Heroes, Milo Ventimiglia

NBC/Michael Muller

When it comes to lofty life ambitions, starring on the hottest new show of the season should rank pretty high for an actor. And Milo Ventimiglia, the former Gilmore Girls and American Dreamz star, finds himself in that very position these days, as one of the leading men on NBC's ridiculously good fall series (and my personal new favorite) Heroes, premiering Sept. 25. This thrilling drama is about everyday people realizing they might have superpowers--and Milo's character in particular is not what he seems.

So, you think you can fly.
Yes.

But you still don't know if you can.
Well, it's complicated. When I first had conversations with the producer, Tim Kring, he explained to me that my character, Peter, senses people's true feelings--their wants, their intentions. And because of that, it gets...interesting.

What happens if you don't end up actually having a superpower? That would suck. Do you honestly not know?
Well, yes or no. It's funny. It's kind of like regular life: You don't know what's coming. You can plan, hope, wish certain things away, dream. But ultimately, when the scripts come in, they are very different than what I had expected. They exceed what I thought any of us would be doing. They're just really, really cool.

The premise of Heroes is a little tricky. How would you describe it?
The show is about people who develop superhuman abilities in response to the trends of the world. There's war and terrorism, and the human race is evolving. It's not quite X-Men, with fast planes and fancy suits. It's more ordinary people, dealing with the fear and the exhilaration of coming to terms with being able to fly, being unbreakable, reading thoughts or bending space and time.

And just like Lost, I'm sure the fans will go nuts looking for clues on the Internet.
We kind of started building that. We went to Comic-Con and screened the show for 2,500 people--and there were about 600 who couldn't get in. Those are the ones who will be talking about the show on the Internet. And being compared to Lost is a very cool thing. I don't think a show like ours could have happened without a show like Lost to kind of pave the way--a large ensemble with this mystery to it, this intrigue, these questions. And the people who gravitate toward that kind of show can be just about anybody--someone who is 10 years old could be completely fascinated, as could someone who is 90.

Any chance you'll come back to Gilmore Girls?I'd love to be invited, but at the same time, I don't see it happening. I was the one who actually tried to get [the character] Jess killed, and they didn't go for it. [I wanted to] get him hit by a bus, a knife in the side of the neck, something bad. [Laughs.] I don't know--guess I thought it would be kind of cool.

Are you ready for the rabid Heroes fans? You know they're coming, right?
We'll see. To be honest, it's a little overwhelming to think of this show's potential.

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