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Three years ago at the apex of Heroes' popularity, we spoke on a panel and someone tried to get Milo to make a bold statement about the show's world-conquering popularity. Milo wouldn't be baited. Instead, he said, essentially, "All shows get cancelled. Ours will too." No fool, Milo.
I'd like to say farewell to you, the loyal fans of Heroes. You guys have been the best, most invested fans I've ever seen. I'm not just blowing smoke - it's too late for that. The show's not coming back and I have a hard time seeing how the movie event would come together.
I just received the first script of Volume 5. It's a humdinger. We start shooting one week from today, June 8th. I'm looking forward to getting back. The new Company will not be what anyone expects, but it will be desperately needed. There's a whole new threat out there.
So, let's get right to it, shall we?
Where to begin? Liverpool, Paris, London. If you're thinking Liverpool doesn't belong in such august company, you would be wrong, at least as far as my family and I are concerned.
We went to Liverpool for a Beatles' pilgrimage and wound up falling in love with the city and its people. Expecting a grim, post-industrial city of abandoned row houses (in truth, they do exist) we found instead a lovely mid-sized city of culture, history (some ignominious -- the town prospered from the slave trade for a time) and fabulous green, open spaces just outside the city center. Some of these spaces have names like Penny Lane and Strawberry Field (singular, not plural, thank you very much.)
Last week, Liverpool honored the fallen from the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, in which 96 people were killed and hundreds injured at a football (soccer) match. It had nothing to do with hooliganism, by the way, it involved a narrow tunnel and a barricade that gave way. 30,000 people filled Anfield Stadium last Wednesday to pay tribute. Organizers had expected around 10,000. Everything in the city came to a complete stop at 3:06 pm, the exact time at which the football match was halted on that fateful day.
No real entry this week, folks. Getting ready to go on a trip with my wife and daughter to London and Paris! I can feel the tears of pity well in your eyes for me. We need to get away, I can tell you that. It's been a long time. If any of you are in England, I will be at the Memorabilia Event at the Birmingham NEC on Sunday the 29th of March. And then on April 11, I'm doing "An Evening With" in London (see www.wolfevents.com). Come by if you can!
Grunny Gone Wild.
So, there goes our boy, Greg Grunberg, on Twitter, saying good-bye to Season 3. In saying he wasn't sure whom, if any of us, will return, he set off a firestorm of speculation about whether or not Heroes has been cancelled. It hasn't. Greg was merely reflecting the uncertainty of all television shows -- who will return? That could mean cast, writers, crew, producers, anyone. It's a very unstable business, this show business. I know that comes as shocking news, given the demonstrable stability of most celebrities.
The point is: No one is safe. Sounds like a promo for Heroes, doesn't it? In fact, I think it was, a year or two back. This whole episode brings up two things for me:
1) The value and danger of instant communication, and,
2) The perception that Heroes is on the bubble.
Thanks to all of you out there who offered your birthday wishes over the weekend. It was very kind and I really appreciate it. I am now at the age when birthdays occur approximately every 19 days. Years have become long weekends. I remember so clearly when my sister was old enough that it was deemed safe for me to go out in a rowboat as long as she accompanied me. She was 14.
When I was 22 and a senior in college I briefly dated a 26-year-old. She seemed so much older and more worldly than me (she was). Now I'm shocked when 26-year-olds are weaned and can walk and talk all by themselves. Soon it will be me who needs assistance with the walking and talking. More the walking than the talking.
I want to quickly address the "walk away and shut up" comment from last week. It was a tongue-in-cheek remark that I assumed most readers would understand and find humorous. We all know what happens when you assume.
I should have given the comment some context. I did not mean that there should be no criticism of the show. I was not referring to reasonable viewers who feel the show is not as good as it used to be and wish to register their complaints. I was referring to the new cottage industry of Heroes bashing that has sprouted up both online and in mainstream media.
Those of us who make the show, and there are several hundred people involved, work hard to create a compelling, entertaining show that holds up week to week. If someone feels it has failed to do so, he or she has every right to say so. And contrary to what some might think, viewers are not taken for granted, nor do the producers and cast care only about ratings. The makers of the show care deeply about its fans.
What I object to, and what I should have stated more clearly, is the recent phenomenon of serial complainers who get ever more personal and nasty. They say they hate the show yet continue to watch, week after week, with the sole purpose, it seems, of coming up with new and nasty things to say about the show, the cast, the writers, etc.
It is these folks to whom I have extended an invitation to put down the poison pen and simply stop watching.
As I have stated before, I think this volume will be rewarding to viewers, solid fans and fence sitters, alike. A show like Heroes shoots far in advance to meet its production requirements. It adjusts course like an ocean liner, slowly. I feel that we are moving solidly in the right direction. And I invite you to join us.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
So, here we are. The end of 2008. What a fantastic, awful, exciting, terrifying year it was. If you only lost half your net worth, you're doing pretty well. On the bright side, in a month we will have a new cast of characters in Washington. Not a moment too soon.
Sorry about missing the last two weeks. It's because... oh, hell. It's gonna happen. You understand.
Monday night's episode was 311, "The Eclipse, part 2," wherein Sylar and HRG beat each other senseless. The scene culminates in a nasty collision of box cutter and jugular -- which, as any parent can tell you, is just not safe. This is the scene I wrote about several weeks (months?) ago in which Zach Quinto and I engage in fisticuffs for eight hours. Having not seen the episode yet, I don't know how long the sequence lasts, but I can tell you that however long it is, lots of it remains on the cutting room floor. (This expression, like so many others, is a charming anachronism. Heroes isn't assembled on film. Although shot on 35 millimeter film, it is edited digitally.)
I've got a cold. Thanks, Hayden. I worked with her all last week and she was sneezing all over the place. I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that the virus was transferred by way of burrito. She manhandled the darn thing before giving it to me. That was Monday, before I realized that she was polluted. Moments later, the sniffling and sneezing began. I've never seen a human being blow her nose so many times in one week. Let's hope I don't break her record.
So, I'm home today. Tomorrow we start episode 17. It's a huge one for me, along the lines of "Company Man," which was also episode 17, or "Cautionary Tales." This episode is entitled "Cold Wars." All three are two word titles beginning with C's. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.
Sorry for missing last week. There will be times that I just can't get around to writing the blog. I hope y'all understand. Here then is a partial list of excuses:
On top of work, there's my movie. We're in the midst of putting all the financing in place, an exercise that seemingly has no end and always needs attention. Then there's the construction. The entire front of our house is torn up. Also, my daughter has either soccer or a basketball game, it seems, every day of the week. To miss a game is a capital offense, punishable by death. Not that I would want to miss one. She's the leading scorer on her soccer team. They're in second place out of 22 teams, so it's a fun ride this season. Friday night, I worked until 5 am, got to sleep around 6, then got up at 8 so I wouldn't miss her game at 9. I know what you're thinking: Nobel Prize for parenting. That's certainly what I was thinking at 8 am. My daughter was somewhat less impressed.
Sylar and Bennet, Live in Griffith Park
"I'm sitting in a railway station, got a ticket for my destination..."
Zach and I warble, approximating harmony if never fully achieving it.
We're driving around a suburban street (there's no other kind) in Santa Clarita. More accurately, we're being towed in a "Company" car. We don't actually do any of the driving ourselves, we fake it. Acting, I believe it's called. Sylar and Bennet are on a mission to find Steven Canfield, who has the ability to create black holes -- not of the Landlady variety, of the astrophysical variety. Vortexes.
While the cameras role, we drip contempt for each other. When the cameras stop, and we are towed back to our starting place to repeat the scene using a different lens or a wider angle, or because Zach messed up; we bust out our Simon and Garfunkel repertoire, rusty and limited though it is. I feel sorry for our director, Anthony Hemingway (great name, great guy, great director) who has his headphones on and is subjected to harmonies that are remarkably Gregorian.
I am not in episode 304, unless they've pulled a scene from episode 305. All I can remember from 304 is future Sylar (Gabriel Gray) has a son named Noah and is living in the Bennet house in Costa Verde. WTF? Of course, this is only a possible future, as are all futures on our show.
So, in this volume I'm not talking about Heroes. I'm winging it. I thought maybe I'd talk about some of my other magnificent projects, the ones that from time to time make their way onto youtube. I like to think of them as a collection of my lamest hits.
Housekeeping: Yes, I did spell Cris Rose's name wrong last week, and yes, I do appreciate the irony of having corrected her on the pronunciation of Milo's last name on the Today show, only to turn around and spell her name wrong.
My bad. You're good. This is why I am writing a blog for TWoP. Because you guys are bright and on it. Cris loves you for it and may never let me live it down. Thanks a lot.
Episode 3. Sylar and HRG are partners. For now.
I love working with Zach. He's a fantastic actor. Facile, quick, strong technique. He knows his way around a scene right away. Television does not provide the luxury of time, either to rehearse or to yack for hours about "your motivation." It's always a death race to make the day, especially on Heroes, which is so technically complicated. Zach has a take on a scene right away and his instincts are usually great. Except for those times he has tried to keep me off camera or take my lines. You gotta watch him on that.
"Are you having trouble? Do you need cue cards?"
I look down at a 120-degree angle to see Hayden's shining face and innocent, disingenuous smile. I glare at her with all the venom I can muster.
"I'm just saying," she continues sweetly, "that if you're struggling to remember your lines, I'm sure props could provide you with cue cards."
As she walks away giggling, I wonder if the .45 in my holster is loaded.
I was struggling with my lines. I hadn't worked on HEROES in months and I was surprisingly nervous. It was episode 2 but I had no lines in episode 1 and now, because of the time away, I was a bit jittery.
It's late April. I'm in a van coming down from a glacial lake 70 miles east of Vancouver in British Columbia. I've just finished shooting a movie for the Sci-Fi channel entitled "Pole Reversal." It's only been a three week shoot but it seems longer, being away from home and having to work in rain and cold for the first time since, well, since the last time I worked in Vancouver. I grew up between Philadelphia and New York, but after years in California, I have become a Weather Weenie.
The rain is beating down on the windshield and though it's only 6:30 PM it has already been dark for hours. I call my wife and crow into the phone that I'm done, I'm coming home, and I can't wait to take it easy for several days.
"The first Heroes script has arrived," she tells me.
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