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.
On Heroes, we have come to the end of Volume 3 -- "Villains." We return the day after the Super Bowl with Volume 4 -- "Fugitives." It starts with episode 14, "A Clear and Present Danger," written by Tim Kring and directed by Greg Yaitanes. All reports are that it is one of the best episodes we've done to date. Greg is a superior director, Tim has written a taut script and from what I've heard and seen it looks like a feature and plays like gangbusters all the way through.
Although the themes remain big in the next volume, there is a return to more intimate storytelling, more character driven, with more emphasis on relationships. We get back to what made the show special in the first place -- character first, ability second. The show is at its best when the drama takes precedence over the effects. Everyone is in agreement about this. There will be lots of action and excitement but we will tell fewer stories per episode which means each story is told in more depth, especially as the volume progresses.
Bryan Fuller returns in episode 20. It's great to have him back. I am really optimistic about the next volume and where we are headed. There's no doubt in my mind that we are on the right track. The scripts are strong. The stories are compelling and relatable. I'm excited.
What do actors do all day while they're filming? I've seen this question on the boards lately. The answer is that it depends greatly on the day. There are times I spend most of the day in my trailer reading, making phone calls, even writing my blog (clearly, not a whole lot of that). Then there are days when I leave my trailer at 6 am and don't return until 8 pm.
On the set, some days it's espresso and crosswords all day and others it's pedal to the metal -- physical action or difficult acting scenes that require constant concentration. Because there is so little rehearsal in television, if you have a difficult acting scene, either lots of lines or emotional commitment, most down time is making sure you are ready to go the second the AD calls you back to set. Some days, the time between set-ups takes forever, and others, it seems the second your butt hits your chair they are calling you back.
That said, crosswords have become more and more popular on set. Rather than being individual events that alienate, on Heroes we tend to do crosswords as a group activity, cast and crew, mostly because we would never get all the way through them alone. The New York Times is the crossword of choice. For those of you who do them, you know that they get harder as the week goes on. By Friday, it can be tough.
There are two standout crossword performers on our show. Can you guess who they are? They are Cris Rose and Ashley Crow (Stanford and Auburn, respectively). Both are really strong. Honorable mention goes to Zeljko Ivanek, a very solid and seasoned crossword player. It seems a bit unfair that he should be so good at it, though, when his very name has been so obviously designed by puzzle makers.
Zeljko has come aboard for an extended arc as a guy you wouldn't want on your trail. He's a great actor, recently winning an Emmy Award for Damages. Imdb him and be prepared for some lengthy reading. He's in everything. And he's a great addition to our story. Whereas there have been cases of adding characters that only serve to crowd the landscape, Zeljko's character does the opposite. He provides an antagonist that allows our characters to rally together. You'll see.
Alright, guys. I'm checking out until 2009. I wish all of you good health (that means you, Ms. Bandita) and a very happy New Year. Let us hope a new administration and a measly trillion dollar stimulus package will lift us out of this recession/depression. It's tough out there. Here's hoping you all are well.
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