Saturday, April 25, 2009

BEEMAN'S BLOG - SEASON THREE - EPISODE 25 - "AN INVISIBLE THREAD"

BEEMAN’S BLOG
SEASON 3 – EPISODE 25
“An Invisible Thread”

Dearest readers, this is a sad moment for me, as it will be, not only my final blog for Season 3, but also my final blog for HEROES.

You see, I will not be returning to HEROES for Season 4. Ultimately this was a financially motivated decision made by NBC. They no longer want to have a Producer/Director position on the show. But it coincides well with my own innate wanderlust, and so, while sad to leave so many friends and comrades, I am excited for the future.

Having said that, while this will be my final blog respective to HEROES, it is not necessarily my final Beeman’s Blog ever. Over the years I have been careful to keep this blog separate from NBC.com or any other entity that specifically ties it to HEROES. It certainly seems reasonable that I will continue to write on about whatever my next adventures are. It is a bit too early to say, but I have a strong feeling I will be involved in very exciting projects in the very near future. I hope that the many of you who have followed me up to now will continue to follow with me as I move forward. I have been amazed that the blog frequently gets thirty or forty thousand hits a week. If I have been able to give any enjoyment or insight to you fans then that is certainly enough to me. As I hope you know, I am well aware that our fans are everything and I am very happy to have been able to serve you. Moving forward, well… I will keep you posted.

So, having dispensed with that, it seems appropriate today, not to write a typical behind-the-scenes about what occurred on this final episode. From my point of view as director and producer it went quite smoothly. It was a Tim Kring script, which are always easy to make manifest. I am pleased with the overall results, and I hope you will be as well.

It seems more appropriate today to address a farewell to the many people I have worked with these last three years. (Take a breath – this could go on for awhile!)

I feel like starting with the actors. Of all the jobs I do on this show, working one on one and in groups with the actors is the most deeply rewarding and important job I do. I’ve mentioned, frequently what a great cast this is. That is partly because they are all very nice people. But also, they are all talented, and they each enjoy the relationship with the director, digging for the unexpected and the surprising.

I’d like to start with Zachary Quinto. Because I didn’t do the pilot I didn’t have influence over hiring the rest of the series regulars. But I was there, directing Zach at his first audition. It was an incredible, showstopping, performance. It was immediately evident that his range was phenomenal and I knew then and there we had something special. Zach is a true artist and I feel a deep affection for him. He is also a great person and a very giving actor to his fellow actors, to the crew and to the show. What’s especially amazing is that, as great as he is, I know how much he can still develop into the power of his craft. Beyond a doubt, I know that he will go on to greatness - because not only does he have the talent to achieve this he has the will, and I have immense respect for this quality within him.

To the rest, I’d like to say farewell to Hayden Panettiere. Hayden you are a savant. You do everything effortlessly and are deeply intelligent. I respect you immensely.

To Jack Coleman, you are a true professional in the very best sense of the word. Your work seems effortless and simple, and yet I know how complex the character is. Whenever I have had an opportunity to push with you into the deeper aspects of your character, the rewards were always rich.

To Ashley Crow, you were phenomenal in the pilot, presenting an odd quirky character. As the series developed, slowly, you were given the opportunity to expand this character and show a depth of character, a strength that is born in love of family. My personal opinion is that all of this resides naturally in you and reflects your own values. (In fact, whenever I had the opportunity to direct “The Bennets” Hayden, Ashley and Jack together, it was a delightful experience. “First Line on the Ice” I called them - using a hockey expression. Those scenes were always so fun and easy and fast to bring to fruition.)

To Milo Ventimiglia, you are a person of great integrity and a filmmaker in your own right. You have always been deeply respectful of the crew and the process and I respect that in you. I have really, truly enjoyed working with you.

To Adrian Pasdar, you are a true leader, and a funny nice guy who cares immensely about the details of his performance. You challenged me and forced me to direct with more depth. It is an honor to have directed you.

To Ali Larter, we had a very special and bonding experience on the sixth episode of the first season, as we both worked through a complex performance. You are characterized by great enthusiasm and desire to strive for the highest performance you can achieve and I very much admire you for this.

To Sendhil Ramamurthy, you are one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Your enthusiasm for being on the show has never waned. And you have always gone the extra mile whenever I asked you to do something above and beyond the expected. I am very grateful to you for this.

To Greg Grunberg, you are as funny and as naturally likable in person as you are on-screen. I have also been very impressed by your eagerness to push into darker areas of your character whenever the opportunity presented itself. Tonight’s episode is a good example of this. It has been a joy to work with you.

Masi Oka, you are one of the smartest actors I have ever worked with. It was incredibly fun learning the minute amount of Japanese I did from you. Your positive attitude was never in doubt throughout. You have been a great ambassador for the show, in so many ways, Thank you.

James Kyson Lee, sometimes I wonder if the work you do is fully appreciated. Straight-man comedy is not easy to pull off, but you make it all look so easy. As a film-maker I know that you are always 100% reliable to deliver whatever is asked of you. I have gotten to know you personally a bit and you are a delight to hand with. Thanks for everything.

To Cristine Rose, I have to say I have never had more fun directing an actor than I have you. I feel we have done excellent work together. I know the scene we did recently where you were eating oysters in the restraunt was a truly fun collaboration. Similarly the one in tonight’s episode where you discover Nathan’s body was, for me, perfectly emblematic of the collaboration between director and actor. You love to take chances and I love that you have trusted me. Thank you.

To the other cast, who have left the show (at least temporarily???) Santiago Cabrera, Tawny Cypress, Noah Gray-Cabey, Leonard Roberts, Dania Ramirez, Brea Grant and Kristen Bell… It was truly special to collaborate with you all. I am so filled with warm feelings at having worked with every member of this cast that words can’t describe it.

But there are also so many people I have worked with behind the scenes on this show. If you’ve followed my blog at all then you know that this is, on SO many levels and incredibly complex and challenging show – and also a deeply rewarding one. I have had the incredible fortune of being involved intimately with every department.

Firstly, to Ruth Ammon, HEROES Production designer. You are among the most talented individuals I have ever worked with. The sets you build have been uniformly marvelous. Your taste is impeccable. Your sense of color and design flawless. You have taught me the concept of building history and character into sets. You have been more challenged than perhaps any other member of the crew… You have built huge, incredible sets in so little time – and when I walk on them, they are perfectly designed to be shot, both artistically and technically. I thank you and your whole crew. I don’t have time to name them individually, but they have done world class work faster and better than I have ever seen.

To Nate Goodman, our Director of Photography, I have had perhaps the closest collaboration with you. Your intuitiveness, your endless enthusiasm and willingness to take real and significant chances is a marvel. You are starting your career as a D.P. at such a high level of talent that I know the future will be quite bright for you.

To Charlie Lieberman, our other D.P. What can I say? Your lightening is sumptuously gorgeous. The way you make the light caress the face is so beautiful. You entered an already running machine and stepped aboard effortlessly. The work we did on tonight’s episode and on the last one we did together, episode #19, is some of the most beautiful photography I’ve been involved with. (And I really care about photography.)

I think it’s also important to mention John Aronson, the Director of Photography who shot the whole of season one. John set the look and established our standards. His influence continues to be felt.

I’d like to thank the entirety of the camera, grip and electric crews. We have a core group that does the bulk of the episodes and a huge, vastly rotating group that does our second units. That the show has a cohesive look despite the myriad crews that work on it is a testament to everyone’s hard work and to the integrity of vision of our DPs and producers. I would like to single out just a few names of those I’ve worked most closely with…. Peter Mercurio, our camera operator, Chuck Crivier our key grip. Carlos Gallardo our dolly grip and Jeff Levy our gaffer… And to all of the many many rest who create the images the fans enjoy week in and week out... Thank you all for your hard work and good attitude. It has been a pleasure to work with you.

I would like to thank Gary D’Amico and his special effects crew. Gary you blows stuff up real good, and does every other kind of mechanical effect imaginable. The range of special effects you have done on this show is all encompassing. As far as I can remember, nothing you and your crew has done has ever not worked. Great job!

Also, Tim Gilbert, our stunt coordinator. In TV time is short to do very elaborate stunts. Tim you have had a great attitude through all types of conditions. And again, congrats on your SAG award this year!

I would like to thank Lori Madrigal and Wendi Allison our makeup artists. I have mentioned them a few times before on the blog. You guys have the greatest attitude and keep every member of our large cast continuously happy in your trailer which is the rockenest on the planet.

The same enthusiastic thanks goes to LeeAnn Brittenham and Angie Gurule our hair people!

To our Prop department, especially prop master Ross Anderson, and his key crew James Clark, Reba Rosenthal, Scott Henry and the rest of the crew that have worked all of our numerous units. All of your work has never been anything but top notch. Every prop was right or was quickly made right if there was ever a problem. I would also like to single out James (who twitters as @jamesprops) James your dedication to the show and it’s numerous details has not gone unnoticed by me. Thank you all for your enthusiasm.

To Stargate Visual Effects and our team Eric Grenaudier, Mark Spatny, and also to our Season One VFX producer Mark Kolpack – This show has been a great and fun challenge… So many things get written into the scripts that we have to figure out how to do in just a few weeks. It has been fun collaborating with you guys creatively even when we have to creatively figure out how to do something huge without a huge amount of money. One of the most effective VFX-based scenes I’ve done remains the Season one episode 3 scene in which Hiro first froze time in Tokyo Japan. Since then we have exploded New york, Exploded Tokyo, Frozen and shattered Ali Larter as well as (tonight) made Ali Larter materialize out of water. We have recently Morphed Sylar into virtually every cast member we have, shattered a plane and then digitally re-created it on the ground, we have flown Peter, flown Nathan and so much more. Thank you guys for your hard work and diligence!

To our prosthetic guys from Optic Nerve - Glen Hetrick & Mark Viniello, you guys did amazing work. My favorite was the open brain cap you made for Hayden in season three's opener. I stood six inches from that appliance and I still couldn't figure it out. Glen, you as the mutated man Suresh worked on was also a hoot from episode 9-11 this year. Guys, thank you!

To Cathy Gibson, our UPM, it has been great getting to know you as we worked in the trenches together this year. Figuring out the pure mechanics and manpower of this show is a beast and you tamed the beast with elegance. As director Jeannot Szwarc dubbed you, "You are a snub nosed 35 inside a velvet purse!"

To Brenda Pulos and to Alex Reid, and who left earlier in the year, thanks for everything. To Pearl Lucero and our entire amazing Office Production Staff, thanks guys!

To Valerie Norman and Merry Donner, our two amazingly talented script supervisors. Thank you. Val, you and I have been especially close and we have shared a lot emotionally and metaphysically. I thank you for your freindship.

And to our AD Department - Sam Mahony, Robert Scott and Anne Berger and Diane Calhoun, as well as to our numerous simul-unit ADs and also those who have left, my friend Pat Duffy and Milos Milicevic . Due to SO many reasons this show is THE hardest show to A.D. I have ever seen. All of you did it with class in your own inimatable way.

To Ken Fuller and the sound crew - thank you for excellent work done quickly and quietly. In general there is cleaner sound with less ADR on this show than on any I've been on.

Our Casting Guys RULE - Jason La Padura, Natalie Hart & Keri Owens!!! This team found this amazing original cast and continues to find the actors that fit seemlessly into our high standards week after week!

To our costumes team, for making our cast look awesome - Debra McGuire, Nancy Gould and your entire team of people.. Thanks!

For finding us places to shoot, week in and week out thanks also goes to our Locations Department -- Steve Hasson, Dianne Friedgen and Jason Savage. This is another department that has to jump through hoops every week just to get us on the air.

To Brian Stegall and our transportation team that keeps our company moving thanks for everything. You do a great job in a seamless way!

I'd like to give a special thanks to our stand in team... Otto Krausse who is without question my oldest friend and my brother-from-another-mother, Mitch Blaylock, Elizabeth Obrien and Heather Stunkle as well as the numerous stand in's on simul-unit... You guys work hard witha great attitude. (Stand-in is something I should have done a blog about - basically they "stand-in" for the actors during the long lighting set-ups between takes. It's basically super-important but tedious work that requires paying a lot of attention for very little thanks - and this is a great and happy team!)

To Foz , who I brought over from SMALLVILLE and ended up being Jim Chory’s assistant – thanks for being a great guy! Thank you for your kind words towards me. You are a great guy!

To Lori Motyer, our post production producer and to our editors Scott Boyd, Jon Koslowsky, Don Aron to Lois Blumenthal, and to all of our assistant editors and post production assistants…. You guys are the best. The show is so well crafted in post production it’s not funny. Lois, I feel especially proud of you, because we worked together on your first episode after you moved up from assistant! Great job everyone. I will miss my time down in the dungeon with all of you.

To Wendy and Lisa our composers, I would like to extend a special thanks. The music that you create for the show is haunting and magical, and you are truly the shows greatest fans! Allan and I would always know how a show was because when we showed it to you guys you had the most authentic reaction ever. Also, the speed with which you turn over your amazing scores blows my mind. Thanks.

To all of our writers, Thank you. Adam Armus, Kay Foster, you're character work is unsurpassed. I still feel “HOMECOMING” was one of my best episodes. To Joe Pokaski, and Aron Coleite, your level of talent at your youthful ages is intimidating. To Bryan Fuller, you know I think you are a genius. To Rob Fresco and Mark Verheiden – I have greatly enjoyed our time together. To our younger writers, Chuck Kim, Chris Zatta and Oliver Griigsby, thank you. To all of you - The work you all did singly and collectively was so complex and dense that it’s awe inspiring! I am very glad for the time I had with each of you.

I'd also like to say a special thanks to my friends Jeph Loeb and Jessie Alexander, who have also left the show. Thanks for all you contributed and much success in your continued endeavors... This is a given, but I say it anyway.

To Jim Chory, our line producer, thanks for being a great instructor. I have tried to learn from your mind which is able to juggle such complexities that it’s amazing, You have been a great teacher. Thanks.

To Dennis Hammer, thank you for your friendship and your support. You have been the rudder in the ocean that is HEROES.

To Allan Arkush. Thank you for the dignity and kindness that you showed me. I was the new kid on the Kring block when I came aboard and I greatly appreciate the open-heartedness you showed me upon my arrival.

To Tim Kring, thanks for hiring me. It was great to finally really get together and work after all those years ago at USC film school. You created a truly inspired work. Congratulations and continued success.

Finally to my assistant Erin who has helped me in every endeavor with the greatest, happiest attitude ever – thank you!

I’m sure I’ve forgotten many, please accept my apologies. There’s a lot of you!

I hope that wasn't too lengthy or too sappy for you, my faithful readers... HEROES has for me been a very all-encompassing experience… It required so much of me on so many levels. I know there will never be another experience quite like this one again! One of the best experiences that specified what was amazing, especially, about season one, was sitting in a movie theater a few minutes before the show started (I think I was there to see MICHAEL CLAYTON?) and I began eavesdropping on two random strangers behind me. As I listened it became clear they were talking about HEROES and the Season One DVD set that had just come out. They started to go on and on about how awesome the show was. This was heady for me because it was completely authentic and unsolicited… They went into great depth about every aspect of the show, expressing not just fan-enthusiasm but also a deep intelligence and understanding about stuff we were up to that I thought was very subtle. That was an exciting experience for me but also one that taught me clearly how intelligent and perceptive our fans are.

Thank you all! Goodbye everyone!

OH YEAH... AND DON’T FOREGT THE PICTURES!!!!!!:




ZACH MEDITATES WHILE THE CAST LOOKS ON AND ADRIAN PREPARES TO LIGHT HIM ON FIRE!



HAYDEN'S GOT A GUN!



TWO GENERATIONS OF STAR TREK



PRODUCTION DESIGNER RUTH AMMON AND I WATCH THE MONITOR



MASI SNEAKS UP ON ME



OUR STAND-INS - UNSUNG HEROES OF THE SET, OTTO, MITCH, ELIZABETH & HEATHER



ME AND ADRIAN - HAPPY DAYS ON SET



MASI AND SENDHIL - I WILL MISS YOU!



REHEARSAL ON SET



HEH HEH HEH - WHEN I YELL "ACTION" JAB HIM WITH THAT BIG ASS NEEDLE



HAYDEN ON SET




ZELJIKO SAYS "WHAT'RE YOU LOOKING AT?"



JKL SAYS "WHAT'RE YOU LOOKING AT?"



HAYDEN SAYS "WHAT'RE YOU LOOKING AT?"




ZACH SAYS "WHAT'RE YOU LOOKING AT?"



DANG! THAT'S A BIG NEEDLE



CRIS ROSE AND MR. COOL



ADRIAN AND MILO BETWEEN TAKES



VIEW FROM THE MONITOR




ZACH USUALLY LOOKS PRETTY COOL ANYWAY, BUT THEN PUT HIM BEHIND SOME FIRE AND WHOO-WEE!



A NICER GROUP OF ACTORS YOU COULD NEVER HOPE TO FIND



CRISTINE AND HAYDEN ON LOCATION AT L.A. CITY HALL



WHAT?!??!?!



MASI, OUR JAPANESE TRANSLATOR SACHIKO AND I



A BRUTAL PAPER CUT



DID I DO THAT?

Monday, April 20, 2009

BEEMAN’S BLOG – SEASON 3 – EPISODE 24
“I AM SYLAR”
I AM SERIOUS – SPOILERS CONTAINED HERIN – YOU WERE WARNED!

A short blog tonight – sorry. But a reasonable number of pictures – so, hey, that should satisfy!

Tonight’s episode was written Adam Armus and Kay Foster and was directed by Allan Arkush. It features another tour de’ force performance by Zach Quinto and the return of Ellen Greene. Ellen is great. The best. She and Zach really enjoy working together. It also features Sylar interacting with Micah for the first time – another intriguing interconnection.

Anyway – I hope you like the episode. Season three comes to a close next week. I directed next week's episode. A longer blog is promised.

PIXTURES:



ALLAN ARKUSH AND GOOD BUDDY MASI OKA



ALLAN ARKUSH DISPLAYS HIS "ABS OF STEELE" TO EQUALLY STEELY-ABBED JKL



ŽELJKO - ONE BADASS MO'FO'



BEHIND THE MONITOR


A STRANGE REVERSAL



A.D. ANNE BURGER - CODE NAME: "THE DAYMAKER!"



D.P. NATE GOODMAN TENDS TO FROZEN JKL



DEATH BECOMES CLINT HOWARD



ELLEN GREENE PATIENTLY WAITS TO MORPH



FROM LAST WEEK - A (DYSFUNCTIONAL) FAMILY PORTRAIT



JKL - FROZEN AGAIN!



SHOT IN THE BACK AND YOU'RE TO BLAME - BABY YOU GIVE MORPHIN A BAD NAME!



C'MON YOU CAN'T GET COOLER THAN THESE TWO DUDES OF FILM



EXCEPT FOR MAYBE THESE TWO!!!



ZACH WATCHES FROM OFF STAGE



CRISTINE AND ŽELJKO - THEY'VE KNOWN EACH OTHER SINCE THEY WERE TEENAGERS - REALLY!



A PREVIEW IMAGE FROM NEXT WEEK'S EPISODE - WHAT CAN IT MEAN?!?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

BEEMAN'S BLOG - SEASON THREE - EPISODE 23 - "1961"

BEEMAN’S BLOG
SEASON 3 EPISODE 23
“1961”

WARNING: IT’LL BE ON THOUSAND NINE-HUNDRED AND SIXTY-ONE YEARS BEFORE YOU CAN FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR READING SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN THIS BLOG THAT YOU ARE EMOTIONALLY UNPREPARED FOR!


Aron Coleite wrote tonight’s episode.

It was directed by Adam Kane.

As you may remember, Adam Kane was the director of photography on the HEROES pilot. This is the fourth episode he’s directed for us. He left in the middle of season two to be the director-producer on PUSHING DASIES and has since done several other projects. We missed him and are glad he’s back.

I want to focus today on two things… First, I want to focus on the enormous job accomplished by the art department on this episode, under the direction of Ruth Ammon. And, secondly, the good fortune we had in obtaining our young cast for this episode.

But before I can illuminate those two points, I must, for a moment, discuss the script. Aron Coleite’s, script was in some ways, very simple. It is actually a very contained story delving into the happenings in one location in two separate time periods. It is a quite compelling story and, I’m quite certain, long time fans will be quite compelled to learn about Angela’s history and of the formation of the Company.

Of course, from another point of view, it is one of the most complex projects we’ve done. The whole story takes place, almost completely in the internment camp called Coyote Sands. That internment camp is seen in the past of 1961, when it is brand new. It is also seen in the present day, when it is old and dilapidated. It also presented us with the very challenging task of giving over about a third of our episode to an all new teenage cast, which is tough enough, but to make it harder they would be playing characters that are already very well established.

Luckily we had an early heads up about this project. The writer’s room warned us it was coming – and Dennis Hammer sent out an alerting email in December, when we were still shooting episode #19. The locations department and the art department were instructed to at least think about the project and propose ideas, and our casting directors were instructed to begin thinking about who could play Young Angela, Angela’s sister, Linderman, Charles Deveaux, etc.

The script originally set the camp in White Sands New Mexico. Of course that was unfeasible on our scale, and Aron understood that. But we took that as an instruction to find a beautiful remote location with a unique look. Initially, we had the location department scout desert locations – but anything that looked good enough was an overnight stay away, and that was also untenable.

We also knew that once we had our spot, we’d have to go and actually construct the majority of the buildings. Any building that our cast interacted with or passed in front of we built. Any building that was purely in the background, would be created by our CGI team at Stargate,

Even though Coyote Sands plays a much larger part of episode 23 than it did in episode 22, we had to scout and select the location right at the very beginning of the prep of episode 22 (with director Jeannot Swzarc.) Adam Kane was in New York directing an episode of KINGS. We called him and briefed him on the script and told him, that, unfortunately, we would be selecting and moving forward on his key location before he got back from New York. He understood. I tried to have his back, as it were. The most important element for a large exterior project like this is the light. For both beauty and speed of shooting I tried to select a spot that faced southward, where the sun would backlight the set the majority of the day. We picked a location called Polsa Rosa, which is in the Antelope Valley about 50 miles North of Los Angeles. This is a large property, which is well kept up and is used frequently for filming. We’ve shot there for Mexico before. The location is not as remote as it seems on film. But the spot we selected was about three miles off the main highway, and a couple of, miles down a single-lane dirt road.

We brought photographs of the spot back to the team, and everyone agreed it was beautiful and that it would be our “Coyote Sands” camp.

Ruth studied Manzanar, and other Japanese Internment camps, from the World War II era. Fortunately, military architecture, by its nature, tends to be simple and designed to be easily replicated. She took a topographical map and laid out her design for the camp. She also used blueprints and foam models to lay out the design of the individual cabins.

Her original plan was to build about 8 full exterior cabins on location, and a larger building to be “Building 26” (where young Chandra Suresh runs experiments on the specials.) Because there were scenes where the cast traveled from interior to exterior one of the cabins was to have a partially finished interior.

The cabins also had to be seen in the past, newly constructed, and in the present dilapidated. We knew we’d have to build a turnaround time for this within the body of the episode. (i.e. we would have to shoot the cabins dilapidated first, then leave back to stages for a few days while the art department turned the cabins back around. Ruth’s original plan was also to build two full interior cabins. One old and dilapidated, and one new.

But of course, each piece of construction also carries a price - as it would for you if you were, say, remodeling your kitchen. Every wall, floor, surface and stairway has to be designed, cut, hammered together, assembled, surfaced and then decorated. On stage these costs are high enough – but on a remote location the price really soars. Each section of the cabin’s was going to have to be pre-cut and pre-fabricated by our carpenters in Hollywood, and then transported to the remote location an hour away. On location, Ruth laid out the plot of the camp with string. Postholes were dug and support beams were dropped into the ground. Once the pre-fabbed lumber was delivered there it had to be, re-assembled. Then it would have to be painted and surfaced on location and, despite our lead-time– from the time Ruth got the financial go-ahead – to the time we were shooting was just a matter of about two weeks.

But then budget realities kicked in… HEROES and all NBC shows are under super-tight financial constraints right now. This much construction was off the charts financially. So meetings and meetings and meetings took place with re-designs and re-designs and re-designs…. Ultimately, the size of the cabins became scaled back by 30%...eight cabins became 5. Building 26 became a same-sized cabin, and it even came to pass that Adam Kane had to be very specific about what angles he would shoot on location. We made it so that – if we weren’t going to see the back or side of a cabin we didn’t build it. On stage - Two cabins on stage became one, which had to be re-dressed both ways. (Similar restrictions and cuts were made in action and visual effects by the way – originally there was much more use of powers.) But anyway – we finally had an acceptable construction budget.

Then came the rain, the snow and the mud:

Of course Los Angeles is famous for it’s good weather – but the poor construction crew, which was already working seven days a week to get this project up fell under a deluge of rain – the likes of which we hadn’t seen in Los Angeles in years. They were working ten-hour days in sleeting rain, and the ground under their feet became a swamp of mud. The rain went on for days and days, and then the weather shifted in the high desert, and the rain became snow!

After it was all over, I overheard one of our lead carpenters saying to one of his men, “After season three, Hell holds no fear for the HEROES construction crew!”

I also need to mention the work done by Alexa Nikolas who plays Young Angela and Laura Marano, who plays her sister, Alice.

As I mentioned before, the idea of double casting a large portion of our cast, while fun on the page, struck me as potentially very dangerous. When casting the pilot, there were weeks and weeks available to toss ideas around, audition and re-audition actors and have “chemistry reads.” Here, even though our casting department had a lot of lead-time to think about it - we only had a week or two of actual auditions. (Remember we were still making episode 20 and 21 and 22 during this time frame – which were not small episodes.)

Anyway, our casting directors, Natalie Hart, Jason La Padura and Keri Owens did a great job finding kids for us. To my surprise, there were actually multiple choices available for most roles.
But I think we especially lucked out with Alexa Nikolas



I was somewhat familiar with her work because my kids used to watch the show she was on ZOEY 101. She is just a bright, intelligent and energetic young woman. Her audition was complex and also emotionally deep. There are a number of traps available to the unwary actor in this role. Angela, at that age, was not as firm or resolved as she is today (in fact that journey is one that Alexa had to make throughout the episode.) Angela is, at the very least – complex. Many actors played her either, too tough, or too emotional or they just read the words without a real sense of character. Anyway, Alexa navigated these treacherous waters quite well.

Cristine Rose wasn’t involved in the casting. But she was quite interested in supporting Alexa. There were two rehearsals, which Cristine came to and observed. Alexa and Adam and Joe and Cristine and I all had a nice conversation before and after these rehearsals about the character and about the scenes. I know Cristine and Alexa spent some time together and Cristine was on set observing quite a bit. There may have been a little nudge here or a little nudge there from some of us – but truthfully Alexa seemed to have the role firmly grasped and she made the work look easy. My experience with her is similar to my experience with many actors I’ve worked with who began acting at very early ages… Even very complex and emotional work seems to come to them very naturally and easily and seemingly with little effort. I’m always amazed by this (rare) phenomenon. Hayden Panettiere is certainly like this, and so was Allison Mack, who I worked with as Chloe on SMALLVILLE.

Okay enough about all that – why are you really here? We all know… THE PICTURES:



ADAM KANE (WITH D.P. CHARLIE LIEBERMAN) LINES UP A SHOT



ADAM KANE LINES UP ANOTHER SHOT



RUTH AMMON AND A MODEL OF THE SET



THE PRODUCTION MEETING (ADAM KANE, EXEC PRODUCER DENNIS HAMMER AND MYSELF)ALL WONDER "HOW COULD THIS BE HAPPENING????


TWO SISTERS



TAKING PHOTOS IN THE HIGH DESERT



ANOTHER DAY ON SET



MILO AT THE DINER IN THE DESERT



ME AT THE DINER IN THE DESERT




ME AND MILO AT THE DINER IN THE DESERT




HAYDEN AT THE DINER IN THE DESERT



EVERYBODY (BUT ME) CHILLIN' AT THE DINER IN THE DESERT



HAYDEN AND ADRIAN TOSS A PIGSKIN BETWEEN TAKES



MILO VENTIMIGLIA BETWEEN TAKES



ADRIAN PASDAR ON SET



CRISTINE ROSE WAITS TO GO ON


VFX WHIZ ERIC GRENADIERE TAKES PHOTOS OF "THE SILVER BALL" (THIS OBJECT IS PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE VFX TEAM TO KNOW WHAT REFLECTIONS SHOULD OCCU R IN DIGITALLY CREATED OBJECTS!)