Interview:Jimmy Jean-Louis

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On the 14th of September 2008 Heroes Wiki conducted a phone interview with Jimmy Jean-Louis, who plays the Haitian in Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of the show. This interview was done by skywalkerrbf.

Fans love the Haitian, he's got a huge cult following. How do you think it came about that he got such a big following and what do you think about your fans' feelings towards you?

Well, first of all, I think they appreciate the fact that he is very intriguing. They don't really understand him. They don't really know him yet. And it could be due with the fact that they want to see more of him and also the character that he represents. At some level, I think he's more positive than negative.

Yeah, he does seem to be going more towards the greater good, as they would say.

Yeah, the third season is about villains and I think he's going more towards the heroes than the villains.

Yeah, because when we first saw him in that bar, he did seem more like a villain, didn't he?

Exactly. But he's not really a villain, I don't think. He might be, but so far, from what we've shot, I don't believe he's a villain.

How did you get the part of the Haitian?

Yeah, you know, I actually auditioned for the character of D.L. but I didn't get it. I saw the casting agent three times about the part of D.L. And when the other character came about, the Haitian, which originally wasn't suppose to be the Haitian, originally that character was suppose to be from New Zealand, and somehow my name came in the mix and they gave the role to me and I believe that's when it became the Haitian, because I am from Haiti.

So really you're doing quite well, because D.L. got killed and you're still standing strong!

Yeah, yeah! [Laughter] funnily enough! [Laughter] the Haitian is still around!

When you film an episode, how long do you have to learn your lines before you actually start filming?

We don't run lines.

You don't what sorry?

We don't run lines. We just go straight to it.

Oh, so you don't get the script; you just go there and they tell you what to say?

I mean no, you do get the script; you get your script at home you know. You just do your own job, you know; you learn your own lines. And when its time to shoot, everyone gets together and we shoot. We hardly do rehearsals.

Yeah, because they're always saying that they always have to rush around. Aren't they?

Yeah, it's just you know that is so expensive. You know in this business time is money, everyone's suppose to be as professional as possible. If you got your lines to do you're supposed to be completely prepared by the time you get on set. So that's why, when you get on set you just go straight to it.

When they film your power when you're putting your hand in people's heads, how do they film that bit?

You know what; it's starting to feel real! You know I've been doing that for 2-3 years now. Sometimes I believe that I can do it. You know, like if I really concentrate, I can do it and the more I do it, the more I get into it. It's an odd thing that not a lot of people know. It might be possible, you do not know. Maybe it is possible, that's what we don't know about ourselves. There are things that intrigue us that we still don't know, don't know about ourselves as human beings that maybe we have some of these powers and we just don't know how to get into them.

Yeah, because if you did have the power to fly you're not exactly going to jump out a window, are you?

Yeah, it's one of them things you know. If you can think it, then you can do it. Whatever we can think, then maybe somehow we can do it. You know you don't know.

Your character, I don't know if you know or not, but he appears in the graphic novels a lot.

I don't know how much he is.

He appears like a lot. He's like the second-most appearing character in them.

Ok.

So I'm guessing you don't keep up to date with his appearances?

You know what? There's so many things to keep up with. Sometimes it might all move faster than I do, you know. Because you end up doing a lot of other things as well but from time to time, of course. I do try to pick up every single thing that's happening around Heroes but as you know there are so many things happening about Heroes that you can't know about everything.

Do you still play for the Hollywood United Football Club?

Yes, I still play with them and I actually just came back from Haiti where I distributed jerseys from the club to a couple of organizations down there that are in very, very poor places so we're giving them some Hollywood United kits and we are establishing a relationship with them where we can supply them with shirts. And as you know, they were hit really bad by the hurricane and we're trying to help as much as we can from our side, but yes I still play for the team and we are doing pretty well.

Is that soccer or American Football?

Soccer! Come on man!

Yeah, that's good then.

Even the name soccer scares me, it's football! It is football!

Yeah I was checking because I've got written down football but I was just checking that it really was football.

Yeah, no, no. It really is football. I mean we have some great guys play with us. Ex-professional football players, Alexi Lalas, who is or well used to be general manager of Galaxy, and we have a lot of big-named, you know, actors such as Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Anthony LaPaglia from Without a Trace, the Marty brothers, Ziggy Marty and Stephen Marley, so yeah we have a team full of really good players.

The actor who played Isaac he's just been on the TV in England on a football match.

Aaah! For UNICEF?

Yeah

Yeah, yeah! You know what? I was suppose to go down there as well, but I couldn't make it sadly.

Maybe next year you can go?

Yeah, I believe that next year I will be there for sure.

Oh, alright. It'll be good to see you.

Yeah, yeah! Your pleasure, definitely.

Your character, the Haitian, you don't really know who he's working for the whole time.

No, no. I mean we have a feeling that he is working for the Company but one thing we do not know is who the head of the company is.

Yeah, because he was working for Mr. Bennet, but the he was helping out Bob, and he's also helping out Angela.

Angela Petrelli.

Yeah.

Well, yes. We don't know who he is helping really and why he is helping them.

Do we learn any more about that next season?

Yes, we do learn about the Haitian next season. As you know, the third season is a volume called Villains. So we have a group of villains who have escaped from jail and they're out there in the world and we're going to have the Heroes going against them. What else are we going to know about the Haitian? We will know about some members of his family.

Oh yeah. His father appeared in the graphic novels.

Sorry, his father. Yeah?

Yeah, but he died. Didn't he?

Erm, in the graphic novels, yes, but we don't how that's going to play out in the show. But all we know is the Haitian will be going back to Haiti and somehow he will be joined by the Petrellis.

You've got some scenes with Masi Oka this season, haven't you?

Yes, at the very beginning of the third season.

And that'll be involving Brea Grant, wont it?

Yes, yes. It will be and she's very lovely to work with. She's full on energy and a great addition to the show. So yes we have a few scenes together at the very beginning of the current season.

Do you know if we're going to be finding out the Haitian's name any time soon?

I hope we will; when, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that they will have to reveal his name.

Yeah, it'll have to be a pretty good name to keep the fans happy won't it?

You know what? After that long, it has to be something extraordinary.

Yeah, you can't be called Bill or something.

No, it's not going got be Bill or Joe. Well, I really can't give a clue on what his name might be because I'm not too certain of what that name's going to be.

Oh, so you don't actually know yet?

I've been told something before, but you know this is Heroes and things change so that's why I try not to say anything, in case they decide otherwise.

So do you know what other things you'll be getting up to next season?

On this season, which is season 3... well, as I said you know, I will be in the future, I will be going back and forth to the future. I will be working with characters like Hiro, Claire, Peter, a lot of Petrellis including the dad.

Arthur?

Yes, Arthur. So you know you will see the Haitian mix with a lot of characters.

Yeah, you've worked with quite a few so far really. Haven't you?

Yeah, yeah. I think the idea of the next volume which there are 13 episodes in, I would of then worked with pretty much everybody.

Yeah, I think the actress who played Niki. I think she's just about the only one you haven't worked with.

You are correct, even though there was one day that the Haitian was in the same room as her. She was in bed with Nathan, when he was present in the hotel, but that's from the first season. That's the only day. You are correct, I have not really have many days with Niki played by Ali Larter.

Your character, did you always know he was going to be in the show for so long? He started off just the partner of Noah and he's moved on to be a character in his own right, really.

Yeah, I mean at the beginning, you know, that the character wasn't going to be speaking for the first few shows. I knew I was going to be speaking in one, but I didn't know how long they where going to keep him around and the reality in this kind of a show is nothing is guaranteed for nobody. They go with the flow even though they have an idea about where the shows going to go, but they don't know what route it will take. It would seem that the character, the Haitian, is a character that the fans like. And the character plays well within the show, then he has a better chance staying on if he is liked. But if he wasn't liked, he could have been cast out.

But then again, they kill off just about anyone don't they? Like Mr. Linderman: he was a pretty big character played by a big name star, but he's coming back, isn't he?

Yes, I think you will see a bit more of him. Played by Eric Roberts.

Yeah. Oh no!

Oh no, no no, he was played by Malcolm McDowell. Yes Malcolm is back.

Well, it's been nice talking to you.

No, it's been a pleasure man.