Masi Oka was born in Tokyo, Japan but his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 6 years old. Along with standard elemetary school, he attended Saturday school in L.A. where he learned English, U.S. history, etc.
He graduated from Brown University with a major in Computer…more
Although Masi Oka's career is in acting he is also considered the job role of a Technical Director.
Masi Oka's first name is pronounced as "mah-see".
*In 2007 Masi was chosen as one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive.
*In 2006 Masi was one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive.
List of Films He Has Been Part of the Digital Effects Team of:
1998 - Mighty Joe Young as the CG technical assistant: Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)
1999 - Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace as the visual effects production and technical support: ILM
2000 - The Perfect Storm as the digital artist: ILM
2002 - Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones as the digital effects artist: ILM
2003 - Hulk as the technical director: ILM
2003 - Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines as the CG artist: ILM
2005 - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith as the digital artist: ILM
2005 - War of the Worlds as the digital artist: ILM
2006 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest as the digital artist: ILM
He has played "World of Warcraft" extensively and he ran a guild at the "Spinebreaker Realm."
He graduated from Harvard-Westlake School on 1992 and he graduated from Brown University in 1997.
Masi has an IQ of 180-plus.
Masi is a huge New York Rangers fan and is often seen cheering at the stands with his co-star and friend Milo Ventimiglia who plays "Peter Petrelli" on the hit show "Heroes."
Awards and Nominations:
*2007, Masi won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor in the TV Series Heroes.
*2007, Masi won a Future Classic Award for his role on Heroes which was shared by the creators and executive producers and a few actors of the show.
*2007, Masi won a AZN Asian Excellence Awards for Outstanding Actor in a TV Series for Heroes.
*2007, Masi Oka was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor on a TV Series for his work on Heroes as Hiro Nakamura.
*2007, Masi presented an award with Hayden Panettiere on the 20th Annual Kids' Choice Awards.
Masi admitted that doing the "teleportation" face for his TV show Heroes actually gives him a headache!
As a kid, Masi Oka appeared on the cover of Time Magazine (August 1987) for an article entitled Those Asian-American Whiz Kids.
Masi has stated that it took four rounds of auditions for him to land his role on Heroes.
Masi attended the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con and even participated in a Q and A for Heroes.
He appeared in Austin Powers in Goldmember as the Japanese man running away from Godzilla.
Masi is fluent in English, German, Japanese, and Spanish.
Masi's hobbies include Kendo (Japanese sword fighting), playing video games, watching and writing romantic comedies, playing the piano, and singing.
He worked for Industrial Light & Magic, George Lucas's special effects company. He worked as a as programmer on many top-grossing Hollywood movies such as the Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean series.
(Oka on playing the character Hiro)
Oka: I love collaborating and the writers have been so generous and open to let me improvise.
Oka: The biggest thing, you know, is that he gets to live his dream of being a superhero, which is something he's dreamt of being all his life, and I get to live the dream of being on a great show, working with so many people and touching so many lives.
(On why his mother chooses to stay in Japan rather than accompany him to the Emmy Awards)
Masi: My mom is actually very superstitious. She tells me every time she's in Japan, she gets good news, like 'I got nominated for a Golden Globe,' or 'I got nominated for an Emmy.' Anytime she's in the states, she gets bad news, like, 'I want to be an actor.'
Masi: I'm bad with women, but Heroes definitely helped me improve my social skills, and helped me not get rejected so much.
Masi: When I was a kid, I really wanted telekinesis so I didn't have to leave my couch for the remote.
Masi: Don't tell someone they're a nerd or that they can only act. You can do whatever you want. The sky is limitless. Only you can create your dreams.
Masi: You know, I've actually been very good about not going on the Internet, I only look at things that my publicist and my friends send me, although I did see this one thing that my publicist sent me, I went online and it said, "oh my god, Hiro Nakamura, I love him so much. I want to make him my pet. I want to lock him up, talk to him, kiss him, I want to make him literally my pet." You know what, as long as they feed me, I'm all for it.
(Interviewed by Ausiello and asked,"What can we expect for the season finale for Heroes?")
Masi: *** **** ***L *** ** * **Y ****,***?
Ausiello: Are you ripping off my astericks?
(Masi tilts his head)
Masi: Am I?
After the interview Ausiello left frustraited and flattered.
(How becoming famous affected how people treat him)
Masi: They treat me nicer. They don't say, "Yo, Asian dude." They say, "Hi Masi. We love your show."
Masi: (About George Takei on Heroes) George is awesome, but I've never been a Trekkie. I've been more of a Star Wars person.
Masi: (on being out in public) It is a great thing to have fans come up to you and say, 'Oh my God. We love your show. What is going to happen now?' Especially with the hiatus. It is pretty cool to go out, meet your fans and feel their passion for the show as we have for the show, as well. There was a guy walking by with a cell phone, he noticed me and turned his head and opened his mouth and dropped his cell phone, which I thought was a cool thing, because I had the power of a hot woman at that moment. I have had girls come up, hug me and kiss me and run away. I am like, 'Wow, don't run away.' It has been surreal. Last year at this time, I could be walking in to a Starbucks and people wouldn't look at me. Now I have to be well-groomed because people want to take pictures.
(On being nominated for a Golden Globe Award)
Masi: It is absolutely wonderful. It is such an honor to be recognized for the work. I am happy the show got nominated, too. That is a tribute to everyone's work. I remember waking up to 18 phone messages. I didn't wake up at 5:30. You wake up with 18 messages and think, 'Something good happened.'
(More talks about his role as Hiro on Heroes.)
Oka: Hiro is his only male son, who he expected to kind of be his heir to his company. So because of that, there's some expectations, and he kind of views Hiro's journey to be very childish and foolish, and he wants him to grow up. And Hiro's always kind of seen his father as an intimidating figure, and someone who he always has to live up to, and possibly sometimes limits who Hiro is as a person because of the expectations that his father has always had on him. So Hiro's always had to feel like he had to live up to certain expectations. And we'll see a little bit of that conflict, and the reason why his dad came to find Hiro in America.
Masi: Milo Ventimiglia and I were fortunate enough to get Knicks tickets at courtside, and Shane Battier from the Houston Rockets looked at me and said, Yo, what up Hiro? People you didn't expect to be watching the show are watching the show. And they range from really young kids to older guys. The other day I was at a Scrubs party and Donald Faison, who is a huge fan of Heroes, was saying, We gotta get you back on our show, we love you. They were always really nice, but it was definitely a little more heightened this time. Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff have always been great guys, but I get a lot more love now.
Masi: I think Scrubs is brilliant. It's brilliant writing, and I owe a lot to those guys for my career. So if they ever want me back I'll gladly do it.
(Oka saying that he does some special effects work on the TV show "Heroes")
Oka:It gives me an appreciation for people who do things behind the camera. I understand how precise everything has to be. You'll find me more patient and cooperative with the visual effects stuff than other actors might be. If we're fortunate enough to get to season three or four, I would love to direct an episode and bring my ILM cronies in, get them to do special effects and get an employee discount. Buy two special effects, get two free. I have to use my employee discount somewhere.
(Talks more about being the special effects guy)
Oka: I'm always the hired gun who's brought in to fight fires. I do research and development on the technology and work with how to do a certain special effect. In Star Wars: Episode II, when Jango Fett is chasing Obi Wan Kenobi through an asteroid field, they needed a big asteroid to shatter into a million pieces, and I had to figure out how to do the fracturing, write the code and show an artist how to use it.
(Oka speaks about his super powers from Heroes if he had that power what would he do.)
Oka: I would actually go back to my sophomore year in high school and I would tell myself do not ask that girl out, (he said jokingly) Do not ask her out. Ten years of therapy right there, do not ask her, and I would have a much saner view of relationships right now.
(Oka speaks about being the nice guy on Heroes.)
Oka: Nice guys can be really cool. Don't necessarily go for the mysterious bad boy, you want a nice guy, give them a chance.
(About the auditionings for Heroes.)
Oka:What happens in the audition process is that they give you a breakdown of what the character's going to be like in the script and your agent or representative submits you. In the pilot, you go through four rounds, the first round is just for the casting director, the second round is for Tim Kring, the third round is for the studio, the fourth is for the network. They kind of whittle you down slowly every round and it gets a lot more intense and pressure-filled later on. The first round I had to do three scenes out of the pilot and the second round, I think I did only one. I think after the second round, they kind of knew who they were looking for, so they were comfortable with just doing one scene 'cause it had seven lines. It was pretty amazing to go through this process and know that your whole life can change with seven lines.
(Talks about doing drama.)
Oka:Oh, yeah. I love drama, as well, don't get me wrong. As an actor, anything that can challenge you both comedically and dramatically is a lot of fun. If they want me to cry on cue, I will cry on cue...without using onions.
(Oka tells about if he was actually in New York and Japan or if it was all green screen magic.)
Oka:I have to break it to you. It was all in green screen L.A. Sorry, that's Hollywood magic for you, but it looked great! Even I was surprised when I saw the final cut. Wow! I'm in New York! And I was only imagining it. It was a lot cleaner and prettier than I imagined it.
(Talks about his powers for the TV show Heroes.)
Oka: Absolutely, This is like a dream come true. It's a two-fer first of all! Just having teleportation or chronokinesis is great, but to have both that's like a two-for-one deal! I personally think that Hiro is just overpowered and he needs to be nursed a little. That's just me, but don't tell the writers that! I think that's so frickin' awesome. The great thing about it is that I know I'll be working with a lot of special effects stuff because of that, and that's always a joy for me, because I used to work at Industrial Light & Magic, so I know how it works on the backside, so now I get to see the front of it, so it's a cool mix.
(How he got into acting and doing TV.)
Oka: It was pretty much in college. Elementary and high school I had a touch of it, but when I went to college, I realized I wanted to actually study it as a major, and I did theatre arts as part of my collegiate degree, and it was very cool. I love the idea of breaking labels and stereotypes. In high school, I was on the math team, chess team, computer team, all that. It was very very focused on one side of the brain. College is kind of a spiritual education and a social education, so it was time for me to grow as a human being. I wanted to kind of break the mold and try something else. I knew theatre was kind of cool, and I thought it was a great study as a human being, and I just fell in love with it. It also opened my mind and you get to see things from all different perspective and get to meet a lot of different, interesting people. I was very fortunate to be able to carry it on after I graduated.
(Talks about his culture mixing with America.)
Oka: I also read a lot of Mangas and watched a lot of TV shows from Japan. I was kind of bummed out because growing up, all the kids were making fun of me. It was bad enough that I was a big math and science geek, but to have school on a sixth day while everyone else was playing and doing soccer and stuff. Mom! Can't I just not do anything, just watch Saturday morning cartoons? I remember pretending to be sick a lot to watch my Saturday Morning Arcade but in retrospect, I'm so thankful that my mom forced me to go, because I still feel connected to my culture, especially now, I get to use it in my acting.
Oka: I was born in Japan. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 6, but I had to go to Saturday school, kind of like Hebrew School but for Japanese folks. Saturday school in Los Angeles is for the worker families who live in Japan and have an L.A. branch and they send their entire family there so they get to keep their education, but the Saturday school here what you have is not only learn the language but learn math, science, history, society, on top of that what we would call English in our elementary school, learning literary stuff and how to write and read. It was a pretty intense, literally condensed Japanese education in one day.
(Oka chats about the screening of Heroes.)
Oka: I got to see a little bit of it, but I guess the crowd reacted well. It was very cool, because I realize that Hiro is kind of representative of all the comic book geeks. I myself am a big Manga freak as well, so I was just happy that I could give it justice, and it seemed like a lot of the audience members did connect to the character, so that was very cool.
(On science fiction.)
Masi Oka: I definitely love science fiction. It's a great genre. I'd never consider myself as a Trekkie, or go on the convention circuit, but I grew up on Japanese comic books, and the manga, and I love the old school stuff, from the Orange Road to modern thrillers like the Monster and Death Note. So, I think sci-fi makes your brain turn and think, and I love the kind of sci-fi that has a message as well, which Heroes does. So I think, yeah, I definitely love science fiction.
(On both his character "Hiro" and the show Heroes)
Masi Oka: We were joking around that the show Heroes is actually about Hiro. Multiple Hiro-type heroes, and stuff. It's a great play on words, and it is funny. Hiro is probably more of the more comedic and cartoonish character out of all the characters that are in the scripts.
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