Interview With Tim Kring (Executive Producer Of Heroes)
Where did you get the inspiration for this series?
The germ of this idea came about a year ago now. I was supposed to develop a show for NBC and I became fascinated with this idea of a new paradigm of the serialized large ensemble show. I happened to see two movies that sort of moulded together in my mind. One of them was The Incredibles. And the other was the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Charlie Kaufman. I started to blend those two things in my mind over the next few days because I loved both of them. Mixing the idea of people who had superpowers trying to struggle with their everyday lives with these people that you could pass on the street and never think twice about. In my mind, those two things started to come together and that was the genesis of where the idea came from.
How does this show differ from other serialized dramas?
With this show I wanted to start from the very, very beginning. Looking at when people would discover these abilities. It’s very much a journey of the hero in the classic sense of the term. We watch their growth and their journey through the course of the show and ultimately, gain this kind of wish fulfillment that you or I could be these people. This is their journey from very ordinary to extraordinary people.
The show has some fantastic cliffhangers. Have you found it hard to maintain the suspense and intrigue with so many different plotlines?
That’s a very, very big challenge. But one of the fun things is watching characters develop and taking them to places that even you didn’t expect. The writers’ room is a very interesting place because ideas morph and bend and become very different things when you start filtering through lots of people’s ideas.
A lot of us in the writers’ room talked about borrowing Charles Dickens idea, who wrote most of his great books in one-chapter installments for a newspaper. This idea fascinates me, the idea of doing something very slowly and deliberately, the idea that each season would be its own volume with enough of a cliffhanger at the end of season one to launch you into a second season.
By having these constant twists and turns and revelations in the stories, I think the audience may feel like they’re going to run out of steam because there’s just too many of these coming along. It’s one reveal after another. But the truth is, these twists and turns are actually the engine that are allowing us to generate even more stories. So there is a natural progression that’s allowing us to go with a less and less scattered story.
Will any of the characters join forces to create a ‘superhero team’?
Well, these characters do start to cross in all sorts of interesting and coincidental and unexpected ways, which is one of the things that I was most fascinated with. I think that the audience is going to be really hooked on trying to guess and predict how these characters’ paths are going to cross.
So you take a character like Masi’s character, who’s an office worker in Tokyo and Hayden’s character, who’s a cheerleader in West Texas, and the idea of how those two characters will ever cross paths seems impossible and yet that’s what the fun of watching the show is, to see how it continues along for these two characters to actually come into contact with each other.
How relevant do you feel the comic book world is to this project?
Our particular venture into that world is through the idea of the online comic that will run concurrently with the show. So people can log on, view and interact with an online comic book every week in conjunction with the episode. The comic won’t be necessarily about that episode, but it will further enhance your viewing of the show. It will sometimes be an alternative look at what you’ve seen or the other side of what you’ve seen or a story that just sort of enhances your appreciation of the character and the story.
The show is called “Heroes”, but will there be a villains element to it?
Yes, absolutely. We are bringing in other people with superpowers and they are not necessarily heroes. The show does introduce the concept of a major villain in the second episode and that villain becomes a central character for most of the first season.
Finally, if you had a superpower, what would it be?
When I really started thinking about it for the show, I sort of decided that flight might be the best one to have it, just seems like it would be the coolest.