Heroes' James Kyson Lee Interview
James Kyson Lee, plays the Japanese character Ando as Hiro’s time-travelling buddy on NBC smash, Heroes. Though his character struggling with his insecurities due to his lack of super powers at the beginning of the series, Lee’s character now finds himself endowed with highly special powers — the power of amplification.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Lee and his family moved to New York City when he was ten years old. Lee found himself quickly learning to speak English in his attempts to assimilate. He studied communications at the Boston University but after participating in a hip hop group, decided to look into dance and acting instead and moved to L.A. Lee has appeared in several movies such as the horror film Shutter and Big Dreams Little Tokyo.
Thanks to Heroes Lee gets to indulge in a particular passion unrelated to super-powers. “I had to ride a motorcycle. Even though they had stunt drivers to do the hard stuff, they actually sent me to motorcycle school,” he told Uinterview exclusively. “The motorcycle they use on the show is awesome — it’s a gnarly Harley!”
It was about three years ago when the pilot script first came out. It was a really great script. It felt different from any of the other TV shows. I auditioned about fives times and when all was said and done I was playing the role of Ando.
I think it’s added even more depth and dimension to the show. I feel like they are brothers, who look out for one another, and have fun adventures and sometimes arguments. So now that Ando has gained a power, and Hiro doesn’t have one, he can kind of take charge. It keeps all of us on our toes and opens us up to different possibilities with the story line.
I had to. Luckily they got me a coach, so for the past three years, I’ve been studying with a coach. It’s probably the hardest aspect of my job. Japanese is a very complex language. It requires a lot of study. Back in the day, my dad went to graduate school in Japan and used to work in Tokyo. So it was interesting to come full circle with this.
I think the first episode of this new volume when I had to ride a motorcycle. Even though they had stunt drivers to do the hard stuff, they actually sent me to motorcycle school. I ended up going to class for three days, and I just had a one-on-one with an instructor and then took the test in a group setting–the turns and different speeds — it was a lot of fun. The motorcycle they use on the show is awesome — it’s a gnarly Harley!
Ando and Hiro return and we receive a mysterious fax from someone name Rebel. We don’t know if he’s going to help us or if it’s a trap. You’d be very surprised at who we encounter next. Our goal is to find who is behind Building 26 and take down his operation and find out why the government is trying to round up all the people with ability. There’s a lot on our plate right now, and we want to see them get it done.
I know the show is definitely coming back. The show still has a lot of gas left — the writers are really brilliant. In terms of how it’s going to look, we’ll find out more over the summer.
I think my name was thrown around. I don’t know how much of a consideration there was. I think it would have been a great project to be a part of. I’m a fan of Star Trek and I’ve heard it’s looking great. It’s funny because I’ve been working with George Takei on the show.
Yes, you have pick up your whole life and learn a new language. New York City forces you to have a lot of street smarts and adapt quickly. I had to learn to connect with people.
Shutter revolves around a couple who’s honeymooning in Tokyo and experience these supernatural events. I play Ritsuo, who specializes in spirit photography for a publication called Ghost magazine. I tell one of the characters the origin of spirit photography. Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish between what is fabricated and what is actual. We filmed it in Tokyo. It was my first time. And since I’d been playing Ando for all this time to actually go to Tokyo and see these things in person and experience the language and culture was an awesome experience.