Hawaii Five-0 stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan are polar opposites only on screen – one is a by-the-book cop, the other his loose-cannon subordinate. The two in fact share the same policy of brutal honesty. So honest they are, they make it sound like their participation in a second season of the new hit show might be up in the air
The Straits Times
4 Dec 2010
By Tiffany Fumiko Tay
Two issues are driving their discontentment: long working hours and the direction of the show.
During a mid-day break from filming in Honolulu, the no-nonsense duo quickly quash the perception that being a part of a hit TV show that is located on the sandy shores of a popular holiday destination is anything but dogged work. ‘There’s no time off, so you see people more grinding and grumpy than having a great time,’ says Caan, son of veteran actor James, who plays hot-headed cop Danny ‘Danno’ Williams.
‘Nobody’s doing an hour show and going like ‘This is the greatest thing in the world’. It’s not. Your life is gone when you’re doing a show like this, so the goal is to get through it.’
The pressure of delivering hour-long weekly episodes, working 16 hours a day, six days a week, is beginning to show in the circles under the 34-year-old’s blue eyes. He adds: ‘The no-time-off drives me crazy. That’s my fight if it goes another year, because I need to do the other things I like to do. It’s sort of unhealthy doing this show.’
For a moment, he sounds like his Hawaii Five-0 cynical tough guy persona, who refers to the island at one point as a ‘pineapple-infested hellhole’. Both real and reel men also feel like a fish out of water on the laid-back island and miss the chaos of the city.
But Caan quickly qualifies, saying: ‘Don’t get me wrong, I love the show, but I get asked questions and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do – I’m too honest to bull****. I’m an artist and I’m an unhappy artist most of the time, it’s just how I am.’
Equally unhappy and not afraid to show it is Australian actor O’Loughlin, who plays straight-edged task force leader Steve McGarrett. Like Caan, he is emphatic that Hawaii Five-0 is a tough gig.
‘You move away from your family and friends to a small island where everyone knows your business and the time you’re not at work, you’re at home studying for the next day. Even when the red carpet stuff comes around, you’re so tired you don’t even want to go,’ he says.
The more important bone of contention for him is the development of his character. He would like McGarrett to possess more depth, while, he hints, the producers prefer to adhere to the tried- and-tested money-making method of standard procedurals.
Finding the opportunity to express emotion while staying within the boundaries of the rigid hero is tricky, O’Loughlin, 34, admits. ‘I’m the first one to say please let him kill someone or do something naughty,’ he says.
‘Taking off my sunglasses like this,’ he adds, mimicking David Caruso’s much parodied idiosyncracy in CSI: Miami, ‘is bull****, and I will never do it. Ultimately, what it comes down to for me is character. They’ve tried to take it away, and I’ve been like a baby with a rattle.’
Caan is backing up O’Loughlin, whom critics say he has eclipsed in the show. ‘It’s obviously a nice thing to hear, but people overlook that Alex’s job is a lot harder than mine,’ says the stocky, square-jawed actor.
‘He’s not allowed to have fun. Every time he does something loose, they’re like, no, that’s not McGarrett. So I’ve sort of been set up to be the guy that has fun and makes the show light, and you always win as that guy.
‘I think fewer and fewer people want to see ‘CSI: Hawaii’. They (the producers) should see that this show doesn’t need to be so procedural,’ adds Caan with a tinge of frustration.
In an attempt at damage control, he reiterates that he does not mean to diss the show, and confesses that he struggles with the limitless boundaries of his honesty. And then he makes another all-too-frank announcement.
‘Oh and by the way, I don’t have the cinema career that I want anyway. I don’t get offers to be in movies starring opposite the people I want. This show to me was the best offer I’ve gotten in a really long time. So I’m lucky to have this job. I’m humbled, but I’m not gonna be happy.’