Lee Shorten Talks “Man In The High Castle”

Lee Shorten will reprise his role of Sergeant Hiroyuki Yoshida, Inspector Kido’s right hand man, in season two of Amazon Prime Video’s Emmy Award-winning Man in the High Castle. Season two premieres December 16th.

Based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning 1962 alternate history novel, The Man in the High Castle explores what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost World War II. While Germany controls much of the East Coast and Japan controls the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains have become a “neutral zone” — and ground zero for a resistance, led by a mysterious figure known only as “the Man in the High Castle.”

What did the actor had to tell CraveOnline readers about the new season and why he loves his homebase of Vancouver? Read on…

Crave: Tell us about Man in the High Castle. What can viewers expect from Season 2?
Lee Shorten: Man in the High Castle is an adaption of the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name. It’s set in alternate reality where the Axis powers won World War II. So it’s the ultimate what if? In the timeline of the show, America is now a fascist state, the Nazis occupy the east coast of America and the Japanese occupy the West. And through this lens we raise some interesting questions about the nature of freedom, evil and reality. In season one, we really introduced you to the world and the characters. So now that you know these people, we can really start to push them, to challenge their views and ideals and put them through an emotional gauntlet. It’s dark, perhaps in ways you won’t expect. My character, Sergeant Yoshida, is a Japanese American member of the Kempeitai, the Japanese secret police. For Yoshida, this season is all about seeing how far he will go for his ideals and how much it will cost him.

Any other projects you’re currently working on?

I just wrapped a pilot called Ask Will. It’s an oddball comedy, so it’s a little different from Man in the High Castle (laughs). Ask Will re-imagines William Shakespeare as a modern day relationship advice columnist and his characters as actual people who write in seeking advice. It’s almost like Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Bojack Horseman. I play Will, and in the show he is this tortured and unsuccessful artist with a chip on his shoulder. It was a lot of fun so fingers crossed we get picked up.

We understand you’re based in Vancouver. It’s such an awesome city. What do you love about living there? Any favourite places to visit/hang out?

Yeah, I moved here from Australia a couple of years ago. It’s great, incredibly beautiful, except for the rain of course. One of the things I really love about Vancouver is that it’s a diverse, multicultural city. And that means great food. And who doesn’t like food? There’s also a large number of micro breweries which as you can imagine really appeals to the Aussie in me. In terms of places to hang? For food, I’m on a Ramen bender right now and the Tsukemen at Men-no Kura on Robson is amazing. My other favourite place is Brassneck Brewery, I’m a huge fan of their work, especially their IPA. Oh man, I sound like such a hipster.

Who is someone you look up to in the business and why?

I happened to have just finished Bryan Cranston’s memoir, A Life in Parts, so Bryan immediately springs to mind. I’ve always appreciated his work and his approach. I mean, to go from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad and follow that with All the Way. Bryan is an actor’s actor, he’s interested in the work as opposed to the fame, he has a real love of story and of character which I respect.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

Before I moved to Vancouver to pursue acting I thought about applying for the Australian secret service. Hopefully they don’t kill me for saying that. If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know why (laughs). And now I play a Kempeitai sergeant on Man in the High Castle. Life, huh?

Photo: Liz Rosa