Adrian Pasdar is naturally circumspect about the immediate future for Nathan Petrelli, his politician character on "Heroes." But he's more than happy to speculate on something that might happen in, oh, season five or six.
"When you're in the game of politics and you're a guy like Nathan, there's only one seat, ultimately, that you're looking for, and that's behind a desk in the Oval Office," Pasdar says. "As we take our journey, and hopefully we get a chance to be on the air for a number of years, I think we might find ourselves in the White House. Where that family fits into the family he has now ought to be interesting."
There's a lot of ground to cover between now and then, but Pasdar can be forgiven for thinking ahead given how well "Heroes" has performed out of the gate for NBC. The series is among the top-rated new shows of the season (and leads all newcomers among the 18- to 49-year-olds advertisers love), and it's attracted a sizable legions of obsessive fans so far.
The superhero angle of the series undoubtedly hooked a number of those fans, but both Pasdar and Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Nathan's brother Peter, think what's keeping them interested are the human stories in which the characters are involved.
"It's kind of the foundation of where we're all going and how we react to a lot of things," Ventimiglia says. "You take Peter, who has a big heart and is a caregiver, he falls in love with Simone [Tawny Cypress], but of course she's attached to someone else. It's not until she makes the first move that he goes through with that. It's just one of those complicated kinds of dramas that [can be part] of any situation."
The two actors have become friends during the course of the season, and they say they're having a ball playing their brotherly relationship. This despite the fact that their characters don't really get along.
"There's an adversarial tone to the relationship, an alpha-male component to how they see each other," Pasdar says. "I don't always treat Peter on screen with the respect one would hope for. So that's somewhat of a challenge, and we have to look at each other and understand that as real as it is on screen, it certainly doesn't reflect the respect we have for each other."
"Sometimes you'll be working on a highly emotional scene, and you get lost in the fact that you're actually kind of having fun with your friend at work," Ventimiglia adds. "Now when we finish a scene, we just look at each other and start laughing. I have this great opportunity to just go and have a good time and give it as much as I can. Adrian gives so much to me, and I'll be damned if I'm not going to give it right back to him."
Neither Pasdar nor Ventimiglia will say too much about where the show is headed in the near future, but they are willing to part with a few details. Starting Monday, we'll meet Nathan's wife (Rena Sofer, who will appear in several episodes), who will help reveal a little more about her husband's driven nature.
Ventimiglia also hints that we may see how his character, who can temporarily take on the powers of another "super" if he's in the same room with them, will react if he's in proximity to more than one such person.
"I think there's a pressure, a physical pressure that Peter feels if he were in a room with two heroes," he says. "There's a physical, mental overwhelming that it could possibly get him into. We do get into that, and also, is he ever going to retain [someone's abilities] or is it just when he's near someone?"
It's that kind of thing that has sent fans scurrying to message boards and the proverbial watercooler, and both actors say they're noticing that "Heroes" has entered the zeitgeist. Ventimiglia says he's overheard people on the street talking about it, and Pasdar has chatted up folks when he's been flying.
"People don't tend to recognize me from the show, and it's great," Pasdar says. "I've had conversations with people about the show, and they don't even realize I'm in it. It's fun to hear people talk about what might be coming up, what has happened, what they think this means and who's going where. It's fun to be a part of that."