Comedian and actor Henry Zebrowski is best known for The Wolf of Wall Street, Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell and A to Z. Currently he’s staring as Quentin Frady on NBC’s hit series Heroes Reborn. Talk Nerdy With Us recently had the chance to talk with Henry about Halloween, portraying Quentin and working with Jack Coleman. Keep reading to find out what he had to say.
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Tell me a little bit about your audition process for Dark Matters and Heroes Reborn.
I found out about Dark Matters after I already got the part, which is very ambitious on their behalf, because they chose me with all that in mind. (Laughs). It’s very interesting. To be honest, it was one of the easiest auditions I’ve ever had. I went in, I taped, and then they tested my tape in Los Angeles, which is actually very rare. I literally sat and waited to hear how my tape did in a room. I lit a candle and did a magic ritual where I asked the universe’s true to give me the part, I imagined them discussing me, and then in the boardroom them saying like, “His face isn’t that gross. We could cast him.” (Laughs). Then they did.
You didn’t do any screen testing with Aislinn or anything to see if you guys would be good at playing siblings?
No. It just was one of those random chemistry things where when we met we kind of just hit it off, which was great, because she’s great.
That’s awesome. Did you watch the original Heroes when it aired? Or did you binge watch it afterwards? Have you not seen it at all?
I had watched a couple of episodes when it had aired, but at the time I was in college, so most of the time I was drunk. (Laughs). When it was on television, I was out just yelling at another man in a Seminoles jersey in a parking lot when the show was playing, so I watched the rest of it after I booked the role. I watched season 1, which was great. They told us to watch the end of it, to watch season 4, and it’s just … By then it was just like holy shit a lot has happened to get us to this point.
It’s really interesting to be a part of what is an institution. An actual, a thing that I already had a fan base. It’s a little bit of pressure, because I don’t know if you know this, but people that are often devotees of certain shows are pretty fanatical and can be pretty intense in their criticism/love of you.
Going off of that, you have been amazing and have live tweeted the past 2 episodes. What has the fan response to Quentin and to you as Henry been?
People seem to be really nice! I have not gotten a single thing wishing for my death…yet. (Laughs). I have received two pictures of penises. I’ve gotten that emailed directly to me. (Laughs). I don’t know what the Nielsen numbers are on that. I haven’t really asked NBC if that bumps our numbers by anything if I’m receiving sexual inuendos on the Internet. I’d like to think it does. I’d like to think it affects my fate on the show and be like, listen, there are people that are using me to touch themselves to, and I think that it’s important for the future of the show.
They need you now!
You have to keep me around, because if these people don’t have me as a sexual outlet, I don’t know what they’re going to do. (Laughs).
The majority of your scenes have been with Noah/Jack Coleman.. What was it like working with him?
He is a pro. He is a very goofy funny man. He’s great. On three martinis, he’s great. (Laughs). He’s a very funny man. It is cool to watch him turn from Jack into Noah Bennett, because he does become like a secret agent out of nowhere, because he’s just kind of a goofy guy. He’s like a normal fun-loving guy, but he becomes very serious as Noah. His whole demeanor changes. It’s amazing. Watching him act, it’s like this is a guy that’s got years and years of experience.
I’ve been working for a chunk of time, but I still have a lot to learn, and watching him in this environment has been a master’s class in how to act for television. He’s great. His instincts are always great. Something about our chemistry just kind of worked out. It just worked out where we got each other immediately. It’s a pleasure working with him.
Are you a method actor? How do you get into Quentin’s mind-frame?
I mostly show up hammered, and I have a candle circle. I follow the Nick Cage school of acting called, Realistic Shamanism, where I have many satanic charms over my body, and I let blood into a little bowl and I drink it before performing. (Laughs).
No, seriously, I just read the script. Mostly I am a … I’m not a method actor. I believe that there is a difference between … Acting is performance to me. To be honest, Quentin’s very close to who I am as a person. I am a conspiracy theorist. I run a podcast about the occult and conspiracies.
I know these guys really well. It’s fun to be able to portray one on TV in a way that I think, I hope, rings true to people that are conspiracy theorists. Writers in Los Angeles only know so much about actual conspiracy theorists, so I’m trying to add as much as I can to what would feel real. Because you really just believe in these things and it turns out it’s all real, and then later on the character shifts from being this sort of like lonely dude in a basement researching all this stuff to having to hang with Noah Bennett. It’s like as if me in real life, Henry Zebrowski, had to hang with Oliver North.
Have they added parts of you to the Quentin character because you guys are so similar?
That’s more of a question for them. I wonder, because it does feel like they get my voice a lot, and then I get to improv quite a bit.
Yeah, they allow me a little bit of room to make jokes and stuff like that. I don’t know what they keep, but they’ve kept some things in later episodes. It’s been good. They’ve let me do that, because I come from an improv background. I’m a comedian by trade. It’s fun. They give me a lot of freedom to really create Quentin.
Are you seeing all the [Heroes] episodes live for the first time with us? Or have you already seen them all?
I’m seeing them live for the first time with the audience, because a lot of things are getting done day-of. The way these shows go, they edit all day, even up to the release. They’re locked, but there are things being fixed. There are things being done … We don’t see anything until it shows on television.
If you could describe the rest of the season in 5 words, how would you describe it?
Intense, dark, huge, clones, everywhere.
Do we get some resolution in the Quentin/ Phoebe storyline?
I don’t know. (Laughs). I wonder. I don’t know.
Time will tell.
Time will tell.
Speaking of your comedic background, Murderfist actually has a show coming up this Saturday, right?
Yes. We have our monthly sketch show at the Pit. I won’t be there. I’m here in Toronto. We shoot on the weekends here. We do a monthly show the second Saturday of every month, and it is Murderfist. I’ve been doing it for 14 years. It’s my baby. It’s the thing that started my whole career. It’s a thing that still exists. We just shot eight sketches to do. We’re doing sort of a comic special. I just got a comic special that’s going to be coming out soon. It’s great. I love doing it! Murderfist is a rock & roll experience, and it’s incredibly vulgar. There’s a lot of dildos and blood, and it’s a lot of fun.
Have you been able to keep up with Murderfist and your last podcast with Heroes? Or have they kind of had to take the backseat?
I’ve been doing both as I go. Whenever I can be back in New York, I’m doing shows with Murderfist, then I do my podcast every week. Yep. I Skyped it from my apartment in Toronto. What I do is, whenever I’m back in New York, I bank episodes when I go into the studio. That’s the thing that allows me to stay sane, is that kind of work where I get to completely express myself. I’ve always been a person who’s produced his own work, and it’s kind of relatively new to having jobs. I mostly have been making my own stuff for a very long time, so it’s good for me to have the outlet where I can go and fully express myself.
You have to have it, but that’s just the industry nowadays anyway. You have to be creating your own stuff. There’s so many niche things out there and little tiny audiences that you can find. Everybody, like the modern-day actor/performer/comedian needs to be wearing every hat. You need to know how to shoot. You need to know how to edit. You need to know how to put stuff out for yourself. You have to really take control of your own destiny because there’s so many gatekeepers out there. It used to really be that the majority of the entertainment business was like writers, actors, producers, but now you’re looking at like 50/50 between the actors, producers, and the gatekeepers that give people money and ask us to do things, and the way you even it out is taking it to the Internet and making your own stuff.
Since our site is called Talk Nerdy With Us, what do you nerd out about? What are those things that make you nerdy?
I’m a huge horror freak. I think that the horror nerd is a thing that has become much maligned over time. I think now comic books and sci-fi have become so mainstream that you can’t even say that they’re nerd culture anymore. They’re just culture. It’s just what everybody’s into now. Everybody bought onto the sci-fi train, so we’ve got a lot of people into it. I still feel like there is a stigma against people that are … like I’m a horror and true crime nerd.
Everybody loves serial killers. Everybody is interested in serial killers, but nobody is really allowed to talk about it. It’s all super secret. It’s all very clandestine. I go on interviews. I go for work stuff, and because I’m pretty much an expert on serial killers because of my contacts, I ended up talking about Jeffrey Dahmer most of the time. I’m with high powered people who all just want to talk about serial killers. To be successful in careers like business and film production people are required to have the personality of a psychopath. That’s just the truth. The people who are successful are people who can’t feel the same amount of empathy because they can look at people like they’re numbers, so they’re fascinated by serial killers.
Yeah, I’m a huge horror movie guy. That’s just what I do. I see every single horror movie that’s in a theater as soon as it comes out, whatever it is. If it’s absolute garbage, I see it. I see all of it. I love it. I think that indie horror is doing some of the best stuff that’s going on right now. It’s that thing that’s really blowing up. Indie movies, in the horror scene, are really making some interesting movies. There was a movie called Starry Eyes that came out not too long ago that was incredible. A movie called Pieces of Talent, that’s incredible. Technically, they’re tiny, but they’re everywhere. It’s cool. I love it. I love it. It’s a huge community that no one really knows about.
What is the last horror movie that you saw?
Last night I watched The People Under The Stairs. Because of Halloween … For October, I watch a horror movie every day for 31 days of October. I think it’s a fun game! Everybody should be doing it. I just saw the Green Inferno in theaters, which is pretty good. If you go see The Green Inferno …Don’t eat a bunch of hot stew when you’re watching it. (Laughs).
Besides Heroes Reborn, Last Podcast on the Left and Murderfist, what other projects are you currently working on?
There’s a project I’m working on for Netflix that I’m not really sure if I can talk about. I’m not really sure. I don’t think it can be publicly released what I’m doing. Pretty Face Is Going to Hell, I know that there’s talk of shooting more, I’m excited to do that. Love my show. Love Pretty Face. Really, I’m mostly working on personal things, just doing a lot of writing, getting things done, going to auditioning for stuff. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
When do you wrap Heroes Reborn?
Soon. We’re filming the last two episodes now!
Watch Heroes Reborn, Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.