Actor Toru Uchikado is a newcomer to television with his debut role in NBC's Heroes Reborn as Ren Shimosawa, a young Japanese gamer who’s storyline unfolds as he joins ‘Miko’ (played by Kiki Sukezane) on her journey of being a “Hero.” We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his cahracter, working on the set, and what fans can expect from the newly rebooted franchise.
Shakefire (SF): Can you tell us about your character, Ren? What can we expect from him over the course of the series?
Toru Uchikado (TU): He is a young Japanese guy who is known as a video game expert. Quirky and very interesting. I think he is one of a few comedic characters on this show. He is also very adventurous and he’s got little bit of Hiro Nakamura-ness like how he accepts his destiny and believes in what he does. He’s got a good heart and I think the audience will love him. I myself wish I were that open and honest with my feelings. Also, his hairstyle is pretty crazy, I’m sure the audience will enjoy it too.
SF: Did you watch the original Heroes? How does it feel being a part of the newly rebooted franchise?
TU: I watched every single episode and loved it. The show was huge in Japan as well and I remember watching Masi promoting the show on Japanese TV when I was in high school. Back then, of course I had no idea I would be a part of it. Sometimes life is unpredictable and interesting, and I love it.
SF: What do you believe sets Heroes Reborn apart from the original?
TU: The premise is that the world knows about those people with abilities. And they are blamed for thousands of deaths and are now being hunted. So, it feels darker than the original show. Also, since it’s a miniseries, it’s faster and more intense, so you can expect more excitement from each episode.
SF: From what we’ve seen so far, Ren and Miko seem to have a relationship similar to that of Ando and Hiro from the original series. Is that something that was intentional?
TU: I would say it is because Ren supports Miko along in her journey. But, Ren is a video game expert and Miko has the ability to get into the video game world, so it’s a very unique relationship. Plus, since it’s between a boy and a girl, there might be a different kind of relationship this time. You never know.
SF: This is your television debut and your first major role. What has your experience been like working on the set of Heroes Reborn?
TU: It’s been fantastic. Everyone, including the cast, is fun to work with and I am really thankful for this great opportunity. I really find it interesting that in television directors change all the time. Each director has a different style and a different take on each character, so I found adjusting to that very interesting.
SF: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
TU: Well, I think flying is cliché, so I’d rather have the power to instantly cook things at a moment’s will. I would love just having cooked food at the ready. I mean, I’d still have to watch my weight, so that could be a problem, too.
SF: What’s next for you after Heroes Reborn?
TU: I don’t know yet. I’ve had some exciting auditions while shooting Heroes. So, we will see what happens! This is just a start of my career and I’m really excited.
Heroes Reborn airs Thursdays at 8pm ET on NBC.