In the interest of looking out for our boy, please note that many of Greg Grunberg’s answers are intended to be sarcastic. It doesn’t always translate in print, but he was being amusingly deadpan. Grunberg returns to Heroes as telepathic Matt Parkman finds himself banished to a desert by a surprising antagonist. It’s the volume Villains, where even good guys can go bad.
Greg Grunberg: We shot in Santa Clarita and then we also shot in Canoga Park. I don’t even know where I am when I wake up. For the first couple episodes, I have no clue. I’m out there with no water and I’m a cop from New York who doesn’t know the first thing about survival. Thank God I come across this guy who takes me on the journey. It’s pretty great. And a tortoise named Shelly.
Crave Online: If Villains means that formerly heroic characters may have a dark side, how do you feel about that for Matt, who’s been such a pure character?
Greg Grunberg: I’ve always said, even back to Alias, I wanted to be a bad guy. I really wanted Arvin Sloan to spin a chair around and say, "Look, I did everything you told me to do" and it was me and I’m like, "Mwuhahahahaha." But for some reason, no one will give me that shot. So I’m finally able to do some of that stuff on Heroes but again, it’s out of necessity. You put yourself in that situation. This guy’s pushed. He’s lost his wife, he’s lost his kids, his baby wasn’t his baby. Again, he’s not just evil for evil’s sake. He’s not all of a sudden turned his badge over and he’s working for the bad guys.
Crave Online: So you’re going to go there?
Greg Grunberg: Oh yeah, for sure. Definitely. All of us really get tempted by that.
Crave Online: Wasn’t forcing Molly with his power kind of like child abuse?
Greg Grunberg: [Laughs]. No, forcing a little girl to clean up her room is perfectly legal in this country. I wish I could do that. Trust me. I wish I could control my kids.
Crave Online: You don’t think it’s abusing the power?
Greg Grunberg: Not at all. Are you kidding me? When the little kids were babies and they’d cry a lot, I give ‘em whiskey. It’s the same thing. No, I’m kidding. Of course. This is the great thing about our show. You’re put into situations, I mean that was funny, but you’re put into situations where you have to use your abilities or you’re not going to survive. When you meet a villain on Heroes, it’s not always clear why they’re bad. They may be trying to save their family or they have to. In the case of my father, we still haven’t figured out exactly why he is working for who he’s working for and why he’s in the situation he’s in. That’s one of the things that’s puzzling for me.
Crave Online: Did you see the Heroes Blu Ray?
Greg Grunberg: No, I haven’t. I haven’t even seen my action figure yet. I haven’t seen that. I want to see that. I have a naked calendar coming out. I haven’t seen that.
Crave Online: Do you have your own bobble head?
Greg Grunberg: I don’t have a bobble head yet.
Greg Grunberg: Masi has a bobblehead? Maybe I do, I don’t know. They’ve made so many products of us, I have no idea.
Crave Online: Are you happier that you look better in the Heroes comics?
Greg Grunberg: Yes. We just shot an episode, I will say this, there haven’t been too many comics made of me. There haven’t been too many drawings made of me, so suddenly I show up on the set this week, a few days ago, and there’s literally the paintings are as big as this building and it’s me all over the place. Me, different drawings of me from throughout the series. If anything could have made up for it, it was that. I was like, "I’m living right here." I don’t want to ever move.
Crave Online: Are you running around with a camera this season?
Greg Grunberg: Yes. People can go on buckshotwon on Youtube and they’ll see all the behind the scenes stuff that we’ve done. Adrian shoots a lot of them. We’ve done a ton of them now. It’s all of us behind the scenes goofing off and until NBC taps us on the shoulder and says, "Don’t do that any more." We don’t give any secrets away. It’s just fun stuff with us behind the scenes.
Crave Online: Are Matt and Mohinder still playing dad to Molly?
Greg Grunberg: Yes, that is going to continue although Mohinder is not the Mohinder that we all love and know. He changes quite a bit as do I so it’s a battle. There are so many liberties that they take on the show. I’m in the middle of stuff and I’m like, "Wait a minute. Aren’t I supposed to be taking care of a little girl? What happened to that?" They can take liberties with that stuff.
Crave Online: Where do we pick up with Matt in Volume Three?
Greg Grunberg: Pretty much right where we left off. Last time we left off, one of the characters was being assassinated and I was standing right next to him. That’s exactly where we pick up which is great. And I told Tim before seeing any scripts, I said, "I’m a cop. I would go after this guy." And that’s what happens. It just shoots right out of cannon. I’m telling you, people are going to be shocked at how much adrenaline is packed into season three.
Crave Online: Are you doing more stunts?
Greg Grunberg: Yes. Not a lot more. They’ve always given me my fair share. I haven’t been thrown out of a window yet but I have been doing a little fighting. I love that stuff. I really do.
Crave Online: Have you had to have a head cast made?
Greg Grunberg: Have I had a head cast taken? Not this season. Not yet this season.
Crave Online: They do it once a year?
Greg Grunberg: I think so. Once you go off Weight Watchers, they have to redo your head. No, I had it for my neck for that thing when I got cut. I had to do that for The Hollow Man. I haven’t done a full body anything for Heroes yet.
Crave Online: How did the shorter season affect the show?
Greg Grunberg: I think it’s been a good thing. I think it gave the writers and Tim a perspective to stand back and say, "Okay…" Once you go into something like a TV season, it doesn’t end. You have to just keep going regardless of how the reaction is. That time between reaction and production just comes together so quickly, you can’t respond after a while. So to be able to stop, I like season two but it gave them perspective to see what characters worked, what storylines were working and then they could really focus on what they want and pull back in certain areas if they wanted to.
Crave Online: Didn’t they have to scrap some plans?
Greg Grunberg: Well, at the end of season two they did. We shot two endings to season two and they were able to change and use the one they thought was more successful. I think there was kind of the network wanted it one way and it always happens that way.
Crave Online: Are you still in touch with anyone from Alias?
Greg Grunberg: Oh yeah, I just saw Jennifer.
Crave Online: So you knew she was pregnant before we did?
Greg Grunberg: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We spent Fourth of July together. It’s just great to see [her]. I don’t get to see them as much as I want to. Michael Vartan and I talk. Bradley Cooper and I are close.
Crave Online: Are you in J.J.’s Star Trek?
Greg Grunberg: I’m drinking, I can’t answer that question.
Crave Online: What would a J.J. movie be without you?
Greg Grunberg: Not successful. J.J.’s got a lot of stinkers out there. No one knows about them. He’s got a great PR department. You never hear about his flops. I mean, my God, that guy has killed more movies than he’s succeeded.
Crave Online: Might you show up on Fringe?
Greg Grunberg: If I don’t, that show’s not going to be on very long. I can tell you that. I mean, Michael Green who is a writer and producer on our show, now has a new show called Kings. So just to launch his show, I hosted the panel for Kings at Comic Con. He’s a smart guy. You have to get me involved in a show for it to be successful. We all know that.
Crave Online: Will you maybe come back on Lost?
Greg Grunberg: I really hope so. I came back in a flashback sort of thing. They put a moustache on me and gave me a first name, Seth. But other than that, I’ve been begging them, they’ve been begging me. It’s just been a scheduling thing.
Crave Online: How did the movie you wrote turn out?
Greg Grunberg: It went really well. I mean, it’s called Group Sex and when you co-write it, produce it and star in it, that’s not a bad strike. That’s not a bad break to have sex and laugh.
Greg Grunberg: It’s a romantic comedy set in the world of a sexaholic recovery group. I play a guy who’s got a problem. Josh Cooke and Tom Arnold and Henry Winkler and Kym Whitley and there’s a bunch of people in it. It’s really fun.
Crave Online: So the strike worked out for you?
Greg Grunberg: It did. We were going to shoot both at the same time anyway. The movie was going to be on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule. I never would have seen my family at all. Then at the last second, even before the strike happened, we decided, you know, let’s just take a chance and try and schedule it, which would have been a nightmare because I have to be there for Heroes regardless, even if it’s my movie. It just worked out perfectly.
Crave Online: Do you and the other Heroes cast mates who write, direct and do other things ever trade notes?
Greg Grunberg: No. It’s a strange thing because I’m so lucky to be on the show that I think will go on for a few more years at least. So I can kind of try the things that I’ve always wanted to do and if they fail, that’s fine because I’ve got this great day job. So it gives me more confidence to try and push my other projects that I’m doing.