While many of us were storming the stores over the holidays, ‘Heroes’ star Masi Oka was busy making like a real-life hero, campaigning on behalf of the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet. “I’m encouraging everyone to be an everyday hero by going to RedCross.org to learn about volunteer opportunities, by donating their time, and by donating blood,” says the actor. Oka also has been using his whistlestop tour to talk up the remainder of NBC’s ‘Heroes’ Season 4, which resumes Monday at 8/7c (then moves back to the 9 o’clock hour starting January 11).
How does Hiro’s journey over these next six episodes compare to what he’s been up to so far this season?
It’s kind of a continuation, but more in a resolution fashion. He now he has three specific goals to accomplish: deal with his brain tumor, rescue Suresh, and find Charlie (played by ‘Glee’s’ Jayma Mays). That is a more concrete mission than he had in the first half of the season.
Is Mohinder a more predictable and reliable ally these days?
Hopefully. Well see him for a handful of episodes, and he’ll have his own mission as well.
How soon will the details of Samuel’s master plan become clear?
Definitely within the first two episodes. And towards the end of the season, you’re going to see some unlikely alliances – and some unlikely enemies as well.
Does Samuel threaten to divide the heroes we know into two warring camps?
Yeah, there will be some of that. A big showdown is coming up, and it involves the crossing of paths for many characters.
Was it hard saying goodbye to Adrian Pasdar? After all, Hiro and Nathan were two of the first heroes to ever cross paths back in Season 1.
Without a doubt. Adrian, first of all, has been my mentor, my brother my friend…. He’s a colleague I’ve always respected and admired. We’ll miss the positive energy he brought to the set, but while I’ve lost Nathan Petrelli, I’ve gained Adrian Pasdar as a lifelong friend.
How was it reuniting with Jayma Mays earlier this season?
It was fantastic. I love ‘Glee,’ and I think she’s great in that. I really enjoyed reuniting with her and playing those [Hiro/Charlie] moments again.
In light of that one goal of Hiro’s, might we see Charlie again this season?
You never know….
One recurring knock against ‘Heroes’ has been its tendency to use Hiro’s time travel to erase nasty events and in doing so undercut the dramatic tension. Might they rein that in as the series goes on?
To be honest, that’s a hard question because the rules do change every year. That’s just the nature of time travel storytelling, which is hard to manage. The writers have some creative liberty, so we hope the audience will just go for the ride and not focus on the technicalities of it.
When do you hope to find out whether or not this is the last season?
We don’t know; everything’s up in the air. It’s no secret that our ratings have slipped from Season 1, but creatively I think this is the second-strongest season. We want the crew to be working as well, but so many things go into these decisions.
You used to be a full-time special effects whiz for ILM. Have you had a chance to check out ‘Avatar’ yet?
Yes, I went to the premiere, and it was fantastic. It’s so beautifully shot, and the world James Cameron created is so beautifully detailed. I love how he used the 3-D technology to immerse you in it.
Were there any moments where you were like, “Damn, that’s an effect I’d been trying to master for ages, and they finally cracked how to pull it off”?
I tended to be more of a particle and natural phenomenon effects guy, so CGI humanoids were always the Holy Grail, the next great challenge to tackle. I thought they did a fantastic job.