Tim Kring – Exclusive Interview with the Creator of HEROES – Plus new footage!

     December 20, 2007

A few days ago I attended the Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival and got to interview a number of people on the red carpet. If you missed my interviews with Doug Jones or Stan Lee just click on their names. While it was great to interview both of Doug and Stan, one of the people I also really wanted to speak with was the creator of “Heroes,” Tim Kring.

In the past I’ve run some great interviews with Tim and I’ve always found him willing to talk honestly about the show. And the interview below is the same.

While the other interviews were done on the carpet, I actually caught Tim on his way out to his car, so if you listen to the audio you can hear us start in the quiet building and end up on the noisy street. During my five or so minutes I tried to find out what they did to get ready for the strike and what we might see when the show returns.

But before getting to the interview… I figured you might like to know what exclusive footage was shown at the Jules Vern event. Since they asked us not to reveal the specifics… I’ll leave some stuff out.

The reason we got to see some new footage is that the Festival was supposed to show the next unaired episode of “Heroes,” but with the writers strike going, Tim and the cast brought along some unseen footage from Volume 3 (which is called Villains). While we only saw a few minutes, what we saw set up the entire volume.

From what I gathered, Nathan and Peter Petrelli’s mom, along with the rest of the original “Heroes,” had another secret place where they kept people with powers who were evil. While in volume 2 we saw a location that kept Peter and Adam prisoner, the footage I saw seemed like another place.

At the beginning of the clip we see Peter’s mom saying something about the Level 5 villains escaping. Then there were a number of scenes with Sylar talking with Kristen Bell’s character and by the end he seemed to be captured with a tube running into his nose. I think it’s possible that Sylar caused the “villains” to escape and perhaps was captured in the process. That way he could be locked away while Zachary Quinto filmed “Star Trek” and when he wrapped could easily be brought back.

Obviously the scenes were rough and not final, and it’s very possible that everything could be altered when the show eventually goes back into production. The fact is, the strike could go on so long that Zack might be wrapped on “Star Trek” and they could redo everything so the footage I saw might end up on a DVD.

But if the strike gets resolved soon, I’d imagine what I saw is part of the next episode. It sets up how Sylar could disappear for awhile and what the “Heroes” have to do. And when you read what Tim Kring says below it all makes sense. As usual, you can either read what Tim Kring said or listen to the audio as an MP3 by clicking here.

*Update* someone gave me part of the footage that was shown at the event. While it’s not the entire clip… at least you can watch some of it. The footage is the second half of what was shown.

Collider: I want to know with the finale at the end of chapter…volume 2 was it exactly what you wanted or did you have to make changes due to the strike?

Tim Kring: The truth is we did make some changes due to the strike so we didn’t have to have…so that if we weren’t going to come back for awhile it would actually….it wouldn’t leave things hanging so terribly for the audience.

Collider: So for the fans who want to know, what was the original intension? Was there anything radically different?

Tim Kring: The truth is that the virus story was left a little bit more open-ended than what we closed with so that was really what was…I think about 5 minutes of filming that we did to sort of change the ending up a little bit so that we could make sure that when the strike—if a strike came we wouldn’t be left with a story hanging there waiting to be answered quickly.

Collider: And with the villain storyline, I noticed in the footage that we saw tonight it looked like Sylar was out and then he was brought back. Is that his like Spock kind of you know….

Tim Kring: Out meaning what?

Collider: Well, he was sort of captured. It looked like in the footage he was captured.

Tim Kring: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Collider: So I guess my question for you is with the villain storyline what is your goal for the storyline? What’s your intension?

Tim Kring: Well the intension was really just fairly simple. We wanted to sort of talk to the audience or tell the audience about the idea of flip side of heroes. That for pretty much every hero there was a villain out there. And the idea was really just to unleash an entire…we had fun with one or two villains along the way and unleashing a whole bevy of them just seemed like a lot of fun for us. So the entire volume deals with how to put that genie back in the bottle.

Collider: And I know you said when you were on stage that your goal for this season as 3 volumes.

Tim Kring: Yes. 2, 3 and 4.

Collider: Had you already before the strike thought about volume 4?

Tim Kring: Yes.

Collider: So you guys had actually mapped out where you thought the season was going to go?

Tim Kring: Volume 4 was Villians.

Collider: So now it’s volume 3.

Tim Kring: Yes, exactly.

Collider: Oh okay I’ve got it.

Tim Kring: Volume 3 was called Exodus.

Collider: So what was the original Exodus? Or is that something for the future?

Tim Kring: Well, some of it would obviously be in the future. We basically just crammed it all into…we just moved villains up.

Collider: A lot of people felt and you’ve acknowledged that the season – Volume 2 – started a little slow. And I read an interview you did with I think “Entertainment Weekly” or something, how do you think…do you think actually the writer’s strike is almost good for the show to sort of allow you to take a moment away from it?

Tim Kring: Yeah, and the truth is we had had an uninterrupted basically 2 years of working in the writers room. And I think anytime you’re able to step back and look at things and assess things, I’ve always been one who assesses all along as I go. So when you ask me a question of what’s wrong with the show, I’ll answer a million things because that’s the kind of guy I am. I’ve very analytical about what’s going on with the show. I’m always thinking about…you know if you ask me what works and what doesn’t, I’m going to you know criticize my own show because I’m a perfectionist and want to make it better. So you know, you take some of that a little out of context in an interview and it sounds like I’m ragging on my own show when the truth is nobody is harder on what we do than we are. We ask ourselves the tough questions all along and like I said there’s no template for this show. So we throw stuff up there and some of it works and some of it doesn’t. But we had a master plan for Volume 2 that we knew we were going to kick into high gear at about episode 6 and 7 and sure enough we did and I think the audience felt very satisfied by the end of this thing. We ended with such a high with episode 11 and the idea was very much to emulate the first season. If you remember the first season people were really scratching their heads until about episode 9 wondering how these characters were going to come together. We don’t have the luxury of that in a 2nd season because people are used to the show having a certain kind of adrenalin and they want that and we heard that message loud and clear and that’s why Volume 3 is now Villians which is a very cranked up exciting Volume.

Collider: So would you have said that if the strike hadn’t happened that Volume 3 with Exodus was a little bit slower?

Tim Kring: Well it was going to be a continuation. It was going to drag out some story for longer. And the strike did allow us to sort of make a clean break on some stories…on a certain part of the story and jump start ourselves into Volume 3 absolutely.

Collider: So is this the first time in your life though that you’re sort of not writing anything?

Tim Kring: First time in a very long time, yeah. It’s been very weird, very surreal.

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