By popular demand (152 e-mails and counting), here's the complete transcript of my interview with
Milo Ventimiglia, conducted last Friday during a preplanned meet-and-greet at TV Guide's Gotham headquarters. Juicy, scoopy bits abound - particularly the stuff about Lauren Graham's
Gilmore Girls contract that you just know I'll be asking her about tomorrow if, er,
when she lands her first Emmy nomination!
Ausiello: Inquiring minds (read: TVGuide.com readers) must know: Are you single?
Ausiello: How's single life treating you?
[ Chuckles] That's about all you'll get out of me.
Ausiello: Any chance of you going back to Gilmore Girls?
Never gonna happen.
Ausiello: Because the Palladinos are gone?
Ausiello: But what if the new show-runner, Dave Rosenthal, asks you? He might be a fan of yours.
I appreciate that, but I'm pretty busy this year.
Ausiello: So you feel that Jess' story is done?
I felt that it was done a long time ago, but Dan and Amy kept saying, "We got some cool things, and we're really hoping you'll be a part of it." So I went back and I kind of enjoyed what Jess turned into. He turned into a grown-up. Watching [my] last episode, I was like, "It's done."
Ausiello: Were you surprised that Amy and Dan left?
No. I think they thought that [Warner Bros.] was willing to take care of them like they take care of John Wells and Aaron Sorkin. Those guys have major empires. [Amy and Dan] had always been developing with the studio and trying to find some things to do, so the fact that they stepped away doesn't surprise me. Amy said she knows what happens in the last scene of the final episode, so who knows how that's going to turn out. But I'm not going to be part of it. It was always nice that they kept wanting me to come back. And I always had a good experience working with them. And, I have to admit, they gave me my first public push. All the work that I did [before Gilmore Girls] was very much under the radar, and still pretty much under the radar.
Ausiello: Do you think next season will be the last?
I know Alexis' contract is up, and she really wants to leave.
Ausiello: Lauren's contract will be up as well.
No, it's not. I think she bartered for more money one year to secure another [season].
Ausiello: Are you sure? I just talked to her, and she made it pretty clear that she was only contracted for one more season.
Eh, you probably know more than me.
Ausiello: How was Rocky VI?
Rocky VI was fun.
Ausiello: Did you do any boxing?
No. None. I'm his son. I'm a Philadelphia businessman with, like, suits off the rack. Rocky's on his own; Adrian's passed away. My character's off working in corporate Philadelphia. Paulie, in the original script, had a girlfriend, and was still working at the meatpacking place, so Rocky was just on his own. He didn't have anybody around. He starts thinking about boxing again, and ESPN does this thing where they match up old fighters and new fighters in a computer to see who would win per stat. And they match up Rocky versus the current champion, and in the computer, Rocky wins. So there's all this speculation about what would happen if they fought. Here's a guy in his mid- to late fifties, and the other guy is in his prime. It's obvious that the current champion would win, not Rocky. It actually comes to a head when they set up an exhibition match to see who would win it. We shot many different endings.
Ausiello: What kind of shape is Sylvester Stallone in?
The best. He was in great shape. He was at fighting weight. I couldn't get over his stamina, and I'm not even talking about boxing so much. He wrote the film, produced it, directed it and acted in it. The responsibility of all those things, as well as being in peak physical shape and having a pretty good temperament... I found him to be patient, incredibly intelligent. He really wanted the cast and crew to understand what he was going for. I never had a hard time understanding what he was looking for. And he was really respectful to the people who were working hard, who put the time in, did their homework and came prepared. I hope he gets some recognition for being an artist, because he really is. Of course he's done a lot of big action movies - Tango and Cash, whatever - but when I first read the script, take away 30 years of Rocky history and it was a beautiful, beautiful script that he wrote.
Ausiello: When does it open?
December 22. I think they're going to start running trailers for it with Pirates of the Caribbean.
Ausiello: Did you ever think about waiting to see how the movie does before committing to a TV show like Heroes? This could launch a movie career for you.
You know what? Doing both is fine. TV is steady work. I never expect a job to give me that huge break. I just go in and do the best work I can.
Ausiello: Speaking of Heroes, your character believes he can fly. Will you be wearing tights?
( Laughs) No, but they made sure my jacket was [big enough] in the pilot so when I fall it opens wide [like a cape]. There's an element of the superhero, so there is going to be action and suspense and what not. But at the base of it, [series creator] Tim Kring really wanted to have these everyday people dealing with the fear and exhilaration of having certain powers, like flying or walking through walls or bending space and time. That's what the story is. It's these people going through regular human emotions of, 'F--k, I can't believe I'm about to jump off this building, but I really, really bet I can.' A lot of the stuff I've done has been very cerebral, very wordy, but the characters that I've played are very different than what I'm playing here. This guy has a really big heart. He looks after other people before he looks after himself. But at the same time, Tim didn't want him to be a pushover or a wuss. He didn't want him to not be able to stand up for himself and for others around him.
Ausiello: Have you seen Superman Returns?
Not yet. I'm excited to see it. I saw the last X-Men movie, and I got really excited about seeing a Bryan Singer film. I was a big fan of the first two X-Men movies.
Ausiello: The third one sucked.
I wouldn't say sucked, it just wasn't the first two.
Ausiello: You're probably going to be asked this at press tour, so you can rehearse your response now: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would want the power of persuasion. Think about it: You could walk into a foreign country and start a war - if you're so evil. If you're peaceful, you could walk into a foreign country and end a war just by talking to someone. It's kind of like Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi-type thing.