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James Hibberd

NBC's Super Hiro

July 22, 2006 6:08 PM

Masi Oka, one of the stars of NBC's new superhero drama "Heroes," left a memorable, if unintelligible, mark on most critics at the show's press tour session Saturday morning.

One critic asked Oka, who plays a Tokyo office worker who finds out he has the power of teleportation, if his Japanese language skills are good enough to fool a native (all of Oka's dialogue was subtitle in the pilot).

Oka answered the question in Japanese. I know I'm setting myself up to come across as a pretentious bastard, (ahem), but I speak some Japanese, and I can tell you Oka sounds like a native.

Creator Tim Kring explained that the character of Hiro was a late addition to the script.

"I approached it in a very realistic way," he said of the superhero series, which has most of the characters deal with newfound powers in "an intense, angsty way. I needed one character who embraced it in a positive way."

Series regular Greg Grunberg was an even later addition, since his role, a telepathic policeman, wasn't added until after the pilot was shot.

Not being in the pilot is a good sign, Grunberg said.

"I wasn't in the pilot of 'Felicity,'" he said, "and not in the pilot of 'Alias.' I was in the pilot of 'Lost' and got eaten."


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