Alex O’Loughlin has been turning heads with the poster for The Back-Up Plan, the new romantic comedy in which he co-stars with Jennifer Lopez.
The hunky Australian actor – known for his television roles in Moonlight and Three Rivers – appears to be on the brink of major stardom with this film and his upcoming role of Steve McGarrett in CBS’s upcoming remake of Hawaii Five-0.
EDGE’s Jim Halterman spoke to O’Loughlin recently about starring opposite Lopez, manscaping in America vs. Australia and how getting in shape was like having a baby.
by Jim Halterman
22 April, 2010
“If I took my shirt off, I look like a beaten piece of beef,” said Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin during the recent press tour for the new movie he stars in with singer/actress Jennifer Lopez, The Back-Up Plan, which opens this Friday in theaters everywhere.
The sexy Aussie, however, wasn’t talking about getting beat up by Lopez (or her husband Marc Anthony) during his love scenes in the new romantic comedy from CBS Films. He was, instead talking about his latest role as Steve McGarrett in CBS’s upcoming remake of Hawaii Five-0
Finding a trainer
Before talking about leaping into an iconic television role, O’Loughlin wanted to stress that choosing to do this high profile movie with Lopez, who has made a solid movie career out of films in the romance genre like The Wedding Planner and Maid In Manhattan, was a no-brainer.
“Jennifer is the queen of romantic comedies,” he said. “She’s so comfortable and successful in this genre.”
O’Loughlin, who has been busy the last few years starring in short-lived television series like the vampire-themed Moonlight and medical drama Three Rivers (both for CBS), managed to learn a lot from his seasoned co-star.
“When it comes to cameras rolling and getting that timing right the only way to do it and do it well is to throw yourself into it and that’s what Jennifer does incredibly.”
O’Loughlin added that the two were able to break the ice over tea at Lopez and Anthony’s home in Long Island.
“I met the families and [Jennifer and I] realized we were both cool people and got each other’s sense of humor and we understood that we could spend a lot of time together and not want to kill each other.”
Working in O’Loughlin’s favor for landing the coveted role opposite Lopez may have also been his incredibly toned physique, which gets much screen time during the film.
As Stan, a cheese farmer who meets Lopez’s Zoe immediately after she’s given up on love and found out she’s pregnant via artificial insemination, the actor obviously didn’t play a character whose diet is primarily cheese.
“I did get kind of fit for the film,” the Aussie admitted sheepishly. “Todd Black, our producer, offered me a trainer and I said, ’I’m okay’ [but] I took the trainer and met this guy, Jeff Blair, who is still with me.”
Australian vs. American men
O’Loughlin compared his newly ripped body to his co-star’s comments about having a baby.
“I felt like I had just given birth! [Jeff] said, ’you can’t eat anything but this. You have to do what I say.’ So along with doing the film I did this kind of disciplined workout regime.”
Joking about his character’s profession in the film, he added that his strict workout and diet made sense
“because every cheese farmer is ripped and buff and I wanted to be true to character.”
While he looked very toned and sexy in his dress shirt and slacks during the press conference, O’Loughlin added,
“It took a lot of hard work to get there and you can rest assured that it’s all gone now.”
Asked about the differences between Australian and American men, the actor said there are definitely a few things that Aussies don’t understand like body hair removal.
“It’s really an American thing to wax your chest like ’Get rid of that unsightly hair!’ and in Australia it’s like ’what are you doing? Why would you do that? Doesn’t that hurt?’ There are a few differences that keeps us apart.”
Needless to say, O’Loughlin’s near-perfect body hair on his torso and its presence in The Back-Up Plan is undoubtedly going to gain him many more fans.
In terms of the love scenes between O’Loughlin and Lopez, both actors admitted the scenes are never comfortable.
“I think it’s different for guys than for girls,” he said. “It’s very strange for me especially knowing Jennifer is married.
I made friends with Marc the same time that I made friends with Jennifer. He’s a great guy.
There are so many reasons why it’s weird so you just plow through and try to make it as honest as possible and then apologize profusely and get on with the rest of it.”
However, O’Loughlin is more than just a pretty face and has studied in the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art in Kensington, a suburb of Sydney, Australia.
While The Back-Up Plan may be labeled a comedy, he was able to use some of his dramatic training in the role of Stan.
“I was trained in drama, went to theater school and started on the stage and comedy is absolutely the central part of what we do as actors but I think in the grand scheme of things comedy was born through tragedy.
First there were tragedies and then there were the comedies … I actually learned a lot about the art of comedy and romantic comedy from Jennifer in this process.”
While there were several appealing factors that played into his taking the role, O’Loughlin said that it was actually a change of pace for him as an actor.
“I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve played more villains than anything else and I love playing villains because I can just be evil and do whatever I want and they say ’That’s genius!’
This is the beginning of a new stretch that I’m really interested in for my own career.”
The actor may have to put his feature career on hold for a bit if the aforementioned remake of the long-running iconic crime drama Hawaii Five-0, which ran on CBS from 1968-1980, is a hit.
In talking about the fall television schedule contender, O’Loughlin had to choose his words carefully.
“I’ve been given direct orders not to talk about it,” he said, but he wasn’t shy about his feelings about being chosen to take over the role that made another actor famous back when the series was airing on CBS.
“I’m forever grateful and as an extension of that, being accepted to the point and loved to the point by you guys that I’m allowed to step into someone like Jack Lord’s shoes to play a character like Steve McGarrett in Hawaii Five-0 is massive for me.
It’s not lost on me the significance of that and it’s going to be good.”
When the television broadcast networks announce their fall schedules next month in New York City, Hawaii Five-0 has been said to be a shoe-in for a spot on the schedule.
“It’s the biggest pilot CBS has ever shot, I believe. It’s the biggest pilot I’ve ever shot.”
And, of the aforementioned beatings his body has taken lately, O’Loughlin said
“I’ve sort of been getting thrown out of tanks and beaten around the island of Oahu for a couple of weeks…
I’m very excited about it and I hope the fans enjoy what we’ve done.”