“THE SECOND COMING”
(WARNING! –AS ALWAYS – SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED WITHIN)
Okay fans! Tonight’s the night! Episode One Of Season Three – which will be immediately followed by episode Two of Season Three. Which means to me that I gotta write two blogs on one day!!!!! AAAAAARGGHHHH!!!
(And I’m right in the middle of prepping to direct episode 13!!!!)
For tonight’s festivities I thought I’d interview Allan Arkush. Allan, besides me, is the other producer/frequent director on HEROES – and he is the auteur behind tonight’s gem. I know I’m sometimes accused of hyping the show – (which is really just my innate enthusiasm) – but tonight it will be no hype when I tell you that the episode is really really good and that you will like it! (Unless you are a real sourpuss – or especially squeamish)
It was written by Tim Kring and Directed by my interviewee, Allan Arkush.
Greg Beeman: So, Allan, how would you compare HEROES to other shows that you’ve been involved with?
Allan Arkush: There is no point of comparison.
GB: (laughs) Why not?
AA: If you took everything that was the hardest thing in any other TV show, and I’ve worked on thirty different shows, the kind of thing that was so hard they only did it for their season opener or season closer – and that would be one day on HEROES.
In fact, I would say, HEROES is the decathlon of television directing.
GB: What does that mean?
AA: It has a lot of action, a lot of special effects, a visual style that’s hard to achieve. Complex shots. Complex emotion. It has a big cast. And, every episode has four “A” stories.
GB: What is an “A” story?
AA: Most television shows have stories in them with three degrees of intensity. The “A” story is the titular story – usually involving the series’ lead, which would have the most depth of character and complexity of plot and in general is the most important. On my last series CROSSING JORDAN, this would usually be a story about Jordan – in which she was solving a case and also having a development in her personal life.
The “B” story is a secondary story, usually involving one of the shows secondary characters. This story would take place over five or six scenes in which, generally, a secondary case would be solved that relates thematically to the “A” story.
The “C” story might be a comedy runner – a story that completes itself in three scenes and is very slight.
Well, on HEROES, it’s all “A” stories all the time.
GB: So, every story is equally important?
AA: Correct. AND… Every story has a different tone, a different visual style and different actors – which requires you to work in a different style. Also, and this is no small thing, it all takes place in different locations. There is no police station or hospital or law firm where the majority of your scenes can take place.
GB: Yes. Now that you mention it, all that is hard.
AA: Which means that we spend more time in scout vans than on any other show I’ve ever done.
GB: A scout van is literally a van where the key crew members and the director drive around looking for potential locations to film in.
AA: Right. But the upside of this is that we get more scout lunches than on any show I’ve worked on as well. We have a lot of people on this show who like to eat well and we go to some great restaurants for lunch.
GB: So, the first episode of the season is an important one isn’t it?
AA: (laughs) Yes.. It’s important to get off to a good start.
GB: So what burdens did you feel directing the season three opener?
AA: The trick is to get all the stories in motion for the season, and at the same time not to burden the audience with spoon-fed exposition. You have to create the feeling that you’re already in mid-stream even though you’re just starting.
GB: What scenes are you particularly happy with from this one?
AA: I am very happy with the scenes of Sylar stalking Claire. Especially the scene where Sylar explores Claire’s brain. That may be one of the favorite scenes I’ve ever done.
AA: Because it’s very tense and also funny and horrific in a way that’s intellectually satisfying – and all at once!
GB: I heard that when they screened the episode at Comic-Con a fan or two fainted during that scene and had to be taken away.
AA: I heard that too. And as a director, that’s a good feeling.
GB: When Tim first presented this scene to you, he talked a lot about it being done in the style of a teen horror movie.
AA: He sure did.
GB: But you’ve never worked in that genre before.
AA: No. And whenever I’ve attempted it it usually comes out kind of goofy and funny rather than scary. That’s just how my mind works.
GB: So what did you do to prepare for this unfamiliar genre?
AA: I watched a lot of movies. That’s what I do. I watched HALLOWEEN and BLOOD AND BLACK LACE and WHIP AND THE BODY by Mario Bava, and ALIEN and SORRY WRONG NUMBER and WAIT UNTIL DARK.
GB: And what did you learn from those classics?
AA: Tension and release! Make them wait – then let them see something the main character’s about to see, but hasn’t – and then when the action finally happens it happens fast, in a rush.
What was interesting about this scene was that, usually in these movies, the main character has to do something very stupid in order for the story to progress. I wanted Claire not to do anything stupid and to stay aggressive. That is our twist on the genre.
The other scene I am very happy with is the scene with Nathan and Peter in the hospital room.
GB: Really? That is a smaller scene than so many others in the episode. Why are you so happy with that one?
AA: Because there are lots of levels to that scene. You’re not sure whether future Peter will kill Nathan. I like to direct scenes where the characters have hidden agendas. Where two people are playing different levels at the same time. Also, those two actors, Milo and Adrian, just have a great chemistry together. It’s fun to watch them.
GB: Anything you’re disappointed with?
AA: That we had to lose the Sylar/Mr. Muggles scene. The big growl down.
GB: Could you explain what that was?
AA; I came up with a scene for the moment when Claire was in the closet and Sylar was outside the door, where Mr. Muggles shows up and growls at Sylar barring the path – he’s trying to protect Claire. Sylar raises his finger, the way he always does when he’s going to take off the top of someone’s head. So, you started to get worried if Mr. Muggles is going to be Okay. And then, Sylar flicks his finger – and Mr. Muggles shoots backwards out the doggie door. Oh well, it’ll be a great DVD extra.
GB: I know… I loved that scene. Why did it go?
AA: Partly for time – the show was long. And partly because some people thought it was too goofy and funny... Story of my life.
GB: Well, take it from me, I think they were wrong!
AA: Thank you. I think so too.
SCOUT LUNCH #1 - DIM SUM
SCOUT LUNCH #2 - DELI
SCOUT LUNCH #3 – IN WHICH THE RULE “”NEVER EAT ANYTHING BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD COMES INTO PLAY”
A LOT OF TIMES WE ACT OUT THE SCENES ON SCOUT – HERE CO-EXEC PRODUCER JIM CHORY AND I AND LOCATION/PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR ALEX REID ACT OUT A SHOOT OUT FROM THE FUTURE (FROM AN EARLIER SCRIPTED VERSION WHICH HAD HIRO AND FUTURE PETER TOGETHER)
LOCATION MANAGER STEVE HASSON AND ALEX REID ACT OUT CLAIRE SHOOTING PETER IN THE FUTURE
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR ANNE BERGER ACTS OUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE SHOT DEAD IN THE FUTURE
SCOUTING IN TOKYO – LED BY EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DENNIS HAMMER THE CREW ACTS OUT WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE A BUNCH OF FROZEN-TIME TOKYO OFFICE WORKERS (AND HE’S THE SERIOUS ONE!!!)
SCOUTING IN TOKYO – PRODUCTION DESIGNER RUTH AMMON ACTS OUT WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE A FROZEN-TIME TOKYO OFFICE WORKER
SCOUTING IN TOKYO – IN WHICH I ACT OUT WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE A FROZEN-TIME FEMALE OFFICE WORKER WITH A LOT OF HAIR (DON’T ASK)
DO I LOOK GOOD IN THIS? (HAYDEN MODELS THE LATEST IN LADIES’ HEADWEAR)
JACK COLEMAN LOOKS LIKE A BADASS EVEN IN HIS PAJAMAS
DANIA AND SENDHIL…QUIEN ES MAS SEXY?
TIM KRING, DANIA, ALLAN ARKUSH AND SENDHIL
TINY GREG GRUNBERG AND A TECHNO CRANE IN AFRICA
GREG GRUNBERG – LOOKIN’ GOOD IN AFRICA
THOSE WACKY PETRELLI BOYS
ALI LARTER ON A DAY WITHOUT SUNBLOCK
ALLAN ARKUSH AND MASI – “HEY, I KNOW, LET’S GO BLOW UP THE WORLD”
THE DESTRUCTION OF TOKYO BY DIGITAL TSUNAMI
HIRO AND ANDO IN FRONT OF GREEN SCREEN
HIRO AND ANDO AFTER BEING COMPED TOGETHER – IN TOKYO!
DIRECTOR ALLAN ARKUSH DEEP IN THOUGH ON A SCOUT