In the first season of Heroes (Mondays at 9 pm/ET, NBC), Adrian Pasdar's Nathan Petrelli seemed to have it all: a loving family, a swank house, a successful Senate bid. But he sacrificed it all to save New York from nuclear apocalypse by flying off with his brother, Peter (Milo Ventimiglia), right before his bro went boom. As this season began, a scruffy Nathan seemed to have lost everything. Pasdar spoke to TVGuide.com about his character's transformation, Season 2's slow start, the writers' strike and a Petrelli-brothers reunion.
TVGuide.com: This week, we're going back four months ago to see what happened after the gang defeated Sylar. Can you tell us how Nathan and Peter survived?
Adrian Pasdar: We filmed this stuff a month or six weeks ago, and we spent a lot of time about 30 feet above the cement floor of Stage 7. It'll knock your socks off — in fact, it did knock one of my shoes off, during the stunt. It picks up right where the finale left off, and there's a good deal of explanation as to what's been happening, why I see that face in the mirror periodically.
TVGuide.com: Yah, what's with the burned version of himself that Nathan keeps seeing?
Pasdar: That has become an alternate him from a real result... I can't be much more specific than that. At one point that was pretty much him. And it's not so much him anymore.
TVGuide.com: Nathan has gone through a major change — last season he was so fixated on his public image, and now his priorities have clearly shifted.
Pasdar: The events that happened between the finale of last year and the beginning of the season this year altered his perspective on who he was and his ability to impact people around him. He lost his way a little bit — he had more of an inner search for what was important, and he ends up losing all the things that he held very close to him. It's an attempt for him to regain not only the elements of his past but what the pieces are that made up who he was. All of those things kind of got fractured in the finale — they exploded, in a way. [Laughs] I've missed working with Milo — our paths have been divergent, have been separate. But we do get back together in the last few episodes that we've filmed. They're a reunion of sorts.
TVGuide.com: I, for one, was pretty glad to see that beard of yours go.
Pasdar: Really? You and my wife [Dixie Chicks frontwoman Natalie Maines] both.
TVGuide.com: Have you ever worn a beard like that before?
Pasdar: I don't think I'd be able to get away with that for too long — I don't think my wife, for one, would have it.
TVGuide.com: Will we get to see Nathan's wife and the kids again this week?
Pasdar: Their involvement is quite a bit less than it was last year; I think it's one of the things he's got to work to get back. He was forced to walk away, or crawl away.
TVGuide.com: Shouldn't Nathan be serving in the Senate by now?
Pasdar: You'd think there would be political aspirations in his future, but I think you've got to regain your ability to control your day-to-day before you can even purport to be able to govern people. He did win the election, and he resigned his seat. It was a decision that he thought was probably best not only for himself but for the people he was supposed to represent, since he was not able to do it effectively given the fact that he was on fire.
TVGuide.com: Figuratively, or literally on fire?
Pasdar: Well... [Laughs] I can't answer that. I can neither confirm nor deny.
TVGuide.com: Will we see any more of Nathan and Claire together?
Pasdar: Yes, there will be more. That depends on the strike.
TVGuide.com: Does Nathan have any other children floating around who we haven't met yet?
Pasdar: [Laughs] As far as I know, no, but that doesn't mean there aren't. The writers haven't told me about any others. I can't imagine Nathan having been that careless more than once.
TVGuide.com: In a recent article, Tim Kring apologized for the beginning of the season. What do you think of the apology — was it necessary? Was it appropriate?
Pasdar: The decisions these guys have made creatively didn't pay off as broadly as they wish they might have. I think it's courageous of him — whenever you work on a TV show like this, the expectations are just so high, especially after such a stellar first season. The challenge is not to re-create that but to reinvent yourself, and that's what they're trying to do. I think it's courageous, noble, bold and ultimately admirable for him to step forward and say, "What we tried to do didn't work out as well as we thought it would, and we're going to go back and retool." You take a chance sometimes. According to Tim, it didn't pan out the way they wanted it to. He has an allegiance to the fans, and he's ultimately doing it for viewers. You want as many people to stay tuned as possible.
TVGuide.com: I understand that the Dec. 3 episode has been reworked to serve as a season finale if the strike continues. Do you think it will come to that?
Pasdar: It's looking like that now, although it's hard to say.I think the strike will be far weightier and far more devastating than people actually assume. I was on the picket line with the strikers the other day, and my opinion is that people have no idea about the nature of the contracts that are forged and the loopholes in them. They're very fragile. It's been a surprise to a lot of people. The entertainment business generates I think an estimated $80 million a day in this town; not all that money is going to be lost, because there are still people employed, but that's a lot of money. It's a lot of GI Joes with Kung-Fu Grip that aren't going to be given out at Christmas. Not to mention that the people who watch TV aren't going to be able to have any new programs. Nobody wants the strike; every single writer is devastated that it's come to this. Nobody stood up and said, "Let's strike; we want more money." But for the producers to say there isn't enough money in Hollywood to go around, that's somewhat of an arrogant stance.
TVGuide.com: Anybody in the cast you'd like to work with but haven't had a chance to yet?
Pasdar: I've worked with just about everybody except for Jack [Coleman, who plays Noah Bennet, aka HRG] — one of the guys I have a great relationship with but unfortunately I'm not able to have much screentime with. In fact, we share a daughter [Claire]. He's probably the only one, other than James Kyson Lee [who plays Ando]. I haven't worked with any of the new ones, like Kristen [Bell, who plays Elle] and Dana [Davis, who plays Monica]; it's hard to see where our storylines would cross naturally, and they're very good about not forcing storylines to meet. They have to come together of their own volition.
TVGuide.com: I know that you used to skydive — do you think that's like the non-superhuman version of flying?
Pasdar: I used to do quite a bit more of that before I had children; my wife kind of frowns upon me jumping out of a perfectly fine airplane. It's a lot of fun — people think that it's about giving up control, but it's actually quite the opposite; you have to be in complete control in order to safely land after jumping out of a plane. The flying we do on the show is antithetical to what it looks like; I'm hanging from a harness while everyone else is moving, the camera's moving, the grips are moving. It doesn't feel much like flying. It's actually nothing like jumping out of a plane at 12,000 feet and free-falling.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of your wife — I just wanted to mention that I'm a big Dixie Chicks fan.
Pasdar: Well, me too. It's a great thing to have a wife who can sing those lullabies to our children. It puts a whole new spin on "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
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