During GMX this weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a press Q&A with actor Greg Grunberg. Greg is best known for his role as Matt Parkman on the show Heroes. During the hour long Q&A, Greg took questions about his past roles, future projects, charity work and his passion for music.
Greg started off by cracking a joke to break the ice. His first question about his latest work, Big Ass Spider, which he starred in and produce. He wants to do a sequel, but the effects company which did special effects for next to nothing to get a footprint in Hollywood is now charging standard rates. Big Ass Spider is available on Netflix and Greg claims that it’s better than Sharknado.
The second question he answered was regarding his charity work. He consider his charity work to be his most important thing he does. His oldest son suffers from epilepsy. His charity, TalkAboutIt.org, works to remove the stigma of epilepsy and inform people about the facts and myths associated with epilepsy. He also spoke of his band, Band From TV, which performs at events to raise money for the various charities of its members, which includes Hugh Laurie, Teri Hatcher and Adrian Pasdar. Together, over the past eight years they have raised $5 million dollars for charities.
When asked how he got into acting, Greg replied jokingly “reacting”. He said that he was interested in getting reactions from people, whether it was laughing or crying. Greg spoke about his lifelong friendship with JJ Abrams. He tells about his love of entertaining people, that his route into acting wasn’t a traditional one and it was helped along greatly by the friendships developed over time with those in the Hollywood community. He compared it to playing the drums in a band, that you need others to play in order to make music.
When asked if there was any superhero he’d like to portray on the big screen. He simply replied that he’d like to reprise Matt Parkman from Heroes on the big screen. He explained why he loved the role and was grateful for the opportunities that were opened to him afterward.
When asked who he thought was the greatest drummer of all time, Greg answered Stan Lynch from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He recounts the story about he mentioned Stan Lynch to a music magazine, only to be contacted by Lynch sometime later. Greg spoke about all the great musicians he listened to growing up.
He talked about teaching one of his sons how to play the drums. Greg spoke about the time when he started to learn how to play at age 12 or 13 by trying to play either a Rush or Van Halen song. He commented on the level of difficulty there was to it, and commented about a kid on Youtube playing the drum opening to a Van Halen song that he thought was impressive. He joked about being the drummer and making a mistake, then he told us one such story involving Teri Hatcher.
Greg was asked about his involvement with video games, particularly L.A. Noire. He tells about how he met Tom Han, the current director of creative content at Machinema, met and became friends. His friendship with Han lead to Greg getting involved with video games. Greg has been in several games such as Halo, Condemned and L.A. Noire. He talked about the process regarding how the facial capture for L.A. Noire was done, that it was a large globe filled with 48 cameras that captured expressions from multiple angles. He tells about how the computers overheated during his session and that he went through the entire process a second time. He praised L.A. Noire for its historical accuracy and commented briefly about his character from the game Condemned.
Greg was then asked how he felt about being involved with Star Wars Episode 7. He replied that “it was the thrill of his life and the role of his life”. He says that his role isn’t a very big one, but is far from a small one. He made a comparison of it to his role as the airplane captain on Lost, just on a much larger scale. Greg talked about JJ Abrams’ reaction after every day of filming and mention seeing dailies. That they are exactly what “we” (the fans) want and that this new movie will be true to the original trilogy. He mentioned the back and forth between Abrams and Synder, and how Abrams is using that to make the fans feel better about the upcoming movie.
He spoke about the level of secrecy involved: actors in costume being covered in robes while being transported to the set for filming, special paper for the scripts that cannot be photographed and measures to keep the paparazzi drones at bay.
At this point, we enter a rapid fire round:
Greg was asked about who are the biggest influences, outside of Abrams, to have an impact on his career. He spoke about Tom Hanks and Henry Wrinkler. He talked about how Henry is one the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and told a brief story about Tom Hanks.
When asked what quote or song would best describe him, he paused for a moment and then replied Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Greg was asked what would be his choice of food following a nuclear apocalypse, he answered chocolate croissants. This lead into a discussion about how much of a foodie he is. His guilty pleasure is watching the show Mind of a Chef. Greg spoke about his desire to try some Southern food at a placed called Husk.
Then Greg bought up his love for Twitter, which celebrities he follows and who follows him. He mentioned Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern and the Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius. He joked that he was following Pictorius before the murder trial and no longer follows him.
Greg was asked what is it like to to perform with Hugh Laurie in a band. He responded that Laurie is a brilliant musician and is the biggest factor in raising the charity money. Greg told a story about his band playing the opening of a clothing store with Laurie and how they had fun with it. Greg continues to talk about working along Laurie and music producer David Foster at Capital Records when they were recording music for the House MD soundtrack. Greg then speaks about charity work with Laurie and talks about how they granted a girl’s wish to travel to Paris because Make A Wish does not grant international wishes.
The last question asked was what advice do you have for people. Greg said that the best advice he got came from his father. It was simply “Just go”. If someone says there is a wonderful spot but is difficult to get to, just go. If you’re at an airport, strike up a conversion with a stranger because you never know who you’ll met. He explained how this lead into a meeting with someone that he created a business with.
That was the last question of the Q&A.
Meeting Greg was one of the best experiences I had while at GMX. It is something I will definitely remember and hope to repeat again.