A pair Hawaii five-star blokes – January 2011

AUSSIE Alex O’Loughlin faced fears before his role in Hawaii Five-O.

The Advertiser, Sunday Mail

by Anooska Tucker-Evan

30 January 2011

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ALEX O’Loughlin and Scott Caan are the type of guys you want to have a beer with. The stars of the new Channel 10 series Hawaii Five-O are cheeky, with a dry sense of humour, quite flirtatious, and would be a lot of fun to hang out with at the pub. Joining them on set in Hawaii, you quickly see that it’s the pair’s blokey personalities that make them so perfect to play Steve McGarrett and Danno respectively in the reboot of the popular ’60s and ’70s cop show.

For Aussie heart-throb O’Loughlin, snagging the lead role of McGarrett was as exciting as it was nerve-wracking after the first two American shows he played leads in (Moonlight and Three Rivers) were axed. “I said to (CBS), ‘Don’t pull the pin on this. I’m not doing it if you’re going to pull the pin’,” O’Loughlin says. They were like, ‘We’re not going to pull the pin’, and I said, ‘Well show me’, and they did. They blasted it all over the world, on the sides of buildings there were posters, and it was incredible. They’ve put a huge amount into this show and I’m grateful – I’m grateful they stuck with it.”

And after watching the first two episodes, it’s easy to see why the CBS network in the US didn’t let it go. The new Hawaii Five-O is fresh, clever, slick and sexy, without any of the rigidness or corniness of the original. It’s a cop show, but it’s unlike anything on TV at the moment with honest scripts, sharp wit, incredible action scenes and some captivating performances. “It’s faster, it’s much more aggressive but, also, it’s much more than just a procedural show,” O’Loughlin says.

“The old Hawaii Five-O’s Steve McGarrett was a man without a past, he was the man on the job and he got the job done and that was it. My Steve McGarrett has a big past. His mother died, his father sent him away so he grew up in the military with a hardened sense of displacement that has sort of forged who he is as a man today. It gives him this edge. He doesn’t care about repercussions. He’s much more ruthless than Jack Lord’s Steve McGarrett.”

While what they are producing is quality TV, the cast, including Battlestar Galactica’s Grace Park and Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim, say it comes at a cost. Both O’Loughlin and Caan talk of having their lives consumed by the show. “I’m so tired, we all are, always, because there’s so much to do,” O’Loughlin says.

Caan, the son of Godfather actor James Caan, adds, “I don’t like the hours and I don’t like that it doesn’t give me the time to do the other things I really want to do. I don’t love being away from home for six months at a time but, you know … I love the opportunity.”

Helping make days which sometimes stretch to 15 hours easier is the closeness of the cast – especially between partners in crime-fighting, O’Loughlin and Caan.

“We have a ‘bromantic’ banter,” O’Loughlin jokes. And the action scenes also make work more like play. With gun-toting bad guys, edge-of-your-seat exchanges of bullets, dramatic car crashes and massive explosions, the action is more akin to a big budget Hollywood blockbuster than a TV show.

O’Loughlin has loved unleashing his inner-child, but Caan has been taking it easy after having surgery on a long-term knee injury. Caan seems somewhat discontent with his situation but says attitude isn’t a negative reflection on the show. “The second you get happy you get complacent and you get boring. I want the next thing and the next thing and the next thing,” he says. The original Hawaii Five-O ran for 12 seasons, but Caan says he can’t imagine being there for even seven. “I don’t think I could do it unless it became something that I was passionate about,” he says.

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O’Loughlin isn’t so fast to rule it out though. “Well, I’ve seen his contract and he’s not going anywhere,” O’Loughlin laughs. “The thought of being on a show for seven years is really scary to me because the most important thing to me is longevity of career and I think it’s true that you can get typecast in TV.

But I think if we get to seven years, by that stage we will both be producers. We will be running the show, making obscene amounts of money, and we’ll both be perfectly happy with the way things are going because we’d both have creative control.”

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My Thoughts

  • Four years down the line and I doubt if any of the actors will ever have any influence on the creative control of the show. And Alex and Scott are far removed from really knowing what the show looks like as a final product from week to week, I think.

10 Comments

Filed under articles, Hawaii Five-0, Interviews, Steve McGarrett

10 responses to “A pair Hawaii five-star blokes – January 2011

  1. Serai

    Seeing how the show has run out of steam after McGarrett’s daddy issues got wrapped up, I really don’t see it lasting seven seasons. They seem to be flailing around trying to find a new focus for the show. Kono has an interesting arc, but it’s a bit thin. There’s not much there to hang a series on. And straight procedurals like the original just don’t fly anymore – without arcs, viewers seem to lose interest these days. (I happen to think arcs are a good thing, by the way, but they’re tricky.)

    As far as Alex’s career, I really hope this series ends sometime soon. The longer he’s on it, the harder it will be for him to get away from being typecast as a meathead action guy. A steady job and good money can be great, but they can also be death to an actor’s versatility and range. If he gets complacent because he can keep his family in a good life, he risks losing the point of what he’s doing. Notice how he never says much about wanting to do lots of films and tell “millions of stories” anymore? He’s working at a factory with a good union job that puts his kids in school and keeps his car running, and maybe someday he’ll be promoted to a management position – how many people think that way and then end up on that assembly line for life? And what happens when they get fired because the factory closes down? How likely is it they can get any other job, now that they’ve been popping rivets so long? That’s the logic here, and it’s not different in the entertainment industry. *sigh*

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  2. lindae5o

    You make some valid points, Serai. While I’m half-way hoping this season will be the last, if the producers have created a new arch- villain, as seems likely, the show may have enough life for another season.
    Regardless, next season would probably be the last, if Alex has a six-year contract.
    Alex is a smart man, and I think he will do everything he can, to avoid type-casting. After HF-0, he can sit back and chill for awhile, and decide what to do. With support from his family, I’m certain he will make the right choices for his career.

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    • Sue

      Just don’t understand, why all the so called “fans” of the show, want it to end. All I read is the “fans” bashing the show, and hoping that it ends now, or after series 6. Why?
      I would be fine with them beating the old series record of 12 years.
      I think Alex, and certainly Scott, who is never around, are very able to take opportunities, in the off season.

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      • Serai

        I’m not a fan of the show. I’m a fan of Alex, and I don’t think the show’s good enough for him (or Scott, DDK, or Ms. Park, either). I mean, it’s technically well-made and looks great, but I find the writing pedestrian and the concept problematically propagandizing. I would never have watched it at all if it weren’t for Alex. He deserves better than this, in my opinion.

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      • I wouldn´t say I am a fan on H50, I do however support Alex´s career. But I think he is a much better actor and needs better scripts to work on. I don´t think he is challenged enough as Steve McG. I truly hope the show doesn´t go on to 12 years, or even close to that. I want to see Alex do other characters sooner rather than later. However, if he is happy to play Steve for longer, that has to be ok with me too.

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    • Serai

      I hope so. The problem is he can’t do anything about type-casting, except to avoid taking the kinds of roles that lead to it – and this one is *definitely* the kind of role that can typecast an actor, especially after being in it for years. A lot of people in Hollywood can be unbelievably obtuse that way. They’ll look at an actor and judge his ability to do *this* role not by his talent, but by what he did *last* time. It’s stupid (there’s a reason it’s called ACTING, jeez), but there it is.

      Look at William Shatner (yeah, I know) – he spent years living out of a station wagon trying desperately to get any job possible to feed his family because everyone thought he could “only” be Captain Kirk or TJ Hooker. Then somehow he landed the spokesperson gig for Travelocity and WHAM – everyone realized the guy’s really funny! And hey, he can do things other than fight and give orders! Imagine that! This about a classically trained Shakespearean who’d had a very nice career doing television and films before Star Trek. The wrong role can torpedo a career for decades, if not permanently. Hell, George Reeves committed *suicide* because nobody wanted to see him do anything other than Superman. (An extreme example, but I hope it proves my point.)

      Alex really needs to do something diametrically opposed to McGarrett next time. Something funny, something dark, something romantic, something insane – ANYTHING but another cop. If I were his manager, I’d tell him not to play one ever again – but I’m not, so… let’s hope for the best.

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      • gracenotpark

        I think many of us are torn on this issue. I agree the writing on Show has really nose-dived, and I’m not sure Lenkov even has the will, much less the skill, to fix that. So it isn’t giving Alex any range, or even any interesting stories, to act this season…aside from that whole WoFat ep and maybe his barber friend one. So we’d like to see him. I’ve on and prosper elsewhere. But he seems so happy with the wife and baybees in Hawaii, and he’s getting well paid…so maybe he’s cool with the drudgery of the scripts.

        My personal favorite compromise is Alex take off more time to do a film…which means I would not watch those eps of Show, cos he’s the only reason….and then return to Show and get some meaty, McG focussed stories. Probably won’t happen, but a fangirl can dream…. 😉

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        • Serai

          That is, of course, an excellent compromise, but I’ve gotten the impression that the show is so consuming that there just isn’t any opportunity to do that. (After all, he hasn’t so far, and it’s been five years already.) It may well be that his whole life focus has changed from “how can I get the best jobs and be the best actor” to “how can I make the best life for me and my family”. Wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened to an actor. And that’s fine, nothing wrong with course corrections, and Goddess knows Hawaii does seem to be the perfect place for him. I hope he’ll be able to walk away from this job into another great role, and not end up with that gun glued to his hand for the rest of his life. :/

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