RAISING ELLE WITH KRISTEN BELL
The ‘Veronica Mars’ star takes a villainous turn on NBC’s ‘Heroes’
By Kiel Phegley
Posted October 16, 2007 4:35 PM
Kristen Bell’s sassy and sardonic turn as teen sleuth Veronica Mars may have earned her the adoration of fanboys and fangirls nationwide, but for Bell, her own fan tendencies belonged to another show.
She was a “Heroes” viewer “from its premiere episode,” explained the actress during today’s “Heroes” press conference in advance of her debut as a series regular on next Monday’s episode. “I joked with the writers that ‘Heroes’ was always the water-cooler conversation at ‘Veronica Mars’ on set, and they had said in many of their writers’ circles, ‘Veronica Mars’ was the water-cooler conversation at ‘Heroes.’
“It was ultimate flattery when they came forward and said, ‘We might have something for you to do.’”
Although now that Bell is joining the “Heroes” cast for a 13-episode stint (with the possibility of more to come), one thing she won’t be doing (at least, on screen) is flattering the show’s heroic characters, as her part as the mysterious Elle has the 27-year-old starlet moving close to the dark side.
“It’s been so much fun,” said Bell of Elle. “I have been crossing my fingers in hopes of getting a job soon where I could play someone who was, as Tim [Kring, series creator] likes to call it, ‘a little off’ or perhaps didn’t have the brightest and shiniest of intentions. I think the depth at which they’ve written Elle…she’s so conflicted and comes across as such a vixen, it’s so much fun to play with.”
And beyond general talk of twisted motives and dangerous methods, Kring himself joined in the discussion to explain to fans how exactly Elle will fit into the larger mythology of “Heroes,” saying, “This character is tied to this Company that we have talked about for the last year of the show, that Claire’s father was involved with. And so one of the ideas was that this character was raised within the Company, and it’s in some ways a cautionary tale of what would happen to any of our characters had they lived with their powers their whole life, the way Elle has.”
As for the origins of the Company companion, Kring explained, “The character was created before we cast Kristen. We had been talking about the character for a while and thinking about the character for a while, but when you do cast an actor, especially [one with as] much personality as Kristen has, you try to tailor the character a little closer to who the actor is. So it’s hard to know when one starts to influence the other, but certainly the character was created and conceived long before we cast Kristen.”
Taking on a long-gestating character like Elle and a highly successful show like “Heroes” is a tall order for any actress, but Bell explained that her roots with the cast and show eased her transition into supervillain. “There was anxiety and nerves certainly, but nothing about it has been hard. They are some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with, and having had social relationships with a few of them, I’d heard of what a great job it was—not just an excellent show but something really fun to be a part of and an ensemble that really supports each other.”
Of the cast, Bell was quick to point out her long-standing friendships with Hayden Panettiere (“Claire Bennet”) and Zachary Quinto (“Sylar”), whose friendship with Bell stretches back 10 years. “Besides the fact that he’s pretty much the coolest thing because he’s so unpredictable and so downright evil—it’s so hard for me to watch because it’s the polar opposite of Zach’s personality—I would love to see [Sylar] and Elle face off one day. I think that would be unbelievable.”
As for whom Elle will definitely share screen time with, viewers who caught Monday’s tease of her first episode know the vixen meets up with Irish-landed amnesiac Peter Petrelli, of whom Bell said, “I have a lot of information about Peter’s past.
“I can’t reveal her secret power, but it’s a very cool power,” Bell added. “She has ties to HRG and to Claire. There’s going to be a very interesting dynamic between her and Claire as far as what is and what is not. There’s going to be a deeper relationship there than people are expecting. They’re going to see some parallels.
“She’s a little messed up in the head, which makes her manipulative and always out to get what she wants. She doesn’t have many boundaries, which I think is a really interesting part of playing this character.”
Kring also commented on the future of “Heroes” this season, noting that in dealing with a large cast, “You have to be able to fold people in and fold people out, so the audience should fully expect to see characters leaving in the near future.
“We are not a show that tries to keep answers away from the audience. Our feeling is that no answer is so precious we can’t tell the audience what it is. That being said, there’s a certain amount of fun with drawing things out enough that it keeps your interest,” he added. “This season we’re going to have multiple volumes. The first one is called ‘Generations,’ and it started with Episode 1 of this season and ends on Episode 11 where every question that is raised will be answered within these 11 episodes. It’s one complete volume that cliffhangs us and takes us into a break and into another volume. If people are feeling the frustration of wanting answers, usually I think people say they want answers but really enjoy following the mystery and watching the twists and turns.”
And for mystery fans still wondering whether they’ll see a return of Bell’s “Veronica Mars” character, be it in comics or film, Bell was straightforward in describing her working relationship with “Mars” creator Rob Thomas.
“If Rob invites me to go mow his lawn, I’ll consider it,” laughed the actress. “I have heard rumors of [the comic]. I certainly hope it comes to fruition. I know Rob is a very busy man, and rightfully so, but I would not be opposed to being involved in that at all.”
You know how in the last post I said that she would really be awesome as Dazzler? Looking at those two pictures above, she wouldn't look out of place as The Invisible Woman either! Or Ms Marvel! Or any other blonde bombshell from the comic book world!