Tohoru Masamune 3

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you?

Tohoru Masamune: I love that moment when I feel a connection to another person, however brief or insignificant. I am always inspired by anything created by someone trying to overcome great obstacles. Good tunes never hurt, either.

MP: What makes you feel vulnerable?

TM: When I think about my dad, who passed away in 2003. He would be really proud of me being in [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles].

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

TM: “Don’t ever give up on your dream. Ever.” The most valuable thing I have gained from this whole TMNT experience so far is that I now know for a fact that anything can happen. After twenty-four years in this notoriously impenetrable and discouraging business, I was offered this iconic role out of the blue, without any audition or meeting, from people I didn’t know. Stick with your passion, and keep moving forward. You can’t go wrong.

MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

TM: I believe this all has to do with how I decide to perceive the experience. Pain is part of life and makes you who you are meant to be. I just let it flow through me, at whatever rate it decides to do so. Then I go to the hockey rink and hit a few slap shots.

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

TM: This is actually one of my strengths. Chaos is a natural state of being—as natural as structure is—so there is no reason to fear it. On the contrary, one should embrace it. It means something extraordinary and unexpected is about to happen.

My routine? I always look forward to sitting down for my morning coffee. I enjoy going to the gym and hitting the heavy and speed bag, ice hockey, samurai-sword training. Like everyone else, I get swept along just trying to keep up with that endlessly growing to-do list, but I do my best to treat the day as one big meditation or symphony. I have an elaborate wind-down ritual, which combines reading, ESPN, movies, and jamming the blues on my keyboard. There’s still a part of me that’s a little kid who is psyched because I no longer have a bedtime!

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life?

TM: One must strive to be as honest as you are humanly capable with yourself and others. It is impossible to move forward otherwise.

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

TM: I studied engineering at MIT. There, the late, great physicist Philip Morrison introduced me to the idea that, in any system, there exists the inevitability that an event will occur which is completely unrelated to anything that preceded it. It completely changed my perception of “impossible.”

MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about?

TM: I have been involved with science and math education my whole life. My hope is to continue to promote the love of these beautiful disciplines to the next generation.

MP: Tell me about your latest projects and why these are important to you.

TM: I’m in an indie paranormal thriller movie, Chatter; I play a socially awkward NSA office drone. A film where I play a preacher just got into the Toronto International Film Festival. I produced The Monogamy Experiment Short. Each of these projects seem to address entirely different but essential parts of me. My love of the unknowable in the paranormal thriller, my love of family in the TIFF film, and my wacky mischievousness in the short.

MP: What is love for you?

TM: A kind heart. An indomitable spirit. A beautiful woman.



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