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Did you watch Heroes before you took the part? Do you still watch it now?
I was a big fan of the first season. I felt I was one of those viewers in on the “ground floor” of something new and unique. Consequently, it was a real delight to be in one of the closing episodes. Because of other conflicts, I missed a lot of the early season 2 shows and eventually I fell off following the show.
If so do you have a favourite character or episode?
Of course the most outstanding acting is for the role of Claremont! Seriously, though, I’ve always thought the characters and relationship of Hiro and Ando gave a humanity, humor and unpredictable quality to story.
Do you have any stories from the set?
1.) Greg Beeman, the director, told costume and make up: “Make Bart as dirty and greasy as you can, then make him more so!” It took three rounds of fake dirt and grease before he was happy.
2.) I don’t smoke, but Claremont is a chain smoker, so I had to practice smoking for a week with cut-off Lucky Strikes. On set, however, they had non-tobacco herbal cigarettes to smoke. I wish I had known of them before, much less harsh, and less offensive to the rest of the cast!
3.) George and I were talking about his name (he was named after a British prime minister, I believe!). Everyone mispronounces his last name, including William Shatner when they first worked on Star Trek. George would remind him: “Bill, that’s ‘te-kay’. You know, it rhymes with ‘toupee’!” (Which, of course, Bill wore on the show.)
4.) When Hiro returns to the showroom of my shop, he asks where Ando went. I say, “He bought one of my (Japanese word for long-swords) and left.” On one take I accidentally transposed two syllables, making it another Japanese word. Without a beat, Masi answered, “You sold him a green bean?”
Did you have any lines which were cut from the final episode?
Alas, yes, including a little scene with Ando. They may have thought it was a little confusing that Claremont understood Japanese without an explanation beforehand. My favorite cut line was (referring to Hiro as he goes to learn sword work from his father) “That little guy is supposed to save the world?... We’re all screwed.”
Did you enjoy working on Heroes? Was it different from any other jobs you have had?
I enjoyed the gig very much. The cast and crew were great to work with and I loved the set of my sword shop. Few acting jobs are like any others, especially for an actor such as myself, who likes to be considered a “chameleon”.
If you could have any power, then what would it be?
To get every gig I audition for! SUPER-ACTOR!
A delight. It was great working with George Takei. I was a school kid seeing him in the first Star Trek, and vowed one day to be on the show (it wasn’t until Deep Space Nine, I accomplished that goal.) But I enjoyed chatting with him the most. He, like myself, is a classically trained stage actor, and it was great to talk shop with someone with his long experience. Masi and James were both good guys, very down-to-earth and appreciative of the wonderful gig they found themselves in. It was funny to see Masi’s “cheat sheet” of his lines typed out in Japanese, and James, of Korean heritage, phonetically learning Japanese for his lines!
You worked as a stakebed driver in All God's Children Can Dance, what was this like?
This is a mistake on IMBD. I don’t always keep my info up to date. There are at least a half dozen shows I’ve done that aren’t listed. I’ll let them know some day when I get a chance. I guess the stakebed driver thing is just a computer glitch. I don’t think there’s a techie around that shares my name. Thing is though, if a part requires it, I’ll learn to do anything!
Can you tell us a bit about any up and coming work you are doing?
Just premiered a Lifetime movie GRAVE MISCONDUCT where I play a total crazy (lot of fun to do.) I’ll be guest starring on COLD CASE November 9th, and I recently shot a very exciting pilot by the creator of MEDIUM starring Amy Smart, called THE MEANT TO BE’S. I really hope it gets picked up as a mid-season replacement. Very well done and a great director, crew and Amy is a real delight. I play her killer, a mysterious character called “The Voice”.