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Feature: Heroes

Intro graphic

As potential US senator Nathan Petrelli, Adrian Pasdar is flying high, literallyÖ

Look, up in the sky! Itís a bird! Itís a plane! No Ė itís flying politician Nathan Petrelli. As one of the superhuman characters on the NBC TV series Heroes, this former US naval officer and lawyer has the ability to fly, but isnít at all eager to take to the air nor generally acknowledge that he can do so. His brother Peter also has the power to absorb the abilities of others like themselves, while Nathanís biological daughter Claire is indestructible. Theyíve each been given these abilities for a predestined reason but, as the first season of Heroes unfolds, our reluctant superhero wants to keep this all a secret for fear of it costing him a seat in the US Congress. Sounds like something an aspiring politician in the real world might do. Is Adrian Pasdar, who plays Nathan, basing his performance on anyone in particular?

ďI think itís kind of an amalgamation,Ē explains Pasdar. ďIíve taken the best and worst of those politicians who Iíve met in my personal life as well as people I donít know. I mean, we havenít even defined whether Nathan is a Republican or Democrat, although itís my guess that in many ways an argument can be made for the former. But no, I havenít really based him on anyone in particular. Nathan is basically just a nice mix of the most morally liquid individuals who Iíve run across over the years.

ďIíve also been asked, ĎIs Nathan good or bad?í and the way I see it, once youíre convinced that Nathan is bad, he behaves in a way that some might deem heroic, but then heíll turn around and do something not so nice. Howís that for ambiguity?Ē he jokes. ďThat, however, is the beauty of what the writers on this series have created in Nathan. Hereís a guy who can lean on both sides of the fence and still serve his ultimate goal without compromising his ability to be good or bad. Thatís a real joy to play, especially when the scripts are so well written, which they are on Heroes

Although he would like to control all aspects of his life, both personal and professional, there are some things that take Nathan Petrelli by surprise, including that his daughter Claire (Hayden Panettiere), who he thought died in a fire, is, in fact, alive. Fortunately, Pasdar isnít kept quite so in the dark insofar as where his character is headed, at least in the short term.

ďI do manage to periodically pull some information about my character from the producers, production staff and/or the writers prior to the scripts being released,Ē says the actor. ďSometimes I donít, though, but Iíve never been confused by anything in the storylines. Everything is always very well laid out for us. Having said that, there are surprises that all of us receive when we read the scripts, and thatís what makes this so exciting. I think that goes hand in hand with what I previously spoke of in regard to us not basing our characters on politicians or other people in real life. It allows the element of surprise to still be there. I can honestly say that as a cast we are equally as intrigued when reading the scripts as I hope audiences are when watching us.Ē

by Steven Eramo

Read the full interview in
Starburst #352

Photo © NBC
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #352
Summer 2007
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