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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Heroes Avoids Credibility, Grounded By Budget

Enjoyed last night's Heroes, but thought that some scenes were a little... underwhelming? You weren't alone; series director Greg Beeman has been spilling the beans on what was originally planned for last night's three set-pieces before budgetary concerns forced them to bring everything back down to earth. One of the cool things that we missed out on? Hiro and Ando getting to re-enact the opening of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade in the middle of India. Be warned: Thar be spoilers ahead.

While Beeman - who directed last week's second episode, and has been with the show since the beginning - doesn't point out the major flaw in last night's "One of Us, One of Them" (That would be the "Hey, Sylar's a good guy now! Look, he put on a funny accent and ordered that asshole cop around! Ain't he a card?" turnaround, which didn't just stretch what little credibility the show had as much as just gleefully shred it while giggling and telling the audience not to think too much, just look at Zachary Quinto in a suit - Seriously, people, WTF? You couldn't have at least tried to put some effort into that plotline?), he's happy to share some behind the scenes gossip about Claire's showdown with her mom and Hiro and Ando's moviegoing experiences in Germany:

The first draft of the script, from a production standpoint, was very big. It had the bank robbery more-or- less as it currently exists. It also had a Claire/Meredith scene, which currently occurs in a cargo container. This scene originally took place in a deserted warehouse where Claire was surrounded by fire. The Hiro/Ando/Daphne scene, which currently occurs in a German movie theatre, originally took place on a train traveling through India, complete with Hiro and Ando on the roof of the train and Ando nearly falling out the side of a baggage car.

Personally, I loved the first draft of this script. It was a great, incredibly exciting read. I loved the way the bank robbery was written, and the idea that Sylar was to become HRG’s new partner blew my mind. The entire component parts were great – but, collectively, it was also, obviously, too big to be affordable. Beyond that though, the choices we producer’s faced of how to get the budget down became very subjective. The bank robbery was the obvious thing that had to stay because it drove the central story and the key recurring stories for the series– For me, the scripted moment where time freezes and future Peter appears was a key event (it sent a chill down my spine when I first read it.) So the Claire story and the Hiro story were what had to be attacked.

Not that the bank robbery escaped entirely unscathed:

There were changes made to reduce budget in the bank scenes as well. Most noteably – at first Jesse’s power was Earthquake-stomp (Like Gorgon of the Inhumans from the Fantastic Four comics) But this power implied cracking floors and walls and all manner of damage that would be expensive to produce. At the last minute we changed him to a Sonic scream (like DC’s Black Canary) – this was easier to accomplish but was a bummer too us because we already had Echo from the online webisodes with sonic power – Oh well…

The biggest bummer for me was the death of the villains (Well, three of the four) so quickly - Not only does it kind of make me wonder what the point of pretending that they were a big deal in the first place was if they were going to be written out after a botched bank robbery (Also, what was the point of the "hidden Peter" plot at all?), but I'm depressed that Weevil's death robs me of any more potential Veronica Mars reunion moments. But what did the rest of you think?