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Cheer up!

DVDs and MoviesTelevisionNBCHeroes (tv program)Hayden PanettiereJack Coleman

Of all of the heroes on NBC's eponymous hit show, Hayden Panettiere's indestructible cheerleader Claire has seen most of the bloody action. She hurled her body off of tall structures, got split open on a medical examiner's table and was stalked by Sylar more than once.

But instead of requesting body doubles and telling woe-is-me stories about the strenuous working conditions, the newly 18-year-old actress is ecstatic that she can finally work longer hours and do more of her own stunts.

Panettiere opened up to us about being back on set with all her hunky male costars, what the new season will bring and her surprising pick for best hi-def bonus on the season one DVD.

Is there a superpower that you'd want in real life as a celebrity?
The ability to be invisible. If I could walk out my door or drive my car and not be followed by paparazzi, I'd be a very happy person.

How are the hours this season? Are they working you harder now that you're 18?
I can now work till the wee hours of the morning…it's awesome. There are more stunts that I can do also, which I'm ecstatic about. This show is unlike any show because we shoot it like a movie—it's like we're doing a full-length feature film everyday.

Where do we pick up with Claire in season two?
Well, it's four months from where we left off and Claire is really trying to get in touch with her inner teen self once again. She's struggling to fit in, but not stand out. Obviously they're still hiding and running from these people. As much as she has this beautiful naivete about her and as sweet as she is, she does have that spitfire, that sass. I wish I could turn bad…I'd turn bad in a second, be the villain. [Laughs]

You said "they're" still hiding—so your brother and mother haven't been written out of this season?No, of course not! Where would Mr. Muggles be then? We love Mr. Muggles.

So is she trying to live a normal life?
Yes, she's trying. Trying is the key word.

But she's still cheerleading?
Well, not in Odessa anymore. I wouldn't say goodbye to the cheerleading outfit just yet, but she's not in that one anymore.

How has Claire changed since the first season?
I think she really grew up. For a while there, I was getting sick of crying. I don't know about anyone else, but I was tired of seeing her cry! Teenagers are selfish—and I will vouch for that. She wanted to be normal, popular, she wanted to date the quarterback of the football team, you know. Over time, she realized that by dismissing her power like that, she was risking a lot of people's lives. And so she just really evolved.

But you'd still want to play the bad guy?
I've always been typecast because I'm blonde—people look at me as the popular cheerleader type. People look at me as very sweet…I would never in a million years describe myself as sweet. Never.

Well, hopefully the two new villains this season figure that out quickly…is it possible for these guys to be worse than Sylar?
Oh, it's possible. I think they're freakier in a different way. Sylar is very physical…these characters are just…creepier.

Who are you traveling to Europe with for the "Heroes" World Tour?
It's me, Milo [Ventimiglia], Jack [Coleman] and Adrian [Pasdar]. Just seeing those beautiful countries, staying at the top hotels in Paris, London and Munich—what more could you ask for? But I'm excited to be with my castmates. We spend a ton of time together, but not days consecutively. We'll see who's mad at each other by the end of the trip, how many fights there have been, how many people are cranky. [Laughs]

And the HD-DVD of season one is coming out…what's the one thing you think people will just say "Wow, this looks fantastic in HD!" about?
I don't know…you get to see up close and personal how beautiful Sendhil [Ramamurthy] really is. [Laughs] But I could see the blood and guts and my hurling myself off the gravel tower being pretty cool to watch in hi-def.

How is it being on such a male-dominated cast?
It's been fun. I have a whole family made of lots of brothers…lots of brothers. There are just so many different personalities. Everyone has a crush on either Milo or Sendhil, but then I look at Greg [Grunberg] and Adrian and Masi [Oka], and everyone has a crush on them too. Jack Coleman is so fun and such a bright man. Zach [Quinto] is funny as anything. So we've got a cast full of hearththrobs, what can I say?

"Heroes" season one DVD releases Tuesday, Aug. 28; season two premieres Monday, Sept. 24 on NBC.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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DVDs and MoviesTelevisionNBCHeroes (tv program)Hayden PanettiereJack Coleman
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