Meet the latest Aussie export to sweep Hollywood off its feet – say hello to all-around larrikin Alex O’Loughlin
3 May 2010
“There’s a saying, “Hollywood eats the weak” – and I’m still here, baby!”
jokes Aussie actor Alex O’Loughlin, who certainly thinks he’s made of the tough stuff. And he’d have little trouble convincing anyone otherwise. He’s come from hard times.
When Alex arrived in LA five years ago, he was hocking his stereo to get by, but those days are now far behind him. Today, he counts himself as a co-star to many of Hollywood’s A-listers, and as of May 20, he’ll be found wooing Jennifer Lopez on the big screen in The Back-Up Plan.
But don’t think life’s all smooth sailing for Alex, who left 12-year-old son Saxon back home in Australia to follow his dreams. The NIDA graduate, whose career thus far can be charted via a string of manly TV roles – including playing a surgeon on Three Rivers, a policeman in The Shield and a vampire detective in Moonlight – admits he found tackling his first leading man role in a rom-com, well, tough.
“It’s challenging to be charming … I find drama more natural,”
the 33-year-old says. Not even locking lips with J.Lo, who plays his character’s love interest, came easy.
In fact, Alex admits, puckering up to one of the world’s sexiest women, albeit one playing a slightly hormonal pregnant woman – J.Lo’s character Zoe meets her soul mate, Alex’s Stan, on the same day she’s been artificially inseminated – was “awful”.
Alex is, of course, joking – much like the larrikin did for most of his time spent bringing the light-hearted love tale to the screen.
“It was great, we had a lot of fun … there was a lot of outtake moments, where It was genuinely hilarious, and we couldn’t get our shit together and move on with filming until we went and got a coffee and calmed down,” Alex tells of time spent on set.
Coffee and couple talk are far from the kind of perks the man, who was once close to becoming the next James Bond before Daniel Craig shot that idea to pieces, had in mind when he signed on for stardom. But while he may enjoy playing the burly boys, the charismatic charmer he portrays in his latest flick is more true to life.
Striking up a friendship with the Aussie lad apparently comes all too easily to those who encounter him. J.Lo had her co-star over for tea, while Jonathan Rhys Meyers found his August Rush co-star friendly enough to invite him around to stay for good – for a short time the pair were roomies.
It’s not hard to see how Alex kept former Neighbours bombshell Holly Valance by his side for four years, despite his top priority being appeasing what he jokingly dubs his other “high-maintenance girlfriend”, his work. The pair parted ways early last year, but before excitement sets in, sorry ladies, he’s not single!
The TV remake of 70’s series Hawaii Five-0, in which Alex will play Detective Steve McGarrett, has the star’s full devotion at the moment. It also has him back in element. “
I’ve been getting thrown out of tanks, beaten around the island of Oahu … If I took my shirt off, I’d look like a beaten piece of beef,” he says of filming the show’s pilot recently.
Lucky for audiences then that his upcoming silver screen outing will involve prime viewing of the soon-to-be man of the moment – shirtless and with a six-pack. The star sat down to chat with OK! About his latest body of work, and was tough enough to admit playing the buff farmer opposite Miss Lopez can at times be faint worthy…
What attracted you to The Back-Up Plan?
Alex: You couldn’t make the movie 30 years ago. People would have been like, “I don’t understand what you’re talking about. What do you mean, artificial insemination?”
Today, I actually have friends who are single women who have made the decision. It was terrific.
He’s a great, well-rounded character, and it just made perfect sense. I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve played more villains than anything else. So this was the beginning of a new stretch that I’m really interested in.
And what about working with Jennifer Lopez?
Alex: Jennifer’s the queen of romantic comedies. She’s so comfortable and successful in this genre.
Before we did the film together, we met and had a cup of tea at her house in Long Island. I met the family. And we realised that we both were cool people and we got each other’s sense of humour. We understood that we could spend a bunch of time together and not want to kill each other.
To have a friend and a comrade as your co-star, especially in a romantic comedy, is really important. I learned a lot about the art of comedy from Jennifer.
What do you think it is about Australian men getting big roles in Hollywood?
Alex: I’ve always been asked the question, “What is it with Australian men?” It’s weird because most of my friends here are American men.
I think there are cultural differences. It’s a really American thing to wax your chest. As a man , it’s like, “Get rid of that unsightly hair.” In Australia, it’s like, “Mate what are you doing? Why would you do that? Doesn’t that hurt?”
You’re so buff in this film! Did it take a lot of work to get in shape?
Alex: I did get fit for the film. Our producer offered me a trainer and I was like, “No, I’m OK”, but he was like, “Take the trainer”, so I took the trainer and he’s still with me.
It’s a lot of what Jennifer [says]she went through after the birth of her children. I felt like I had just given birth. He was like, “You can’t eat anything but this. You’ve got to do what I say.”
So, along with doing the film, I did this disciplined workout regimen because every cheese farmer is ribbed and buff, and I wanted to be true to character because I’m method. But it took a lot of hard work to get there.
Is there still a six-pack?
Alex: No, I’m dating someone, that’s inappropriate, I’m not telling you. [Laughs]
Alex: Yes, there’s still a six-pack. OK, I think I answered your question.
Was it hard shooting the love scenes with Jennifer?
Alex: She was laughing at me. I don’t know what I had done. She had chicken in her hair. I was like, “Look, I don’t want to make love to you tonight. You’ve got a nugget in your hair.”
There was a lot of funny stuff going on. I don’t know if it’s different for guys than it is for girls. Sometimes people say men can switch up. But it’s very strange for me, especially knowing Jennifer’s married.
I made friends with Mark [Anthony, her husband]. He’s a great guy. There are so many reasons why it is weird. You just plough through it, try to make it as honest as possible, and then apologise profusely and get on with the rest.
What did you most identify with in the film?
Alex: I have a 12-year-old. I was there when he was born. He’s the center of my universe and always has been. I’ll never forget the day he was born. I kept it together. I was pretty good. I was supportive.
But really, that scene of the water birth, when Stan comes in and goes, “Oh, my God!”, that’s what was happening inside of me. I really think that’s what happens inside every man, when he witnesses childbirth.
It’s just like. “Please don’t faint. Dear Lord, what’s happening?” So, that was pretty funny.
If you were in the same situation as your character what do you think you would do? Run away?
Alex: [Laughs] I don’t know. Look, I believe that in life, love is everything. I believe that. I’m a father and I know that to be true.
Once you have a child, beyond love there is nothing. Nothing else matters. But I think I’m kind of a romantic and I’m kind of an idealist. I like to think that if two people want the same thing then it’s possible.
- Of course, like I have said so many times before with other articles – Alex and Holly only dated for a maximum period of 2 years & 8 months form June 2006 to Feb 2009. And not 4 years as mentioned in this article…