James Kyson Lee has a lot to look forward to this season on Heroes, and we’re happily along for the ride on his new Ando-cycle. After faithfully following Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) across the world and through the ages, now it’s finally his character’s turn to wield the power and save the day. For two seasons, we watched as the earnest and blunder-prone Japanese buddies made us laugh as they worked together to fulfill Hiro’s destiny. But everything changed in Season Three, and now the sidekick-turned-Super Charger is taking the reigns, as a powerless Hiro struggles to accept his friend’s newfound power and come to terms with his own vanished ability.
We got an exclusive chance to talk to Lee about his role on Heroes, and the exciting new possibilities for the super-charged Ando. He spoke about where the new “Fugitives” arc will take our Heroes, how he and Masi work as a comedic team, and how he feels about superhero spandex. Read on for the full transcript.
This is Meghan with BuddyTV and I’m talking with James Kyson Lee. How are you?
I’m doing great, thank you.
Well Heroes is starting off again. Are you excited to be filming the “Fugitives” arc?
Yeah. Actually we started filming “Fugitives” a pretty while back ago, and it’s looking great. We already had two episodes air and I think already it feels like a different type of show. It has a different energy to it. And I feel like we’re sort of back to more of a character-driven drama, focusing more on the characters that we started with.
There’s definitely a noticeable shift, and it seems like your character has arguably gone through the biggest transformation since the beginning. What’s your take on Ando’s shift from sidekick to a superhero?
Yeah, it’s been an interesting arc, and I think it kind of started during “Villains” when he and Hiro sort of have an equal stake in what’s going on, and I think slowly he sort of grows from sidekick to possible becoming partners. And then getting a power, which kind of shifted his skill. In that sense, since my buddy doesn’t have his power, I sort of have to fill in. I’ve got to try to take charge of whatever mission there is. So I think it’s going to be an interesting season, and I think Ando’s power is going to be explored a little more. Right now you’ve learned that he’s Super Charger, but if you remember way back in the beginning of “Villains,” there’s a future. When my buddy went to the future, he saw my power used in a very different way. And we don’t know if that’s actually going to play out, but I think there’s more to Ando’s power than just the super charger.
Right, we saw a little reminder in the last episode that Ando is supposed to kill Hiro in the future. So are we going to get a little bit more about that mysterious future this season?
Well, you know, I think that hopefully that’s a future we’ll avoid, because they’re buddies. But I think Ando’s power will be developed more in the sense that he’ll be able to hurt you.
So at the beginning of the “Fugitives” arc, Hiro is really encouraging your character to step into a sort of stereotypical superhero role—he buys you the Ando-cycle and all that—and he seems pretty resistant. Do you think Ando is more realistic than Hiro is about the whole “destiny” thing?
Yeah, I think he does have a practical and realistic side. I think he believes in the importance of Hiro’s journey as much as Hiro, but he just doesn’t want to wear spandex. But you’re right, it’s a very sort of comic bookish view of life, and I think Ando’s got a deeper insight than that. But, you know, he definitely liked the bike! But he could do away with the spandex.
He’s a little bit into the ladies lately! Are we going to see any romantic interest?
Maybe in the next volume, you know, we’re finishing up the last two episodes in the next month or so, in terms of filming. You know, the arc is really focused on the government really trying to round us all up and try to eradicate the people with abilities. So it feels heavier, but I like the fact that it’s back to the relationships. I feel like these characters have a sense of lives again. But in terms of a romantic interest, maybe in the future!
We also saw in the last episode, Daphne gets shot. But if there’s one thing we know from Heroes, it’s that you can never really tell if somebody’s dead. Can we expect to ever see her again?
Yes, I believe you will see Daphne again, although I can’t really reveal in what form. I don’t think that was the end of Daphne. But her getting shot is definitely going to have consequences.
So you and Masi seem to play off each other really well as a comedic team. How do you like providing that comic element to the show?
You know, it’s interesting and it’s fun, because yeah, you’re right, sometimes we are the only lighthearted part of the show. And I guess that’s the reason a lot of people like it, because it gives them a sort of relief from the drama and the tension and the heaviness. It’s definitely interesting, because I don’t really know of any other one-hour drama that’s got this sort of comic element to it, so I think it gives our storyline flexibility and potential.
Are you and Masi close in real life at all?
We get along. I mostly know him from work, really. I don’t know how much we have in common off the set, but I think our personalities and energies are different, and I think that’s part of the reason why we’re good together, because it’s sort of like the yin and yang.
Are there any other cast members that you really enjoy working with?
I like working with all of them, but there’s still a lot that I haven’t worked with. This past week’s episode [3.15 “Trust and Blood”] was the first time me and Claire were ever on the screen together, Ando and the cheerleader, and that took like three years. So yeah, it’s kind of really amazing to think there are still characters that Ando hasn’t met. You can expect more of that, though, as the show progresses. Maybe even in the next volume there will some more interesting match-ups.
Can you give us any hints about where the band of fugitives is heading next?
Everyone’s now running for their lives, and they have to really find out why this is happening to them. You know, it’s still hard to tell exactly what Nathan’s motivation is in starting this program, and which side of the fence H.R.G. is standing on in that situation. You know, as usual. In terms of Ando and Hiro, I think they’re going to be on another adventure, and really find out, number one: how they can stop this. Two, are there ways to get my buddy’s power back? And three, how does Ando’s power become more developed, and what does he learn to do with it? There’s a lot of really fun stuff coming up.
-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Image courtesy of NBC