Nobody expected things to be all roses in the Bennet household during Heroes’ second season, but the news that friction could develop again between Claire and Dad was unexpected. We’d thought at least they’d worked things out in year one. That is surely not the only problem in Claire’s life as Heroes returns. News of a boyfriend, new villains and new heroes opens up many possibilities. Actress Hayden Panettiere did her best to tease fans without giving anything away.
CraveOnline: Jack Coleman said that HRG is sort of back up to his old tricks in Season 2. How do you feel about that dynamic coming back?
Hayden Panettiere: Jack Coleman’s “mean dad” kind of act? Well, I think we all have proven that in this show, we all have our dirty little secrets. I think him becoming the house dad wouldn’t be very exciting. The good dad, people like watching good bad people and you sometimes want to hate Jack’s character and you sometimes love him. It’s kind of a toss-up, depending on what side you’re on. But how do I feel about that? I think it’s exciting. I think it’s exciting for him. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what’s going to happen, but everyone always has their dirty little secrets. I’m excited to see what happens with everyone. I wish I could turn bad. I’d turn bad in a second. I’d be like, “Yeah, I’d be the villain."
CraveOnline: Well, we saw in Five Years Gone that some people go bad.
Hayden Panettiere: In the show, anything is possible. You never know what’s going to happen. I doubt it, but anything is possible. Anything is possible. That five years in the future was if New York City blew up, which it didn’t. So there’s always that chance, there’s always that possibility. And we could talk to Tim.
CraveOnline: What would you like about playing a villain instead of a good guy?
Hayden Panettiere: I think because I’ve always been very categorized and sometimes typecast because of the fact that I’m blonde, and people look at me as either the popular cheerleader type or just the blonde. You don’t play villains unless you’re Sharon Stone when you’re blonde and you look like that. It would be just exciting for me. People look at me as sweet sometimes and I say I would never in a million years describe myself as sweet, never. But I think it would be a blast. I think it’s so much. It’s more fun to be bad. At least I have a chance, at least I could play and pretend to be bad on the screen.
CraveOnline: Where do we pick Claire up in Season Two?
Hayden Panettiere: Well, it’s four months from where we left off last season and Claire is really just trying to get in touch with her inner teen self once again. She hasn’t given that up and I think it’d be a sad thing if she did. She’s struggling to fit in but not stand out and obviously they’re still hiding and running from these people. I think the funny thing about Claire is that she’s really, as much as she has that beautiful naiveté about her and as sweet as she is, she does have that spitfire. She has that sass about her and so it’s fun to watch her. But I think when she meets West, you guys will see.
CraveOnline: So they’re not already together when the season begins?
Hayden Panettiere: No, no. It’s a gradual meeting, yes. It’s teenage angst.
CraveOnline: With new actors joining the cast, what has the chemistry on the set been like this year?
Hayden Panettiere: It’s been great. We have a new character Dania Ramirez is playing, her name’s Maya, and she’s been really fun. And her twin brother, Shalim Ortiz. It’s been great. I haven’t really gotten a chance to be around them a whole lot, other than a few cast things on set. But it seems everyone is pretty excited and thrilled to be a part of the show. It’s an already established show, and it’s been doing great and it’s a wonderful show and most of the people who have joined the cast have seen it and are just psyched to be there.
CraveOnline: Do you know anything about this year’s new villains? How could they be worse than Sylar?
Hayden Panettiere: Oh, it’s possible. I won’t tell you what it was but it’s definitely possible to be worse than Sylar. You know, I think Sylar, looking back, he was a pretty good seemingly person. He was just kind of lost in the beginning when you first found them and then went crazy on us. But they’ll be bad, they’ll be real bad. I think they’re freakier in a different way. I think it’s kind of a mind trip. In a way, Sylar is very physical. These characters are just creepier from what I’ve seen of them, from what I’ve heard about them. I have absolutely no idea otherwise.
CraveOnline: What more can you tell us about Season Two without spoiling it?
Hayden Panettiere: Well, we’re not in Odessa anymore. I wouldn’t say goodbye to the cheerleading outfit quite yet, but she’s not in that one anymore. This season she’s really looking to figure out more about her powers, more about what she can do, how far she can push it, what happens when she does it. There are still some unanswered questions for her about her ability, how far her pain tolerance can go or if she can actually die if something happens. I think we’ve actually figured that one out by now, that there’s a specific spot. We saw Peter in the first season, he had a shard of glass in the back of his head and not until we pulled it out did he come back to life. But the question is, you know, how long can he survive with that piece of glass in his head before he can’t regenerate anymore? So I think she’s really just pushing to find answer and that’s all I’ve seen her doing so far. I mean that’s one of the things I’ve seen her doing. But on that level, she’s just trying to figure out who she is and what she’s doing and what she wants to do with her life and her ability.
CraveOnline: What would you describe as the biggest changes in Claire’s character that have occurred in the first season?
Hayden Panettiere: I think she really grew up. I definitely for a while there was getting sick of crying. I don’t know about anyone else who watching the show, but I was tired of seeing her cry. She just kind of went from that naïve teenage girl who, if you guys don’t have kids or haven’t noticed, teenagers are selfish, and I will vouch for that. She wanted what any teenager would want. She wanted to be normal, she wanted to be popular, she wanted to date the quarterback of the football team. Over the time, she realized that by dismissing her power like that, that she was risking a lot of people’s lives, that there was so much more she can do if she just came to terms with that. So she just really evolved. She just really grew up. She learned to stand her own and stick up for herself. She’s matured and hopefully she’ll keep doing that.
CraveOnline: Since Claire is indestructible, how do you make her appear so vulnerable?
Hayden Panettiere: Well, she is vulnerable. That’s the interesting thing about her, is the fact that she is indestructible physically, but she’s not emotionally or mentally indestructible. And that vulnerability is what makes people like her. When you approach it as an actress, it’s just like playing any other character. Are they vulnerable, are they mean, are they nice, are they disturbed or happy? You make her like a normal teenage girl, and I actually am a teenage girl. So, you just approach it the way you would any other character. When I’m acting I forget about my abilities. That’s not something that takes a toll on it, because she has no idea how to handle it, and that’s the honest truth, so neither do I.
CraveOnline: Will Claire turn 18?
Hayden Panettiere: I have no idea yet if my character’s going to do that, because we haven’t shot all that much. It doesn’t look like she’s hitting a milestone anytime soon. She’s just struggling to get her life back or create a new one.
CraveOnline: Will we see any more gory makeup in season two?
Hayden Panettiere: Well, of course, that’s her ability, you know. And I think the longer she has it and the farther it goes, then the less she really is conscious of it, the less she thinks about it, the less she notices that she can do certain things, the less it clicks in her head. So trust me, you will see plenty of blood. Plenty of snaps and pops and crackles.
CraveOnline: Might she attempt to reach out to her biological family again?
Hayden Panettiere: I have absolutely no idea quite yet. We have not gotten that far. They’re both dealing with really interesting storylines. So it could be a little bit, but I’m sure she hasn’t seen the last of the Petrelli’s. It is her family.
CraveOnline: What would you like to see Claire do this year or in future seasons?
Hayden Panettiere: She’s come a long way from where she was the first season, and she’s matured incredibly. I think the boyfriend thing is touching, which is cool. I would love to see her work with the characters that she hasn’t worked with. I’m ecstatic to work with them. I think I’ve not worked with less of the cast than I have worked with. So I want to work with my cast mates.
CraveOnline: What sort of special extras did you get involved with for the DVD release? Was it your first time doing that type of stuff?
Hayden Panettiere: There are commentaries and there’s a ton of deleted scenes which I didn’t knowingly participate in. They’re just deleted scenes that were never used and it’s incredible. Looking back at it now, I’m not going to lie, I’m watching it right now, and it’s incredible how many scenes you just totally forget were deleted. You’re like, “Oh, that’s where that scene went!” It’s really fun to watch because we really had limited time. It’s only an hour show and especially with the pilot and stuff, you have such limited time to explain all this information that you need to know before you can really get into the gut of the show, which is why we have the pilot which we showed at Comic Con as well, which is great. It explains other characters and it goes more in depth to other things, but unfortunately didn’t have time for it. I think I’ve done a commentary on, like, Ice Princess. I think that’s about it.
CraveOnline: What features would you recommend the fans watch?
Hayden Panettiere: Well, it would depend if they’ve seen the show or not. If they haven’t seen the show, I would say watch the [extended] pilot. I would say watch that first. I’m having fun watching the deleted scenes but that’s probably only because I know what was deleted and what wasn’t. There’s some great stuff. There’s some goofy commentaries, like I’m talking goofy commentaries. I think I remember my commentary and I think they probably edited it, but everything on it is great. I love DVDs and you get to go and look at the extras and find certain things.
CraveOnline: Have there been any bloopers on Season Two yet?
Hayden Panettiere: Oh my gosh, countless. Aside from my and people’s line stumbles and mumbles. That’s the thing about this set. As much fun as we have, we still have to move, we still have like a really fast pace to keep up. So it doesn’t really give people much guts to play pranks. There’s constant line jumbles up and then of course the laughing takes where you just can’t stop laughing to get the lines right or do the scenes. There are those all over the place.I think somebody had it the other day. They were doing a scene together, and these are the two worst people to do a scene together because they’re both goofy as anything and I cannot imagine them looking at each other with a straight face. I think they just went through the whole scene cracking up.
CraveOnline: Have you seen the HD DVD version and do you have a favorite scene to see in high quality?
Hayden Panettiere: Oh gosh, that’s a good question. You get to see an up close and personal of how beautiful Sendhil really is. I think the blood and the guts would look even more [gross]. That would look nasty. I think there are so many special effects, there are so many really cool shots and backgrounds and just the scenery that is incredible. Like New York City, and just those skylines. We did some blue screen too, and I’m sure that looks insane. But I could see the blood and the guts and my hurling myself off the gravel tower being pretty cool to watch in hi-def.
CraveOnline: We hear there’s a video game in the works. Is there anything you’d like to see with that, or be involved with?
Hayden Panettiere: Gosh, I have no idea what the layout would be. I don’t know anything. I don’t know what it would look like. I’m ecstatic. My cousin actually made me my first action figure. He did a really cool job. It’s so cool. It’s sitting on my shelf. So it’s always fun to see what they do with your characters and in the videogames, what kind of animation they use. I’m ecstatic to be involved with it. I would love to be involved with it. Other than that, I have no idea.