Masi Oka Channels George Takei For His 'Spies in Disguise' Character

Masi Oka Spies in Disguise interview

Blue Sky Studios brings us an animated spy comedy adventure with SPIES IN DISGUISE staring the voice talents of Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, DJ Khaled and Masi Oka. Masi Oka ("Hawaii Five-0," "Heroes") voices Yakuza boss, Kimura, and the Japanese American actor reveals he adjusted his voice once he saw sketches of his sumo-looking character and why he went for George Takei’s baritone voice.

Set in the world of international espionage, SPIES IN DISGUISE is directed by Troy Quane and Nick Bruno. Kimura, Oka’s character, is just one of the crime bosses the lead characters are after.  Upon first seeing Kimura in pre-production, the actor was surprised at his size.

“I thought he was cool. He was bigger than I thought.” says the voice actor. “It was different than I expected but does my voice really fit with this?” he asked the directors.  “’Yeah! Yeah!’”

Spies in Disguise posterOka had to change his approach to the character, and he decided to adopt a much lower tone with a certain "Star Trek" star in mind.

“I felt like I had to channel my inner George Takei and go a little bit down.”

He was also surprised the Yakuza-inspired character had many tattoos over his body. The Japanese-born actor felt some of the tattoos didn’t accurately portray the Japanese character, and he gave his input to directors Troy Quane and Nick Bruno

“I wanted to make sure as much as possible as I can control as an actor - to make it culturally appropriate.”

SPIES IN DISGUISE features diverse characters from different cultures, and Oka’s proud to be representing a Japanese character. SPIES IN DISGUISE is in movie theaters Christmas Day.

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