Heroes Reborn Roundtable: Dylan Bruce on Secrets and Shirtless Scenes

There was a time when Heroes was the most talked about show on television, so news of its return has been met with comparable levels of discussion. Heroes Reborn brings back some favorites like Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg), Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey) and HRG/Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman). It also introduces many more new characters.

Dylan Bruce, fresh off his run on BBC America’s Orphan Black, plays a new character but not one he can tell us much about. Heroes Reborn is still a mysterious show filled with secrecy, just like the old days. At Comic-Con, we sat in on a roundtable with Bruce and learned as much as we could about his role on Heroes Reborn, which premieres Thursday at 8 PM on NBC.

Nerd Report: Have you gotten a different experience going to Comic-Con with Heroes Reborn than you had with Orphan Black?

Dylan Bruce: I actually came with Orphan Black and the first thing I’ve done for Heroes was today. It’s the tail end of my Comic-Con so I’m actually physically exhausted, but it’s insane. The cast and how much the cast of Heroes really likes each other and interacts with each other reminds me of how we were at Orphan Black. It feels like a big family and everybody really believes in the product that we’re putting out there. I’m going to tell you something, Heroes is going to be a really awesome show. I leave set every day smiling. I’m having so much fun playing the guy I play.

Q: Who do you play and what is his power?

Dylan Bruce: I can’t even say the character’s name. Isn’t it crazy? That’s how top secret it is.

Q: Will we see you on the good or the bad side?

Dylan Bruce: Okay, okay, I can be a little less vague explaining that. He’s a survivalist. Being a survivalist, sometimes you have to do things that are kind of cruel. The new Heroes Reborn, there’s a lot of social inequalities going on. He’s a guy that’s exploiting those inequalities for profit. He definitely has a lot of skeletons in his closet. So many so that they’re going to make a novella about this character before the start of the season. I leave set with a lot of bumps and bruises, I’ll tell you that much and I’m having so much fun because it’s so cool.

Nerd Report: As a survivalist, have you learned how to set traps and stuff?

Dylan Bruce: Not like Survivorman, that kind of stuff. If I tell you, I think I’d be giving too much away honestly. They literally limited me to a couple paragraphs that I can say and that’s about it. The guy is so top secret. What I can say is I think he probably would enjoy the hunt if he was hunting heroes but I’m not saying he does hunt them or doesn’t. I can’t really say much. I have been beefing up for the role. I’ve been trying to put on pounds so I don’t know if that means anything to.

Q: Will you be shirtless?

Dylan Bruce: Ryan [Guzman]’s shirtless. They keep my clothes on for some reason. I don’t know what’s up with that. I’ve been working hard. Tim, let me take my shirt off. I didn’t do enough of that on Orphan Black already.

Q: How different is this character from the one you played on Orphan Black?

Dylan Bruce: They’re actually a little bit similar. He’s very different than Paul because Paul always had an endgame in mind and he was working for Castor all along. He was doing something for the benefit of other people, not himself. This guy is more self-serving, more of a self-preservationist. He’s working for himself, this guy. He’s looking out for number one whereas Paul wasn’t necessarily.

Nerd Report: Have you doing survivalist research as an actor?

Dylan Bruce: For this role, I can’t even tell you the research I was doing. For Paul I would research a lot of military. I read about Blackwater. I read the Rolling Stone embedded journalist who was with McChrystal. I read Lone Survivor, No Easy Day: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden. All that stuff for Paul because I knew Paul was a contractor and in special forces. The research going into this guy is lots of pushups, lots of air squats. I can’t say what he does, I really can’t, but I have been researching him, I’ll tell you that. I’ve been reading up on the field that he would be in and it’s a lot of fun. That’s the funnest part about being an actor is the research and the backstory. This guy’s got a really lengthy one so it’s really cool

Goodnight Mommy Exclusive: Susanne Wuest On Bandages and Bugs


Goodnight Mommy was a shocking surprise when it screened at TIFF, Fantastic Fest, AFI Fest and many other premiere film festivals. I’m still trying to keep the secrets for new viewers, but I may have asked some spoiler questions in my interview with the Mommy herself, Susanne Wuest. If you haven’t seen it yet, I don’t think you’ll get the context, but fair warning that this conversation talks about some of the specific horrors of the film.

Susanne Wuest in Goodnight Mommy

Susanne Wuest in Goodnight Mommy

Wuest plays a mother of two boys returning home from the hospital with her head wrapped in bandages. The boys suspect she is an impostor and torture her to prove she’s not their real mother. Goodnight Mommy opens in the States this weekend and if you are in L.A., you can see me moderate a Q&A with directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala at the Nuart theater. Wuest is still in Vienna so we spoke by phone.

Nerd Report: How do you describe Goodnight Mommy without giving too much away?

Susanne Wuest: Well, I start with saying it’s a genre auteur film in a way, because I agree, it’s quite hard to put it in one box. I also would say it’s a suspense horror film and I always tell them that it’s very scary in a way they won’t suspect.

Nerd Report: Did you say genre auteur film because Veronika and Severin are auteurs?

Susanne Wuest: I picked that term up from thinking about filmmakers who write their own scripts. This is what they are, because it an arthouse film but it also is very much a genre horror film which is inspired from I don’t know how many films they saw. I think hundreds and hundreds of horror classics. It’s what they love very much and so do I.

Nerd Report: Was it uncomfortable doing half of the film wearing bandages?

GoodNightMommy_RGB_3_CMYKSusanne Wuest: Yes, very much. I have to say it was a very interesting experience. I love to explore new fields when it comes to acting. This was something new for me, to do something which limits your vision, you can’t see properly, it was strenuous and challenging at the same time, but it helped very much to get closer to that woman.

Nerd Report: Was it uncomfortable walking out into the woods and taking your clothes off?

Susanne Wuest: That’s a very interesting thing. I knew that on one hand, to walk into the woods of course, the floor is covered with a lot of plants which are not very comfortable to walk on. But it was really, really interesting for me because it was he first time I did something like that and the guys who were on the visual effects, they were all standing around catching everything on different cameras. The whole thing was shot in the studio too, having this whole movement of the camera in front of a green screen. It was actually really weird because I arrived at the studio and there were 10 or 15 guys clicking on their notebooks. It was like entering the NASA office. It was quite weird. Everyone was just typing and no one was paying attention to me. Everyone was just focused on their computers. They were quite impressive.

Nerd Report: So that scene is actually two scenes, one on location and then in the studio?

Susanne Wuest: Yes, absolutely. It was quite tricky in the woods because they would really take care of the movements and see how that would be going. But then, they would reshoot the whole scene in the studio, but no the walk. Just the standing and that particular effect with me moving my head like that.

Nerd Report: I know there’s movie magic, but when you’re stuck to the floor, how stuck were you?

Susanne Wuest: I was very stuck. Speaking about movie magic, it was not a lot of magic in a way too. We used a glue which was quite strong. In fact, they also fix the hair to the floor until the point when I told them to please loosen it because I was afraid. I mean, the whole room was burning and I really couldn’t move. I couldn’t see much because my eyes were glued too. It was my first experience with fire in a way. I expected it to be hot of course but I didn’t expect it to be that hot. I didn’t think about the fact that after a while there is no more oxygen. So it was a very uncomfortable and very strange situation. After a while I said, “Okay, could you please loosen my hair because if something comes down, I want to be able to move.” There was was not a lot of tricking to be honest.

Nerd Report: I can’t believe they did that for real. I thank you for going through so much for my entertainment.

Susanne Wuest: [Laughs] Well, I have my moments where I go, “Okay, this is too much” because actually they were thinking of completely setting me on fire and I told them no, I’m not going to do that. They said, “Well, it would look cool if you really do that stunt yourself.” And I said, “No, this is where I stop.”

Nerd Report: Do you have kids yourself?

Susanne Wuest: No. I don’t. Not yet.

Nerd Report: Can you imagine how horrifying Goodnight Mommy must be to parents of children?

Lukas and Elias Schwarz in Goodnight Mommy

Lukas and Elias Schwarz in Goodnight Mommy

Susanne Wuest: Absolutely, absolutely. Actually, the core relationship to children in general or relationship to family members, that’s a very, very close bond. If these people don’t recognize you anymore because your behavior changes, this is what it is. She is not behaving like their mother anymore and this brings the kids to the conclusion that she might be in fact someone else. I think this is a very hurtful and frightening experience, that the moment we stop playing the roles we play all our lives, children, parents, might be the moment where people stop recognizing us for our behavior. I think the whole story is very much about identity and the loss of love and that’s a very frightening thing itself.

Nerd Report: What was it like working with the kids?

Susanne Wuest: Oh, beautiful. Beautiful. They’re the cutest, most intelligent, down to earth kids you could possibly imagine. They’re very, very smart and sweet. They didn’t have a script so it was all improvised. It was quite hard at times to really scare them. We tried to but kids are not really impressed. Also there was a lot of paying attention to each other, like the moment when we would start getting more physical with each other, they came and would cuddle with me. It was quite beautiful. Lots of really, really hard table tennis matches in the breaks during filming. I grew very, very, very fond of them and I’m still in touch with them.

Nerd Report: Did you ever have to do your side of the scenes without the kids there?

Susanne Wuest: No, they were always there.

Nerd Report: The first time you read the script, did you get the twists?

Susanne Wuest: You have to know, Veronika, long before this whole thing started, Veronika came to me and she said, “We’re going to write a horror film for you.” I thought it was a joke but a year later, she came and she said, “Now the script is ready. Now you have to play it because we wrote it for you.” And we organized a dinner. We sat down but she didn’t give me the script. She told me the whole story which was a very sensual experience. And so until a very few days before we started to shoot, I didn’t have the script myself. So I didn’t know about the twist in the beginning. Three days prior to shooting, I went to Veronika and said, “I think I should read the script just once. I’ll give it back to you after but I want to read the script once.” When I read it, I thought, “Wow, that’s a very, very sad story. It’s a story about the loss of love basically.”

Nerd Report: You’re a very well known actor in Vienna, so they actually sought you out and wrote Goodnight Mommy for you?

Susanne Wuest: Yes, they did. It’s great, isn’t it? It’s one in a million.

Nerd Report: Have any other filmmakers done that for you?

Susanne Wuest: Let me think. Not so far, but maybe. Maybe I’m starting a new trend here. I would love that.

Nerd Report: If, like me, people are a fan of your work in Goodnight Mommy, which of your Austrian films would you recommend your new fans see next?

Susanne Wuest: Well, I would recommend an older film, Antares, by Gotz Spielmann. This is a very different film to Goodnight Mommy but I believe it’s a great film. I do a lot of arthouse work. Antares would be great I think.

Nerd Report: Arthouse is good and yeah, we want to see you do different things. Goodnight Mommy is a great introduction for us. 

Susanne Wuest: It’s true. Thank you so much. I think it’s a very extreme introduction. People will always remember me eating bugs or torturing kids. No, but depending on what people like, I really would recommend Antares and I think that Spielmann is an amazing director too. Maybe I would also recommend a French film named La Lisiere by Geraldine Bajard. I really hope to be working on more genre films in the future because I really, really love that kind of storytelling. Fairy tales, etc., I love that very much.

Nerd Report: Veronika and Severin are first time feature directors. Was it very different being directed by them?

Susanne Wuest: No, not really, because Veronika has been working with her husband Ulrich Seidl for many, many years. So she wasn’t really new to a set, and both have done quite well what they wanted. So I didn’t really feel a difference. If it would’ve been their fifth film I wouldn’t be surprised either.

Nerd Report: I mentioned a few of the standout scenes for me but which were the most difficult for you?

Susanne Wuest: Well, there were many things in a way but I think slapping one of the children. That was really hard. Sometimes as an actor you come across things which are very, very emotionally difficult to do. Slapping one of the boys was a really hard thing to do. The other thing that was quite a challenge was being bound to a bed for two weeks in a row. That was quite a challenge too.

Nerd Report: Did you have to make sure you went to the bathroom before you started filming, or could they let you up to go for a break?

Susanne Wuest: Definitely, at a certain point I wasn’t even able to speak anymore because I couldn’t open my mouth because that was glued too. So I better make sure that I went to the bathroom in the morning because even if I would have wanted to, it wouldn’t open, the bandages. Also I did a lot of training because I knew that I was going to be bound to that bed and that it’s going to be very, very challenging in a difficult way.

The Perfect Guy Interview: Screenwriter Tyger Williams


“I wanted to write a movie for Sanaa Lathan whom I love as an actress.” – Tyger Williams, screenwriter

Tyger Williams wrote the screenplay to the acclaimed film Menace II Society, released in 1993. I didn’t realize it had been so long since we’d seen a Tyger Williams movie so I was excited to get the chance to speak with him for The Perfect Guy.

Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut and Michael Ealy star in Screen Gems' THE PERFECT GUY.

Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut and Michael Ealy star in Screen Gems’ THE PERFECT GUY.

The Perfect Guy stars Sanaa Lathan as a woman who breaks up with her boyfriend (Morris Chestnut) and meets a man (Michael Ealy) who sees to be, well, the perfect guy. Until he beats up random strangers and starts messing with her e-mail accounts. The Perfect Guy opens Friday, September 11 and Williams filled me in on his process for crafting the perfect thriller.

Nerd Report: My first question is about Tyger with a Y. Do you have a cool story about your name?

Tyger Williams: My parents gave me that name. I guess I was a little restless in the womb so they started calling me tiger. My parents never use my first name or my middle name, so needless to say I don’t really use either.

Nerd Report: Have there been a lot of unmade screenplays between Menace II Society and The Perfect Guy?

Tyger Williams: Yes, there are a lot of unmade screenplays. I was 24 when Menace came out. Hollywood in those days were developing tons of projects so I ended up on the development wheel pitching things, writing things and rewriting things. For one reason or another, things just didn’t get made but I was definitely still working. I was also trying to not stereotype myself with that subject matter. I got offered a lot of similar projects so I felt that for a long haul, to break out and do something different.

Nerd Report: So you’ve supported yourself as a screenwriter for over 20 years?

Tyger Williams: Oh yeah. I’ve been working. It just hasn’t been movies that have been getting made. I’ve done features, I wrote a few TV pilots, so that’s pretty much all I know how to do.

Michael Ealy and Sanaa Lathan star in Screen Gems' THE PERFECT GUY.

Michael Ealy and Sanaa Lathan star in Screen Gems’ THE PERFECT GUY.

Nerd Report: What was special about The Perfect Guy that got it through the system?

Tyger Williams: That was the intention all along. Screen Gems is an interesting place in that Clint Culpepper, the president, really takes a hands on approach with most of his projects. This was a passion project of his from the beginning. He sort of went into it saying, “We’re going to make this movie, we’re going to make this movie.” For a writer, that’s a special place to be in. For all of the development work and amount of time it takes and drafts and all that, to know that you’re constantly working towards a production goal helps. I did my job the best I could. Then we got the cast assembled and from there it was easy to put together.

Nerd Report: Was it a movie you pitched?

Sanaa Lathan stars in Screen Gems' THE PERFECT GUY.

Sanaa Lathan stars in Screen Gems’ THE PERFECT GUY.

Tyger Williams: No, this was something that they brought to me. I had sold them something a few years prior to that, before the Writers Strike actually. Due to forces beyond our control, that didn’t happen so during the strike obviously there was a year and a half hiatus. So we kept trying to find things to do. Shortly after the strike, we were pitching around different ideas. I would give them stuff, they would give me stuff so finally, he said, “Look, there’s this thing that I love.” He pitched it to me and basically I wanted to write a movie for Sanaa Lathan whom I love as an actress. I came on board and spent a couple of years working on The Perfect Guy.

Nerd Report: Over the time you were developing it, did the subject matter become even more relevant? There are so many more ways men can invade women’s lives with technology.

Tyger Williams: I think so. It seems like with each passing year, privacy and the internet and technology seems to invade our lives. There was always an element of that to the script. Carter is an IT technician so that was something that we had in our minds early on. Wow, to be stalked by an IT guy, someone who can truly invade every facet of your life, could be really interesting in today’s day and age. So now when you see the bullying laws and the Ashley Madison hack. So yeah, it’s definitely timely.

Nerd Report: The studio releasing this movie got hacked too so they must take it personally.

Tyger Williams: [Laughs] Exactly, that’s a perfect example of what can happen.

Nerd Report: Yet it seems no matter how many examples of this happens, people still trust their apps and networks. Are we too dependent on things or slow to give up our luxuries to protect ourselves?

Tyger Williams: I would probably say that we are. I’d say the world is moving at light speed. I know I have three or four different devices. If I can’t access the internet when I need to or when I want to, I get very antsy. If people aren’t allowed to use their phone, they sort of freak out, how am I going to make it through the day without my phone? I think they’re sort of dependent upon technology and the cloud to store stuff and back up stuff, but security is a real issue. I wonder how long it’ll take before enough of us are impacted by an invasion of privacy before things actually change, if they change at all.

Nerd Report: Some screenwriters lament that technology like cell phones and internet have made their jobs harder. For The Perfect Guy was all that technology a gift?

Tyger Williams: Yeah, there’s some interesting plot devices. With his career, with the amount of technology and things that can be done. Without giving things away, there’s definitely some fun to be had with the technology.

Nerd Report: You said you had Sanaa in mind the whole time. Is Michael Ealy the type of actor who can be the perfect guy one minute and then be terrifying the next?

Michael Ealy stars in Screen Gems' THE PERFECT GUY.

Michael Ealy stars in Screen Gems’ THE PERFECT GUY.

Tyger Williams: He absolutely is. There’s no doubt that women are in love with him. That in itself gives him a lot of credibility. He’s charming and nice and believable. Then suddenly he’s not. He played a character on The Following this past season and he was really understated but really disturbing. I think what’s interesting about this is the obsession aspect of it. They actually do have a relationship. It’s nice. It’s really great. And then it’s not. That’s really disturbing. As opposed to the normal celebrity thing where they’re stalked by people who are really disturbed who they don’t know and have no connection to them. I spent quite a bit of time looking up all the different stalker definitions. There are clinical definitions and medical definitions and FBI definitions of all the stereotypes of stalker personality and behaviors. It’s a dangerous world.

Nerd Report: I bet it’s a very sexy movie too. How descriptive are you writing those scenes? Or is it just when it’s Sanaa, Michael and Morris Chestnut, you know it’s going to be sexy?

Carter (Michael Ealy) takes Leah (Sanaa Lathan) on a date to a reggae club in Screen Gems' THE PERFECT GUY.

Carter (Michael Ealy) takes Leah (Sanaa Lathan) on a date to a reggae club in Screen Gems’ THE PERFECT GUY.

Tyger Williams: It’s a sexy cast. I’ll give it that. It’s steamy. It’s gotten considerably steamier but there’s good chemistry between all of them. Their characters have such amazing chemistry and connections, I think that’s what’s at the core of it. It’s sort of a love triangle because she was involved with, not just a one night stand, but romantically involved with each of them at various points. So the sex isn’t just sex. There’s real passion and emotion behind it. Then you have those three amazing actors.

Nerd Report: What are your favorite sexy thrillers?

Tyger Williams: Oh, Fatal Attraction, for sure. Adrian Lyne, Indecent Proposal and 9 1/2 Weeks is a classic. We haven’t seen too many lately, have we? They were all ‘80s and ‘90s.

Nerd Report: No, but after Fifty Shades of Grey they might be back.

Tyger Williams: That’s right. They may, they may.

Nerd Report: What’s your process as a writer? If this was an assignment, did you start with the story or the characters, and do you have a routine of writing every day set hours?

Tyger Williams: It was very much a workman attitude and that’s how I try to approach it. Wake up, write a certain amount of pages every day, know what my page count is, make my page count the same way a director has to make their days while they’re shooting. If I miss a day, I’ve got to make it up the next day. Write every day. It’s definitely the process that I followed with this script.

Script supervisor Ronit Ravich-Boss (left) and director David M. Rosenthal on the set of Screen Gems' THE PERFECT GUY.

Script supervisor Ronit Ravich-Boss (left) and director David M. Rosenthal on the set of Screen Gems’ THE PERFECT GUY.

Nerd Report: How many drafts did you go through for Perfect Guy?

Tyger Williams: For Perfect Guy, again because Clint Culpepper is so hands on, we did probably maybe five or six drafts. Maybe three or four big drafts, official drafts, and then constantly revising pages along the way. Basically going over scenes and dialogue and different things. At least three to six drafts I’d say.

Nerd Report: Is that relatively low for a studio movie?

Tyger Williams: I mean, those were the major drafts. If I would say how many times I wrote something and submitted it to the studio, or to my executives, then we’re probably well into 20. I know the treatment that I wrote, I did maybe 15, 20 revisions on a 25 page treatment. So a lot of it was worked out before I actually sat down to write in terms of exactly what this movie is.

Nerd Report: Are you working on anything else coming up? More original specs or studio projects?

Tyger Williams: I’ve got some original stuff that I’m working on, got some TV stuff that I’m working on that I’m really excited about that’s really close to going. There’s a book I optioned that I’m really excited about and possibly looking towards directing in the future. So I’m definitely busy, definitely working in original scripts. I love TV. I love what’s going on with television right now. Lots of great shows so I’m definitely working in that area. And talking to studios about all kinds of interesting sequels and remakes.

Nerd Report: Can you say what the book you optioned is?

Tyger Williams: No, things are under wraps right now. I hope to be announcing it soon though.