‘HEROES’ Q&A WITH ZACHARY QUINTO
The villainous Sylar talks about the upcoming third season that’s right up his character’s alley and his role as Spock in ‘Star Trek!’
By Danny Spiegel and Steve Sunu
The third season of “Heroes,” returning September 22, will finally give the show’s stars some major opponents. The season, aptly titled “Villains,” promises to introduce new individuals with a veritable cornocopia of new abilities. Look for some major changes in the “Heroes” paradigm later this month. Considering the title of the newest installation in the Heroes saga, who better to get the skinny on the new season from than the original “Heroes” villain, Sylar? Check out our Q&A with Zachary Quinto!
‘HEROES’ Q&A WITH ZACHARY QUINTOWIZARD: What can we expect from Sylar this season?
ZACHARY QUINTO: Every script I’ve read so far is so full of unexpected twists and surprises for my character. He’s going places that I never really imagined he would or could go. I think there’ll be some really unexpected pairings and I just think he’s going to be called upon in different ways this season to really examine his hunger.
It wasn’t 100 percent clear at the very end of this past season. Does he have all of his powers back or just the telekinesis?
QUINTO: That’s something that unfolds at the beginning of this season. He’s making a really concerted, solid effort to get them all back. It’s not quite complete yet. But it will be. Maybe. Maybe not.
How would you compare playing a desperate, powerless Sylar from Season Two versus the power-crazed Sylar from Season One?
QUINTO: A power-crazed Sylar is much more certain in his ability. A little more cocky. Whereas desperate, powerless Sylar was sort of grasping at straws, doing whatever he could, manipulating people emotionally. I liken last season to sort of being a cornered animal. I don’t think that with his powers that he is quite so reckless. He’s much more calculated.
Wouldn’t you say, though, with what you brought to it, that even without his powers he’s dangerous?
QUINTO: Oh, yeah. He’s almost more dangerous because he’s willing to do whatever it takes, like stabbing Alejandro with his bare hands. He engages in behavior that is almost more dangerous because it’s more unstable.
Sylar and Peter Petrelli are the ultimate foes in terms of power level. Have you and Milo Ventimiglia ever arm-wrestled to figure out who would win in real life?
QUINTO: [Laughs] Well, I think it’s a safe bet Milo would kick my ass. I don’t know what his workout routine is [but] he’s always on one. Although, I’ve been hitting the gym, so maybe I’ll give him a run for his money this season. We’ll see.
If you had to say, do you think you’ll best be remembered for playing Sylar, Spock or Tori Spelling’s best pal, Sasan, on VH1’s “So NoTORIous?”
QUINTO: Well, they’re all five-letter names that begin with “S,” so…uh, I don’t know. I mean, I think that each of them has been a progression. Each of them is built on the role that came before it, certainly, in terms of exposure and creative opportunities and experiences. But I don’t think that I could appreciate where I am today in my work, in my career or in my life if I hadn’t had all of them. As different as “Star Trek” is from “So NoTORIous” or as different from “Heroes” is from it, that was a great experience for me. I had a really fun time and learned a lot and [“So NoTORIous”] was the first time I really got to do comedy with any consistency. I can’t wait to go back and do that again.
When you were preparing to play Spock, was there any sort of verbal or physical shorthand you specifically used to key into the character?
QUINTO: Well, it’s interesting, I did not really watch a lot of old “Star Trek” in preparation for the movie. I prepared in other ways and then started watching episodes once we were already filming, so my entry point for the character was much more rooted in my relationship with Leonard, personally, and the opportunity that I had to talk to him about it and really get to know the psychology of the character. There are certain physicalities that Spock manifests that are truly connected to that character, like the way he carries himself and the way he relates to the world. And so there were certain things that over time, I think, emerged that were echoes of the way Leonard carried himself, but I wouldn’t consider that any of them were entry points for me. I found my entry points elsewhere.
Were there times when you were talking with him that you thought, “Holy crap–I’m hanging out with Leonard Nimoy!?”
QUINTO: Yeah. I mean, I just have such an affinity for him and I really enjoy him. I don’t really think of him as anyone other than the man that I’ve come to know. He doesn’t want to be seen any other way than who he is and how he lives his life—and he’s got a really rich and full life, his art collection and his photography and his traveling…I could spend, like, a day just looking at his art. I just think he’s just so rad. I feel really honored that he’s in my life.
Do you think the experience of playing such an iconic character as Spock at a young age will prepare you for, in 40 years, when they redo “Heroes” and recast Sylar with a younger actor?
QUINTO: [Laughs] I’ll be happy to hand the torch as he was. I think it’s taught me a lot about grace, just watching Leonard and the other [classic “Star Trek”] cast members as well—all of whom I’ve had an opportunity to meet—look back on their experience. There was a particular experience I had with them which was at the Scream Awards last year. I had the honor of presenting them with the 25th anniversary of “[Star Trek II:] The Wrath of Khan” and the surviving cast all came and accepted the award. And I was there with “Heroes” as well: Hayden, Milo, Dania, Kristen Bell and myself were all there. Just watching the five of them walk out on stage and being there with my castmates, there was definitely a parallel of how grateful I am to have these people in my life and how much I consider my “Heroes” castmates truly my working family. I had this epic, crazy, life-changing experience doing this movie and one of the really great things has been to come back to this world which is so familiar and so supportive and so comfortable. It’s been really nice to bring all those lessons, all those discoveries that I made when I was doing the movie, back here and to share them with my castmates and to share them with the work, you know?