I was born in Japan and left at the age of 4, which is perhaps one reason the country has always occupied a large place in my imagination. As of the time of writing, I have been never been back, but fragments of my early childhood float through my memory, and throughout my entire life I have been eager to return there.
Many years before The Man in the High Castle would give me a chance to explore Japanese culture, I was given the opportunity via Samurai Girl, a pilot written by a young writer named Luke McMullen. Based on a book series, Luke’s pilot featured a strong Japanese heroine straddling two cultures.
The idea of a strong, young female Asian heroine was then - and sadly still is - pretty unique, so I accepted the assignment with enthusiasm, and was able to enlist as the pilot director the great Bryan Spicer, with whom I’d worked on The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen, amongst other series.
I was hugely proud of the pilot, which triggered a series order, and then moved on. To my great dismay, I discovered that network executives later re-edited the pilot, shot new scenes, replaced the score with pop songs, and otherwise undermined an hour of television.
I was disappointed but not surprised that the series didn’t continue. It was a shame, given the strength of the concept and the cast, led by the remarkable Jamie Chung. I remain grateful for the opportunity, and in the hands of different executives I have no doubt the show could have had the full life it deserved.