Wired News: Masi Oka: Coder, Actor, Hero
"Millions of viewers of NBC's Heroes know actor Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura, the bored young Japanese office worker who discovers he has the power to alter time and teleport. What they probably don't know is that he's been working behind the scenes for years as one of Industrial Light & Magic's top programmers.
In an ensemble cast that features solid acting all around, Oka steals the show every time he's on the screen. The show literally has his Hiro living out the exploits of his own comic book, 9th Wonders.
Since graduating from Brown University in 1997, Oka has worked on more than 30 big-budget Hollywood films at ILM. During that time he has written more than 20 programs and 100 plug-ins for the leading special-effects house. While audiences might not have known his name or face until Heroes, they've seen his programming magic on the big screen in films like The Perfect Storm, Star Wars: Episode II, Terminator 3 and the first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
"I've been programming computers since elementary school, where they taught us, and I stuck with computer science through high school and college," said Oka. "ILM offered me an entry-level position at its Marin, California, headquarters, but they refused to fly me out for the job interview. Fortunately, Microsoft also was interested in hiring me and they flew me out to Seattle, then down to San Francisco and back to Providence."" (more)