one, one of the other characters, when you look at the script, do you kind of covet and go that would have been cool to play?
Jack Coleman: My experience with prosthetics is that they are a lot more fun to watch than to do. So, no, I don't. It’s also kind of fun to be the guy that has to rely on knowledge and anticipation to stay alive in this world. And you will see that up to this point he'd been pretty on top of things, and it’s starting to unravel; so but I don't, I mean, cause I never envisioned. I just never thought of it as, darn, I wish I could read peoples’ thoughts or fly or start fires or whatever. I just think of this guy as someone who really has to rely on his knowledge and understanding of the situation to survive, and that stuff is every bit as much fun for me to play as getting burned to a crisp and healing; because, that's a lot of prosthetics and, frankly, that's not really that much fun.

Question: Now you've been mentioning this Episode 17, and how there's gonna be a lot of big payoffs there for Jack, HRG, is there a catharsis for you that you get to finally film a lot of these payoffs sort of things?
Jack Coleman: Yes, in a word. It's -- the story is very much -- takes place in the present, but we also flash back to see how he got started in the company, and how he came to be in possession of Claire, and how a lot of things happened, but also, driving it forward from our present point. As well to a point where, you see, you know HRG really has to make a decision, and he does, and he takes a stand, and it reaches a very very dramatic conclusion.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: Heroes has developed a lot of on-line material for fans. Do you follow a lot of the on-line stuff, or do you sort of shy away from that sort of community?
Jack Coleman: No. I follow it to an extent, I'm a little bit of a ludite; so I'm not somebody whose deep into all that entire on-line culture of these shows, but I follow it a little bit, and it is pretty fascinating to hear the theories and to see all the different ideas people have about what’s happening and some of them are incredibly inventive and some of them are fairly accurate and some are just way off, but you can be very wrong today and proven right six months from now; because, it's a very fast moving show.

Question: What does it tell us? Did you always want to be an actor while you were growing up, or did you have another profession in mind?
Jack Coleman: It’s funny. I wouldn't say. I always wanted to be an actor. No, I look at Hayden who’s been doing this since she was two, and there's just never been any doubt in her mind, and she pursued it from a very early age, and I grew up on the east coast, and I wasn’t surrounded by Hollywood; but I was always into theater and acting, and I did it all through school, and then when I went to college, I went to Duke and was, at the time, it was a very small program there, and now it's actually quite big.
I just -- my freshman year, I just decided I was doing some theater and I decided this was really what I wanted to do. I had done it seriously all through high school as well, but while I was in college is when I made the decision. I went to the National Theater Institute and New York and, eventually, out here out here, being Los Angeles, but it was not something from early childhood that; I mean, other professions -- I was a jock, and I loved playing sports, but I don't think I was ever under the illusion that I was going to make it as a professional. And I'm the youngest of seven and all the other professions were taken by the time I became of age; so I chose the “look at me” profession, I guess.

Question: What makes a career as an actor a rewarding, after all this time, field?
Jack Coleman: Well. I mean what's happening right now is incredibly rewarding, and it's Woody Allen, I think said, half of it is just showing up. I don't -- part of it is just really, is just of sort of refusing to go away. You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you are good and sort of refuse to go away and, eventually, they might just hire you out of exhaustion. They just can't stand the fact that you keep showing up so they end up hiring you, but something -- it's just very hard.
This is the second really big hit that I've been on in television, but I have 20 years of work on television. And most of it is forgettable, and it’s just a way to sort of stay alive and pay the bills and, you know, keep your insurance up and all that kind of thing. All those mundane things that everybody struggles with, and part of it is, a big part of this business is refusing to go away and sometimes that gets rewarded and sometimes it doesn't. I mean something like this really is like lightening in a bottle. It really is hard to come by; so you know, I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: Do you prefer playing HRG as the baddy or do you think that the good father aspect is more interesting?
Jack Coleman: I think it's both really interesting. If you’re just walking around twirling your mustache and cackling like a villain, it’s just not that interesting, and people get tired of it. It really is just a weird dichotomy of this guy who is completely, on one hand, doing things that are so a moral possibly morally gray and possibly just a moral. And then on the other hand, comes home and dotes on his daughter. Sort of twisted as he may be those -- his feelings for his daughter are genuine and they are for his entire family; so I think it's that, I just -- I think it's the combination that make it interesting.

Question: And just to clarify, he really does have genuine feelings for her. She’s not just an experiment?
Jack Coleman: In my mind there is no doubt, and I think as the next couple episodes air you will see, there's no doubt that the feelings are genuine. And their feelings, that he's often tried to supplement, because he doesn't -- to be in his line of work you don't want to be beholden to your emotions and your family and things like that, but on the other hand, being a human being, it’s hard not to do that. So you know all that’s about to explode.

Question: Have you considered the possibility that HRG actually does have powers; so he's just motivated by kind of self-loathing?
Jack Coleman: No. I don’t see him being motivated by self-loathing, although, there's -- that's a deeper show than what we're doing. No. There's a legitimate question in that. Sometimes it’s hard to know what motivates these people. What was the first part of the question?

Question: Is he, perhaps, motivated for gathering these people…
Jack Coleman: Oh. Whether or not he has powers?

Question: Yeah?
Jack Coleman: No. I don't think he does. I don't think HRG has powers, and I may be proven wrong down the line. At the moment, I don't know see that.

Question: What was the most challenging scene you had to do so far for Heroes?
Jack Coleman: Well, probably, without giving away too much, doing a scene in Japanese. I recently did an entire scene in Japanese, and that was challenging because that took quite a bit of time for me to memorize and get comfortable enough so that I could do it. So, possibly that, and then there's some scenes that are physically strenuous, and but I don't think there was one that caused me quite as much angst as when I got the script and saw that I was doing a page and a half in Japanese. That got my attention very quickly.

Question: Okay. If you are to choose an extraordinary ability what would you choose, and how would you use it to help people?
Jack Coleman: Whose to say that I would use it to help people, that's kind of a Polly Anna way to view the world, no, I don't know, there's sort of a visceral thrill of flying, which I don't think anything can beat, and then there's the ability to turn invisible, but I was king of invisible all through the 90's; so that didn't work out that well. And I don't know, there's -- also, we all search on this show for a snappy wonderful answer to that question. And so maybe, my special ability would be come up with a really really great answer to that question.

Question: Okay!
Jack Coleman: I'm still working on it.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: When did you know that you were becoming a regular, and do you know what prompted that, because as you said, it didn't look like HRG was starting out to become as integral as he has. I mean, did the writers always know that and just let you in on it later, or was there a moment where they went okay you're a lynch pin?
Jack Coleman: It's interesting; because, it's one of those things that sort of gradually builds. I don't think there was ever a knowledge or an intention that this is what’s going to happen. I think it’s been coming slowly. I knew Episode 11 was my first episode as a series regular. I started to get the idea that this was going to happen a few episodes beforehand, and I think a lot of it was just that this character serves so many different stories and can be a catalyst and drive stories in a way that people who are sort of struggling to get hold of their abilities, you know, you need an antagonist -- you need somebody who is driving them into a crisis. So there was that, and then I think there was also just the fact that they liked the chemistry with Hayden and me. And I think they liked how that had a really nice emotional residence which added to the creepiness of what HRG was doing during his day job. I think it, kind of sort of, made sense to keep him around for a little while.

Question: And to follow up on something you said, also, speaking Japanese is apparently the single most difficult thing, what's the most physically challenging thing they’ve let you do as opposed to your double?
Jack Coleman: Well, I will say without any trace of embarrassment that my interest in doing stunts is limited. I like -- I'm an athlete, and I like doing things that are handy. I'm not interested in high falls and being set on fire. I would say that recently we worked in fire and that was fairly hairy. And so that's -- it's fun to do that stuff, but I have no interest in being a stuntman, and people who say they do all their own stunts are either lying or putting a person in jeopardy and taking work away from stunt people, which I also don't like to do. So I would say that overall the most dangerous thing I have done on this thing is being in fire.

Question: But in terms of like punch ups?
Jack Coleman: Oh. Well, fights are generally much more controlled. Every once in a while a punch will slip and that's bad. But in general you try to take those things pretty calm, and I haven't had any big brawls and again in Episode 17 there are some punches thrown and received and you got to be careful with all that stuff. But that's not a big deal. But I'm talking about stunts that are really dangerous like, you know, either driving really fast or high falls or fire or doing things, rolling cars, stuff like that, none of that stuff interests me in the slightest.

Question: How’s life on the set, any shenanigans going on?
Jack Coleman: Oh. There's always plenty of shenanigans. If you've ever been around Greg Grunberg there are always shenanigans. It’s a fun set.

Jack Coleman interviewQuestion: And when you get home from set what other shows might be on your TIVO when it's time to relax?
Jack Coleman: I'll tell you the shows that are on my TIVO. The Office is on my TIVO; Extras is on my TIVO; Dexter is on my TIVO. Thinking of season passes, I am a fan of Studio 60, and I love the writing, and I love the acting on that show. And there are others that I watch sporadically like, Earl, I actually gravitate, oddly enough, more towards the comedies than the dramas, and HBO, there really is a lot of the HBO shows that I like. But for my money, the more interesting writing goes on on television than in the movies, in general, there are some obvious exceptions.

Question: There's been rumors, spoilers that Claire would be spending a lot less time in her home town of Odessa, Texas -- given that the mother seems to be collapsing on herself, and your son hasn't appeared in a while, are we to understand that maybe at the end of this season those two characters will not be as actively active participants in the story line that you and Claire will be, but those two will not?
Jack Coleman: I can honestly say I really do not know the fate of Sandra and Lyle. Sandra, being my wife, played by the wonderful, Ashley Crow, and Miles Randall Bentley, but I'm not sure, I don't know, actually, what's going to happen with them, but I don't think they're going to completely disappear at the moment.

Question: Did you anticipate that the viewers would latch on as dramatically as they have?
Jack Coleman: Well, I don't think anybody anticipated that it was going to be this, but I think everybody had an idea that the show had real promise. So the fact that it has stuck around and found an audience does not surprise me, but the fact that it has become this kind of runaway train is quite surprising, not because of the show. The show is amazing and deserves it, but you never never know, look at all the shows that were so highly touted which are off the schedule now, and it’s just such a crap shoot. You really don't know what you're going to get.

Question: Since we know you’ve got a second season, what might be set for any cliff hangers involving your character, and where do you see the character going in season two?
Jack Coleman: Okay. We're about to start filming Episode 20, I have no idea what is happening in Episode 21; so I'm not trying to be a kill joy when I say I have absolutely no idea what's gonna happen next season. I do think there are some relatively profound changes heading toward HRG, but I don't know that they're going to continue or that they're going to or what's going to happen into the next season. Sorry.

Question: You don't have a sense of it might change or anything?
Jack Coleman: Oh. I think the mission will definitely change. The question is for how long, and at what cost; so it certainly is not going to be the same kind of bagging and tagging we've seen HRG do with Matt some of the others, or I think that -- I think it’s going to be a very different kind of mission that he's on.

Question: Jack thank you so much.
Jack Coleman: My pleasure.

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


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