Ali Larter

A native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Ali Larter began modelling at the age of 13 and moved to Los Angeles to study acting. Her first professional acting job was a role on the television series Chicago Sons (1997). She made her movie debut in Varsity Blues (1999) which led her into memorable roles in Legally Blonde (2001) and the first two Final Destination movies. She also played a fast-food-eating jewel thief in Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001). Larter has recently completed work on the movie Resident Evil: Extinction in which she plays Claire Redfield. She currently stars in NBC's Heroes as Niki Sanders, a single mother who struggles to support her gifted young son's private school education and whose mirror image has a secret. Sci-fi Online caught up with Larter as Heroes was about to start broadcasting on the Sci-Fi Channel...

Sci-Fi Online: What were your first thoughts on your character when you first read the script?

Ali Larter: When I read the pilot I didn't actually know what direction it was going other than the fact that you've got a really complicated woman who's just trying to get by. She's trying to be a great mother to her son and her world's really crumbling around her. So, it wasn't about what kind of power she was getting, it was just about her dealing with her life and wondering if she's going crazy and what's happening to her.

Where we're leading to is that there's going to be duality within my personality. So there's one side that has to conform to society's roles and laws and the shadow side that can actually live out the dark fantasies that, you know, are repressed within all of us. But we're going to get a little romance, we'll get a little bit of cheekiness in it and the amazing thing about this writing is that it really pushes me.

SFO: You have a son in the show, how did you find it playing a mother?

AL: Noah's [Noah Gray-Cabey who plays Micah Sanders] incredible. He makes my job easy. Watching his relationship with his mother has been a huge inspiration for me. She's so open and so giving, we discussed the scenes before and hang out whenever we have a chance. They have an incredible connection. Noah and I use as much as we can from that to inspire us within our roles.

I think that as a woman, there's a side in all of us that really has this desire and this need to protect a child. Watching my nephews there's definitely that side within me that would do anything to protect them. So I guess I understand that.

I've just been around kids my whole life. So it really hasn't been a struggle for me at all. It's been a natural transition and I just think it's a really interesting unique relationship.

SFO: Your character has an inherent sexuality, do you think it is important to stay in shape? How uncomfortable are the more risqué scenes?

AL: I think that I'm really actually lucky to play a very sexy, racy character. She's provocative and really fun, and part of the job is just keeping in shape for it.

I'm a runner, and for me, it's not just the physicality of it, it's an emotional release for me. It keeps me sane in a way. It's getting out there and just running as fast as I can.

Those scenes are always very embarrassing. I think any actor will tell you that. On the other side of it, sometimes you have just got to throw your hands up in the air and go with it and have fun. You make light of it and you make jokes on set.

It's a fun character and what's great about her is that she does have these sexy scenes. But on the other side you see her dealing with her son. What's amazing about this writing is that it found an incredible balance to show how multifaceted a character she is.

SFO: What has the response been from the actors to the huge success the show has already had?

AL: I think it's incredible. I think that, as actors, we just come in with great writing and everyone does the best they can do. So when an audience responds, that's just the icing on top of it.

We're also lucky to have some amazing directors. We're all just thrilled that people are loving the show as much as we love working on it.

SFO: Finally, if you had a super power, what would it be?

AL: I would fly. I'd love to soar, I think that would the greatest way to experience freedom, and I think that would be incredible.

SFO: Thank you for your time.

With thanks to Julie Warmington at Holler

Heroes will begin broadcasting on the Sci-Fi Channel from February 2007.

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