I think many of us know how wonderful it is to have lived through some hard times with a friend and then to be there to see them recover and succeed. Most of the time we only see the glamour of celebrities, but hardly see the side of them of where they suffer through difficulties and failures with their friends – those people who are part of their real lives.
Untill earlier this year, when we saw the first article about it, we never knew about the close friendship between Alex O’Loughlin and Luke Davies. Luke of course is a writer who was nominated for an Oscar in the USA and received the BAFTA in the UK earlier this year for the movie “Lion”.
This week Luke’s story was told on Australian Television. It also featured some recently taped footage of Alex sharing thoughts about his friendship with Luke.
Luke’s story of redemption not only ended with his recovery from drug addiction in 1990, but also now being successfully treated in the USA for Hepatitis C, all while becoming a sought after writer busy writing the next movie for Tom Hanks.
Of course for us as Alex O’Loughlin fans, the joy of the story is in it that together with Alex we can see one of his best friends, Luke, succeed in his career and recover from a life threatening disease.
Here is the story …..
From Luke Davies, Australian Story By Greg Hassall
How Lion screenwriter Luke Davies overcame addiction to become Hollywood hot property.
The global success of hit movie Lion has made screenwriter Luke Davies one of Hollywood’s hottest properties. But the path to success has not been an easy one.
An unhealthy fascination with drugs in his teens turned into an obsession by his early 20s. He and partner Megan Bannister plunged into a decade of heroin addiction, a terrible chapter in their lives that Luke would later immortalise in the novel, and then movie, Candy.
Megan – the real Candy – gives her account of those years for the first time on camera. Luke’s parents also speak for the first time about their anguish at their son’s decline.
In 1990, after a decade of despair, Luke Davies gave up heroin – a decision that probably saved his life and allowed him to realise his childhood dream of being a writer. Then in 2007 he left Australia to try his luck in Hollywood. After years of financial struggle he struck gold with his script for Lion, winning a BAFTA award and being nominated for an Oscar.
This remarkable story of redemption also features candid interviews with actors Dev Patel (Lion), Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver and Alex O’Loughlin, directors Neil Armfield and David Michod, and producer Emile Sherman.
Australian actor and Hawaii Five-0 star Alex O’Loughlin, with whom Davies has shared a house for the past eight years, saw that first-hand. “I watched him struggle financially, I watched him struggle emotionally,” O’Loughlin said. “It’s rare to hear Luke say, ‘I don’t know what to do — this is really hard’. And I heard that a couple of times.”
Here is a transcript and video of excerpts of the parts with Alex, from the ‘Australian Story’ Episode that was broadcast on 22 May 2017, tilted ‘Candy Man’.
Luke: The initial months or year or two of breaking into the business in Los Angeles was …. was really just a situation of abject failure. At every turn, with every … It was just a hassle and a scramble. Alex O’Loughlin was my really good friend and flatmate for all those years.
Alex: I watched him struggle financially. I watched him struggle emotionally. It’s rare to hear Luke say, “I don’t know what to do. It’s really hard”. And I heard that a couple of times.
Luke: It was like 20 or 30000 dollars’ worth of maxed out credit cards. It was the sort of $10 000 back rent owing to Alex O’Loughlin.
Then he won $80000 dollars with the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for poetry, that helped him to pay his debts and bills. And he got commissioned to write the screenplay for Lion, and the rest is now history…..
But he constantly felt tired and got bad news about the Hepatitis C, that he contracted in the early days while he was on drugs ….
Luke: Life was physically demanding. I was beginning to hear whispers from doctors that this was bad trouble on the horizon and that my liver was in a very bad state.
Alex: I was scared. I was scared that I was going to lose one of my best mates. I remember this one conversation we had out on the front balcony. We talked about the fact that he might die, you know. That this … that this could be … that this could be a reality, you know. And I was … I was really struggling to process this.
Luke: I got Writers Guild health insurance and that made it possible to get on this new wonder drug that is curing the world of Hep C. There was a six month treatment in 2015. And exactly a year ago, last month I learned that the treatment succeeded. Now I am understanding how sick I was for the last decade, because now I am feeling not sick.
Alex: I don’t want to say it like, “It’s a miracle”. But what if it is a miracle?
Link to Video:
A Big THANK YOU to Hawaii Five-0 Australia for sourcing and compiling this short video from the original TV program. We know how difficult it is to source something like this and then put it together for everybody to enjoy! Please credit them when sharing the video.
Here are some of the old article posted earlier this year that also talked about the fact that Alex and Luke shared a house LA since 2009 (most probably after his break-up with Holly early that year). Later on they also started sharing the house with fellow Australians David Michôd and partner Mirrah Foulkes, who we know as Ellie on Hawaii Five-0.
A living arrangement that seems to suits them all, as they do not all stay in LA on a permanent basis, but need some sort of home base when they are there.
From “Luke Davies on ‘Candy’, mature share houses, and the magic of Garth Davis” By Harry Windsor 20 February 2017 (Full article in the link)
Question: When did you move to the States?
Luke: After Candy I went to America to have a little exploration. I really don’t know what I was thinking. I thought maybe I’d get an agent or something. It wasn’t a grand plan. In April it will be ten years I’ve been in LA. The first five years were really difficult. I was poor and I really didn’t know if it was going to pan out.
In 2009 I started sharing a house with Alex O’Loughlin (Hawaii Five-0). Then David Michôd, who I had been friends with for some years, and his girlfriend, Mirrah Foulkes, started coming to LA around the time that Crossbow was suddenly leading to all this buzz and to David making Animal Kingdom. They’d be going to Sundance, or whatever, and they would stay at our place. We all got on and we became fast friends.
At a certain point we were like, ‘Why don’t we all get a bigger house? We come and go a little bit, and if there’s four of us it’s cheaper’. We started doing that six years ago and two houses later we’re still doing it. It’s a lovely house that’s kind of an oasis in Koreatown. It’s like a mature share house and it works (laughs).
And from “Keep ’Em on the Edge of Their Seats: For Lion Screenwriter Luke Davies, “Movies Must be Visceral and Emotional”
Luke Davies is a critically acclaimed poet, novelist, screenwriter and essayist born and raised in Sydney, Australia—and now the up-and-coming filmmaker (at the age of 54) can add Academy Award-nominated screenwriter to the long list of his accomplishments.
Question: Did David choose to stay in Australia while you decided live in L.A.?
Luke: We share a house in L.A. There are four of us. It’s a little Aussie gang, so I call it a kind of mature frat house. Somehow there are four of us. There’s David, his girlfriend—Mirrah Foulkes, she’s amazing, she’s an actor but she’s becoming more and more a writer and a director. Right now she’s just been shooting some stuff. She’s got a little role in The Crown.
And then the fourth guy is Alex O’Loughlin. He is the star of that CBS television show Hawaii Five-0, so he pays his rent on his room, which he uses like one month of the year. All of his stuff and furniture is still in the house.
He [Alex] and I shared a house eight of the 10 years that I’ve been in L.A., but he lives in Honolulu with his wife and kids and shoots that show for 10 months of the year. And so it’s this little Aussie gang. We all come and go.
Such an uplifting and great story of this miracle for one of Alex’s closest friends!
There was a whole gang of us in early recovery. We learned how friendship could be a protective force against the encroachments of relapse.
– Luke Davies, Australian Story, May 2017