Exclusive Interview with Heroes Reborn’s Rya Khilstedt

Rya KhilstedtIf you’re not already watching Heroes Reborn then we should not be friends. Just kidding! Earlier this week I had the absolute extreme pleasure of talking with Rya Khilstedt aka Erica Kravid aka the Big Bad. Khilstedt is best known for Deep Impact, The Atticus Institute, Dexter and Nashville. Keep reading our interview below.

What drew you to the part of Erica?

Well, the easy answer is I’m an actor, we like work, the audition came along, and I was like sure! That’s the nuts and bolts truth of it. Actually when I auditioned for it I was given a two page monologue that had nothing else around it. I knew nothing about who she was. I just knew it was a scene that had been written for the audition. Which often happens. When they don’t want to give any information or the materials from the actual project you read something the writers have written for the audition, it’s close enough.

So I knew, and I thought she was fascinating. It was really interesting, you kind of make it all up in your mind. When you’re given nothing you just start making up backstory and information. You have to give yourself something to work with. So I took those papers home and forgot about it. And then about a month later, maybe a couple of weeks, I got a call that they were offering me the part. And mid-conversation with my agent I said “oh my gosh, I have no idea what this part is! (Laughs). What am I doing? Can I please get on the phone with the writers and producers and somebody!” (Laughs).

The next day I got on the phone with Tim Kring, James Middleton and Peter Elkoff and we had a really interesting conversation about the state of politics in our world now, and what the very wealthy CEOs and the stars of the tech world can do to get involved. To raise things their way and get involved because they don’t have to wade though the political channels the politicians have to. Does that make sense?


Essentially what they were giving me was what they were interested in. With Erica they were creating a woman who was going to bypass a lot of the political channels to build the world that she wanted to build. Because she could afford to. Because she has the money and the power to. Which is I think what happens a lot in this world. I mean, you just have to look at the Republican party. All 16 nominees of the Republican party to understand that. The more I talked to them, the more interested I got.

So you briefly touched on this, but would you say Erica is more of a villain or do you think she genuinely wants to save the world?

I think in her mind she absolutely is saving the world. And she is really the only one. Are there things she had to do that she wishes she hadn’t? Yeah. But sometimes you have to make sacrifices. For the bigger picture. I think she absolutely believes that she is making sacrifices that nobody else has had to make. 

Do you think Erica will change her opinion of Evos once she finds out her daughter has been impregnated by one? 

Oh boy. No. I think that, Erica gets a wonderful backstory that gets shared with the audience in Episode 12. I think the truth about Erica’s opinion of the Evos is that they need to be controlled. Their powers, their abilities need to be controlled. More so than all killed and gotten rid of. They just need to be registered and under control. I think that Erica has made huge concessions in her life because of Evos. So a lot of her decisions are made because of them as well. 

If our world ended up having Evos, do you think they would help or hinder humanity?

I think the answer to that is, how our world functions anyway. There are some people out there who do unbelievably incredible things to help our world and some people who don’t. Some who choose to use their money, power, intelligence or lack thereof, for better or worse. I think we’re, whether human or Evo, we do what we can do, make the mistakes that we make and I don’t think it would make much difference in evolution. 

What episode was your favorite to film?

Oh that’s hard! You’re talking mostly storyline and plot, probably. You know, I had a great time filming… I had favorite directors along the line but character and story-wise, I loved filming the last two. I would say 12 and 13. Oh and 9! I loved 9. Nine! If you keep on long enough I’m sure I’ll come up with three others that I had a blast filming! (Laughs).

(Laughs). Okay!

But this is a fun job to film. I loved this cast. We had an amazing cast and crew. It was fun.

If you had Hiro’s time-traveling ability, is there anything you would go back and try to change?

Oh my god, like try to undo all the mistakes I made years ago? You know, no, I wouldn’t go back and try to undo anything, because I think some of the things that I’d probably want to change probably has made me who I am today in great part. There’s stuff I’d like to go back and do again better or be braver or take bigger chances or risks or say yes to some of the adventures that I said no to.

Is there anything you can tell us about the rest of the season, like a teaser?

It just gets… The stakes keep going, everybody’s paths starts to cross, much more. It takes a while to weave everybody’s story together. It gets interesting, how they cross over each other. Which I love. I think everybody starts, the stakes just get really high. It takes a while to establish the backstory and the story where we are in the new show. I think now it’s clearly established. Now I think the show can just thrive and it’s starting to get really, really fun. And there’s future and there’s past and there’s some serious time travel.

Those of us who write for Talk Nerdy With Us, we are all very nerdy in our own ways. Is there anything that makes you nerdy or anything that you’re really passionate about? 

Oh my god, I kinda think of myself as a nerd. I always wish I was one of the cool kids. But I never was. (Laughs. I guess that’s what we all say, right? Everybody thinks of themselves as a true nerd.


What am I nerdy about? I’m nerdy about art. I’m nerdy about food. I’m passionate about both of those things. I’m a very slow and nerdy reader and I’m a nerdy homebody. I like hanging at home and being quiet and nerdy with close friends and family. That’s my nerdy style. 

I’m the same!

(Laughs). And I’m totally nerdy about my dogs! 

Also same!

My children would kill me if I said I was nerdy about them, because I guess you can’t be nerdy about your kids. But I am. What are you nerdy about? 

Oh gosh. Um, well recently I have become obsessed with Mass Effect, the video game. But I would have to say Doctor Who is my biggest obsession. 

Yeah. That’s a good obsession. I’m not a big television nerd. I wish I was more. I’m not good at sitting down and watching for long periods. I get bored and antsy. I think I’m nerdy about basketball but not really. My husband is probably far nerdier than I am, I just ride on his nerd coat-tail. But that doesn’t really count. 

I really have been enjoying the show so far and I have to say when Zachary Levi, his character cries, I cry.

Aww! I will tell him you said that. That’s very sweet. I know, he’s a doll. It’s a really, really lovely cast. It’s a good group. You know, it was one of those jobs where everybody became friends. Zachary’s super sweet. I think he’s headed off to go do a play on Broadway if I’m not mistaken.

Yeah, I think it’ll be his second?

I think so too! And he’s singing in it. Have you ever heard Zachary sing?

Oh yes, I watch Tangled all the time!

Oh my gosh, we did some serious karaoke in Toronto! There were a few that were spectacular and then there are some of us who are just shamefully terrible that we should just sit in the corner and sing into our straws. (Laughs). That’s what I tried to do. And spare everybody from my voice. 

But it’s so fun! 

Oh my god it’s so fun. Henry Zebrowski is a spectacular karaoke singer. And Jack Coleman has a gorgeous voice! 



You can catch Heroes Reborn on Thursdays at 8/7c.

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