My thoughts before we continue with this interview…. From comments on other forums, I find it interesting how selectively people listen to this interview. I studied every word of it, spending more than 12 hours over the course of the last 3 days, transcribing it.
I found the interview refreshing and different, because it was one celebrity interviewing another. I know this second half might seem kind of boring for those of us who already know the road Alex’s career followed, but it is still worth the read/listen.
Pauly clearly showed great appreciation for the achievements of his subject. And he clearly stated his thoughts about that at the end. I would have loved to provide Pauly (and Alex for that matter 😀 ) with more accurate information about Alex’s achievements and career, but it still gave Alex the chance to be himself. He sounded very relaxed and it would have been great to be able to see him as well, while he was doing this.
We here at Intense Study love and adore Alex for all of him, not just for the selective parts of what we think he is, or should be.
Thank you so much for doing this interview, Pauly!
We provided the audio link on yesterday’s post – but this podcast, as well as all Pauly’s other interviews, can be found on his site, here
Let us continue with the rest of the interview – the first part of the transcript can be found here
Pauly: And then as far as … so you came over here from Australia. Did you audition in Australia?
Alex: No … I mean.
Pauly: Did you audition in LA?
Alex: I was in LA for like, I don’t know, 9 years or something…
Pauly: Really!? And I never met you?
Alex: No, you never did.
Pauly: I never met you in LA.
Alex: That’s true. I don’t know why?
Pauly: You were on some other shows. You were on ‘The Shield‘?
Alex: Yeah, I did ‘The Shield‘.
Alex: I did a couple of other shows for CBS.
Pauly: You also did something with Jennifer Lopez in 2010. A romantic comedy.
Alex: Yeah, I did The Back-Up Plan.
Pauly: The Back-up Plan.
Alex: That was fun. Jennifer is excellent. She’s, she’s loads of fun, and…. I did a couple of other small … I did ‘August Rush‘. I had a sort of supporting role in that, which was fantastic, back like in 2009, I think it was. I did a movie called ‘The Invisible‘. I’ve just kind of been …..
Pauly: Trudging along.
Alex: Trudging along man, you know, for the last sort of 15 years. And … but that’s the thing people … and then I got offered this. I didn’t audition for this. They sort of called me in. I had a relationship with Peter.
Pauly: So Peter saw you on tape?
Alex: I don’t know where he saw me originally, but be talked about a couple of other things. Like we talked about a piece with James Mangold, directing. It wasn’t quite ready, but it was really good. Our paths had crossed a few times and we…
Pauly: This is Peter Lenkov?
Alex: Peter Lenkov, yes
Pauly: The creator of the show.
Alex: Right, and…
Pauly: I’ve known Peter for years, because he wrote and created ‘Son In Law‘
Alex: That’s right
Pauly: The film that I did, “Son in Law“. That’s how I got in with Peter.
Pauly: Many years ago.
Pauly: So go on.
Alex: I think you guys did a podcast, haven’t ..
Pauly: Yeah, yeah, yeah. He was in one of my podcasts as well.
Pauly: What’s up Peter, what’s up bro? Say, what’s up?
Alex: What’s up?
Pauly: What’s up. Okay, go on …
Alex: Yeah, so he brought me in on …. they called me to meet on this … on this pilot, you know.
Pauly: So you just got it offered?
Alex: I got it offered. I read the pilot and it was excellent. The pilot was excellent.
Alex: Actually Ed Bernero, a friend of mine, who worked on ‘Criminal Minds‘, had written a pilot … a spec pilot for Hawaii Five-0, a year before of something. And it had come across my desk and I was like, “Oh, that’s a really great idea for a show“.
If they wanted to redo that, that would be …. so I guess, I mean CBS must have been planning it for a long time, you know. They’re the biggest network for a reason, you know. They know what they’re doing.
But anyway, it came along, and I read Peter’s script. And it was great. And Len Wiseman was directing. And Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman were producing. So, I was like, “This was going to be .. something. It’s going to work”. Plus it’s Hawaii, and you know, titties and bikinis and guns …
Pauly: And you flew over here and you shot the pilot?
Alex: I flew over and shot the pilot. I didn’t know anyone.
Alex: It took me like five years to settle in LA, so I felt like I’d only kind of been home in LA for 4 or 5 years and now I was moving to the middle of the ocean. So it was a bit weird.
Pauly: Did you do …. like the ‘serving table’ thing? Or were you always working when you first came out to LA?
Alex: Yeah man, no.
Pauly: Where did you work, as like a waiter?
Alex: Actually in Cal …
Pauly: Or bartender?
Alex: I did that is Australia. I did that for a long time. I worked in a lot of bars and restaurants and stuff.
Pauly: You must have got a lot of pussy doing that shit?
Alex: Yeah, well you know. It was a good time.
Pauly: But all you Australian guys are good looking.
Alex: Has a good time.
Pauly: Ladies if you’re out there listening, if you want to get some great penis, that or sexy dude. Definitely go to Australia. Cause there’s a lot of good looking dudes out there.
Alex: Did you say great penis?
Pauly: Yeah, I guess. It’s probably great penis, on good looking dudes.
Alex: Great penis, yeah. I just want to make sure, I heard what you said.
Pauly: So, so, so … so you worked as a waiter. And you worked your way up in LA.
Alex: Yeah, I did all that shit
Pauly: What year did you come to LA?
Alex: I mean, I first went out … I first went out in ’97.
Pauly: ’97, that’s when my career started to take a shit. Go on
Alex: [Laughs] I first came out in ’97 and..
Pauly: It’s a bad year.
Alex: Dude, I got to Los Angeles in 1997 and I got off the plane. I somehow I ended up at the Greyhound bus station downtown. Now in 1997, like downtown, like the hipster kids and stuff, starting to move down there.
Pauly: Now it’s cool
Alex: Staples is nice and some restaurants and shit. In 1997, the first thing I saw downtown, was a homeless dude, taking his shit on the corner of like 3rd and Spring, or whatever. I was like, “Where am I?” I ended up at this bus station.
Pauly: Right next to my house.
Alex: Right by your house. That’s the only place I knew down there was your house.
Pauly: So you went, and you got stuck down there.
Alex: I got stuck down there and it was a gnarly. That was my first exposure to LA, was you know, downtown bus station. Some hardcore sort of bangers down there without any money. And I was just like …
Pauly: And you were how old around?
Alex: Like … like 21 or something.
Pauly: Wow, you were a kid.
Alex: I was a kid, man.
Pauly: How old are you now?
Alex: Thirty eight.
Pauly: Thirty-eight, okay. So you go down there, and then where did you get a job?
Alex: This dude approaches me. This dude that looks like the alien from ‘Predator‘. He had this dreadlocks, and these kinds of like glazed-over weird, like blind looking eyes. And he was enormous and black and musclely and dangerous. And he was like, ” Yo man, do you have any money?“ I was like, “Fuck“. And I just took off and ended up in Hollywood. And sort of sniffed around and then I went back to Australia. I was back…
Pauly: Wait, wait … you went to Hollywood. What did you do? How long were you there? Did you …
Alex: I met, I met with people. I met with some….
Pauly: So it was just kind of like a trip. But it wasn’t … You weren’t moving there? Just sussing out.
Alex: I was not moving there. That was the first time I went there.
Pauly: Sussing out.
Alex: Yeah, I was sussing it out. I met with people, I met with some managers. I talked to a bunch of people. That was when an Australian accent …
Pauly: Was your acting pretty good back then? Have you been acting for a while?
Alex: I don’t know. I think I’m still waiting for acting to become good. I think.
Pauly: No, but you know what I’m saying.
Alex: I kind of … was starting to know what I was doing. I’ve done a few plays.
Pauly: Did you act though a lot, back in Australia, before, when you …. I mean if you got to LA at 21?
Alex: Actually when I was 21, I’d done … like I think done a commercial. I’ve done a bit of fringe theatre and stuff, you know. I just did some plays when I was a kid. I knew I loved it, but actually where to start, how to do it, was still kind of a mystery.
And we were starting to be like … Simon Baker was here, Dom Purcell was here. I think he was doing ‘Prison Break‘. Or maybe not quite. But you know Nicole Kidman was here. Like Cate Blanchette.
Like there was a small group of Australians, but the Aussie accent was still a novelty, in rooms. Where as now, there’s Australians everywhere.
So I went back to Oz. It scared me … LA scared me. I was just like, it was so vast. How do I break into this? What the fuck?
Pauly: Where do I go?
Alex: Where do I go? Where do I stay? So then I went back.
Pauly: No just wait, wait. Just real quick people, listening. You should be inspired by this. Here he is. He’s starring on his own show on CBS. You’ve been here for about 5 – 6 years almost.
Pauly: Probably doing great. And he was just a bright-eyed bushy kid that got off the bus, you know. And just was clueless like everyone else. Go on.
Alex: Right. I was … I was somewhat clueless. Like I had friends that had been back and forth, from Sydney to LA. And had been working. And that was sort of it’s pretty gnarly over there.
But I just sort of … part of me knew … look, if you want to make a living as an actor, in Australia, it’s boutique industry, you know. There’s no money. There’s 23 million fucking people in the whole country. You know that’s … there’s 23 million people in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.
Alex: It’s like … it’s another world. So you can’t make a solid living out there, and there’s like 2 people in country that do it there and everything. You know what I mean …. it’s different.
So I went back … and I went back and forth and back and forth and I finally went to drama school, back in Sydney. I went to a conservatory called ‘The National Institute of Dramatic Art’ , which was amazing. And I was there for 3 years and I got a degree.
Pauly: In acting?
Alex: In acting. Which my family laughed at, you know. Cause, it’s like the most … yeah, good luck son.
Pauly: It’s bizarre.
Alex: It’s not like a Law degree, where a firm is going to go, yeah come on, you know. It’s like, so I got a degree, that doesn’t mean anything.
Pauly: Do you have brothers and sisters?
Alex: I have a younger sister. She is a year and a half younger. Her name is Jackie. She’s the best. And…
Pauly: So you went back, you got your degree …
Alex: I got my degree and then I came back
Pauly: Back to LA.
Alex: I did a couple of things in Oz. I did a couple of movies. I did a mini-series. I did a few bits and pieces. And I was like, “I’ve got to go“
Pauly: And how have you not met Russell Crowe?
Alex: Isn’t it crazy. I don’t know man? It’s, it’s, well I’ve never been in the same picture.
Pauly: He’s there?
Alex: I’m sure.
Pauly: I mean, I think he lives there, all the time.
Alex: I’m pretty sure he has a ranch … a good friend of mine, Jack Thompson, who’s an Aussie actor, knows him very well. They have a ranch …. I think they have, like farms, property, you know, close to each other, back in Oz. So, I imagine Russell is back and forth.
Pauly: So you go out to LA for the second time, with your degree.
Alex: I go out to LA for the umpteenth time, but I’m like, I got to shift here, right. And that’s when I shift there and …. It wasn’t that I was going there with my degree. I went there with a bucket of tools that I did not have before. You know, for three years I got to study stuff.
Pauly: Yeah, some background.
Alex: Study stuff. I got to study Chekov and…
Pauly: So you started auditioning? Who was your agent that signed you? Or manager back then? Was it Gersh or ICM?
Alex: No. The first company I ended up, was ICM. John Burnham at ICM. Who I still love. I’m not with John anymore, but … we …
Pauly: So he started throwing you out there?
Pauly: Read here, read there. You’re driving around LA trying to figure out … And you worked as a waiter? How did you make cash?
Alex: Actually in Los Angeles, cause I didn’t have a visa. I didn’t have work papers. I didn’t have any of that. So I couldn’t get a job in a restaurant. So I worked on friends …. I’d meet people and I’d worked on building sites. That was my thing.
Pauly: Oh so you were a construction worker?
Alex: Yeah. Not a construction worker. I was just a grunt
Pauly: Yeah, but girls got more wet right now, because…
Alex: Is that true?
Pauly: Well yeah, they like guys …. you know. Like buff guys and on construction sites. Go on.
Alex: Yeah, all year, cause there’s calendars and shit of guys….
Pauly: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so you just walking around with your shirt off, in LA.
Alex: Yeah, I mean.
Pauly: Getting paid on the side.
Alex: Getting paid, just doing what you can to make the rent. And look, in all honesty, you know. There was some times when I was … it was tricky. There was … for a minute, I was like, “This is fucked“
Pauly: Did you ever have to be a gigolo or some shit?
Alex: No, I’m not talented enough, for that.
Pauly: No, for real though?
Alex: No, no I never.
Pauly: You got propositioned by older girls that wanted to have sex with you for money?
Alex: Dude, I never heard about all that stuff in LA. I mean, here’s the thing. When I was there in the ’90, you got to remember, that was like the era of the worst plastic surgery anyone has ever seen on planet earth. That was when they were experimenting and now it’s kind of good.
So I had a lot of women in Beverly Hills look at me and make faces, but maybe I was misreading the faces. [Giggle] Cause I couldn’t see the face, or what the muscles was doing properly
Pauly: So, yes.
Pauly: So, yes, you bang that stuff out.
Alex: I’ve got to say like, on John Burnham at ICM, was such a massive advocate. And, you know, things change in your career, you move and you change .. and your representation changes for whatever reason and all that sort of stuff.
But was unreal, and he .. my first agent before John, was my Aussie agent John Cann, who died about 6-7 year ago. And he was the best. He was the best. He’s the guy that was like, “Get out there. You’ve got to be in LA“ He’s the guy that made me be here. And….
Pauly: Great. And then, did you like party in LA, when you got out there?
Alex: I didn’t know … I didn’t know anyone.
Pauly: You didn’t?
Alex: Of course I found myself at Chateau...
Pauly: Did you go to Vegas and stuff?
Alex: I go to Vegas now and then. But I didn’t have any money, dude. Like I was so poor, for so long.
Pauly: And your parents don’t have any money?
Alex: No, I mean, not really. I mean, my mom is a nurse, you know. So I’m not going to ask mom for money. I was just sort of making it work. I always made it work. … but, yeah.
Pauly: So, yes. You chilled around and had a good time. And then, at what point was it the time when you’re like, “Oh shit, I made this money and now I actually can pay my rent and my car, get a visa and all that? “.
Alex: It was very gradual. I mean, even when I did ‘August Rush‘, which was a Warners Brothers movie. Johnny Rhys Meyers, Kerry Russell, Robin Williams. The late and beautiful Robin Williams. Terrence Howard, Freddie Highmore. It was a fantastic movie, great cast. I was like a … I played Johnny Rhys’ brother, in the band.
That was probably my favourite job, ever. Because, I had such a great time in New York. I was with those guys. I was able to meet and be with Robin.
Pauly: How great is New York?
Alex: New York is incredible. I lived there for like 6 months. I played my own Les Paul. My own Gibson guitar in the movie. I met Les Paul. Dude I fuckin met Les Paul, before he died.
Pauly: Wow, that’s sick.
Alex: While I was the on the movie, he signed my guitar.
Alex: Like we played music together. So, the whole experience surrounding that film, is the greatest thing that ever happened. But that film cost me 15 grand. Like….
Pauly: Just to be over there.
Alex: They give you the role, but you’ve got to be a local hire and pay for all your own shit, so. They are the things you do.
Pauly: And the what about the film with Jennifer Lopez? Did you star in that with her?
Alex: Yeah, that was an offer that was really nice. I sort of got this offer. I was doing a pilot for a show … another show that I did, called ‘Three Rivers‘. Which we only did, 13 episodes of.
It was set in Pittsburgh. It was like a medical show. It was actually … I really liked it, but they, they … I was doing the pilot for that. I got a call saying, we got an offer for this movie. You’ve got to fly to New York on the weekend from Pittsburgh and meet Jennifer. And if she likes you, you can probably have the role.
Pauly: What year was this?
Alex: Fuck, I don’t know. You got the thing.
Pauly: This was … this was 2010. The same year you did ‘Sexiest man alive‘.
Alex: Really, well that’s why… Jennifer … paid someone off…
Pauly: So this was 5 years ago. Five years ago was a big time. 2010 was a really good time for you.
Alex: It was a good time for me.
Pauly: For me, bad time. Got through some lawsuits and shit.
Alex: Bad time. Sorry Paul. You want to talk about it?
Pauly: No, I don’t want to talk about it. This is about you.
Alex: I’d like to, cause I’m kind of bored with me.
Pauly: No, no, no. I … the good part about this interview, cause obviously I think of my audience listening to this. This is just kind of makes you to be like a normal person. Because people just see you on Hawaii Five-0. And they don’t know that you actually struggled and worked your way up, being a construction worker.
Alex: Dude I struggled so much.
Pauly: That’s what’s cool.
Alex: And by the way…
Pauly: People see you as this guy in this big show. Good looking dude. They don’t know the background.
Pauly: So that’s why I think this is cool.
Alex: Well it’s like Russell Crowe, you were mentioning before. Russell was in … I hope I meet him one day. He seems awesome. But he was … you know he came out in ‘Gladiator‘, way back when. And the whole…
Pauly: Amazing film.
Alex: Amazing. And the whole world says, “Who’s this dude?” And it’s like, “Oh, what a lucky break”. It’s like are you kidding me? The guy has been like …
Pauly: He’s been banging it out.
Alex: He’s been banging it out for years and years.
Pauly: So Jennifer Lopez, saw you. Did you audition with her?
Alex: No, I flew to… Her and Marc. She was still with Marc at the time. Who is a good friend of mine, still. I love Marc. And I flew up there to their place. Their beautiful place, in Long Island. And [clears throat]. Excuse me.
And I went to the house, and I met their kids, and met Marc. And then Jen and I sat in a room, kind of like this and just talked, you know, and riffed. And the director, to be, Alan … Alan was there with us. And we just chatted and laughed and talked. And then I ended up walking … I can’t remember really what happened.
I ended up hanging with Marc for a lot of the thing. Talking about his collection of ancient Greek plates and stuff, you know.
And anyway, I was like before I knew it I’d forgotten why I was there in the first place. And I was just having fun. Cause they are really cool people you know. You would never expect Jennifer, at that level of celebrity, to be so cool.
Pauly: Well she also started early, I mean.
Pauly: I’m the only one that had it handed to me. Your mom owns the comedy store, you can have it all. That’s another conversation.
Alex: Be funny. Just be funny.
Pauly: Just be funny. Well thanks for sitting down with us. I know, it got a little hot in here. But this was kind of a longer interview than most of my stuff. Because the angle on it is … yeah, it’s like almost 40 minutes. So the angle on it, is just like a guy, that’s just worked his way up to become. And now you’re on your own fucking show.
Alex: I do, I’m on my own show. It’s pretty awesome. Was it an interesting interview though? I feel like all the podcasts I listened to was really fucking interesting. I don’t know if this was interesting?
Pauly: I think it’s relatable. As far as interesting, I’ll just have to hear about that.
Alex: How do I become interesting? [laughs]
Pauly: I just have to … I have to hear what people have to say. I don’t know.
Alex: Okay. Will you let me know?
Pauly: Oh yeh, for sure. Well, I would twitter you, but you’re not on Twitter. But I’ll write at the production office at dah, dah, dah, PO Box 732 [laughing] Hawaii 95550. And tell Scotty Caan that he’s next.
Alex: Dude, I’m going to call him right now.
Pauly: Thanks for sitting down with me guys… oh not guys … guy, guy, guy. And good luck on the show. And I’m sure I’ll see you again.
Alex: Alright Pauly.