In part two of our interview with Greg Grunberg we continue talking about Heroes, touch briefly on what else he’s doing acting-wise and discuss his work to help find a cure for epilepsy. We hope you enjoy this second part. Note: Part one of this interview can be found here.
PCZ: Are we going to see Molly anymore this season?
GG: Yes, we will, we definitely will. She’s got one of those powers that’s unavoidable, you need her and she’s just so great. The problem with an actress like [Adair Tishler] is that she’s so good that she’s always working. We had the same problem with Clea Duvall, who was the detective I worked with [in season one]. She’s awesome and she’s just always doing an independent movie, she’s in Prague and she’s here and there and they don’t have them under contract. They can write whatever they want, but they try and write ahead and check the schedules and stuff. But unless they’re locked in to the show on a regular basis it’s kind of hard. That’s what happened with [Clea] and that’s what’s happened with Adair, too. To have an actress, a child actor, be that good, they’re wanted out there.
PCZ: I’ve said before a missed opportunity for a great spin-off sitcom would be Mohinder, Matt and Molly.
GG: (laughs) Exactly, My Two Super-Dads. That would be incredible. That’s so funny. I’m about to relaunch greggrunberg.com, my website, and I’m doing some stuff with Adrian [Pasdar]. Have you seen the buckshotwon videos?
PCZ: I’ve seen a few of them, those are great!
GG: We’re continuing them. At [my website] there’s going to be a section where we’ll have some of those. That’s one of those things where I was thinking of doing something like that, “possible spin-offs” and do a few. That would be really funny.
PCZ: You also do some writing. Is there any chance you might write for Heroes?
“The figures are about to come out, close to five million Americans have epilepsy. Why are we not throwing huge amounts of resources towards this?”
GG: (pauses)You know…I’ve never so far gotten the bug to either write or direct for any of the shows I’ve been on. Believe it or not, where I find it most easy to get the most passionately behind something is comedy. I wrote and produced this movie called Group Sex that’s coming out. I also starred in it and it was easy, I did it with a really good friend of mine, Larry Trilling, who’s running Pushing Daisies right now. It’s almost one of those things where I think I still have plenty of room to grow. On this show, I don’t want to screw it up, so if I’m doing a good job I just want to keep on doing what I’m doing.
PCZ: When is Group Sex coming out?
GG: They’re finalizing the deal with a domestic distributor and a foreign distributor so it looks like sometime after the first of the year.
PCZ: Ok, and you’ve got another film in post-production as well.
GG: Yeah, Fast Glassis something that I did with a guy named Kim Bass, who’s just awesome. There haven’t been flying effects like what’s done in this movie since Top Gun. The shots are just incredible. A really cool kind of young, hip action movie.
PCZ: How are things going with the Pediatric Epilepsy Project?
GG: Everything’s good, I’ve been doing a lot of fund-raising with Band From TV. That’s my main source of charity revenue right now. We have a DVD on Amazon right now and it’s number one of all DVDs. It’s called “Hoggin’ All The Covers.” It’s really great, it’s familiar faces playing familiar music. It’s me and Terri Hatcher, Hugh Laurie, Bonnie Somerville, Jesse Spencer, James Denton, Bob Guiney and Adrian Pasdar. All these great guys. The music really rocks. Check it out at bandfromtv.org. We each represent a charity and one hundred percent of the band’s proceeds go to the charities. It’s the perfect time of year to buy it, it’s a DVD/CD combo. Watching Hugh Laurie dancing around and playing and singing – it’s just great.
PCZ: As Barack Obama is in the process of taking over as President, I read recently that he is already targeting Presidential Orders to overturn, one of them being the ban on embryonic stem cell research. Do you think due to that stance and other things Obama said during the campaign that we’ll see more and better research for things like epilepsy and Parkinsons and so forth?
GG: Absolutely. There is such an incredible pipeline of research and medication and we’re so close to potential cures. There’s also a real rush to claim that you’ve got a cure, we do need time, but they’re making such huge strides. The last thing we need to do is get in the way. One of the guys in [Obama’s] cabinet, Rahm Emanuel, is a big advocate for the epilepsy community. There’s David Axelrod, his child has epislepsy, and he and his wife Susan started a group called CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy). The figures are about to come out, close to five million Americans have epilepsy. Why are we not throwing huge amounts of resources towards this? Our son, Jake, is nervously running around the house right now, but he had brain surgery two months ago. He’s doing really well and he’s about to go back to school on Thursday. It’s thanks to these doctors at Rush Medical Center and UCLA that this is happening. I’m doing a lot of work with a website called epilepsyadvocate.com and that’s just a wealth of information for people that have epilepsy or if there family members do. It’s just important that we remove the stigma attached to it. It’s potentially scary, people can have seizures, but if you talk about it, it’s not that scary.
PCZ: Actors get a lot of flack sometimes for taking up a cause, but when it’s like what you’re doing with the band it’s pretty admirable. Actors are in the spotlight and in the perfect position to make people aware of things like this.
GG: I just spoke the other day at this big epilepsy conference and as I stood in front of everyone I didn’t know how I was going to start my speech. I’ve been in situations before like I hung from a helicopter in Alias, I ran from an exploding house on Heroes, I wore leather chaps on Felicity, situations where I’ve thought “What the hell am I doing here?” The most surreal moment I’ve ever had, and continue to have, is when I’m speaking in front of an epilepsy group. “Why me? I don’t want to be here. This is the last place I want to be.” But, like you were saying, I am in a position where people will listen to what I have to say, for one reason or another. I’m not going to analyze it, I’m just going to take advantage of it. These people desperately need a face and desperately need people to be talking about epilepsy and other neurological disorders and I’m so proud to do it. My son shows courage that is beyond anything I could ever display, so the least I can do is be their face.
PCZ: As a parent, I’ve often said you don’t know paranoid, uncontrollable fear until you’re a parent. Seeing you take a situation that could, for some people, be devastating and turning it into a positive and speaking out about it is very great.
GG: Thank you. My wife, Elizabeth and I have had such a helpless feeling. When your child has a cold, all you want to do is trade places with them. It’s the most incredibly helpless feeling and out of control feeling when your child is having a seizure. You have to just wait it out. This is something I can do to have control, I can get behind the drums and I can raise two million dollars in two and a half years for not just epilepsy, but other charities as well. But I’m doing something as opposed to not doing doing something and just sitting there hoping someone out there is going to come up with something that’ll solve this problem.
PCZ: Well, that’s all I have for now. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me today.
GG: My pleasure, thank you so much.
Thank you again to Greg for taking the time to talk to us. Please visit the Band From TVwebsite to find out what you can do to help several charities at once.