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Why Shooting Heroes Is Really Awkward, According To The Guy Who Plays Hiro

Since we unfortunately don’t live in a world where superpowers are real, there’s a lot of work that goes into making it seem like people are demonstrating such powers in movies and TV shows. Fortunately, these various abilities have never looked better thanks to improved practical effects and CGI. However, it still requires the actors involved to do some weird things on set while filming, and that can get awkward. This is especially the case for the upcoming miniseries Heroes Reborn and Masi Oka, who plays time traveler Hiro Nakamura.

During his recent Reddit AMA, Oka was asked what it was liked to film a show that involves fake powers versus the ones that don’t. This was his response:

Watching someone pretending to have fake powers can be very silly. On set, everyone is reacting to something that doesn't exist and if some random person looks at it, it looks like we're on drugs or something. I squint my eyes and what I hear is the director say, 'Ok! Everyone hold your breath.'

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Chloe Bennett gave a similar account earlier this year when she talked about how the ABC series has her act out Skye’s earthquake powers, so these superheroic shows all face the same struggles. In Oka’s case, Hiro’s ability to manipulate space and time requires a lot of unusual actions.

Take when he’s teleporting, for example. One moment the actor is in a shot, the next he’s out of another shot, and the other actors have to react like Hiro suddenly disappeared. This goes for the rest of the actors who have to pretend like they’re using a unique ability, whether it’s moving an object with telekinesis, creating fire in their hands, suddenly flying into the air, etc. In other words, you need to have an active imagination and not be afraid to make yourself look stupid in order to look convincing.

The last time Heroes fans saw Hiro, he had helped teleport the remaining EVOs (as superpowers people in this world are now called) away from antagonist Samuel Sullivan’s carnival, and was also present when Claire Bennet revealed the existence of powers to the world in the Season 4 finale. Five years later, Hiro looks more like his future self seen in Season 1, and he’s wielding two knives rather than his Kensei sword, which now appears to be in the hands of Miko Otomo (played by Kiki Sukezane). All we’ve seen of Hiro so far in the previews is him interacting and fighting with bad guy Harris Prime (played by Clé Bennett). While Heroes Reborn is primarily focusing on new characters, Hiro is one of many players from the original series that is returning, including Noah Bennett, The Haitian, Matt Parkman and more.

Heroes Reborn will premiere on Thursday, September 24 on NBC.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.