Superheroes are only as exciting as the villains they’re fighting, and Heroes sure gave them a good one. Sylar was a shadowy figure at first, killing heroes in the most graphic way, sawing their heads open. Now we know he is collecting super powers to make himself the biggest supervillain ever. We spoke to Zachary Quinto, the latest actor to join the Heroes cast now that Sylar has been identified.
Crave Online: How long do you foresee Sylar being the main villain? Do you worry he might be taken care of and they move on?
Zachary Quinto: I don’t worry about it. I’m having a great time. I’d like to stay around as long as I can but I understand the nature of the show and I want to serve the show. If that means I have to take a bow to somebody else, I’m happy to do it because the show’s going to evolve as it will.
Crave Online: Whose powers are you looking forward to acquiring next?
Zachary Quinto: Well, clearly I really want Hayden’s powers. I would love to not be able to be harmed in any way but I don’t know. We’ll see where the road takes us in the coming weeks. We meet some new heroes; we meet some new people that haven’t been around yet. Maybe I’ll want to acquire some of theirs.
Crave Online: How about you personally, knowing what special effects will be involved, are there some you want and some you dread?
Zachary Quinto: I really want to fly. As an actor, I really want to get strung up on the wires because I’ve seen Milo and Adrian and it makes me like I totally want to do that. So I don’t know what would have to be involved for that to happen.
Crave Online: Most actors don’t want that.
Zachary Quinto: Dude, that seems like so much fun. I don’t understand those people.
Crave Online: You know they leave you there all day.
Zachary Quinto: I don’t know. I’m sure it’s workable. It’s negotiable. If you gotta get down, they’ll let you down.
Crave Online: Is it fun to be bad?
Zachary Quinto: Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s such a joy. It really is.
Crave Online: Are there any villains you take inspiration from or try to avoid?
Zachary Quinto: No. I feel like the writing on the show is so clear and so specific and so good, I take my cues from the writing. I take my cues from where the character is going in the context of the world that they’ve created. I don’t feel like I’ve found the necessity to look outside of the world of this show or the choices that I make organically to find anything about what this character does. They’re all coming pretty much from me and within me.
Crave Online: How soon in did you know what Sylar was doing? Did they tell you before?
Zachary Quinto: I had a sense of what he was after from the beginning. I talked to them a lot right after I got the job, before I started working and got a clear sense of generally where it was going. But they surprise me every week and every time I open a script, there’s some new element that I wasn’t expecting or wasn’t necessarily clued into that really keeps it exciting.
Crave Online: Have you felt the impact yourself of how big this is?
Zachary Quinto: Oh yeah. It’s such a joy. So many people are really excited by what we’re doing and as an actor, that’s really gratifying. That’s part of the reason why you get in the game in the first place.
Crave Online: Do you get mobbed?
Zachary Quinto: I wouldn’t say mobbed although tonight has been a little bit overwhelming. Mobbed, no, but it gives me an opportunity to meet people that I wouldn’t otherwise meet. And if those people are interested in the work that I’m doing then that’s really gratifying and it makes me feel really good about the commitment that I made and the investment that I’ve made in what I’m here to do.
Crave Online: What do you miss being able to do anonymously?
Zachary Quinto: I haven’t gotten that far into it to be honest with you. I haven’t seen my life affected in any way negatively that makes me feel overly exposed or overly witnessed or anything. It’s sort of still really. I’m a pretty private person. I pretty much live my life regardless of who’s around. That hasn’t been too much of a problem.
Crave Online: Were you in any of the earlier Sylar scenes as a shadow figure?
Zachary Quinto: From episode eight I was. Anything before episode eight it was somebody else. It was a stunt guy but after episode eight it was me.
Crave Online: Do you look back and think you would have done it differently?
Zachary Quinto: No, I think they did a really good job and I actually think that physically, the stunt guys that they hired had some resemblance to the way that I move. They were built a little bit differently but it was definitely a foreshadowing that worked that I could easily step into.
Crave Online: How do you like doing action?
Zachary Quinto: I love it. It’s really cool. The fights and the special effects stuff is really fun.
Crave Online: Is it ever distracting to take hours to set up those scenes?
Zachary Quinto: Distracting, no. Borders on tedious sometimes but everybody is so fun to hang out with that it’s never a problem.
Crave Online: How do you pass the time?
Zachary Quinto: I read scripts. I’m learning how to play the banjo so sometimes I’ll sneak off to my trailer and pluck away for a little while. I have my dog at work sometimes. He’s an Irish wolfhound, Airedale terrier mix. He comes to work with me sometimes so I’ll take him out for a run and play with him and hang out.
Crave Online: What physical stuff is coming up?
Zachary Quinto: There’s definitely some sort of fight, some flying across the rooms, some kicking butt, some of that stuff for sure.
Crave Online: Have you learned the secret to selling a fake punch?
Zachary Quinto: Oh yeah, Ian Quinn, our stunt guy, stunt coordinator is really, really good and really clear about how to sell stuff but I come from a background of theater school so I have at least a little bit of stage combat training.
The hero closest to catching Sylar was Matt Parkman. He joined the police hunt before they even knew he was a superhero. Matt only knew the name from reading thoughts. If he looks familiar, that’s because actor Greg Grunberg appears in everything produced by J.J. Abrams. He was in Alias, Felicity, Mission: Impossible III. They even made him the pilot of Lost’s crashed plane. Finally, Heroes lets him actually do something.
Crave Online: Tell us what’s coming up?
Greg Grunberg: Yeah, I interact with most everyone. I’m sort of the Mulder and Scully of the show so I’m getting closer and closer to finding out the truth of what’s happened to me. The episode we’re shooting right now is a huge undertaking. It’s this monster episode and it’s really amazing. Jack Coleman and I are working together a lot and I’m in 90% of things and scenes and so forth.
Crave Online: Cooperatively working together?
Greg Grunberg: Begrudgingly cooperatively. We have to for a specific purpose and it’s really exciting. So I have some great stuff coming up. He was also on Dynasty, Jack Coleman. Oh yeah, he was one of the Carringtons.
Crave Online: Are there any other cast member you want to work with?
Greg Grunberg: Yes, Adrian and I have not worked together. Sendhil and I. We hang out all the time but I really love what they’re doing and I would love to work with them. Milo and I have worked together but not that much. Ali and I worked together. Ali and I did some great stuff together.
Crave Online: What do you do when you hang out?
Greg Grunberg: Usually one of us, we do it once a month and one person, we go over to their house. At my house we’re going to have skeletons out of your closet worst thing you ever did party. It’s going to be great and everybody has to bring their tape and if they don’t bring their tape, I’m going to find it before they get there so they better bring it. It’s going to be great, a lot of fun.
Crave Online: Is it nice to have a super power vs. Alias where you had to watch her be the hero?
Greg Grunberg: It’s pretty great. It really is great. It’s great to be at the center of this great ensemble and then the next episode, shift over to the right a little bit, and come back. Every once of us plays an integral part in the story. They’re really doing a great job of that.
Crave Online: Is there a system of rules for how you hear thoughts, like when it got too much in the quickie mart?
Greg Grunberg: Well, the only rule system that they’ve set up is that I hear the thoughts. I can’t pull them out without hearing somebody actually having a thought. So I can’t go into your head and pull some knowledge that you have stored. You have to be thinking about it which is interesting. There’s a reference in the episode we’re shooting now where I’m trying to find some information and the guy says, “What have you got?” And I’m like, “He’s thinking in Japanese. I have no idea what he’s saying.” So they are sticking to the rules in a lot of this stuff.
Crave Online: Does it make you sad there are JJ Abrams shows you’re not on right now?
Greg Grunberg: Yeah, actually, J.J. and I talk about that all the time. It’s so funny, I just called him. I saw him when I presented at the Golden Globes and then I called him on my way home and I pretended, I said [in accent], “This is Eena from the Golden Globe, from the Hollywood Foreign Press. Just so you know, Grey’s was in first place, and then Big Love, then Heroes. Lost was in last place.” We e-mail and leave messages for each other all the time and it is the one thing that doesn’t put this into the stratosphere. This is a dream job of all dream jobs but I have Jesse Alexander and Tim Kring and Dennis and Alan. These guys are incredible so very happy.
Crave Online: Don’t we still need the pilot’s flashback on Lost?
Greg Grunberg: We did. We did a pilot flashback on the DVD but no, they’ve mentioned it and they’ve talked. My schedule, it’s just so hard and also they shoot in Hawaii. But I’ll do anything. J.J. asks me to do anything, I’m there.
Crave Online: I was waiting for you to turn out to be Philip Seymour Hoffman’s boss in MI3.
Greg Grunberg: That would have been great. What if Sloane would have come to me at the very end of Alias and said, ‘Sir, I did the best I could?’ That would’ve been the best. You’d never see that coming. Then I would have been the ultimate villain in that moment.
Crave Online: What’s J.J. going to give you in Star Trek?
Greg Grunberg: I hope something good. I mean, he’s finalizing the script right now so I just talked to him today and he said, “I’ll send it to you as soon as it’s done” so hopefully it’ll be very soon. I’d love to be a Vulcan, it’d be great. That would be incredible. I don’t want to sit through too much makeup though. That’s the one thing I’m worried about but we’ll see.