What are we to make of Lost’s perplexing temple master? He tried to drown and poison Sayid. Then in the February 23 episode, he turns up in Jack’s flash-sideways as a father advising Jack to be a hands-on dad. And exec producer Damon Lindelof says, on March 2, “Dogen’s mysterious origins and history with the island are finally revealed” as he faces off with Sayid. I tracked down actor Hiroyuki Sanada in his native Tokyo to find out more. Turns out the actor has a history with Matthew Fox. They became drinking buddies in Berlin while shooting “Speed Racer,” then continued their friendship (and drinking) in Tokyo when Matthew was promoting Lost. “I never imagined working with him again in Hawaii,” says Hiro, whose swordplay in films like “The Last Samurai” turned Lost producers into fans.
In the March 2 episode, we’ll learn why Dogen left Japan for a new life on the island. Hiro hints his appearance in Jack’s flash-sideways suggests that Dogen’s paternal influence may be realized in the temple. Also significant is the name of Dogen’s hippie translator, Lennon (as in the peace-loving Beatle), as well as Dogen’s name and costume, modeled after a 13th-century monk who introduced Zen meditation to Japan. “I believe Dogen and Sayid will experience some kind of friendship in the end,” Hiro says. “Temples are built for peace and saving people.”
Though he’s now back in Tokyo (which doesn’t bode well for his Lostgevity), last month he took boss Carlton Cuse out to a karaoke bar, where the EP belted out “Proud Mary.” And he’s expected to return Stateside in the spring to promote his role as Anthony Hopkins’ longtime boyfriend in the James Ivory film “The City of Your Final Destination.” Hiro quips: “Being Hannibal Lecter’s lover was a big challenge.”