DYING OF THE LIGHT
WARNING GALE LEVEL SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN
Tonight’s episode was scripted by Chuck Kim and Chris Zatta. It was directed by Dan Attias.
This is Dan Attias’ second episode of HEROES. Last year he directed Episode 7 “Out of Time.” Dan is a real veteran of television as you can see from his imdb link:
He is one of those directors who is hard to book because he is sought after by every other show. And that’s no accident. He is a talented person who knows where to put the camera and, most importantly, always concentrates first and foremost on the emotions of a scene and on performance by the actors.
Chris Zatta, as of this season, is a staff writer and Chuck Kim is the executive story editor. Chuck has written 2 previous HEROES episodes - Season 1's Episode 19 titled ".07%" and also (co-written with Aron Eli Coleite) Season 2's unaired episode 13 entitled "True Identities." Chris has written 1 previous episode - Season 1's "Parasite" and was the subject of an earlier blog interview entitled “CHRIS ZATTA LIVING THE DREAM”
Chris came up from being an assistant on the show and Chuck was an editor/writer for DC Comics working on various titles including Batman and Superman. They are not a team per se’, but Tim Kring and the other writer’s who run the writer’s room decided to team them up for this one.
I am very proud of tonight’s episode. It looks great. It has sad moments. Funny moments. Action. Tension. And all that HEROES does well… You may completely disagree with me about all that, and that’s fine, but this one I feel we can hold our head up about.
It’s funny, because I remember, personally being pretty happy when I read the first draft of the script. But when Dan Attias came in, he really went after the script on a lot of levels. On day one he had a ton of logic and motivation questions. I can’t even remember what they were now (this episode prepped way back in June), but I do remember that this impressed me. Not every director gives a lot of script notes or asks the tough questions. It is a phenomenon in TV that, as a traveling director, you get the hand you’re dealt, script-wise, and you have to play it as best you can. It is more common in features and pilots for the director to give extensive notes, but Dan treated this one more like a pilot director would and I remember that, as the group addressed his many issues, the script got better.
One of the fun aspects of this season is that we are introducing new “villains” as we go. Trust me, this isn't not going to become a freak-of-the-week phenomenon (as my old show SMALLVILLE used to sometimes be criticized for) but it is nice to bring new characters in and explore them for just one episode without worrying about how they’ll be threaded into the series for weeks on end.
On this episode we got lucky. We read a number of people for ERIC DOYLE - the puppet master. This was a well written part, but, as you can imagine, it was very open to interpretation. In the auditions we saw many different physical types of actors who approached the material with many different delivery’s and physicality’s. We tried not to give them too many pre-conceived ideas. When David H. Lawrence came in, he read once and was great, and then we gave him some re-direction. The two notes I remember being given to him were (a) to realize that he really does love Meredith first and foremost. He truly believes he will and can win her over... And (b) to bring into his performance a certain infantilism. Doyle is a child who needs love, in an almost-maternal way, and who gets very angry when he doesn’t get it. David ran with these notes on his second reading - and we knew we had our man. credits
I’d been to the location and talked through the scenes extensively with Dan Attias – but I wasn’t there when we shot the bulk of the work at the puppet theater. It was a good sign to me that when I saw the shooting crew a couple of days after filming these scenes, many of them came up to me to remark on how good David Lawrence was. In the end, I think David really captures the screen and captivates you. He was also a great guy to work with. He was very happy and excited to be on the show. (Apparently once he even got klonked on the head super hard by Hayden who was getting quite into character. He took the hit and fell down as he was supposed to without complaint. Hayden, of course, was very apologetic.)
I’m also happy with the scenes in Africa with Hiro and Ando and Usutu. These scenes are fun and make good use of the space-time continuum. They were complex to lay out though, as you can probably imagine. We had to find natural rocks in the environment that suited the blocking and then Tim Sale had to paint images we knew we could achieve. I’m speaking, specifically, about whenever Usutu hits Hiro on the head. Getting the actors to match a pre-existing Tim Sale painting can be a challenge. But, luckily, Masi has a mind that is quite good for this. One of my favorite moments is when Masi goes back in time a minute only to get hit on the head with a shovel for the second time. We then cut to a shot of Ando from a scene we’ve scene just a few moments before. Hiro blinks out and, not two seconds later, he walks back in. This is a simple green screen effect, but it fits into the story very well – and I think the joke is capped off by James Kyson Lee’s reaction-shot to Masi walking in after Ando saw him disappear not-two-seconds before. I told James the other day that he, in my opinion, is like a highlighter pen to the joke. The joke happens. We cut to James. And the joke is highlighted. In the editing room, James is our go-to-guy for comedic reaction shots.
But enough about that, and on to what you really come here for – BEHIND THE SCENES PICTURES – WOO-HOO!!!!!
MASI OKA AND DIRECTOR DAN ATTIAS
WRITERS CHRIS ZATTA AND CHUCK KIM
MASI AND ME
AN ACTOR PREPARES PART ONE (REHEARSING THE SHOVEL-WHACK W/ MASI OKA AND NTARE MWINE)
AN ACTOR PREPARES PART 2 (ZACH REHEARSES AN OMITTED SCENE - WHAT THE HECK??!?)
WRITER JEPH LOEB SUPERVISES ON SET
ACTORS AND DIRECTOR DISCUSSING A SCENE
HEY KIDS LET’S PUT ON A (PUPPET) SHOW!
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN – MALCOLM MCDOWELL
THE HEROES MUTUAL APPRECIATION SOCIETY
TWO COOL CATS AT COMIC-CON