His physically demanding role left him sick and in need of a break, but Alex O’Loughlin is returning to Hawaii Five-0 better than ever.
Alex O’Loughlin is brilliant on screen, but when it comes to talking about himself, the star admits it doesn’t come as naturally as acting. “It’s easier for me to be on stage by myself doing a monologue in front of 2000 people than it is sitting with you,” he says in an interview with TV WEEK. “I’m much more succinct [when acting]. Here, I’m stuttering a bit and I don’t know what to say. You can hear what my brain does!”
Australia TV WEEK
29 September 2012
After checking himself into rehabilitation to undergo treatment for a problem with prescription painkillers earlier this year, the Aussie actor returns in fine form this week as Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett in season three of Hawaii Five-0. Here, the 36-year-old tells us he couldn’t be happier to be back.
Tell us about the cliffhanger at the end of season two, where McGarrett meets Shelburne… his mother!
Alex: The final realisation for McGarrett is so enormous. It flips the whole game on its head. Everything’s changed — he’s got to go back and re-evaluate everything he thought had been going on. All the clues he’s been following in this ongoing investigation into the death of his parents — who’s behind it and who’s filtering information — are probably going to [make him] even more paranoid!
What mental state will McGarrett be in?
Alex: There’s going to be a lot more emotional stuff like there was in the beginning – when McGarrett discovered his father was killed. We’re going to dig more into his background, so I’m really excited about that.
Your real-life father is a physics and astronomy teacher. How did you become influenced to go into showbiz?
Alex: Not from him! [laughs] But it’s interesting you mention him. One of the first things he taught me at a young age was the concept of infinity. From my bedroom, when I was a kid, the stars looked very bright and he told me the universe is infinite and expanding. That broke my mind!
I did a play when I was about eight or nine years old at school and I really enjoyed it — I enjoyed being on stage and being part of a story. It felt natural, so I revisited it [as an adult]. When I got a bit older, I was pushed from my friends, though. I was never like, “OK, I’m going to be an actor.”
How do you rate working on Hawaii Five-0 compared to films and other shows you’ve worked on?
Alex: For some reason, nothing’s as hard as this show. I work really hard on this — I get knocked around a lot as it’s very physical show. It requires a lot of me mentally and I have to get enough rest, which is difficult. I’m lucky to have this job, but to get a hiatus [after season two] and then go, “OK, let’s do a feature”… I thought, “No, I’m just going to be with my family.”
So what did you do in your hiatus between seasons?
Alex: I said, “I’m going to regroup, paint the house… I’m going to come back strong for season three.”
You went through a rough patch earlier this year when you checked into rehab. Did you feel a big responsibility to the show during that time?
Alex: The biggest thing I probably got from that [experience] is how responsible for the show I actually feel. I don’t know if it’s my job to feel that way. The fact there’s a “No 1″ next to my name on the call sheet doesn’t really mean anything to me, but it does mean something for some. Personally, now, I’m fantastic.
In season two, a dangerous stunt involved you being hung up by chains. How was that to film?
Alex: That was tricky! There’s a reason you use chains to torture people — they really hurt. They sort of chip away at your bones. I was probably hanging there for about 12 hours!
Twelve hours?! Really?
Alex: That day actually perpetuated some other injuries I had on my shoulder from another hit I’d taken. Then, I had fight scenes and I was pretty sore after that. The stunt team is incredible. My stuntman has two broken ankles and one of them is just starting to heal. What you see on screen is pretty intense to make it look realistic.
They’re the guys that really take a beating, but they also get to go home and rest. The difficulty with me is that when you’re working as hard and as much as I do, you get fatigued, which means your body can’t recover as quickly.
How do you feel now?
Alex: It’s like nothing happened. I’m back doing lots of stuff, but I have to say no to some of the stunts I love doing so much!
- I feel both happy and sad when I read interviews from that period. The sadness of the low point in his life that Alex went through, but also the relief of him coming out on top after it all.
- I think it is very wise of Alex to relax and take time off for himself during hiatus and not try and do other projects. Looking after oneself and health should always be priority #1. Hopefully he will be rewarded for that with a long and successful career.
- Reading this also reminds me of why I avoid watching a big part of Season 2 and why I love Season 3 so much. (And why I feel disappointed in Season 4 and 5 for losing vision of Steve’s story for the most part)