"Heroes" Star Brea Grant's Need For Speed

For every light there is a dark, for every Spider-Man a Green Goblin, for every Superman a Lex Luthor, and for Hiro Nakamura there is Daphne. Played by actress Brea Grant, the latest character will be gifted with the ability of super speed, one of the last remaining super hero archetypes that hadn't been touched on by Tim Kring's hit series, "Heroes." Returning September 22, the show enters its third season entitled "Villains," and CBR News tries to catch one of the villains herself to find out more about her fleet footed character.

Every good hero has an origin, and Bea Grant's starts with her father, a playwright in Texas. As a child, she began acting in one of her father's own works and continued on in community theatre, but it wasn't till later in life that she answered her calling as an actor. "I kind of took a break from acting until I was in graduate school in Texas when I started taking acting classes again just as a hobby," Grant told CBR News. "I had forgotten how much I liked acting and I wasn't very happy in graduate school so I moved to Los Angeles to be an actress." While she did get her Master's degree, Grant just couldn't say no to an acting career and her hobby became something more. "I think grad school is incredibly difficult so you really have to be passionate about being an academic to stick with it - just like you have to be really passionate to be an actor to stick with it. It turns out I was more passionate about acting than I was about school."

Last seen on "Friday Night Lights," Brea Grant has zipped over to a genre a little bit closer to her heart, that of comic book superheroes. "I've been reading comics for about six years or so now," Grant explained. "I started reading 'The Invisibles' because my brother recommended it and got hooked. I just caught up on 'Fables,' read 'Batman: The Long Halloween,' and [I] am re-reading 'The Sandman' for a comic book club I'm in. I find that comics are the best thing to read on set because a lot times you have 10 minutes to kill and it's not enough time to read a chapter of a book, but it's plenty of time to get decently far in a trade paperback."

The first step to becoming Daphne on "Heroes" was that of the audition. "They brought me in because one of the producers had seen me on 'Friday Night Lights,'" Grant said "And I basically rehearsed my audition every single day from the moment I found out about it until I went in - which was actually quite a while."

Since getting the part, Grant has started researching on her own and who better to turn to then the fastest man alive, The Flash. "I started doing research on characters with speed as their power - so I read a lot of old and new Flash (I particularly liked the Geoff Johns stuff) and now I'm reading 'Supreme Power,'" she said. "'Supreme Power' I think really deals with a lot of the stuff 'Heroes' deals with like what would actually happen in the real world if people suddenly had special powers. I don't necessarily think a person's first instinct would be to put on a cape and start fighting crime (unless you're Hiro Nakamura - except for the cape thing). I like the way 'Supreme Power' deals with the government's attempt to control people with powers by employing them or just brain-washing them. 'Heroes' explores the same issue with the cataloging of people with powers and the constant attempt to gain control over them."

Grant did admit that her favorite part of "Supreme Power," so far, dealt with its own speedster, Stanley Stewart, the Atlanta Blur. "The government can't find him, but some ad execs can and they have all these ideas about marketing and product placement. I read that and was like, 'Yep. That's exactly what would happen.'"

Fans won't have a hard time finding Daphne as she makes her presence known in the first episode of "Heroes'" third season, crossing paths with Hiro. "Daphne is stealing something that Hiro has just found," she said, "something very important to the Nakamura family."

On "Heroes," many of the abilities the characters have are just a natural extension of their personality, whether it's Hiro wanting to somehow get away from the daily grind of his job or Peter's natural empathy for other people. Grant guesses that it may be the exact opposite with the character of Daphne. "In many ways, Daphne's power has made her who she is," she said. "She doesn't need anyone else and she relies on herself - maybe because there hasn't been anyone else who could keep up with her."

So who is Daphne and what kind of person have her powers made her? Grant sums it up quite simply. "Daphne's the kind of girl who owns any room she's in. She demands attention but doesn't necessarily need it. She's a loner - for better or worse - and isn't afraid of much. To be honest, why would she be? Nothing can touch her."

While "Heroes" typically delves into the shades of grey that exist in the every day world, where no one character is completely evil or completely good, Daphne has been immediately branded as Hiro's "Joker." "Daphne definitely has some evil leanings but I think she's more of Hiro's nemesis because they are such a good match of skills," Grant explained. "They basically negate each other's powers. Daphne can move even when Hiro freezes time, but she can't move at super speed. Compared to Hiro, who exemplifies a good guy, Daphne is more of a bad guy. She's using her powers for evil."

But as the next season is entitled "Villains," viewers would have to expect that the darker side of the characters would be taking the spotlight. Grant gave CBR some insight on what she thinks fans can expect from the coming season and where her character stands in the grand scheme of things. "I think they'll really deal with who is a villain or who could be a villain or if villains even exist in pure form. There's lots of grey and I think Daphne is somewhere in the middle of it -- just like most of us in real life - constantly trying to figure out where we stand."

After a hugely popular first season, a lot of eyes and a lot of pressure were on the cast and crew to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. With many fans wondering if "Heroes" would recover from what most commentators agree was a sophomore slump in season two, Grant hasn't noticed any tension among the cast and crew. "There has been some pressure from fans," the actress admitted. "I had to stop reading the message boards because so many people were already so down on Daphne since she was a new character. Worrying about ruining the show just made me nervous, but it's definitely made me work twice as hard to do something interesting. Overall, though, everyone has been very cool and very excited for what my character is adding to the current storylines."

"Heroes" always has a big presence at Comic-Con International in San Diego, and if you keep your eyes peeled you might catch Grant on the con floor -- not as a pro but as a fan. "I don't think I'll be on a panel," she explained, "but you'll probably see me in the crowds. I had plans to go last year but couldn't make it because I was filming. This year, a bunch of friends of mine and I are all driving there together."

The third season of "Heroes" premieres on NBC September 22 with a two-hour premiere. Till then, fans can keep up with all things Brea Grant at her official site.

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