Heroes Cast

Heroes - Casting Director Natalie Hart interview

Mar 24, 2009 - 8:40AM by FanBolt
Heroes - Casting Director Natalie Hart interview

An interview excerpt with Heroes casting director, Natalie Hart from the new issue of the Official Heroes Magazine. HEROES MAGAZINE: Is it more daunting when you have so many roles to fill, like on Heroes, as opposed to a show that only has two leads? NATALIE HART: Absolutely, for a lot of reasons. There are a lot of people who need to agree on the same thing. On a show like ours, we have huge recurring characters. It's not just Tim, Dennis [Hammer, executive producer], and the writers; it's also the studio and network that get involved in a lot of the guest-casting, because it's more than one episode.

Nine times out of 10, the writers will give us a heads-up on what we should be looking for. Because we knew Tim so well we have a lot of freedom, so we're able to take chances with him. One example being Zach Quinto; the character was originally much older but we were really big fans of him as an actor and thought he would do a really good job. HEROES MAGAZINE: Who was the first actor you cast for the pilot? NATALIE HART: It wasn't Hayden [Panettiere, who plays Claire], but she was in the first group along with Sendhil and Masi [Oka, who plays Hiro]. Masi might have been the first one because we knew it was a little bit limited.

By limited I mean we needed someone who could be endearing, a good actor, and needed to fluently speak Japanese. It's not like you have a large talent pool, like when you are looking for a handsome 30-year-old there are a ton of those guys in LA. When you have something as specific as Hiro, you are going to show producers 15 to 20 people, tops.

We cast Tawny Cypress [who played Simone], Ali Larter, Sendhil, Masi, and Hayden in the first group. I think Masi stood out to me because it was so specific. We had Tawny and Ali come in for the same role, but Ali seemed the way to go with the character of Niki. However, we fell so in love with Tawny that Tim changed the character a little bit to fit her. HEROES MAGAZINE: A lot of shows cast well-known or cult actors to surprise viewers. How important is that on Heroes? NATALIE HART: We try not to do it. Malcolm McDowell [who played Linderman] was our first bit of stunt casting. We wanted a good pay-off for the audience and Malcolm is a bit of a cult figure, so he would be a good match for the show. We generally don't go after the big stunts, though. HEROES MAGAZINE: How often do you skip the audition process and approach a certain actor you already had in mind? NATALIE HART: It does happen, but it happens more on other shows than Heroes. Unfortunately, people think of an actor portraying one role and then that's how they always see them. In showing Tim and the writers that this person might be great, their body of work can be the same kind of guy over and over. You might not see that the actor can bring something else to it from their existing footage. We tend not to make offers. Although Christopher Eccleston was an exception. He was coming into the country, was somebody we were really excited about, and he had a very diverse reel. He was terrific and I think if he wasn't busy making feature films, we would still use him more. Read the full interview in issue 9 of The Official Heroes Magazine on newsstands now.
Source: http://www.titanmagazines.com/heroes

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