A Chat with Jack Coleman
Is it an insult when you’re known less for your looks or your acting abilities than for the glasses your character wears? If so, Jack Coleman – who plays the enigmatic H.R.G. (Horn-Rimmed Glasses) on “Heroes” – doesn’t seem to be complaining about it. In a recent teleconference for NBC, he mostly seemed happy to be working on another successful series (he used to be on “Dynasty,” you know), particularly on one that’s as well-written as “Heroes.” Although the call was packed to the rafters, Bullz-Eye was able to get in a handful of questions to Coleman about his character and the huge fanbase of the show.
Bullz-Eye: Jack, because your character has remained so enigmatic throughout the show’s run to date, is it rough trying to figure out how to play the part, or are the writers doling out enough info about the general direction to give you something to work with?
Jack Coleman: Well, one of the things that usually happens is that one of the writer-producers is on set, or several of our directors are producers, and they tend to have knowledge of things that I may not have knowledge of. So they’re good at filling in the blanks where they need to be, because there are some scenes where I’m just kind of at a loss. But it’s not the grayness or the ambivalence, because I think…my feeling is, I have a very specific attitude toward and motivation for every individual scene, and those things are often kind of at odds with each other when they’re taken in total. But for the scene itself, I just try to play what I think is going on at that moment and not worry about, “How does this fit into the greater picture?” Because in serial television, the greater picture is ever-shifting, and this show is as well, so you just have to sort of trust that your own truth that you bring to it will kind of work as a glue to hold together things which might seem to be contradictory. (Pauses) If that makes any sense. (Laughs)
BE: Your wife on the show is kind of, um, unraveling, mentally. Given that H.R.G. is clearly a smart guy, didn’t it occur to him that constantly rewriting somebody’s synapses…
BE: …might eventually cause some damage?
JC: Uh, I think it probably occurred to him, but these kind of guys live in the moment. “Deal with it now, deal with it now, deal with it now.” And I think that that’s sort of been his overriding concern. And, also, in episode 17, there’s a flashback to a period where you first see how events led to this starting. And I’m sure that, in this line of work, I’m sure it can become kind of addicting, knowing that you can be found out and then go back and erase it, to a certain extent…provided that the Haitian’s available. (Chuckles) But, yeah, so, it’s all just about to come a cropper!
BE: And just in closing, we do a bi-annual feature called the TV Power Rankings, and “Heroes” has jumped out of nowhere into our #2 spot after less than a year.
BE: Obviously, NBC’s been behind the show from the beginning, but did you anticipate that viewer would latch onto it quite as dramatically as they have?
JC: Well, I don’t think anybody anticipated that it was going to be this, but, um, I think everybody had an idea that the show had real promise, so…the fact that it has stuck around and found an audience does not surprise me. The fact that it has become this kind of runaway train is, uh, yeah, quite surprising. Not because of the show…because the show is amazing and deserves it, in my opinion…but, you know, you never know. You never, never know. Look at all the shows that were so highly touted which are off the schedule now, and it’s just…it’s just such a crap shoot. You really don’t know what you’re gonna get.