Actors and the Creator discuss what it's like working on the new hit show

In the often cutthroat world of network television it seems that many shows are often here today and gone tomorrow. Two recent examples that come to mind are Smith and Kidnapped. It is because of this climate that when a show manages to hang on and grab more and more of the audience market share, it ends up being celebrated because Heroes has managed to become a bonafide hit. This show which looks at ordinary people that are suddenly bestowed with extraordinary powers, was recently the first show picked up for a full season run.

On hand to discuss Heroes were Ali Larter, Santiago Cabrera, and show creator Tim Kring.

Ali, the series has its fair share of disconcerting moments, yours is definitely the story that's playing up to look like a horror film. Given your history with Final Destination, did you slip into the role pretty easily?

Ali Larter: You know what? I'm in a bit of fear and distress right now. But if you hold on for just one more episode, we're going to get a little romance; we'll get a little bit of cheekiness in it and it's actually what's amazing about this writing is that it really pushes me and makes me kind of find actually all different tones within our show.

So you're getting there. That's just the first couple of episodes. It definitely opens up to a whole new world.

Would the romance be with Heroes buddy?

Ali Larter: We'll see.

Santiago, I've been blogging about the show for our site and I have to wonder, if you had the ability to see the future, do you think maybe you'd spend more time trying to change the events you were seeing and less kind of whining about it?

Santiago Cabrera: Well, I think it depends on whether you're in control of it or not. I think that's the interesting about the surprises that this character can have is that at the moment he's not conscious of what he's doing. It's a pretty freaky thing. And there's that maybe that nature of my-evil-is-just-coming-from-inside-of-me or, you know, why-is-this-all-happening?

But obviously, if you're in control of it and you can put it to good use and you can, you know, do what you want with it, then that's a different story, you know, and I think that's the great thing about this show that it starts from the beginning of everyone discovering these things for the first time and obviously, it will be, you know, a process going through with each character and, you know, it'll take people to different places.

And Tim, when I did our fall preview, I opened my comments about Heroes by observing whoever had 21 years in the pool on when TV critics would forget about Misfits of Science, you're a winner, and then laughed out loud when I saw on IMDb that you actually wrote for the show.

Tim Kring: Is that right? That was just a lucky...

It was.

Tim Kring: Guess.

And you've been hoarding ideas for 21 years?

Tim Kring: Actually, Misfits of Science is long that I barely remember -- I literally barely remember what I wrote. But I've had, you know, I've had a long and varied career and so, when you look back at the career, there've been many different genres that I've been involved with.

So it hasn't been haunting you ever since?

Tim Kring: No, not really. I've actually just been going where the road takes (unintelligible) as a writer you, you know, when you look back at it, it's hard to make sense of career. It just seems to go wherever it wants to go.

I have a quick question for Ali about her character and exactly what is (yort) and you might know exactly what it is that's going on with her and her power and the image she sees in the mirror (may). You're probably further ahead than where the audience is. But when you first were starting to get to know that character, what was your take on her and what the deal was?

Ali Larter: Well for me, I mean especially 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 for me, it wasn't about what kind of power she was getting or that; 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.

And for Tim, what is the serial killer threat, the Syler character? Is that something that's going to go through the whole season and -- without giving stuff away -- can you say how that's related to overall...

Tim Kring: Well, I think it's safe to say that in a show that's called Heroes you need to have villains. And Syler, we are presenting early on as a major villain and yes, it's safe to assume that this character becomes the major villain for the first season.

And the people with heads cut off and the brains removed, I assume it's not by accident that we've seen that in a couple of different...

Tim Kring: Right. There was an MO that we're starting to become familiar with and it does have a genuine threat to our heroes.

And is that connected to Claire's dad or is that something separate?

Tim Kring: That you'll just have to stay tuned and see.

This question is basically for Tim, just asking, you know, the structure the show you have to balance so many different characters. Will you be changing the structure in terms of trying to balance each episode with all the characters and go to maybe some episodes where you'll just focus on one character or have you kind of found a place where you think you can balance all of them well?

Tim Kring: Well, the pilot sort of dictated it because we were introducing so many characters. A structure, at least for the first couple of episodes, where you had to really touch bases with everybody, we left big cliffhangers at the end of literally everybody's story in the pilot. It sort of dictated that we had to come back to that.

But if you sort of look at it as kind of funnel, it starts wide and starts to narrow exactly as you were saying. And as we get to know these characters and invest in them more, we're able to sort of drop one, you know, each episode or drop a couple each episode and focus on less and less stories. Also, as these characters start to cross paths, you no longer have to tell eight stories or four stories or three stories. So there is a natural progression that's allowing us to go with a less and less scattered story.

Will you - the cliffhangers are amazing each episode and I'm sure as great as it is to the audience to have, it's a challenge for you guys to structure that way. Will you back off of that a little bit as the season progresses or is that going to be a hallmark of the show?

Tim Kring: Well, it's pretty much staying at this point a hallmark of the show and that again, is one of the beauties of having these many storylines going at the same time is that it does allow you to find a moment at the end of each episode to cliff hang. So far we've, you know, there are some that are more - obviously more jaw-dropping than others and others are little bit more intellectual and some are visceral. But no, we're sort of committed to keeping that idea a lot.

Tim, you mentioned the long and varied career you've had and you've worked on shows that have been medical dramas and forensic dramas before. Are you discovering that there are things that you can get away with visually; doing the sort of comic book super hero show that you couldn't have gotten away with on those other shows like for example, a cheerleader chopped in half?

Tim Kring: You know, yes, basically we're trying to sort of use the -- exactly as you're saying -- sort of comic book or graphic novel nature of the visual that'll allow us to push that a little bit. Although we are experimenting, you know, sort of internally with what we - how much we want to try and push the gore factor. The truth is we, I think, have sort of found the limit there and we're backing off of that.

It's not our intention to be a kind of gore fest each week. But some of the stories kind of lead you to that. And again, as you were saying, to try and keep it in a kind of graphic novel, highly stylized version of it allows us to get away with it.

Following up on that, have the very young demographics for the first couple of episodes, have they caused you to sort of lower that ceiling for what the graphic threshold is that you can show?

Tim Kring: Yeah. We're sort of talking about that exactly internally that it does feel like there are families who are watching the show and it's not our intention to push them away with (unintelligible).

Santiago, both of you actors have mentioned here that your characters at this point wonder if they're really crazy or not. I wanted to ask you this, you've done a lot of Shakespeare and one of the things about Shakespeare is you get to have a lot of characters who are wavering between crazy and not crazy. Have you had some roles in Shakespeare that really helped you playing this guy?

Santiago Cabrera: I suppose. I suppose more than actual roles is that kind of the intensity of the preparation, having to bring variety to it. And the great thing about Isaac, I think, which has that quality and what attracted me is that you don't where he's going to go, you know, he's full of surprises and has that, you know, many layers and that depth about him. And, it certainly helped, I suppose, to have delved into that before because we want to try and reflect that same intensity and kind of, you know, variation to it.

And one other thing, usually like for a play or - at least you know where it's going at the end so you know where that character's going. When you started doing Isaac, were you as confused as the character was? Were you getting to play confusion because you really didn't know what was going to happen to him?

Santiago Cabrera: Yeah, in a way. I think that's the fascinating way about working this way. I mean for me, it's the first time when you as an actor, it's not every day that you don't know, you know, the whole story so you're kind of - you're like the audience in a way, and you live that, you know, on the set when you're actually shooting and you, you know, you have to use that and you bring it. So it's kind of - it's different and it's fascinating at the same time because you just kind of - you play in the moment and that confusing kind of yeah, you bring it to life in a way.

Tim Kring: This is Tim. I just wanted to add to that. We have all sort of made that pact on a show like this -- everybody, from the directors to the writers, to the actors that we are logging onto a big giant saga that unfolds each week and takes us in new and interesting and unexpected places. And so, it sort of helped, I think, everybody when we realized that we're all kind of in the same boat. So it's not like there's sort of one, you know, one person, meaning me, who's hoarding all of the information. I mean, you know, I have certain big tent ideas, big tent-pole ideas, you know, but the truth is so much of this is a journey and discovery for all of us.

My question is for Ali. I was wondering there're a couple of themes between the pilot and the few consecutive ones where you had to remove some of your clothing. I was wondering how do you keep in shape and how do you keep such a great figure?

Ali Larter: I was at the gym before this conference call. You know what? It's just part of life -- you go to the gym. And I think that I'm really, you know, actually lucky to play a very sexy, racy character and she's provocative and really fun, and part of the job, you know, is just keeping in shape for it. And, I'm a runner; I get my butt out there, and for me, it's almost not just for kind of the physicality of it, it's an emotional release for me and it keeps me sane in a way, it's getting out there and just running as fast as I can.

Great, great. Well then how uncomfortable or how comfortable are you with these scenes that you had to go through?

Ali Larter: You know what? It's always very embarrassing. You know, I think any actor will tell you that. On the other side of it, you know, sometimes you just got to, you know, throw your hands up in the air and go with it and have fun and you make light of it and you make jokes on set. And, you know, it's like - I mean, it's just a fun character and what's great about her is that she does have, you know, these sexy scenes but on the other side, you know, you see her dealing with her son. And what's amazing about this writing, I think, is that it found an incredible balance to show how multifaceted a character she is.

I wanted to ask you what power would you have if you were a superhero.

Ali Larter: I would fly -- I would fly, I would fly. I'd love to soar. For me, I think that would the greatest way to experience freedom, and I think that would be incredible.

Perfect. And what made you want to make the transition from TV to movies or from movies to TV?

Ali Larter: I think actually, I mean for me, I'm just - I look for great writing. And, you know, for me, I mean when I read this pilot that Tim wrote, it's just incredible and, you know, there aren't always so many great roles for women, and Niki Sanders is so interesting and she challenges me and pushes me. And so, I'm just, you know, thrilled to have found a character that I feel like I can really grow best.

Now that the show has come out and it's getting a lot of attention. And, what's it feel like for you to be involved? And I think this - and for Tim, you touched on this a little bit earlier, but now that you're getting response from viewers, is it changing the way that you're writing future storylines when you hear about certain characters that are popular or certain things that the viewers pick up on?

Tim Kring: Well actually, both of those questions are sort of related to one another. How are we responding to the success of the show? The truth is we are many, many, many episodes ahead of where the audience is right now so our particular, you know, needs and our particular challenges of the day -- production-wise and writing-wise and all of that -- are not something that the audience is responding to right now. So we live kind of in an alternate universe from what the audience is experiencing.

So even if we did want to respond to something that we felt the audience was telling us, there's such a big lag time between when they would actually see it and when we produce it. So it's sort of - it's an interesting kind of way to live so far out in the future from where the audience is.

And for the other - for the actors, what's been your response to this, the success of the show so far?

Ali Larter: Well, I think it's incredible. I mean, you know, we shot this pilot and, you know, I think that as actors you just come in with great writing and everyone just, you know, does the best they can do. So when an audience responds, that's just the icing on top of it, you know? I mean I think that we're all just thrilled that people are loving the show as much as we love working on it.

Santiago Cabrera: Yeah. In a way, I mean for me, as soon as you - when I was reading it, I just thought that what comes off on the page is translated on to the screen that we're into a winner, so in a way you're always hoping that you're not surprised there's been this reaction because it's really a unique show like, you know, like nothing else -- very different and edgy. And it's great to see that response actually; it's like, you know, it's like a prize for the, you know, the hard work behind it.

Were you frustrated not to play with almost your other cast members because you were very isolated, you didn't play with the rest of the (year)?

Santiago Cabrera: Well in a way it was great that everyone, like I was telling someone before, that everyone's story was taken from the beginning so we all had our way of discovering. Everyone has their own process of discovery which is very important for the audience. And then, you know, it's great to, as the episode goes along, you know, as you keep watching, people will kind of be coming together and will start -- there'll be more of an interaction because there's a fantastic cast and fantastic people to be working with. So I wouldn't say it was...

Ali Larter: Yeah. I think "frustrated" is the wrong word.

Santiago Cabrera: Yeah.

Ali Larter: I think we're all just so thrilled to get to play these amazing characters and, you know, the scripts keep coming and we keep growing with them. There's definitely just like a synergy happening and it's all kind of coming together as it should be. So that's what's exciting about it. I don't think anyone's in a rush. I think it's just all happening naturally and, you know, as the scripts come, it just seems that everything is having like a natural progression.

Santiago Cabrera: Yeah. People are really responding to their role which is just great to see. You know, so like Ali said, I think everyone's just, you know, fascinated with their own stories and being part of this whole big epic story together.

Ali Larter: Santiago, good answer.

Now that you've been picked up, does it allow you to do anything differently in terms of, I mean, the writing staff perhaps breathing easier, thinking well, we don't have to potentially wrap everything up at Episode 13? And, is there any sense of relax - I don't mean relaxation, that people aren't working as hard but just sort of a breath of relief on the set that everybody knows you're there for the duration with the actors?

Tim Kring: Well, I think that obviously it is a lot more fun and a lot more comfortable to be working in an environment where you are a hit and you have a full season and all, you know, to sort of stretch your wings. But the truth is, as I was saying, we are so many episodes ahead of where the audience is that, you know, we're still just - it just feels like the same challenges every single day that we were - we would face whether we were on the air or not.

But no, the truth is it does allow you a certain peace of mind that...

Ali Larter: And also, I think if you look at the crew, I mean what's different, I thought, is that if you see the crew, everyone's just really happy and feels a sense of relief because these guys, you know, have a home, have families to support and they know that they're going to have a job for a little while. And, you know, that's what's amazing in the show. How many people are employed on the show, Tim? There's got to be...

Tim Kring: Yeah. There's a couple of hundred, definitely.

Ali Larter: So I mean there's that wonderful sense of relief within that too.

And to follow up on a specific -- this may be a stupid question because I've only seen the first episode -- in the pilot, Santiago cuts or his character rather, cuts his hand off and in the aired version it's oh my god, he's overdosed not oh my god, he's cut his hand off. So has that been changed and if so, why?

Tim Kring: Well, yes, that was changed because we - as we started breaking the story, we realized that we wanted to condense the actual reel time of the series so that you would come back each week and it would literally be, you know, the next minute or the next hour. And it just became too unwieldy for us to have a character, who was going to play a major role, having to deal with such a huge physical, you know, medical issue and having a hand cut off, so we decided that it was sort of too ambitious for us to try to do that with this character.

Santiago, were you relieved or disappointed with that development?

Santiago Cabrera: Neither. I mean it's refreshing to have my hand every time on the set. But I think... I'm, you know, very happy with the way that, you know, the character's been going and I think that kind of intensity is still there. I don't think, you know, the hand and then when you watch the version that is in the new version where it's an overdose in the end, I think it's just as impacting for an audience and it doesn't really change the direction of the character anyway. So it wasn't affecting. It was neither good or bad, you know, it was just the circumstances.

And I agree with what Tim's saying. I think it was much more practical and (unintelligible) to the story afterwards and, you know, it was just the way it was.

Ali, do you think beauty can be a weapon?

Ali Larter: I think that my alter-ego definitely uses what she's got to get what she wants.

Tim Kring: You know, I'm going to jump in on this one because I...

Ali Larter: Okay.

Tim Kring: We have now seen, you know, screened several of these episodes to screening audiences and gotten feedback. And one of the things that has really popped for people, especially with women, is this sort of strong - the kind of strong female character that Ali is playing and a lot of that is the sexuality of this character that I think women can really relate to, especially women who are mothers. The idea that this is a mother who can actually own her sexuality is a very powerful thing for women. And I think it's really struck a cord with the female audience (unintelligible).

And for Santiago, since this is really your first big gig, a lot of people want to know what your background is, where you came from, how you got here.

Santiago Cabrera: Well, I got here from London. I was living there for a long time. So I was doing some theater there and I've done a couple of movies before that should be coming out soon. So, but what a better gig to get than to come straight into this? And all I can say that when I arrived, I kind of arrived, you know, I did the whole pilot season thing. I remember just locking myself in an apartment I was subletting for a week and then I read like eight pilots. And as soon as read Heroes, it just jumped out to me and I pursued it from, you know, from the beginning because it was like - it was something very, very unique and I really wanted to be part of it and...

How are adjusting to life in the States?

Santiago Cabrera: It's great, it's great. You know, it helps to be in a show like this. It makes life a lot easier and exciting. But it's great. It's a great city and, you know, getting used to it, so it's going very well.

You briefly discussed earlier that Niki is going to be dealing with split personality issues and I was wondering, a lot of people are saying that her power resembles that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, some saying is her powers are along those lines or does reflection have a body of its own?

Ali Larter: Tim?

Tim Kring: Well, I would say that it's a very safe thing to sort of assume that it's a

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or a Hulk kind of personality. But we are leaving the door very open for new surprises.

Ali Larter: And one way that I think about it is, you know, I think as actors, you know, we have to - at least I have to rationalize how it could be. And if you - you hear these stories of mothers who a child has been, you know, stuck under a car and they're able to lift the car in an instant to save their child. And for me, everything is generated from the desire and the need to protect your son.

And (entering) also, in this week's episode, presumably Claire Bennet died until someone that pulled the wood from her head. Was she actually dead then?

Tim Kring: Well, we haven't seen that episode where somebody pulls the...

It's the one that aired this past Monday.

Tim Kring: Oh, I see. Yeah, yeah. It's a very - you're right. Yes, I think it's probably safe to assume that whatever power she has emanates from some region in the brain. It can be turned on and off by a switch. And there is essentially a clue there as to why the major villain of the show is interested in, right.

Also, will the character of Syler be someone that has already been introduced to us in ways of split personality or will the character be someone soon to be introduced to the audience? And does this character possess all the powers that the other heroes have?

Tim Kring: Well, we're going to leave some of that - some of the answers that vague because I really want to audience to be surprised when they - when we do introduce the character. So, I know there is speculation as to characters, somebody among us already, among the characters already. And I'm comfortable with that speculation. But - and I kind of don't want to give it away.

We've been through this a little bit, but I just wanted to ask you what is it like playing a mother? Was it a different type of role for you and all the responsibilities they give her and what's it like working so much with Noah?

Noah's incredible. He makes my job easy. And honestly, like watching his relationship with his mother has been a huge inspiration for me. She's so open and so giving and, you know, we really discussed kind of the scenes before and hang out whenever we have a chance. And just kind of watching them, they have an incredible connection, and she's so giving of all the little stuff or things that they have between them. So I kind of - me and Noah use as much as we can from, you know, to inspire us within our roles.

And, you know, I think that, you know, as a woman, there's a side in all of us that, you know, really has this desire and this need to protect a child, you know, watching my nephews there's definitely that side within me that would do anything to protect them. So I guess I understand that. And, you know, 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 kind of, you know, transition and I just think it's a really interesting unique relationship.

And Tim, I just wanted to ask at Comicon, the cut we saw of the pilot included a terrorism subplot that I don't believe we've seen on the series yet. Is that going to be included or have you have gotten rid of that?

Tim Kring: No, that was eliminated for - from the pilot and will not be coming back.

What was the reason behind that?

Tim Kring: There were many, many reasons. But I think the main reason was that first of all, we wanted to air a shorter pilot so it came out easier. And secondly, we started to shy away from the whole idea of terrorism as a subplot. That's sort of all I can say about it.

Did either of you follow any comic books when you were growing up? Or is this like all new to you?

Ali Larter: This is all new to me. I'm loving learning about all of it and all the references that all of the reporters and the speculations were coming from the draw of characters too. So for me, it's really fun to learn all about it now.

Santiago Cabrera: I have to say I didn't really grow up with it, apart from (Asterix) since I was a big fan. But I've been - I immediately got together with Tim Sale, who's the comic book artist who does my character's painting, and was introduced to that kind of world, have been reading his comics and we have - he works with Jeff Loeb, who's also a writer on the show. And I've been doing, you know, my character being a comic book artist himself, I've been kind of reading books and I've got really hooked on Daredevil actually. I think it's... Yeah. It's - I didn't know about the character thing, it's fascinating. His story, his abilities and stuff.

And that whole world, I mean, it's great. I really, really enjoyed it. I can see why people get hooked on it. It's very gritty and I like that actually.

I want to know about - what do you think about working in a sci-fi series, not a sci-fi, but comic books series because it's totally comic book?

Ali Larter: For me, it's really more of a human drama. There's definitely all elements within the show, but it doesn't change the way I work. I work and always come from a place of reality. So, and I think that we're lucky also to have some amazing directors come in and, you know, make some shots that really can lean that way. Tim?

Tim Kring: Yeah. The reality is that this is not - I am uncomfortable with the idea that people would think that this is, you know, basically a comic book series. It's based very much on reality and for me, it's very much character piece -- about people struggling with these special abilities and how they are impacting their lives, influencing their lives, and leading their destiny. The comic book elements of it are sort of the candy and the icing of it. We do sort of lean into that occasionally. But the truth is, at its heart, it is character drama.

I'd like to know from Tim Kring and how did he - how did you choose any particular power portrayed on the show. And how do you feel about the pilot being listed on the Internet several months ago?

Tim Kring: Well, as for the first question, let's take Niki's character that Ali plays. I try to keep the powers related to what their particular personality or their particular need was, what the character was going through. So in Ali's case, in the character of Niki, she was a single mother who is stretched as thin as could be and I thought wouldn't it be interesting to have a character - an ability to literally be in two places at one time. And I chose most of the powers as a reflection of what the characters were feeling or going through.

As for the show being leaked on the Internet, there was really not a whole lot that anybody can do nowadays with that -- that things seem to creep, sort of crop up on the Internet no matter how hard you try to keep them - keep checks on them. But the truth is that it, in the end, just helped us create tremendous buzz that we were able to get before we aired and I think ultimately, has helped us get viewers.

Tim, I was curious as to your thoughts on the fact that the Hiro character has become such a breakout given that he was not one of the original characters you created for the show. Were you surprised by the attention that he's gotten?

Tim Kring: Well, no, I mean I think - he certainly was an original character. He wasn't in literally the very first draft (unintelligible) very, very early draft of the script. He was added when I felt that the show needed a little more levity and it needed a character who embraced their power with a certain amount of enthusiasm. And I think it is just that enthusiasm that people are finding so infectious.

And as the show progress and these characters become more comfortable with who they are and what's happening to them, some of their initial angst and resistance starts to drop away. And I think you'll start to see that they will embrace these powers with more enthusiasm as well. But obviously, it's a tribute to Masi Oka who plays Hiro. He has, you know, a particular kind of infectious quality to him as an actor. And, you know, we're thrilled that that character was catching on.

And you've said that they're not going to form a Justice League, but at the same time, there is going to be some sort of a coming together beyond crossing paths. Is that right?

Tim Kring: Yes. As their destinies start to sort of become intermingled with one another, yes, they have to form sort of alliances with one another and in a sense, you know, join with each other in order to figure out what's going on. Not everyone has - every character has sort of a tiny piece of the puzzle, so the puzzle gets put together by the character coming together.

And lastly, the Peter character, is it possible that he has multiple powers, that it isn't just one power?

Tim Kring: Well, think we've seen already that by proximity to his brother, he was able to fly and by proximity to Isaac's character, he was able to draw the future. So I think that's a fair assessment.

And this question is for everybody but especially for Tim. We haven't seen any episode or the pilot here in Argentina, so to have an idea about the show, I'd like to ask what's the difference between these heroes and other superheroes and if they're somehow related to the X-Men?

Tim Kring: No, there's really no relationship at all to the X-Men. My idea was to try and ground it as much in reality as possible to have the audience have that feeling that they were - that this could be - that this could happen to them or to anybody that they know. And so the difference between them and other superheroes is really just the road to discovery, the idea that it starts at the very beginning and there is no sort of sense of trying to -- as we were just saying, there's no sense of forming a Justice League or putting on uniforms to fight crime.

These are people who are trying to lead their lives as they always have led their lives, knowing and discovering that they're changing. And so, that's sort of the basic difference.

Do you know exactly what are your powers because well, they're like very confusing those powers?

Tim Kring: You mean, for Niki?

Yeah, yeah. The powers are probably - yeah, the powers...

Tim Kring: Yeah, yeah. Well, it is intended to be a little confusing at the beginning because we are following it through her point of view as though you had woken up with this very curious thing happening to you. And so, Niki's character is the one character that is discovering this in the most confusing way. And so, we are asking the audience to sort of buy into that conceit that it's going to be a road to discovery. And in the next couple of episodes, this becomes clearer and clearer. And five or six episodes, it should be very clear what's happening to her.

And all the characters are going to be heroes or is there any possibility that most of them or half of them are going to be villains?

Tim Kring: Well, the truth is that their powers are just that -- they're just powers. What you do with them, it really depends on your circumstances. If you are predisposed to do evil then you will do evil with these powers. If you are predisposed to do good, you will do good. And so we are leaving it open that some of these people can be tempted by their darker side.

Just a quick question about the artist that's doing the work for Santiago's character. I know that Tim Sale did the comic book for Comicon. Who have you had working on his art and would you do more of the special release comic books that you had done for Santiago?

Tim Kring: Well, yes, Tim Sale is continuing to do the art work... That Santiago's character, Isaac, paints on the show. Those have all been done by Tim Sale. And as far as the releasing of the comic book, we are doing an online comic that coincides with each screening of the show, each airing of the show each week. And we do have some plans, yes, for actual publishing of some of our comics as well.

Now that you do have the pickup, are you looking into how many seasons does your story are to go?

Tim Kring: Well, we have some sort of big general ideas of where it goes for, you know, for a few years. It is the kind of thing that can keep spinning and spinning and spinning. There is no - we have not posited a conclusion. We're not saying there is an island to get off of or a timeframe to stop the show. So it allows us to kind of keep generating and spinning it wherever we want to go.

But I mean as far as beyond this season how specifically plotted are you for next season?

Tim Kring: Not that specific. We have sort of a general idea of where it - we're specifically plotted for this season and certainly (unintelligible) for next season. But we have sort of the big tent-pole ideas where or what the framework of a season would be. The show - the pilot sort of presented, you know, sort of a prophecy at the end of the pilot that we will take in this entire season to deal with in the first season. The second season, there will be something else that will be presented that must be turned around or stopped by our heroes.

So there's going to be sort of not that all of the storylines are going to be resolved, but there's got to be a resolution of something at the end of the season?

Tim Kring: Yes, absolutely.

Heroes currently airs on Mondays at 9/8c on NBC.

Evan Jacobs