Rick Yaeger: Hey, everyone. It’s Rick Yaeger, here, with “One Question Interviews,” the show where I get the golden opportunity to talk to a celebrity and, then, I waste it on some totally random question.Sitting across the Internet from me, today, is the man portraying evil Matt Parkman on NBC’s “Heroes Reborn.” He’s also my executive producer and friend. Please welcome Greg Grunberg.
Greg Grunberg: I love this show not just because I am an executive producer on it, because I love you. I love what you do, and I love that you take the time and you just are the most interesting interview. Everybody says it. After they’ve done the show, they just absolutely love it.Cheers to you, my friend. You’re doing a great job.
Rick: Thank you so much. Thanks for doing this, obviously. As you know, because you are my executive producer, how this thing works, first, we’ve got to talk about what you’ve been up to. Then we can dive into the One Question itself. Back to, Heroes Reborn, [laughs] and evil Matt Parkman. You’re kind of an evil cult leader. You’ve got the, sending people to their happy place.
Greg: That’s true, but there’s regret. I’m trying to put a little bit of regret and resentment into every moment that I have to deal with the people I’m working for. I’ve sold my power to the highest bidder, and they’re not the nice people on the show, and they have intentions that will show their rear, their ugly head.Eventually, I’m a cop, I’m a smart guy at heart. I think people can see through it, but a lot of people, they look at it. I smiled through some of this stuff, which I think is more interesting while playing it. Then you’re like, “Brownie, he has no remorse for doing this, going to this guy.”
It’s tough, but I have to do the things I have to do, to ultimately save my family. Nothing’s going to stop me from doing that, so I’ve got to become this selfish, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m doing this for the right reasons. We were off for six years.
People don’t realize how long we were off the air for. Then, all of a sudden you get a call and it says, “Hey, do you want to reprise your role?” Yeah, I’d love to, but I was thinking at that time, I had no idea what their plans were. I just want it to be something different. I want it to be something so I can take this character to the next level.
I have no control over the rest of the show. The one thing I can do is be a more interesting version of myself, and I think I got lucky in that Tim and the writers really did that for me. I didn’t even ask. It was really lucky that I got to do that. That was just something I was thinking to myself.
I was like, “Man, I hope.” Then I saw the script, and I was like, “Wow, this is interesting. This is a turn.” It’s not five years gone, like we had. I’m not running, I’m not in charge of the Homeland Security and that kind of thing, but now I’m a bad guy, or a supposedly bad guy?
It’s interesting. They do deal with my family at the very end, which everybody is asking. “What about little Matt Parkman, and Matty Jr.?” That kind of thing, we do refer to them, which is great, because people want to know where they are, and what’s happening.
My son has the power, so he’s an evil. We have to deal with that, but not my father, and I wish they did. I really do. He’s a great actor, he’s a great guy.
Rick: He’s played your father a couple of times, too.
Greg: Yes, he played my father on, “Felicity,” and also my father on this. He’s amazing. Hopefully, we’ll get to do more episodes and we’ll see more of Matt Parkman.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Rick: Felicity, that was JJ Abrams, right? [laughs]
Greg: Yes, the guy that I haven’t.
Rick: What’s he doing these days?
Greg: Abrams, my closest and dearest friend. We’ve known each other since we were five. I keep saying four, and three, and two. I keep going back. At that age, who cares?
Rick: You were Siamese twins from different parents. [laughs]
Greg: Separated at the hip. [laughs] No, JJ and I have been close friends, and I’ve been by his side as he was making genius back when we were 10, from 5 to now. Always creative, always doing something amazing, and me sitting there going, “That’s awesome. I love that.”I’ve had the front row seat to the most creative person on the planet, and the best person on the planet, too. He’s been the greatest friend. Look at my career, it’s, “Felicity, Alias, Lost, Heroes,” and all the other things I’ve done, outside the nest, I call it.
All the while, going, “Can I get back in the nest?” Every time he’s like, “Yeah, come on.” We just want to work together, so he’s the best.
Rick: You’re not on any of the Star Wars posters. Is that because your character has gone to the dark side?
Greg: [laughs] I can’t say. Mark Hamill’s not on the posters, either.
Rick: That’s the one I’m alluding to. There’s a lot of people who’s pictures aren’t on the poster.
Greg: I have a feeling, obviously every one of those questions will be answered when the movie is shown. It’s one of those things that I haven’t even asked. I hear people asking him all the time when we’re together, and everyone wants to know what’s going on with this or that.I just can’t wait. He is so happy with the movie right now, and he is normally, right up until the end, he wants to make people so happy with the products that he puts out, and he wants them to be the best. He is so excited about this that honestly I can’t wait. He’s never been this excited, and this happy.
Rick: That’s awesome.
Greg: This will never happen in anyone’s career again, this level of anticipation and excitement. It’s great. When I’m around him, I said, “How’s everything doing?” He said, “Oh, great man. Everything’s so great. We locked picture.” I’m like, “You locked picture? Congratulations.”Now he’s got a few more color correcting to do, and everything. He said, “I talked to the editors, and they’re thrilled.” Honestly, it’s been so hard for me to not go into the editing room and sit and watch stuff, especially my stuff. I want to see my stuff.
This time, I want to be a kid, just like I was, back when the first movies came out, and I want to enjoy it in front of a theater full of people. The premiere is on the 14th, and that’s going to be fun. I’m taking my family, I can’t wait for that.
Greg: That’s the hottest ticket in town, but also that night, the 18th, I want to sneak into a theater, sit there and watch people’s reaction, and watch the movie. That’s what it’s all about.
Rick: Just get the garden chair, or little folding chair, and sit in the front, face the audience.[laughter]
Greg: This is a movie. People forget, they’re like, “I wonder how much it’s going to do. I wonder how much business it’s going to do.” Star Wars, people forget, this is where the repeat business started. This is where, I think, I don’t remember many movies prior to Star Wars where people had to see the movie over and over again.I know certainly, from the stuff I shot, there were creatures, and people, and things all over the place, that I would want to revisit, that is definitely not, front and center, center frame, the center of that scene. I know, because I was like, “Oh shit, what have they got over there?”
JJ talks about it. He’s like, “There’s so many interesting characters and things to look at.” I think people are going to really watch it over and over again. It’s already $100 million in pre-sale tickets. That’s crazy.
Rick: Demand Jam?
Greg: I started this new startup, without you. I can’t believe I did something without you. It was just a friend of mine.
Rick: Doomed to failure.
Greg: Yeah, exactly. [laughs] A friend of mine, Steve Glaskill, who’s a great guy, a very entrepreneurial guy, and he had a clothing company called Social Awearness. Really great guy, I believe you’ve met him at some point in LA, when we were out drinking like crazy or something.Anyway, Steve sold his company, and for a few years he’s been enjoying himself and figuring out what he wants to do. One of the things he loves to do is to go to small shows, like small concerts — big artists, small shows. You always hear about it the next day. “Oh, Prince played this little bar in a hotel,” or, “The Stones are in town, but they played a little bar or a little place in Silver Lake.”
It’s always like, people finally remember these things as once-in-a-lifetime like they’ll never see that show again. It’s that club, it’s not a stadium show, it was very unpredictable. It’s acoustic, or it’s a small band, whatever. He decided, “Why don’t we do something where we can to notify people ahead of time?”
Pre-register people to hear about these things, so that at demandjam.com you can pre-register, we’re doing in Los Angeles and Chicago. We just had one where we did, “I’ll show you a little clip from it on my phone.” This was pretty cool. This was from our first show, which was at a mansion in Malibu.
Greg: This was with a little band called Fall Out Boy. These guys are so good. Wherever you are, there’s a song. There’s a huge song, and they played all their songs. It was just an amazing thing to be in the house, and to see Fall Out Boy, and Tori Kelly, and some of these other artists.We got a handful of tickets, we gave those tickets out because we’re just launching, and we’re going to be doing some small shows, and a portion of the proceeds when we do sell tickets are going to go to the artist’s charities.
The way it really works, the way this is working on the artist side, the artist gets to say, “Hey, I’m playing the Staples Center, but I want to go play a little acoustic set to wind down, starting at 11 o’clock at night and going through a couple hours.”
At the show they can announce it, or pre-show. You will get an email if you register to Demand Jam, and it says, “John Mayer from 11 to one in the morning, $100 a ticket or $200 a ticket.” It’s not going to be cheap, and you get an hour to buy the ticket, maybe 100 tickets, 200 tickets, small shows.
You buy it right there on Demand Jam, and you use your phone to get in, and you go see that show. Nowhere else will you hear about it, it won’t be on Ticketmaster, it won’t be anywhere else. Tickets will only go through us, the artists control it all, and it’s going to be great. They can really connect to their audience.
Rick: Wow, that’s amazing stuff. That video, how representative of the concert is that? Are you going to be sitting that close? I guess it depends on the event.
Greg: 200 people. You’re going to be in a bar setting, or a small theater. If anything, maybe five, it might be the size of the House of Blues kind of thing. We’re working with different venues, there’s a place called Mother’s in Chicago, very famous place for music, and a few bars and places that have, I would say 250, tops.Just register for free, you never know it’s going to pop up. You can either buy tickets or not, it’s not a big deal, but if you’re not registered, you won’t be given a chance. You’ll just hear about those shows the way you normally do, after the fact.
Rick: If you’re not in LA and you’re not in Chicago, sign up anyway.
Greg: I would sign up anyway, because these acts are on tour, and there definitely will be secret shows popping up all over.
The One Question
Rick: Excellent. I’m going to grab for the hat. I’ve got a new hat.
Greg: I like your hat, wow.
Rick: There we go.
Greg: Does that come in men’s?
Greg: Hold on, I’ll be right back.
Rick: You grab for your hat, I’ll grab for my hat. [laughs] There we go.
Greg: All right, ask away.
Rick: All right. [deep voice] As you know, the show is called, “One Question Interviews.” I have almost 1,000 different questions ranging from the profane to the profound. We’ll choose one at random, and you’ll answer it seriously or in a funny voice if you like, and everyone goes home happy. Cool?[normal voice] All right. I’m just going to grab a handful here, of cards, that is. I’ll rifle down the side, you tell me when to stop.
Greg: OK, stop.
Rick: That was fast.
Greg: Everybody waits.
Rick: Do you like the top or the bottom?
Greg: I’m a top guy.
Rick: A top hat, top card. Greg Grunberg, what is a movie you loved as a child that just doesn’t hold up when you watch it now.
Greg: Wow, I was so ready to go, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” to go, “Willy Wonka,” the original. You know what? What doesn’t hold up as well, at all, and I love so much were the, “Smokey and the Bandit,” movies. I have to say, Burt Reynolds, [laughs] there was a level of confidence that he had, and cockiness, that I think worked.Today, I just can’t take them seriously. I don’t love those movies anymore, and I love cars. I love, I forgot his name, but the guy who was the truck driver, Jerry?
Rick: Jerry Reed.
Greg: Jerry Reed. I love that. I love Burt Reynolds, don’t get me wrong, but I remember watching that movie going, “Oh my God.”
Rick: It was a different time, then, too. The things that were funny then, you can’t get away with anymore.
Greg: That’s very true. That’s very true, and they were shocking then. Look at a movie like, “Blazing Saddles.” There is no way you can make Blazing Saddles today, no chance. Then again, I don’t want anybody to remake it. Smokey and the Bandit had its time. It was a classic.
Rick: It would be, “Fast and the Furious,” now.
Greg: That’s true.
The Wrap Up
Rick: That’s the closest we’re going to get to it. Good question, good answer.
Greg: I just want to encourage people to watch, “Big Ass Spider.” If you have Netflix, watch Big Ass Spider, or at least go on YouTube and watch the first two minutes, because that will then get you to watch the rest of the movie. Mike Mendez did such an amazing job, and I’m trying, I really want to make the sequel of that, and we’re working on that right now. We’re working on getting the financing, I should say.
Rick: Everyone, check out Greg in, Heroes Reborn, Thursdays on NBC, 8:00 PM, 7 Central, I think?
Greg: Yes, and a little independent film called Star Wars.
Rick: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek Beyond,” I’m not sure how big your part is in that.
Greg: Who knows? We’ll see. A little movie Brian Klugman made, I’ll plug, called, “Baby, Baby, Baby,” watch out for that. I had a nice role in that, which is fun. “Life in Pieces,” I’m doing a little role in Life in Pieces, which is I’m going to be playing crazy cousin Mikey, which will be fun. “Mysteries of Laura,” I’m going to New York to do that. I’m looking forward to it.
Rick: Nice. Keep up with him by following him on Twitter. He is @GregGrunberg.
Greg: Register at Demand Jam folks.
Rick: Demand Jam, the URL is right there. It’s Demand Jam.
Greg: It’s right there.
Rick: Great, now I have to clean up again. [laughs] Again, thank you so much for being my guest. It was good to see you.
Greg: Are you kidding me? I’m the only guest star that loves you. I know no other guest star here means it, I mean it.
Rick: No, you’re right.
Greg: We will get Alyssa Milano to do that. Jennifer Garner will do that, I promise.
Rick: And you people, thank you so much for watching, and thank you even more if you’ve subscribed to the show, because that makes me so happy. Please subscribe to the show on YouTube. My guest and I also have way more to talk about then ends up in the final edit.If you want to see more of my interview with Greg Grunberg, then like up this interview on YouTube and that will be your secret sign to me that you want to see more of this kind of stuff. That’s it. This is Rick Yaeger for, One Question Interviews. Take care.