Masi Oka was born in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to Los Angeles
at the age of six, where he currently resides. He graduated
from Brown University with degrees in mathematics and computer
science and a theatre arts minor. He pursued an acting career
while taking his first job at George Lucas' special effects
house Industrial Light & Magic. Despite his successful career
as an actor, he continues to provide ILM with technology for
groundbreaking effects for more than 30 films, including Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dean Man's Chest, War of the Worlds,
and the three Star Wars prequels. His feature-film
credits include memorable roles in Along Came Polly,
Austin Powers in Goldmember and House of the Dead
2: Dead Aim. He currently stars in NBC's Heroes
as Hiro Nakamura, a Tokyo computer/anime enthusiast who develops
a way to move in time through sheer will power. Sci-fi Online
caught up with Oka as Heroes was about to start broadcasting
on the Sci-Fi Channel...
Online: Can you tell us a little bit about your character
and what his powers are?
character is Hiro Nakamura. He's an office drone in Japan
and he's a big comic book enthusiast. He learns that he can
bend time and space, so teleportation and chronokinesis, and
he's just absolutely exhilarated with the fact that he can
do this. It's been his dream all along and he's so happy that
he's been chosen.
SFO: The character is a big sci-fi and
comic book fan. Is this a trait which you relate to?
I believe so. I am definitely a big enthusiast of science
fiction and special effects. I grew up with Japanese manga
[Japanese comics], so I know a lot about the manga world.
really, really love the character and I believe the writers
are doing an amazing job writing Hiro and bringing who I am
into the character and extending me in terms of being a big
comic book enthusiast. Heroes is a big extension of
who I am.
There is an online graphic novel which goes hand-in-hand with
the series. How important is this to the show? How does it
feel to see yourself in cartoon form?
I think it's just absolutely wonderful.
we went to the comic convention, we had a screening of the
pilot episode and we knew we had something absolutely special
and magical when we saw the fans' reaction. We knew we hit
it right on the head and that we had served the comic book
community really well.
you know, in particular with Hiro being the comic book enthusiast
as he is, he's somewhat the representative for that voice
of comic book fans. To have him as part of a comic book too
is just absolutely thrilling, both in support of the character
and for myself.
You worked on special effects before becoming an actor. Did
you find yourself looking over people's shoulders as the effects
were produced for the show?
Absolutely, anytime I could.
special effects team have done an amazing job with the pilot
and all the episodes coming up. It's really wonderful. It's
always fascinating because special effects are part of what
makes the magic behind the movies. I'm like a kid watching
all these cool things happen, even the green screen excites
What has been the most exhilarating aspect of the production?
The script is always both surprising and exhilarating. Every
week we get something new. Every question they ask, they answer
it but they also ask another question.
a constant rollercoaster going up and down. You read the script
and think: "Oh my God, wow. Wait a minute, that's how it ends?
No wait, come on, where's the next script?" You get the next
script and it's like: "Oh my, that is just absolutely brilliant.
I would have never thought of that!"
a constant rollercoaster. That's always been surprising how
brilliant the minds of our writers are, they constantly top
themselves week after week.
Finally, if you had a super power, what would it be?
As a kid growing up, the superpower I wanted was the Midas
touch, the ability to turn anything into gold. My allowance
was about a quarter every week and that was only enough to
go to the arcade and play one game. So I would have to be
really good at playing arcades or have a bunch of rich friends.
But if I had the Midas touch, then I could have just picked
up a stone and turned it to gold.
Thank you for your time.
thanks to Julie Warmington at Holler
will begin broadcasting on the Sci-Fi Channel
from February 2007.