The ‘prime cut’ from Down Under takes a bow as Hollywood’s newest sexy romance-comedy hero in a feel-good flick with J.Lo
By Ricky Lo
11 April 2010
BEVERLY HILLS, California — Of course, Alex O’Loughlin was just kidding…was just acting true to form…when, asked how it felt kissing the Jennifer Lopez not just once but several times in Columbia Pictures’ The Back-Up Plan (distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing International, opening in the Philippines on April 23), he made a sour face and, turning to J.Lo beside him, answered dryly, “Kissing Jennifer? It’s awful!” Then, he burst into a shoulder-shaking laughter, “infecting” J.Lo with his sense of humor, adding as soon as he recovered his breath, “It wasn’t difficult. I mean, it feels pretty good to kiss a beautiful woman.” To which J.Lo countered, laughing, “That’s your job, baby!”
But first, just who is Alex O’Loughlin and why was he picked out from among hundreds of eligibles for the honor of, uhm, kissing one of the sexiest, loveliest and most desirable women in the world?
Well, Alex is the latest addition to the growing roster of Australian worthies lording over Hollywood — Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe (actually from New Zealand but identified as an Aussie), Eric Bana, Hugh Jackman, the late Heath Ledger, Nicole Kidman, Sam Worthington (of Avatar), Naomi Watts and Cate Blanchett.
According to his biodata, Alex started his career as a teenager in the Short Film and Fringe Theatre in Sydney. At 22, he was accepted into the premier Australian theater school, The National Institute of Dramatic Art, among whose alumni include Gibson and Blanchett. Then, he appeared in theater productions from the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov and Tolstoy. He holds a degree in Dramatic Art.
After appearing in a few films (The Invisible with Marcia Gay Harden, August Rush with Robin Williams and Whiteout with Kate Beckinsale among them) and TV shows (Moonlight, the CBS weekly medical series Three Rivers, etc.), Alex gets his biggest break as the Stan character in The Back-Up Plan, touted as “a comedy that explores dating, love, marriage and family in reverse,” in which J.Lo plays a woman who, tired of dating and waiting for Mr. Right, decides to have a baby by in vitro fertilization. By a curious stroke of fate, after the procedure she meets a man “with real possibilities.” That’s him, Alex (not the sperm donor but acts as the surrogate father to the twins J.Lo’s character gives birth to).
A no-nonsense actor, Alex has no qualms nor inhibition about flaunting his to-die-for body if the role calls for it. The joke out there goes that if on the second page of the script Alex’s character doesn’t go naked, he’s out of the picture. So how much more daring would he be for a role? “I’ve gotten everything out so far,” he cracked, “except my c__k.” That sent J.Lo into fits of laughter.
More soundbites from an exclusive Conversation conducted, as usual, at a function room of Four Seasons:
Describe working with J.Lo beyond just kissing her.
Alex: “Oh, she’s hilarious! Everyone involved in the movie is fantastic. Was I intimidated working with Jen? No, I was not. Jen and I met at her house before we started shooting the movie, so we became comfortable with each other. It’s hard kissing a girl who’s not your girlfriend look credible but Jen and I were able to pull it off beautifully.”
They say that you have no qualms about going sexy, right?
Alex: “I’ve done a bunch of naked stuff, you know, like sex on a chair or on a harbour in Sydney fully naked but that’s real life. It’s different when you’re standing there surrounded by kleig lights and the cameras and 50 crew men with your balls in a sack or in a silky pants, and especially when you’re doing a hardcore sex scene. I was single then. What I did in this movie is tame compared to what I’ve done in the past. You get kind of used to it, you know.”
What do you mean by “tame”?
Alex: “Well, I’ve done very revealing scenes in the nude simulating sexual intercourse.”
Really? In what movie?
Alex: “You have to look for it. Hahahahaha!”
So how different was kissing J.Lo from kissing other women, off or on camera?
Alex: “The difference? Jen and I did the love scenes with our clothes on. Come on, The Back-Up Plan is a wholesome, family movie.”
Which scene in the movie did you find most hilarious? Was it the childbirth?
Alex: “Absolutely. It seems so real, with Jen pushing and pushing to deliver two babies.”
Did you audition for this movie?
Alex: “No, I did not. I guess I’m the only choice.”
(The filmmakers, including director Alan Poul [who has executive-produced several Emmy Award-winning TV shows], wanted a fresh face, someone sexy, funny, strong yet also vulnerable for the Stan character. “It was quite a challenge to find someone who has the whole package,” Todd Black, one of the producers, was quoted as saying. “But when we met Alex, we knew that we had found our Stan.”)
How do you choose a role?
Alex: “I read the script and if I like it…I’m an actor and my job is to play a character well. You can do it well only if the role is interesting and you love doing it.”
Is it true that you auditioned for a James Bond movie (Casino Royale which landed on the lap of Daniel Craig who went on to do another one, Quantum of Solace)?
Alex: “Oh yes, I did go to London for the audition but I think I was too young for Bond.”
(Note: Sam Worthington also auditioned for Bond before he was cast in Terminator Salvation with Christian Bale, the same movie in which he was discovered by James Cameron for Avatar.)