Hawaii is not all fun in the sun ( #H50 article 2010)

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.’




Filed under Alex O´Loughlin, articles, Hawaii Five-0, Interviews

26 responses to “Hawaii is not all fun in the sun ( #H50 article 2010)

  1. First things first. LeiCa, have a very happy birthday! Wish I could send you a hug from Alex but alas you’ll have to do with mine LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Who Knew they didn’t like their job.No job is easy.But i still love the show and Alex.


    • Dq

      Oh dear, welcome to the “bitch and moan” club that every working stiff belongs to. Of course, that would apply to those of us lucky enough to have a job. I understand that the hours are long, but what about the 3 plus months of hiatus? No mention of that. Most people I know work hard all year with maybe 3 weeks of vacation and are lucky if they can save up enough money to spend 7-10 days (maybe) in paradise. Of course this interview was 7 years ago. It seems that Alex has grown enough to appreciate the steady work. I don’t pay attention to what SC says. In my opinion, any work he gets in front of the cameras is due to him riding the caboose of his fathers glory train. Sonny Corleone he is not. And, as an afterthought, how much money would it take for you to take your sunglasses off? As a disclaimer, let me assure you that I love Alex and wish he would take his shirt off more often. Who cares about the sunglasses. On…off, whatever.


      • joyfuljaj

        I agree with all you said. My job is exhausting but 1. I am employed 2. It is a really good fit for me 3. Work is tiring (not always an 8 hour day) 4. I get along with most of my coworkers. I accrue vacation time and don’t take nearly enough of it, but yeah, saving for a significant trip (and coordinating with someone else to save and do the same) is difficult. I do good if i can drive the 3 hours to the beach once a year. I know there are plenty of hard working people out there who don’t even get to do that. My parents never took vacations. As well, the rest of us mere mortals use vacation time to do house projects (there are paint supplies in my living room right now I need to schedule time off to use). I’m pretty sure those two can hire people to do that. I know that in more recent interviews Alex expresses how much he loves and appreciates his life. I am sure some frustration has come from the fact that he can’t do other projects in the time he has. Since I am his age, I can understand how the perspective of career ambition vs. personal life goals can shift as we age. I think he has come to realize what he truly finds important while knowing he can still pursue new career stuff after this H50 thing is done; he will never be able to get back this time he has for family. Who knows whether he knows (or cares) that his true fans love him all the more for his devotion to his family.
        I do agree I wish Alex had deeper stuff to deliver. Even the opportunities for that have been turned into schtick with the whole liver ordeal. Danny has become waaaay too much comic relief to the effect that it is neither comical nor a relief anymore.
        In Scott’s brutal honesty at least he also revealed he doesn’t have other offers. From what I know his other projects are pretty much self driven ( i have seen some of his appearances on some show but don’t follow anything). I kind of wish he would decide to fully pursue his writing and stuff since I don’t think he is a very good actor and he doesn’t seem to like it or the “trappings” that go with it all that much.
        It would have been interesting to be able to read vibes and body language of this interview. I have never seen Alex appear cynical although I know he has to have some major moments at times. His talent is so frequently wasted on this show. He brings all there is to bring to McG (and more than is given) and carries so much on the show. As has been said before, I just want a good future career for him.
        As an addendum, I am an “eyes” girl and love when he removes his sunglasses! I appreciate the fitness revealed when he goes shirtless, but those eyes enable him to get away with anything!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. mamayorkie

    The honesty in that article is amazing. While I appreciate Alex’s frustration with how shallow his character is written, I understand that the Network probably wanted to keep the reboot as close to the original as possible and that means McGarrett is still a boy scout. Scott seems to see taking the role as a necessity but certainly not a passion. I do not think that this post will make the McDannos very happy since they have a romanticized view of the characters and sometimes confuse the actors with the people they portray on the screen. SC may have initially had name recognition due to his father, but AOL became the star. I get the feeling that at least one of them would have been happier without a season 2 renewal. And yes, I agree that the work schedule must be grueling but for an actor, it is still a job and the reward is that paycheck they receive.


    • Yeah for some reason SC had always reminded me of Kiefer Sutherland. Kiefer said when he took the role of Jack Bauer on 24 he took it because he needed a paycheck. He figured the show wouldn’t last and had no idea it would be so popular. I think it lasted for 8 seasons and a few tv movies. I think to a lot of actors today or at least for the American actors the passion dies real quick once they learn about the business aspect and competition. One day you’re on top the next you’re not.

      Liked by 1 person

    • joyfuljaj

      When you watch early press for the show, Alex mentions a lot how this H50 is more character driven than other procedurals, and I guess things had not panned out the way he had pictured. He loves to become the character he is playing and that is difficult to do when writers/creators don’t give depth.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. mamayorkie

    Happy Birthday, LeiCA. May you have joy, happiness and lots of cake.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. DoubleL

    Whew, the boys were grumpy back in 2010! 😉 I doubt they were really that miserable. If they were, the show wouldn’t have lasted 7 more years. The sunglass comment was interesting, maybe that’s why it’s so rare for anybody on the show to wear shades?


  6. Sorry to be picky here The Straits Times (not you IS team), but a ‘subordinate’ is a secondary or lower level colleague, that would be Danny, the by-the-book cop.
    You can tell they were tired when they did this interview, it was posted in December, but they had been filming since July and at times working 6 day weeks, 12-16 hour days. Scott hasn’t really changed since this was done, but Alex embraces Hawaii now.

    Liked by 4 people

    • joyfuljaj

      I had the same immediate thought. I was concerned i had been defining subordinate incorrectly my entire life and was about to consult a dictionary.


  7. It’s the usual grumpy talk from SC. But it’s unlike Alex to speak like that.He must have been really exhausted.He sounds always so positive.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting take the boys had at the end of the first season. Both sound very tired and waiting to see where the chips fall.
    SC sounds the same today as he did then. He probably never thought this would still be going 8 seasons later. SC has always had “other” things he want’s to do.
    Alex sounds frustrated that TPTB won’t let him stray too far from the old procedural formula for fear the Old H5-O fans wouldn’t follow the new rebooted H5-0 and therefor sink the ship. Alex likes to put his twist on the characters he’s been asked to bring to life.

    BTW…HAPPY BIRTHDAY LeiCa! May you have a fantastic new year. ♥


  9. lindae5o

    Thank you Foyeur, for this article. I don’t blame Alex and Scott for being grumpy. This interview was done in the first season that featured the main four, before the producers were forced to hire all the extraneous characters, (some good, some not so good) in order to lighten the work load. Then Grace and Scott lightened their work load even more.
    Now, Alex seems happy to have another season, which I hope is the last. Who knows how the show will do without two key players. I hope fans will see the new characters as acceptable replacements.


  10. Cassandra

    I agree. This interview was done in the early stages of H50! I’m sure they were saying “what the hell”……..! Alex has certainly grown an affinity for the show as he has mellowed, has a family, and loves Hawaii as he so indicated in Watch!! He has worked his butt off on the show and as a result sustained serious injuries! I think with all that he obviously still loves the show or he would have called it quits!! I wouldn’t want to see him do more damage to that great bod😍😍but it’s very nice to still be able to see him in all of his beautiful glory!!❤❤❤
    Happy Birthday LeiCa!! Best wishes and enjoy!!!🌹🌷🌻🎂


  11. Great comments Ladies!! Lei Ca I add my Happy birthday wishes to you. have a wonderful day.


  12. kathysr

    It’s shocking to see how negative Alex and Scott both were, six months into shooting the first season of Hawaii Five-O. Alex’s negativity surprises me. I don’t know how CBS had presented the character to him, but once the series began, they must have severely restricted the emotional range of the McGarrett character. It must have been frustrating and unsettling to be told you’re playing the character the wrong way. Ouch.

    They’re both very tired here. I’m blessed to be employed and I work 40 hours a week. I don’t work 16 hours a day, six days a week, for a total of 96 hours every week with one day off. After a while you just get bone weary, punchy and exhausted. They were exhausted here. And they were both learning to adapt to the rules, rigors and restrictions of shooting a TV series. That first year can be a real shock, until you learn to adapt to the schedule and rhythm. Alex did mellow out and fall in love with Hawaii, becoming a great ambassador for his new home. Scott never did.

    I’ve always wondered why CBS hasn’t done more PR with Alex and Scott on Five-O. I think I know why now!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Jai-Jai

    Happy Birthday LeiCa x

    In the last few days I watched some season 7 eps again and then went back and watched the pilot and 2 other randomly chosen season 1 eps. Having not re-watched any season 1 eps for at least 3 years, what I immediately noticed was season 1 McGarrett’s complete lack of emotional depth other than being in p****d off mode. (Which although he’s kinda hot when he’s PO’d, does not make for good viewing if that’s all you see for most of the season). That said, I do definitely feel like there has been a fair amount of emotional growth between season 1 and season 7 McGarrett. I feel there’s been only a small amount of growth for Danny though, and the writers could have done so much more with him…. well, with both of them really. I love, love, love this show so much but also believe there is vast room for improvement in the quality of the writing. Especially in the last couple of years.

    I can understand Alex & Scott’s grumpiness in this interview from season 1. The first season of any show is probably *the* most testing time for everyone – both writers and actors alike – as they try to find the characters themselves and then have differences of opinion on said characters. It *had* to be majorly frustrating for an actor like Alex, who loves diving into his characters as much as possible, to have the writers/network insisting he dial back his interpretation of McGarrett. It’s one thing to write a character that looks good on the page, but it’s the performance of the actor that brings that character to life for the audience, and the audience’s response to the actor’s performance. I think TV writers sometimes have too rigid a view of how their characters should be played, quite often causing a disconnect with the audience, which is therefore detrimental to the show’s success. Sounds like there was a lot of rigidity from the writers/network in the first season.

    On top of that and the long hours/grueling physical demands of an action show like this – it’s possible Alex may well have been dealing with some anxiety due to being unsure over whether this show would fail to make it past the first season, like his 2 previous shows, Moonlight and Three Rivers. I know that aspect would have worried me enough to put me in a grumpy mood until that uncertainty was resolved. (I’m kinda going through that uncertainty now, I’m a civil servant and the department I work for is closing it’s office in my city next year, and moving all us staff to another office in the next city over. It’s a case of “do I leave a career I’ve had for nearly 20 years just to stay working in my own city, or do I stay and be forced to work in another city and have to commute? (which I don’t really want to do either of those things. Gah!”). The uncertainty of that is just killing me and has caused a major relapse of depression, so I’m guessing uncertainty over the future after season 1 would have played some part in Alex’s grumps.

    A lot has changed for both Alex & Scott since then and they’re both much more settled and happy in their personal lives now. That does have a positive knock-on effect on their work lives, in that now that they are more grounded and happy, it puts them more at ease in other areas of their lives. I think that ease does show through in the way they play their characters these days.

    McGarrett (and Danny) are my favorite characters, and I will be sad when they’ve left the show, but I can live with that. Alex & Scott having happiness within their family lives, is the most important thing. There will always be other roles/projects after H50.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kathysr

      I love your post, Jai-Jai and I agree with everything you said. McGarrett and Danny are my favorites, too. Alex and Scott were dealing with mental and physical exhaustion, anxiety about the future of the show, and probably feeling emotionally unsettled and homesick as well. They’d both moved to a new and strange place 2,000 miles away from their homes in L.A.. So both of them were dealing with a lot of emotional issues and frustrations. It was all brand new and strange.


    • mamayorkie

      Jai-Jai: Please don’t stress. Everything will work out for you, I know. By the time you have to make a personal decision about your career, you will know what you want to do. That’s how life works. One minute you are unsure and confused and suddenly a light bulb goes off and you see things clearly for the first time. Then you will know exactly what to do. Good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hmmmmm… it’s interesting how both Alex and Scott are venting about the characters’ storyline direction and that Scott is already fessing up to hating the long hours without a break. If that’s how Scott was feeling at the end of Season 1, imagine how he was after Season 5 when he got to take. 5 episodes or so in the last two sesasons.


    • Hi Obsessed
      Of course at the stage of this interview they did not even film half of season 1 yet. Most of the main story arcs only came in the second half.
      And contrary to what most people are reporting – Scott already started with a reduced filming schedule in the beginning of season 4. And he is nit just missing 5 episodes, his filming schedule equates to a lot more time not available for filming than just missing 5 episodes.
      And also Scott said in inteviews that he was reluctant to take the role. because his dad told him how grueling such a TV show will be.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for all the birthday wishes you crazy people… ❤
    Reading this interview I thought about this. The real Alex:

    "Whether I was working on a building side or auditioning or moving to the US, I’ve always done it with all of my heart. I don’t know how to do it any other way."
    "I learned to make a little sanctuary wherever I was."
    That's him. A lot of times it depends on you to become a happy person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At around the same time, Alex said his in an interview:
      The Australian actor, whose accent vanishes in front of the cameras, has said before that he values character development. At a recent dinner meeting with an executive producer, he got a sense of the story arc coming in the second half of the season. “I was very excited walking out of that,” he said. “There’s a lot of great stuff coming up for me.”
      “I think it’s becoming more and more fun for me to play,” he said. “In the beginning you find your feet, you find your balance — how am I going to do this? But now it’s at a place where I am pretty clear on Steve and how he moves and what his pure objectives are.”
      O’Loughlin says he’s searching for McGarrett’s humanity. “It’s been challenging,” he said. “More challenging than most of the characters I have played.”
      Makes a lot of sense ….

      Liked by 1 person

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