When it comes to dream jobs, how would you have liked to have been on one of the most popular shows on television, play a character with superpowers and have love scenes with the super-hot Ali Larter? Well, as a former star of NBC’s Heroes, that’s what Leonard Roberts looked forward to as he drove to work before his character was fatally shot in the last season.
For those who haven’t caught the show yet, Heroes is like a cross between the comic book X-Men and the TV series Lost. On Heroes, Leonard played D.L. Hawkins, a wrongfully accused fugitive with the power to phase through solid matter and take people with him as he walks through walls, but was shot by a stranger in the chest at point-blank range. Will he come back to the show? You’re going to have to watch next season to find out. In the meantime, DUB caught up with the St. Louis native as he talked about Heroes and how he went from being a stage-trained performer to starring on hit TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and major motion pictures such as Drumline (Fox 2000 Pictures, 2002).
What interested you the most about your character, D.L.?
D.L. was shown in a particular light, and then he came on the scene and just kinda flipped everyone’s perceptions. I like D.L.’s sense of loyalty and commitment to his family.
You’ve played roles on shows like Buffy and Smallville. Are you a comic book/sci-fi fan?
I’ve always kind of been a fan, but the shows just came. Before Buffy, I was a hardcore drama cat. Nobody thought of me in sci-fi or action roles. When Smallville came around, it was my chance to tip my hat to Terence Stamp in Superman II (Warner Bros. Pictures, 1980). That was my man, General Zod.
Who’s your favorite super hero?
Spider-Man. That was the first pair of Underoos I had when I was a kid. I was also into X-Men and Daredevil.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I remember the coolest thing about Daredevil was that he almost lacked the gene for fear. If you didn’t have that fear of physical and psychological pain, it’d be interesting to see how you’d live your life.
What cast members do you sometimes hang out with?
We’re all real cool off the set. I hang with Adrian [Adrian Pasdar, who plays Nathan Petrelli]. We both ride bikes. He was with me the day I almost checked out. Talk about the gene for fear. We hit these hills on our bikes doing about 30-40 mph on a descent. I got that adrenalin rush and was taking turns like there was no tomorrow. I caught a bad one and flipped over into a ditch of boulders, shattered the tip of my elbow, tore my left arm up and hurt my back. Adrian saw that and later said, “Man, I thought I just watched you die!” At the time, we were shooting the episode where D.L. got shot and was covered in blood, so you couldn’t really see the real stitches.
What has been your favorite role to date?
They’re all rewarding for different reasons. Heroes is cool because so many people connect to it. I had the opportunity to play Joe Louis once (in the made for TV movie Joe and Max), and that was a big high for me. When you’re given an opportunity to tell someone’s story like that, it’s a big responsibility and you want to do it right.