The Complete Series
best television series that you've never seen! Featuring
Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli) as a man so messed up he
makes Sylar seem functional!
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stars Hayden Panettiere, Jack Coleman, Santiago Cabrera, Masi Oka, Greg Grunberg, Adrian Pasdar, Milo Ventimiglia, Ali Larter, Noah Grey-Cabey, David Anders, Kristen Bell, Dana Davis, Dania Ramirez, Zachary Quinto, James Kyson Lee, and Sendhil Ramamurthy.
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You See Him: HeroSite Talks With Christopher Eccleston
by Craig Byrne
The announcement that Christopher Eccleston
would soon be appearing in a recurring role on Heroes
was very exciting for fans across the world. The veteran
of movies, television, and the stage plays an invisible
man named Claude, and he will be making his first appearance
on Heroes on the January 22 episode, "Godsend."
Mr. Eccleston was kind enough to take the time from shooting
on Heroes' sixteenth episode to do an interview
with HeroSite.net's Craig Byrne about his powerful new
role. The interview follows:
HEROSITE.NET: You've had the ability to pick and
choose some of the best roles. What was it that attracted
you to Heroes?
CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON: What attracted me to Heroes
is that they came in for me, and I appreciated that. We
talked about two roles, and it was Claude that I decided
on, the second role.
HS: Was there something in particular that made
you choose Claude?
CE: Well, there's a possibility that we'll be giving
away plot points, but what I will say is that the first
role was a villain, and I didn't want to play a villain.
I think that it's somewhat of a cliche for European actors
to play villains in American culture, and I didn't want
to be part of that.
HS: What made you decide to do American television?
CE: Well, I like American television. I enjoy American
television. I've got three particular favorites - The
Larry Sanders Show, Deadwood, and NYPD Blue.
I admire them all for very different reasons. One's a
very broad, naturalistic satiric comedy. Deadwood's
a fantastic take on the Western genre, and NYPD Blue,
I thought the writing and the acting was extraordinary.
HS: What actors have you been able to work with
on the series thus far, and what is it like to work with
CE: Milo, Milo, and Milo. I've worked very briefly
with Jack Coleman and Jimmy Jean-Louis [HRG and The
Haitian], but my whole time has been with Milo, who
has been an absolute gentleman. He's a very generous actor,
and has made me feel very welcome. I've enjoyed it immensely.
HS: How does working in American television differ
from the routines of doing British TV?
CE: It doesn't, apart from the food. You guys really
like to eat. The food is good, but apart from that, it's
in vast quantities compared to British sets. We're a little
more frugal about feeding ourselves. But no. It compares
very favorably. Very similar.
HS: What kind of special effects have you been able
to work with?
CE: Not many, really. Playing an invisible man,
most of it is done in post. What I have done, is I have
flown. Me and Milo flew together. I've been tasered, but
again, that might be giving away plot points. And I've
shut doors without even being present. There's a lot of
that kind of gag stuff.
HS: Have you had to do a lot of ADR or voiceover
CE: I did some post - what we call post-synching
in Britain, two days ago. That was my first session. I
think the sound guys are excellent on this, and even though
we were shooting a hell of a lot downtown, which is a
very difficult location, we've managed to save most of
the real sound, which is great for an actor. You can never
replicate what you did on the day [of filming].
HS: What are the challenges of playing an invisible
CE: You know, there aren't, really. When you play
a character with super powers or whatever you would call
it, I think the most important thing is to concentrate
on making the man or woman itself naturalistic and truthful.
The more you can do that, the more the audience will buy
the more extreme behavior which comes from having super
powers. So it's an acting exercise, as every character
HS: Is it exciting for you to have that challenge?
CE: It's exciting to play any character, and as
I've said, you can't think about the extraordinary things
he can do, because those, to a certain extent, are out
of your hands. They're down to the post guys. So you've
got to concentrate on the truth of - you search for the
relationships, and obviously a key relationship in this
is Claude and Peter.
HS: Are you allowed to say for how long you may
be appearing on the show?
CE: I think it is better to keep that a mystery.
HS: But it is for multiple episodes?
CE: It is, yeah. It is multiple episodes.
HS: Had you seen Heroes at all before taking
CE: When they offered me the role, they sent me
the pilot to look at, and I was interested and intrigued,
so I came on board.
HS: What other projects may be in your future,
CE: I shot a film in the Fall in New Orleans in
which I play a New Orleanean doctor. That film is called
New Orleans, Mon Amour, which is about post-Katrina,
the rescue effort, and the emotional damage as well as
the physical damage that was done to that great city.
And I'm doing Heroes. In about two weeks I go off
to Bucharest to make a film called The Dark Is Rising,
which is from a series of fantasy books which were written
in the Seventies.
HS: In an ideal world, what kind of acting do you
enjoy the most - theatre, television, or movies?
CE: I've been very fortunate through film and television
to learn about screen acting. It's been my life for twenty
years. If I had my choice, I would exclusively do theater,
if I could justify it financially. Theatre is my country
is by and large very lowly paid, so actors have to supplement
it with television and film work, if they're fortunate
enough to be able to do that. The main reason for that
is theatre is an actor's medium. Film and television is
primarily a director's medium. When you act in the theatre
you get a four to six week rehearsal period, where you
can build a character, and of course each evening when
you give a performance, you have the final edit. So, theater
acting is my great love. But, I've had some very interesting
and rewarding experiences in front of the camera.
HS: Do you know if the writers intended any significance
to the name "Claude," because of the name of
the first actor to play an invisible man?
CE: The first time I appear as Claude, I make a
joke about that, so it is a homage, I think, to Claude
HS: Does Claude have a last name?
CE: I don't know, no.
HS: What do you feel motivates Claude to do things
or behave the way that he does?
CE: I think Claude has a conscience and a very
good heart, and I think there is a kind of strain of psychology,
almost, called the guilt of the survivor, and I think
those three things are the main motivators for Claude.
I believe I read in an early interview with Tim Kring,
that Claude has been living with these powers for a while?
CE: That's right. I think it's reasonable to say
that Claude belongs to a previous generation to our present
heroes. He functions as a kind of paternal figure to Peter.
HS: Do you feel that his presence really helps
Peter along in his journey?
CE: Yeah. That's very much the dynamic of their relationship.
HS: When you took the role, did the writers and
producers lay out your character's general arc, or are
you learning more as you go along?
CE: I knew that the role would be substantial and
key. I had to have that up front. But obviously, details
emerge as you shoot, which is the same for all of the
HS: I've noticed in the trailer that Claude has
a disheveled look. Is there a reason for this appearance,
and as an actor, do you enjoy being able to change your
appearance for a role?
CE: I think that it's something I bring naturally
to the role. [Laughs] No, Claude lives a very solitary
and marginal life, for very good reasons, so he doesn't
have much time for facials and high fashion. But you may
see a change.
HS: Is it a different feeling to be filming here
in the States, where you might not be as easily recognized
as you are in the UK?
CE: I moved to America on June the 8th of last
year, and it's been like beginning my career again, and
I'm loving the challenge. It's great, at 42, to give myself
the kind of challenge I gave to myself when I was 19 and
left Salford to go to London to start drama school.
HS: Have you done any theater here in the States
yet, and would you like to?
CE: No. I'd love to. To work on Broadway would
be a dream fulfilled.
HS: Have you been noticed or approached by any
of your fans out here in L.A.?
CE: I occasionally get recognized for projects,
but particularly Shallow Grave seems to register. 28 Days
Later. And Elizabeth. Very occasionally.
HS: On HeroSite we have a Real
Heroes page where we spotlight charities that are
supported by individual people associated with the show.
I believe I read that you were involved with some charities?
CE: Back home I'm patron of an extraordinary theatre
company called Celebrity Pig, which is made up of people
with a learning disability. I'm a patron of that company,
and I've been involved in a couple of their productions,
and I hope to do more. I'm an ambassador with [the
learning disability charity] MENCAP, and I also went
out to Banda Aceh for the Red Cross. [Banda Aceh was
at the very center of the tsunami that occurred on Boxing
Craig Byrne would like to thank Christopher Eccleston
for taking the time to participate in this interview,
and would also like to extend special thanks to the folks
who made it happen.
forget to watch Claude's debut episode... Monday, January
22 on NBC!
here to read more upcoming episode spoilers!