Yesterday morning HEROES star Masi Oka (Hiro) took an hour out of his busy day to talk to talk to select members of the media about the upcoming January premiere of HEROES, and what it feels like to be a Golden Globe nominated actor. Masi was surprisingly upfront about the future of the show, what he’d like to see for his character and what it was like working with legendary STAR TREK actor George Takei. And because we know you’re wondering — Yes, Masi does a dead-on Captain Sulu impression!
On what fans can expect from HEROES when it returns on January 22 (9PM NBC):
Masi Oka: The first half of the season was really about each characters discovering their power. The second half is the realization that we actually have these powers and watching our characters grow with them.
The audience will start to see more characters cross paths, as stories combine into each-other. There are definitely some wonderful twists coming up.
On what the future holds for Hiro specifically:
Masi Oka: The next seven episodes revolve around his quest for his sword — which Hiro believes will let him focus his powers and get back the control he’s apparently lost over them. His lack of power [as we saw in the season's final episode when Hiro had to take the bus back to Ando] is tied to his emotional state. Losing Charlie was devastating for him — a sort of jolt of reality. For all that he can do he can’t change the past or the future. Fate is fate, and he can’t change that.
I’ve heard from Tim [Executive Producer Tim Kring] somewhere down the, I’m not going to say when, there will be another love interest for Hiro. She’ll be a new character, not someone we already know.
On the ‘deal’ with that mysterious sword:
Masi Oka: I can’t really talk about it, but I would say between episodes 12 and 18 you’ll learn a lot more about the sword. And one thing to keep in mind. Everything
On Hiro’s relationship with his father (George Takei):
Masi Oka: Hiro’s relationship with his father (STAR TREK’s George Takei) if very complex. Without revealing to much as I don’t want to spoil it, Hiro’s father has a lot of expectations of his only son. Hiro is his only son and at this point he sees Hiro’s journey as childish and foolish.
In episode 14 and 15 (I think) we find out why Hiro’s dad comes to America to find him.
On working with George Takei:
Masi Oka: He was great. When we weren’t shooting he would tell wonderful stories. [Masi giving a perfect George Takei impression] “Back in those days, the way we did it..” Of course when action is called, he turns into a menacing mean guy. Hiro is very intimidated by his father.
On what it’s like going out in public now:
Masi Oka: Definitely a lot more people notice me. It’s a great thing to have fans come up to you. I’m getting “so what’s going to happen now…” a lot more from fans. It’s great to feel their passion for the show.
A guy was walking by with a cell phone and when he noticed me, he turned his head, opened his mouth and dropped his cell phone. It was cool to think that I have the power of a hot woman.
Girls recognize me, come up to me and hug me and kiss me then run away. I’m like, where are you going — don’t run away. It’s been surreal.
On your favourite moment of the ‘HEROES journey’ so far:
Masi Oka: Everyday is kind of amazing. Meeting new fans, going out and having these amazing new family members. Going to a Kings game with Milo, celebrating my birthday with the cast, people loving the show. It’s all so surreal. It’s definitely a dream come true.
The other day I met Mr. Spielberg, and the comments he had about the show and to know that he’s passionate about it was amazing.
I wish I had Hiro’s power, I’d stop this moment in time and enjoy it for the rest of my life.
On what it feels like to be a Golden Globe Nominee:
Masi Oka: It’s absolutely wonderful. An honour to be recognized for my work. But really I’m happy that the show got nominated. It’s a tribute to everyone’s work.
I remember waking up with 82 phone messages the morning of the nominations. I didn’t wake up at 5:30AM — I didn’t even think of it. The personal nomination is just icing on the cake.
On the first thing you did after you found out about your nomination:
Masi Oka: I literally broke down in tears of joy. The emotions were overwhelming. The first person I called was my Mom, she was in Japan, I couldn’t reach her. I didn’t even think about the time difference. Five minutes later she called me back and she was crying, absolutely thrilled. I probably would have had the same reaction had it just been our show.
[And yes, in case you're wondering, Masi's real life superhero is his mom, or as Masi put it far more eloquently, "A single mom is a hero in itself"]
On the similiarity between ‘Hiro’ and ‘Hero’:
Masi Oka: Tim Kring says naming the character Hiro was a conscious decision. The similiarty to ‘Hero’ isn’t lost on him, but for the answer as to why the character is named Hiro you’ll have to ask the almighty Tim himself.
Interestingly enough, the character of Hiro was an afterthought. He wasn’t in the original pilot, but luckily, a guardian angel pointed out to Tim that the pilot needed someone who was actually happy about having their powers.
On the future of the show:
Masi Oka: The biggest mystery of the show is how the writers keep topping themselves week after week. I usually don’t like to hear about the future, but the writers were really excited to tell me how season 2 is going to start. When I heard what was going to happen, I said “Oh my God,” It’s absolutely unbelievable.