I had a phone interview with Shalim Ortiz, one of the new cast members of Heroes, on Friday morning. He’s super sweet. It was scheduled for 8.30am, so I had to get up at 7, just to sound human. I’m not an early riser, but I had figured out most of the questions ahead of time, and you can’t hear my voice in transcript, so here goes:

Me: I went to look you up to research you, and your star meter* is number five! Congratulations.

Shalim: Thank you thank you.

Me: You’re hot!

Shalim: God, yeah, I learned what a star meter was when all this project kicked in, because I wasn’t very familiar, but, yeah, I hear that’s pretty cool. It’s a big show I guess.

Me: Well, out of a lots and lots and lots of actors, it’s certainly not bad.

Shalim: Yeah, I caught up on season one not too long ago and I completely understand why it would have so many followers. It’s a very well done show.

Me: Did you watch the show prior to joining the cast?

Shalim: No. I had seen an episode here and there, but I was not very clear of the big part of the story, of the main objective, until I caught up on season one and then it took me all the way towards How to Stop an Exploding Man, I was just blown away by the way everything connected at the end. It was just very amazing.

Me: Were you a fan kid, a superhero reader, a comic book kid?

Shalim: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I have my comic book collection and I was a sucker for Marvel Comics, you know Ghost Rider, Silver Surfer… X-Men of course. Yeah, I had been a part of the comic book world for a while. In all honesty I had left that behind for a little bit, but now that Heroes came into my life it’s really made me want to go back to that comic book world, and graphic novels.

Me: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Shalim: That’s interesting. I would say any one but Maya’s, (laughs) because of how many people she’s killing. No, but really, I think traveling through time would be pretty cool. You know, it could be a little trippy, but that would be interesting for you to go back in the past and check out some past cultures, like the Mayan culture, and just be able to explore history a little bit. I think that’d be interesting.

Me: Have we seen the extent of Alejandro’s powers on the show?

Shalim: I don’t think so. I think our story line is quite different from the others because you really cannot call what we have a power. It’s more of a genetic alteration, it’s a condition, it’s an ability that’s not controllable and we are on our way to get answers, so I think our story kind of differs a little bit from the typical Nathan flying and Peter absorbing all these powers, like from the invisible man, it goes more in depth with the whole genetic aspect of it. And I think that’s what people are going to start learning from us, rather than us just having a power, per se.

Me: I know they probably have you on a tight leash, but what can you tell us about what’s to come?

Shalim: Our story has been peculiar because of the fact that it’s concentrating a lot on our characters, on the storyline itself, on our behaviors, on what’s really going on besides just the fact that we have these powers. You know we just bumped into Sylar two weeks ago, so there’s going to be a lot of tension driven moments coming up, especially this coming Monday (tonight), that will get a little hectic. Considering how we all know how Sylar can be. And that’s going to be playing a key role in our storyline, I would say.

Me: As well as being an actor, you are a composer of music?

Shalim: Yes, I’ve kept myself busy in the music world for a while. I released two albums in the Latin Market for Juan Estavez, Gloria Estavez’s husband. They were both Spanish speaking albums with a couple of English tunes. Music has always been a part of my life and I intend to go back to it at some point. The truth is, this show and the upcoming films that I have in the works are taking a lot of time for me, but I always try to play a gig here and there, and play with my band somewhere in the US when I get a chance.

Me: Speaking of your upcoming films, you made The Art of Travel, with Chris Masterson? What’s that about?

Shalim: The Art of Travel is an adventure feature film that has a festival format, if you will, rather than a typical Hollywood film. It has some beautiful photography; and it’s about this group of people that are trying to break the record in Panama, for crossing this jungle. They go through a lot of stuff. It’s very character driven. It was a great experience, being part of the cast, Johnny Mesner, from Anaconda 2, and Rick Burns, so that was great. It was a great ensemble cast and we all did this film a little shy of a year ago and it was just a great experience.

Me: And you’re a part of the webisodic, Engaged?

Shalim: Yes, it’s a webisode! We all know that right now webisodes are one of the top alternative media vehicles of these days, so I wanted to be part of that. It’s going to start it’s second season at the beginning of next year, and a lot of people have been watching it, a lot of people have been liking it. It has a sort of Sex in the City for couples, kind of vibe.

Me: Will you be a part of the next season?

Shalim: We’re in talks, we’re in the talks. It’s not written in stone yet, but yeah, sure. I’m very good friends with the executive producers, so hopefully we’ll be able to figure something out.

Me: While we’re on the subject of couples, do you have a girlfriend?

Shalim: Yeah, I’ve been in a committed relationship for three years.

Me: Sorry Ladies. Your parents are both performers in Latin America, and you grew up performing, and have albums, in the Latin market, and Heroes is bilingual, to say the least…

Shalim: Multilingual!

Me: Is that important to you?

Shalim: That is huge to me! The Latin image, it’s history in the making if you really come to think about it, in the sense that very few times do you actually get the chance to speak your native language, in this case Spanish, in a prime time show, on the number one prime time show in the United States. So, it is huge. It’s actually something that I keep in mind every second of it, every time I’m working on the set, I am very fully aware of what magnitude it has.

Me: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Is there any final thing you want to say to the fans of the show, or your fans?

Shalim: I want to thank them for their patience, because I know the first couple of episodes, it’s kind of hard to introduce two new characters to a show that has established characters already, like Claire and Hiro, but I hope the fans are really starting to get into our story, and I just want to thank them for their patience. I think it’s going to be worth it at the end.

*Star meter is a ranking system on IMDBpro. It rates based on number of hits on the actor’s page.

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