Actor Leonard Roberts is accusing his former “Heroes” co-star Ali Larter of being hostile during the production of the show.
Leonard spoke about a lengthy essay posted on Variety. The actor played D.L. Hawkins on the first season of the hit NBC show. Ali played his wife on the show. Leonard detailed the alleged treatment he received from the actress and creator/showrunner Tim Kring.
He says the treatment lead to him feeling singled out as one of the few black actors on the show.
The actor writes things started off on the wrong foot when he noticed he wasn’t able to provide his input on the character like the other actors. He said, “As production began, I looked forward to sharing my thoughts on my character with the writing staff, as I heard other cast members had done the same with theirs. Unfortunately, no such meeting ever materialized.”
“Then I learned that despite the show’s three Black series regulars, there were no Black writers on staff,” he added.
Later, during a promotional photoshoot, Leonard says he noticed all the black actors were placed in the background or the sides of the photo.
He started shooting the show in episode six. Leonard says things got weirder when Ali became difficult to work with. He said, “and it wasn’t long before art was imitating life, with me on the receiving end of pushback from my co-star regarding the playing of a particularly tense scene”
Leonard says things got worse during a bedroom scene. He says Ali threw a fit when asked to lower the straps of her top.
He claims the actress gathered the producers and, “proceeded to have an intense and loud conversation in which she expressed she had never been so disrespected — as an actress, a woman or a human being.” He says she didn’t include him in any of the conversations.
Leonard said he asked his white co-star Adrian Pasdar, who had filmed a sexual scene with the actress if he had a similar experience. He said Adrian told him he had quite the opposite experience with her.
“He replied to the contrary and mentioned her openness to collaboration and even improvisation. I pondered why my co-star had exuberantly played a different scene with the Petrelli character involving overt sexuality while wearing lingerie, but found aspects of one involving love and intimacy expressed through dialogue with my character, her husband, disrespectful to her core,” he wrote.”
He said he, ” couldn’t help wondering whether race was a factor..”
Leonard said he stayed quiet for the most part and went along with Ali’s alleged antics. He was excited because producers told him he would be returning for season 2. The actor says the cast shot a variety of covers for Entertainment Weekly. He was featured on one of the covers with Ali.
After the magazine was released, things got weird during NBC’s 2007-2007 upfront presentation in New York City. Ali allegedly approached him muttering, “I’m hearing our cover is selling the least of all of them.”
A couple of days later, Leonard received a call from Tim Kring telling him his character was going to be killed off due to “the Ali Larter situation.” After a tense meeting with the show creator, the two worked out a deal for him to return for a couple of episodes in season 2. His character was killed off via a random act of gun violence.