Greg Grunberg

Greg Grunberg's professional credits date back over 15 years. In his early career he made appearances on US shows including Melrose Place, Baywatch, and Murphy Brown. He also featured in films such as The Hollow Man and BASEketball. His first major recurring role was on the TV series Felicity, which was created by his childhood friend, JJ Abrams. Sci-fi fans will know Grunberg for his regular role as Eric Weiss in Alias. He is also famous for playing the doomed pilot in the first episode of Lost. He currently stars in NBC's Heroes as Matt Parkman, a down-on-his-luck LAPD beat cop who is starting to hear the thoughts of others, which puts him on the trail of an elusive serial killer. Sci-fi Online caught up with Grunberg as Heroes was about to start broadcasting on the Sci-Fi Channel...

Sci-Fi Online: Can you tell us about Matt, the character you play in Heroes?

Greg Grunberg: He's an LAPD cop, he's got dyslexia, he can't advance and become what he really thinks he should be, which is a detective or something more important - be where the action is. He can't do this because he has dyslexia and can't pass the tests and now suddenly, he's hearing voices.

He gets the one ability that a cop needs to solve crimes as quickly as possible and be the best he can be. But this then changes the rest of his life.

SFO: Your character can read minds, how does he feel about keeping his mental powers a secret?

GG: It's going to be a constant struggle for my character. He's having issues with his wife. They've not been at each other's throat, but there's a conversation they always have where she says: "Hey, why can't you be satisfied with our lives?" And he wants more.

What I love is that it's not as simple as telling people: "Hey, this is what's happened." People aren't going to believe you, they're going to think you're nuts, how do you handle it? When my character first realises that he can't control it, it's an amazing thing.

The scripts are so great. When I read them, I get an idea of what a cool idea it would be to read people's minds. I'm like: "Oh, this would be great." It's on such a simple level. I read and it's just like: "Wow, that's the greatest way to use it." I've already shot a little bit where I'm using it to satisfy my wife.

SFO: What does the future hold for the characters? Do they become a team of superheroes?

GG: Don't assume that every one of these characters is good, that's something so interesting. As actors, Masi [Masi Oka who plays Hiro Nakamura on Heroes) and I have had this conversation: "Are we going to be good? How are we going to use these? Are we going to realise, wow, these powers, they empower me in such a way that I can use it for evil purposes?"

We have no idea whether we're going to be good or bad. It's just so interesting to see what somebody would do if given these abilities.

SFO: What was the most exhilarating aspect of the production?

GG: For me, the most exhilarating thing has been the challenge of how to play, visually, a guy who can read minds. What does it look like when you do that?

It's been great fun. When I read the pilot, it read not only as a pilot but as a show and a series with a past and a future. It constantly surprises and entertains me.

It deals with character first, then once you latch on to these characters, you want to take this ride with them wherever they're going.

I'm one of the fortunate actors to play a character who, just by definition of what he does, is a hero. Cops, firemen, they're all heroes to me.

SFO: If you had a superpower, what would it be?

GG: I always dreamt of invisibility, that was a really cool thing for me. But right now on the show, I get to read people's mind which is incredibly cool. I'm learning throughout shooting, and by becoming this character, that at times, it can be sad and really enlightening at the same time. You don't always want to hear the thoughts of others.

SFO: If you could read anyone's thoughts right now, whose would they be?

GG: I would love to know the future of the show. Right now, I'd love to be in Tim Kring's head.

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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