Tonight’s episode was written by Rob Fresco and was directed by Allan Arkush.
Rob Fresco used to work on a TV show called PROVIDENCE which is where he met Tim Kring. When Tim created CROSSING JORDAN he brought Rob there where he worked for 2 years. And this year he comes to HEROES. (By coincidence, I also worked on PROVIDENCE, back in the days when I was a visiting director. I directed only two episodes of that series - one was written by Mr. Kring, and one by Mr. Fresco. And thus are the threads of the universe connected.)
This is Rob Fresco’s first script for us and I think (in my own humble opinion as always) long-time fans will really enjoy the way this episode goes back in time to cross some “t’s” and dot some “i’s” in the HEROES universe.
One idea that was in the script from the beginning, that I think Rob came up with, is that the main title, instead of saying HEROES would say VILLIANS… I thought that was enormously cool, but truthfully, I thought this was going to get more resistance from NBC than it did. But it didn’t. It sailed right through.
And of course, this was supposed to be the episode where we explored the villains that we introduced in the season opener. Frankly this changed a little bit as the script went through studio notes. The first draft really featured the villains – and our main characters were the side stories. This shifted as the drafts went on to the version that we now see.
Interestingly, there was a whole storyline that was dropped from the episode. There was a story that featured the character of Knox and his relationship with Matt Parkman. The story took place in L.A. and told how Knox was part of a gang and was trying to get out of that life. Matt was a cop who had busted Knox once and was trying to help him stay on the straight and narrow. As things progressed Knox realized he had the power of incredible strength whenever people around him were afraid. This caused him to turn away from Matt’s good guidance. It was a good story. But it was 9 minutes long. And, in the editing room, when Allan tried to fit it in – all the other stories became compromised. So the decision was made to just drop that one story altogether. It’ll be a great DVD extra someday.
A fun thing to tell you about is the scene on the bridge where we transition from Jessalyn Gilsig and Eric Roberts on the overpass bridge with Claire. I think it’s great how this episode connects the stories in with scenes from the pilot. The original script indicated that the camera craned up and over a hill to reveal the train wreck below. But Allan wanted to make a more direct connection. So they found an overpass and put a big 40 foot green screen on the other side. The shot had to line up with the wide shot, from the pilot, of the train crash very carefully – that footage was already shot and could not be changed. As Jessalyn and Eric Roberts walk over the bridge they walk in front of the green screen. But the key to the shot was the “hookup” point – the point at which the new footage can be hooked up to the old. There is a pole holding a sign that is the edge of the matte line. Humorously, this sign originally said “Metro” train – but because we were dealing with an Amtrak crash and not a local Metro line, we had to change the sign in post. We chose of course one of our old stand by’s the Burnt Toast Café.
As you know, from time to time I like to interview different members of the crew – to give you, the loyal viewers some insight into the many facets of HEROES specifically, and the film business in general.
Today I’m interviewing Lori Madrigal who is the head of our makeup department. She is a veteran makeup artist with an impressive resume. She is extremely well loved by the cast and the producers alike, and we are lucky to have her on this show. Here's her iMdb: Lori Madrigal
GREG BEEMAN: Lori where did you grow up?
LORI MADRIGAL: Right here in Whittier California.
GB: And how did you get into doing makeup for film and television?
LM: It’s something I always wanted to do ever since I was sixteen. But I waited awhile to get started. I was in radio advertising for years, selling airtime, which I liked – but I always knew that I really wanted to do makeup. So one day I decided to do it. I put myself through esthetician school and makeup school. And then, the doors opened up and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been working steadily for twenty years.
GB: Where did you go to school?
LM: The esthetician school was in Seal Beach and I also went to Cinema Secrets to study film makeup. Maurice Stein trained me.
GB: So once you made the decision to do it everything came together?
LM: Yes. I always feel that if something’s meant to be, if it’s really your heart's desire, then nothing can stop you. It’s not like it was all easy from the beginning. I definitely pounded the pavement. I cleaned houses between jobs and some of my first jobs were photo shoots for “E” Entertainment where I got $30 a day. But after awhile I pushed and convinced people that I knew what I was doing and I got started.
GB: What was you first big break?
LM: On a miniseries - NORTH AND SOUTH.
GB: And we started working together because of an Exec at Warner Brothers named Lisa Lewis…
LM: I love Lisa. She’s cool.
GB: Well she loved you. She knew you from “E-RING” and she recommended you for the AQUAMAN pilot I did. I brought you over here and the rest is history.
GB: Now, as a producer, the head of the makeup department is critical – not just because you need your actors to look great, but because the hair and makeup trailer is where the actors all start their day and where they spend most of their day. The actors have to have a great relationship with you or they are miserable and if they’re miserable – the set doesn’t run right.
LM: Exactly. And that’s why my trailer is the way it is. Why I have music and coffee and food and fun photos everywhere. I want it to be a place where the actors want to start their day and hang out between shots all day. We have a lot of fun, and also, that way I know where they are at all times.
GB: You definitely create a very happy environment. So can you talk about the two aspects of the job, the creative and also the interpersonal aspect of your job?
LM: I always say there are two parts to the job of makeup artist. Part one is “makeup” and part two is “therapist.” You never know what kind of mood the actors are going to be in when they get their in the morning, but you have to make sure that, no matter what – you’re in a better mood than them.
GB: The actors not only all like you, but they all trust you...
LM: They have to trust you. You can’t lie to them or BS them. You have to please them and what they want, but at the same time you have to please the producers and the studio and you have to please yourself. It’s great, it’s really a rush, when you get to achieve all that.
GB: After all these years do you still find it glamorous that you get to hang out with all these big stars all day?
LM: You know, I never really found it glamorous. I think from the beginning my attitude was that we are all just people working together to do a job. Maybe that’s why I do end up getting along with them, because I feel that we’re all just people.
GB: So let’s talk about the artistic part. What is it that gives you the biggest thrill about doing makeup?
LM: Color. I love it when someone sits in your chair for the first time and you open a drawer with a thousand colors in it, and you pull out the right one on the first try. I’m good with color and it’s really fun to just trust yourself with it. Color is where a lot of people go wrong because they don’t really understand what colors are right for them.
It’s really fun to take a person and change them. To take a person who is attractive and with just a little bit of work to make them beautiful. You actually need very little makeup to achieve that, as long as you know what your doing and it’s carefully applied.
GB: What about the other side? We also mess people up a lot on this show.
LM: I know. And I love that! Mostly I let Wendi do that on this show, because she loves it and I’m so busy with the girls. But it’s so fun to do blood and scars and cuts and bruises. Like today we had this guy who was a dead body – and so, I pushed Wendi aside and said “I’m doing this one” – he was all cut up and bruised up and it was so fun.
The rewarding part of my job is when the actor comes out of the trailer and everyone says “That’s awesome.”
GB: What about the hours. Our crew normally comes in at 6 or 7 a.m. to start work. But you have to come in a couple of hours earlier than that every day to get the cast made-up, is that right?
LM: Yep. I came in at 5 a.m. today and 4 a.m. yesterday.
GB: And, for us, a 12 hour day is the norm. Does that mean you're putting in a 14 or 15 hour workday every day?
LM: Most of the time, yes.
GB: Did you know that was what you were signing up for when you got into this business?
LM: No. I thought it would be way more glamerous. No one ever told me you'd have to be applying makeup in a swamp, or that you'd be peeing in a big box. Because on location there's no "boys" and "girls" room - there's just a plastic outhouse and everyone has to go in it.
GB: So what do those hours do to your personal life?
LM: What are you talking about? I have no life. But that's what the job is. You know what though? I love my job, so it's worth it. The crazy hours is just part of it. This whole business is like a carnival that packs up and moves on to the next town every day. If I didn't love my work it wouldn't work - but I do, so it's all good!
GB: Thanks Lori. You’re awesome. Thank you.
LM: No problem. You know I love you Beeman!
THE PIX OF IT ALL:
ALLAN ARKUSH AND CRISTINE ROSE
ROB FRESCO “THE WRITER”
THIS WEEK’S INTERVIEWEE - LORI MADRIGAL, THE HIGH PREISTESSES OF MAKEUP (on the right) AND WENDI ALLISON, KEY MAKE-UP - LET THE RECORD SHOW... THEY ARE THE BEST!!! (ALSO - CREDIT IS DUE TO WENDI – SHE GIVES ME MANY OF THE PHOTOS THAT I USE HERE ON THE BLOG )
MALCOLM MCDOWELL, CRISTINE ROSE AND ROBERT FORSTER
(KICK BACK KIDS AND WATCH HOW THE OLD SCHOOL GETS IT DONE!)
ALLAN AND D.P. NATE GOODMAN LINE UP A SHOT
THE COOL KIDS
KRISTEN BRINGS HER FAVORITE BOOK TO SET (AND MAKES US SIT DOWN SO SHE CAN READ IT TO ALL OF US ALL THE TIME!)
KRISTEN AND ZACH (AS ZACH MENTALLY PREPARES FOR ANOTHER "READING" BY KRISTEN)
JESSALYN GILSIG – ONE HOT FLAMETHROWIN’ MAMA
MILO AND ADRIAN - JUST HANGIN’
HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN
DON’T MESS WITH THE QUEEN