” Seven Minutes To Heaven,” episode 9, is three episodes after the last one my character, Hirochi, appeared in. In that episode, number 6, Hirochi is revealed to be a very bad man, one who orders people killed, which is an extreme change for the character, for me, the actor, and for the audience. But it is nothing compared to what is revealed, in this episode, about Hirochi and his role in The Hand, the criminal cabal at the heart of all the terror in Daredevil’s life, and world.
Hirochi, it turns out is the master of The Hand’s search for immortality, for the ability to reincarnate themselves, and thereby fulfilling their mission to rule the world. At this point, the reincarnation process involves draining blood from captured people into a sarcophagus, in which a dead Hand VIP is lying. Then he or she would rise from the dead, alive and well. Simple. There was one caveat, though.
On set when we were shooting the scene where you see the blood drainees in their cages, I saw Nobu, a character who had died in the previous season, walk on set. I asked a crew person, didn’t he die last season, and he shrugged. So I met the actor playing Nobu, and we shot the scene. During lunch I asked him didn’t he die the season before, and he says, “Tell you a secret. If they don’t cut your head off, you can come back.” What’s funny is, the “they”could have been your enemies onscreen, or the writers offscreen.
I learned all this about Hirochi, and The Hand, and the script, just days before the shoot, so this was another extreme example of having to adjust my thinking, my character, and my acting choices, on the fly. The nature of the series was made clear to me by this episode, that in essence, it was a comic book we were filming. Terrific! So much fun to play a guy this bad, but bad in such a surreal way. Fun because you had to work harder to not play a comic book villain, per se, but find a way to humanize the character. And, with this kind of character progression, this kind of story and sensibility, this kind of plot twist, well, you have to keep your head here, too.