The actor talks about a web series he's producing, and, of course, the ''Heroes'' backlash
Credit: Doug Peters/Empics Entertainment/Retna

Heroes (TV series)

What’s Milo Ventimiglia doing during the writers’ strike? Working, actually. He’s promoting AE Winter Tales, the surprisingly clever Claymation web series he and partner Russ Cundiff produced for American Eagle Entertainment. (Ventimiglia, Kristen Bell, Pete Wentz, Lil John, and Friday Night Lights‘ Adrianne Palicki narrate the five festive shorts on He’s also shooting roles in two films, and, yes, thanks to last Thursday’s Heroes-less Golden Globe nominations, will be asked by to address the show’s best drama series snub. Happy holidays!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The Winter Tales story you narrate is based on real-life experiences, right? [”Home for the Holidays” follows him on the flight from hell as he sits next to a Gilmore Girls fan who keeps asking him questions like ”Why did you grow your hair out so long, Jess? Was it because Dean made fun of your pompadour ‘do?]
Part of it happened to me, part of it happened to [writer-director Adam Green]. I don’t want to get into the specifics, but I have felt that uncomfortable feeling of not having the plane ride go the way you want it to.

So you won’t tell us about the time that the girl kept calling you Jess and —
[Laughs] That happens every day, what are you talkin’ about? I get it all. When people call me Chris Pierce from American Dreams, it definitely gets a big smile from me.

Watch ”Home for the Holidays”:

Are you just chillin’ now while the strike is on, or are you working on something new?
I’m pretty busy. I’m doing two features before Christmas. One is called Game, and that’s with Gerard Butler and Amber Valletta. It’s written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the same guys who did Pathology, the movie I have coming out in the spring.

Who do you play in Game?
A very interesting futuristic character that’s not necessarily in control of himself.

”Not necessarily in control of himself”…
I think that’s mysterious and cryptic enough.

You’re used to answering questions like that.
Totally. And then I’m doing an independent film called Chaos Theory about a guy who leads a very organized life, and someone comes into that life and just sets a downward spiral in motion.

And you play?
I’m the bad guy. I’m not really a good guy in Game either…. Kind of two bad-guy roles for the holidays for me.

The Pathology trailer doesn’t make that movie look much sunnier.
The basic plot is forensic pathologists get a God complex and start killing people for sport. My character finds himself with a group of very dark pathologists that play this game, and he has to find his way out of that world, but the only way out is to kill or be killed. It turns into this story where the guy’s fighting for his life and the life of the woman he loves [played by Alyssa Milano]. I’m really proud of it. When you spend so much time on a television set, and you’ve got these long, long, long story lines and long, long story arcs, it was nice to focus on a beginning and an end and really draw an amazingly curt line between the two. [Chuckles]

That leads nicely into a Heroes‘ question that my colleague Jeff Jensen was kind enough to write out for me to read verbatim.
Jeff is the best.

NEXT PAGE: Ventimiglia on Heroes!
”I’m hoping we get back to the feeling of the first season: that kind of base human emotion, that level where these people that have these abilities are understanding them still.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tim Kring told us several weeks ago that the ending of Volume 2 was altered due to strike consequences and a desire to reboot the series when it returned. What can you say about the original ending — is it true that the virus was supposed to get out? What ending did you prefer?
It was Tim’s intention, I think, to not make people wait much longer. Due to the writers’ strike, we were in a position where we’re gettin’ cut short like everybody else. I think Tim wanted to give some kind of feeling of Hey, we made it. The End. And I think it was the right thing to do. A good thing to do. With regards to the virus getting out or not getting out, at this point it doesn’t, so it’s kind of a moot point, which seems like an easy answer for me to give. Now I know we’re taking a direction that is going away from the virus— from what I understand. The best answers are always gonna come out of Tim’s mouth. I mean let’s not kid ourselves: I wear make up and read lines for living.

Have you noticed changes in how Heroes fans approach you on the street this season?
For the most part, people still walk up to you with smiles on their faces saying, ”I love it. I love it. I love it.” Occasionally, you get somebody who kinda looks at you and thinks, Eh, first season was better, but I still watch you guys. You’re doing pretty good. I think there are a lot of fans that are begrudgingly hanging in there, very patiently waiting for us?. As a person that’s on the show as well as a fan of the show, I always want to get back to the great character moments that drive the series. I’m hoping we get back to the feeling of the first season: that kind of base human emotion, that level where these people that have these abilities are understanding them still.

Are you at all afraid that the placement of the Heroes table at the Golden Globes ceremony has been put in jeopardy by the lack of nomination?
[Laughs] I don’t think we’re gonna have a table at the Golden Globes this year because there were no nominations… I know we took a lot of heat on our second season and I’m sure it’s part and parcel of why we weren’t nominated, but at the same time, there are great shows that were. I think it’s one of those things that’s going to make us work harder, make us be a little more focused. Last year, we got nominated the first season; which a lot of people were saying doesn’t really happen. I remember when we didn’t win, I turned to the table and raised my glass and said, ”It’s a pleasure and a privilege to work with you guys.” We all kind of bonded over that. I think we finish up the season on our own terms and not worry about doing it for an award.

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Heroes (TV series)
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