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Heroes Season 2: Masi Oka

Hiro is 400 years in the past and Masi Oki has the answers.

Heroes Season 2: Masi Oka

Hiro gets all the coolest stuff on Heroes. He got to show up as a ninja samurai from the future and say the catch phrase. He gets the missions and training montages. He gets the babes. Now he gets to be in Feudal Japan when Season Two picks up. With all the modern day Heroes pickup up four months after the finale, Hiro is trapped in the past. Oka caught us up on current Heroes production over the summer. 

CraveOnline: So is your timeline parallel to the others in Season Two?

Masi Oka: Two separate timelines. One timeline is going to start four months after the event happened and the other storyline with Hiro is 400 years in the past.  

CraveOnline: What did you know about Feudal Japan on your own?

Masi Oka: What’s fantastic, as a kid growing up, you grow up with the Samauri and Ninja stuff, especially with my culture.  American kids wish they could be like cowboys.  We wish we could be like Samauris and Ninjas so I grew up on reading those kinds of mangas and reading the history behind them. I know about all the daimyos and the single coups, feudal terror so it’s cool.  It’s great to be able to act it out.  

CraveOnline: Are you looking forward to more sword fighting?

Masi Oka: Yeah, definitely. Lots of sword fighting would be cool. Actually, I did take some horseback riding lessons so we’re going to be incorporating a little bit of that.

CraveOnline: How is the riding and have you shot any sword fighting yet?

Masi Oka: We haven’t shot any sword fighting yet but I know we’re going to continue to be doing that. Horseback riding’s been fantastic. It hurts your butt when you’re starting. It’s interesting. When you’re going really slow it’s fine, but when you’re galloping, when they trot, it’s like oh my God. 

CraveOnline: Will we see any more of the Nakamuras in Japan?

Masi Oka: Oh, well, George Takei is coming back. In Feudal Japan. 

CraveOnline: Does your mother ever appear?

Masi Oka: Oh, not my mom in real life. I didn’t know she was an actress. 

CraveOnline: No, Mrs. Nakamura?

Masi Oka: That’s an interesting question. She might. She might not. Who knows? Maybe, there’s a theory out there, maybe Kaito’s married to Angela Petrelli. No. 

CraveOnline: All the moms on the show are either crazy or have their brains wiped.

Masi Oka: Fantastic, I’ll let them all know.

CraveOnline: Has your mom applied for the job?

Masi Oka: My mom has not applied for the job. I don’t even know that they’re casting yet. I don’t think my mom’s coming in the picture yet, but I’m sure later on there’s going to be a hole that they can fill. I don’t even know if Mrs. Nakamura’s alive or not. I assume she is. 

CraveOnline: Will you make an appearance in Heroes: Origins?

Masi Oka: It’s a six episode, five or six episodes, and it’s going to be a standlone. Every episode is going to introduce a new character. That’s not necessarily from the flagship. The idea is not to use anybody from the series but they’ll have little nuggets in there. For instance, like a mailman delivers a piece of mail to Mr. Bennet’s house, which of course is burnt down already. Or all of a sudden, a character introduced is walking and he runs into Mr. Muggle or whatever. Things like that, we’ll have easter eggs in there but it’s going to be disconnected from the main storyline of Heroes but in the same world if that makes sense.

CraveOnline: What’s different about being back this year?

Masi Oka: We’re all more comfortable. We’re just enjoying it. We love what we do. We know that we’re passionate about what we do but there’s not as much pressure I guess. Not as much because we had a great first season and we know fans love it so we’re just going to continue what we do. 

CraveOnline: Isn’t there pressure to measure up?

Masi Oka: I don’t think there’s really a pressure to measure up. We do what we do and we’re just fortunate the audience is responding the way they have been. Hopefully they’ll continue. 

CraveOnline: Have people come up and talked to you about the ending of last year?

Masi Oka: No, not as much. I have my own personal [opinion]. I think it was definitely a fantastic ending. I wouldn’t say the strongest, to be honest with you, I think we’re compared to the Lost ending, I saw Damon Lindelof the other day. I told him his ending was fantastic. But what we had to do for that finale was amazing because we had to tie up so many storylines, bring everyone together and then conclude, tell all those storylines and a conclusion where everyone’s going to go, then plant seeds for next season. All of that in one hour. Because there were so many elements that they had to do plotwise, it was a little bit limiting I’m sure. If you had two hours, Tim Kring would have gotten everything he wanted to do, but because he didn’t, he had to cut down a lot. That’s why it may feel a little compressing, maybe some parts not as fulfilling as others. But for what it had to do, I think it was fantastic. It was definitely a strong episode, especially the last five episodes of our season I think probably phenomenal. 

CraveOnline: How far in are you now?

Masi Oka: We just finished shooting, I finished shooting episode 3 already.

CraveOnline: So it’s still historical right now?

Masi Oka: It’s still historical. I know they’re breaking episode eight right now so they’re way ahead, they’re on the ball.

CraveOnline: Because of the strike?

Masi Oka: Partially because of the strike I think but they just want to be ahead of the game as always so they can revise things as necessary.

CraveOnline: What are you looking forward to playing through episode eight?

Masi Oka: The romance storyline’s there. I didn’t want Hiro to forget about Charlie but a broken heart still ticks, so it’s kind of nice to see him find another love interest. The sword fighting, all that, being immersed in that feudal Japan world is fantastic, but I would also love to see him come back to the future and spend some time with his buddy Ando and also with all the other characters. I want him to get back with Nathan.

CraveOnline: Have you seen any of those guys yet?

Masi Oka: Not yet. I’ve been working with all new folks in Japan right now.

CraveOnline: You’ve got a whole different cast then?

Masi Oka: I mean, everyone, we have new characters too. Dania Ramirez’s character, Maya, we all have separate storylines right now so eventually they’re going to all intermingle somehow, just the way that Heroes does, very unexpectedly.

CraveOnline: Have you heard about Journeyman, the time travel show?

Masi Oka: I haven’t gotten a chance to see it. I know they’re doing it afterwards and it’s kind of like a Quantum Leap. I’m looking forward to it. I mean, the Monday night lineup, I’m looking forward to Chuck and the new Heroes. I think it’s a great night for anyone who is a genre lover.

CraveOnline: Are they seeing the same episodes we are in Japan?

Masi Oka: They will be. They just sold in Japan which I’m allowed to announce, right? I think they’re already starting one and this one premieres in October. But my mom said she saw some. Yeah, but we know it’s going to be on the Super Drama Channel. Isn’t that great? There’s a Super Drama Channel. I want to assume that they do a lot of drama.

CraveOnline: Do you have a system for teaching James Kyson Lee Japanese phonetically?

Masi Oka: Well, he has a translator on set and I know she works with him phonetically outside. Then once we start shooting, it’s like, "Oh, we need to make some adjustments." We’ll try to work with him. I know he has a system down with his coach. She does a fantastic job. I let them do it and then when we need to adjust on set, we do that.

CraveOnline: How’s the translating going?

Masi Oka: It’s going. What can I say. These days, for me, because I am fluent, I’m native, it’s really easy for me to do it, just wake up in the morning and translate it out. I actually like doing that because one, it helps me memorize my lines and two, it allows me to actually write words that Hiro would say. If I want to throw in my "yeah, dude"s or whatever in Japanese, then that character says. If I leave it up to another translator, it’s going to be so rigid. Instead of saying, "Yay, I did it, dad" it’ll say, "Father, I have completed my mission." Since I’m saying those words, I want to be able to feel it. If I leave it up to someone, I won’t be able to get that.

CraveOnline: How are you liking being a chick magnet?

Masi Oka: Oh, well, thank you. That’s fantastic.

CraveOnline: You’ve made geeks cool.

Masi Oka: Well, thank you. I’m glad I could start a revolution because it was a long time in coming. A nice guy doesn’t need to finish in last place.