Another great interview with Alex – March 2018.
We think that he gives a lot of good answers to some of the questions and assumptions that have been hanging around the fandom this week. And there are not really any biased assumptions and statements by the interviewer – only clear answers by Alex. Although I guess many would find some sort of way to twist it again to suit their gripes …..
Alex O’Loughlin Reveals Why He’s Changing His Tune About Leaving ‘Hawaii Five-0’ (Exclusive)
The 41-year-old star, who has valiantly led the Five-0 team as Steve McGarrett, makes his directorial debut with Friday’s season eight episode of the CBS action drama, stepping behind the camera for the first time in his career.
In the installment, titled “E Ho’Oko Kuleana (To One’s Duty),” the ex-wife of the man who shot Danny (Scott Caan) in an early season eight episode finds her way to Oahu, kicking off a slew of flashbacks to a time when the actions of a younger Danny, living in New Jersey at the time, helped save her life. While Danny’s past comes back to roost, Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Junior (Beulah Koale) patrol the island, providing levity to an action-packed hour, and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) is framed for the murder of the crime boss he’s been hot on the heels of.
Ahead of the episode’s premiere, ET jumped on the phone with O’Loughlin for a candid conversation about his directorial debut, why he’s backtracking on comments he made about his desire to step away from Hawaii Five-0 after the current season and the “trickiest” part about directing himself.
ET: Friday’s episode of Hawaii Five-0 marks the first time you’ll be credited as a director in your career. How would you describe the experience stepping behind the camera versus being in front of it?
Alex: It was super exciting. It was very different in the sense that when I’m in front of [the cameras], I try to make all the cameras disappear and all the strange people holding things around me just go away. That suspension of disbelief that’s required as an actor to live truthfully in imaginary circumstances is different to what needs to happen as a director, in the sense that you are the master of all the moving parts. You create the world in every detail. But it was thrilling. It was fantastic. It’s something I really hope I can do more of in my life because I enjoyed it very much.
ET: You’ve been working in the industry for a while. Why did now feel like the right time for you to take the directing plunge?
Alex: I think my career is still a work in progress. There are many things I want to do, so many people I want to work with, so many different opportunities out there as an actor. It’s a really good question. Fundamentally, on this show, it took me years and years and years to get my workload down to a point where I could even conceptualize doing something like directing, because it takes a lot of time and a lot of energy.
I know myself — I don’t do anything half-a**ed — so I think I did a hundred prep hours on this thing, almost like a bit of a psycho; I was a little OCD with it. It was by chance that [the opportunity] came this late on this show. When I started, I don’t think I was ever a good actor — I’m not saying I’m a good actor now, but this show has been a master class in acting. I think I’ve grown as an actor on this show, [and] I wanted to do that first.
ET: What was the most challenging part about directing?
Alex: The trickiest thing for me was dealing with myself, to be totally honest. I didn’t do as much acting preparation as I would’ve liked to or as I always do, so I was a little frustrated as an actor and also as a director. I was sort of racing back and forth from when I’d act a scene and then I’d call “cut” and then I’d race back to the monitor to watch the playback of my work, which I didn’t really care about. I just wanted to get me out of the way so I could focus on all of these great actors I was working with. I was annoyed at and with myself. [Laughs] But everything else was great.
ET: This may be a difficult question for you to answer, but how is Alex the director different from Alex the actor?
Alex: That’s an interesting question. There are some big differences. When I’m working as an actor, I want to be left alone and I have to go inward to get to the work that I’ve done, if that makes sense. But as a director, I’m much more gregarious and running around [on set] — “Hey, I’m so glad we’re doing this!” — fiddling with all the cameras and lights. It’s not that I feel more like a collaborator when I’m directing, but I feel like the collaboration when you work as an actor is more unsaid, it’s more unsuspecting. You are a cog in the machine and you just focus on your part. As a director, you’re focusing on all the cogs and on all the sums of the [whole] part.
ET: You had the opportunity to direct major emotional beats in the episode, as well as a big action sequence and flashbacks with Scott. What was the most difficult for you to execute?
Alex: The action’s second nature to me. I know how to do action and make it action-y. [Laughs] The thing that was most exciting to me was working with actors. Working with [guest stars] Joanna [Christie] and Daniel [Kaemon] was great. To have the permission to climb down into the foxhole with these actors where they live and do all their hard, dirty, emotional work and sit with them quietly and go, “Hey, listen, how do you feel about this? Do you trust me to take this [scene] this way?”
That sort of stuff was really beautiful because I’ve had that relationship from the other side with a handful of wonderful directors over the years who care about the human condition. I care about story, man. I care about the human journey. To have these amazing actors give me the encouragement to be a part of what they’re doing, to help them make choices, that was really, really amazing and very fulfilling.
ET: We also see McGarrett playing the guitar early on in the episode, which is a nice nod for fans of the show, and you get to share the scene with Jimmy Buffett. Talk me through filming that moment.
Alex: Oh yeah, that was rad! [Laughs] It’s funny, that Portuguese guitar — I’ve played guitar my whole life, but that was impossible to play. So someone had to come in and string it like a normal guitar because none of us [had experience playing it]. I cheated a little bit and had them restring it so I could play it like a human. That was fun. It was a bizarre, funny little moment to have Jimmy Buffett with his bare feet up in McGarrett’s office. It was nice. For the most part, it’s a pretty dense, serious episode, so those little parts are deeply important relief moments.
ET: In the April 13 episode, McGarrett’s ex, Catherine, comes back into the fray. What can you tease about Michelle Borth’s return?
Alex: It was great to see Michelle and it was cool to pick up where we left off. It’s a great action, travel-y episode with McGarrett and Catherine. It’s also nice to see these two sharing the same space for a minute and to explore how they feel about each other, how everything is cool [between them].
It was weird for a minute, the way she left — somebody who’s about to get proposed to and they choose an allegiance to the government and national security. It was a big blow for McGarrett. I think this episode served as a gentle closure and reinstated the friendship between the two of them, which was really important.
ET: Last time we spoke, you were adamant about Hawaii Five-0 season eight being your last. We’re now approaching the end of the season. Do you still feel the same way about your future on the show?
Alex: I’m opening the door a little bit. A big part of this is that my back injury is doing a lot better after my stem cell treatments. It’s a big deal when you hurt your spine; it’s one thing to get your teeth knocked out or have torn ligaments and tendons, but that injury really scared me.
A couple of years ago, part of my reality was if this stays this way, I can’t [do this anymore]. What are going to do, Ironside? Put me in a wheelchair? That sort of shifted a little bit. It’s the end of a very long season and we’re almost at 200 episodes. It’s tough for me to think about coming back to work right now, but I’m open to negotiations. I haven’t heard much but yeah, I’m open to it.
ET: Could there be a situation where former stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park returned at some point for a final farewell? Has there been any internal talk about that?
Alex: I haven’t listened to any talk about any of that stuff. All I know is they left and we got two new fantastic young actors who want to be here. It’s sort of made a massive difference on the show. We had a long relationship with those other guys and they decided they didn’t want to be here anymore and now we’ve got two people who want to be here. I don’t know what it’s like on the outside and I don’t read all the news either, but from the inside, it’s been a charming adjustment. That’s probably part of why I’m more open to coming back as well.
ET: So you’d be interested in discussions for a potential ninth season? (Note: CBS has yet to renew Hawaii Five-0.)
Alex: I’m way more open than I used to be but again, I don’t know if we’re even close to making a deal so it still might not happen. So we’ll see.
25 responses to “#AlexOLoughlin is adding another title to his all-encompassing #H50 resume.”
“IT STILL MIGHT NOT HAPPEN?????????????
Lol! I read that comment as his lawyers/agents told him to stop giving away all of his negotiation power. Of course, I could be wrong (I was wrong about Grace & DDK, I thought they’d be back!).
It sounds like the next few episodes will be better than what we’ve got so far in season 8. I’m looking forward to the next two, 8.20 (even if I don’t like Cath) and especially 8.24. 🙂
This was definitely more straight forward than that other interview. It was just a series of questions and no manipulation of the answers. At least he set to rest the negative comments of some the super fans. It’s what many of us have been saying all along. He likes Michelle and enjoys working with her.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around “charming adjustment”.
That was an interesting choice of words, wasn’t it? 😉
Oh yes. So much said with so few words.
Another great interview, thank you for posting it. From what I’ve read on other sites, both Grace and Daniel had told the producers that they were leaving at the end of Season Seven. Daniel had huge other projects to do. I’ve read that both actors asked to do a few episodes but wanted to be paid the same salary as Scott and Alex. Producers said no.
Grace emotionally checked out a long time ago and was phoning it in the past few years. Daniel’s storylines were drying up, too,as they should be if both actors had given notice that they were leaving. I suspect that Grace was working a schedule like Scott’s, which meant shooting schedules had to be juggled around TWO actors who were gone a lot, which was hugely stressful for the rest of the cast.
For all those reasons, it was a blessing that they left. The emotional heart of the show was growing really cold, blah and boring. Enter two new young actors who are thrilled and eager to be on the show, who have wonderful talent, and who bring a whole new energy, excitement and sense of fun to it.
As Alex said in one of his interviews at SOTB, this year is a “breath of fresh air.” So, it really has been a charming adjustment for him. I sense that he really likes both new actors. He’s such a wonderful guy, he adapts and adjusts to whatever the new reality is. For me the new cast members have breathed new life into the show. I hope we do get Season Nine. Sounds like it’s up in the air right now, if Alex hasn’t been approached yet to sign for another year. But the numbers are good, so CBS, go for it!!!
Fingers crossed for Season Nine!
How interesting to know from this multi-talented artist how differently he approaches his work as an actor, a story-teller & a director. He does know what he’s talking about! And sorry to hear about his back. It’s worse that I realized. A spinal injury is a really serious issue.
Team Alex all the way I’m never giving up on him we need Alex and season 9 of Hawaii Five 0
I would like to declare March 30th,2018 as Alex O’Loughlin day enjoy Alex fans I love all of you
I have nothing constructive to say except I LOVE that 1st photo. He is so goofy.
Great interview. And thanks for the great pics. Here’s hoping for a 9th.
Thanks, Paula. This interview has been somewhat reassuring. Alex had said in earlier interviews that he might stop acting, but it’s good to read here that there are many more things he wants to do as an actor, and people he’d like to work with. Please stay safe and well, Alex. That is the most important thing.
Alex you have been a wonderful actor, in all your work. I think you will also be a great director. You have an interesting way at looking at life, and I admire you for it. I don’t think you will ever change, but only get better as you go through life.
I love Hawaii 5 O. Never miss a show. Would love an autograph picture of cast. Have question. When will Kona return,. I miss her?
Thank you! Love the interview…folks are working on Magnum so they are a little distracted on working on Season 9 proposals now. 😉 (jk)
Sigh, now Peter has THREE shows to distract him! I’m wondering how filming two prime time series will work on Oahu. Just make sure you don’t get into each other’s shots!
The shows have not been renewed for the new season yet.
And Magnum PI has not even been seen by the network yet – they still need to like it enough to pick it up for the new season as a series. Still a long way to go for that to be confirmed
And I think many of the show-runners (people like Shonda Rhimes and Dick Wolf) have a number of projects running at the same time. And they are very successful with all of them.
Why should these shows compete with CBS if they are on another network?
Do not understand the question about CBS and other networks completely. But I guess this will kind of answer …..
I did not say any of the Shonda Rhimes or Dick Wolf shows are competeing with Peter’s shows.
I was responding to this: “Sigh, now Peter has THREE shows to distract him!” and I said that both the other producers and others, have many shows running at the same time successfully, and it should not be a problem for Peter to do the same – to have more than one or two projects at the same time.
Has there been any news of Blue Bloods being renewed? That could change the Friday night lineup/
What I mean is if that if BB show is cancelled, then Magnum PI could be picked up and put there. Or they may choose another night and cancel something else.
Yes, that is what they do – shows get cancelled and new shows get picked up for every night. It all depends on which ones make money and which ones they think can make money.
Many pilot episodes for new shows are made each year, but not all are picked up by the networks.
BUT, I think Magnum PI was kind of commissioned by CBS – and might therefore be a sure thing.
I will bet good $ that Magnum PI will be picked up since they think PL works magic with reboots (and to be fair, he did come in to save MacGuyver by re-doing the whole thing for CBS when they were unhappy with the original pilot). Next they will reboot JAG. As long as they stay away from M.A.S.H. I can adjust to anything.
I can relate mamayorkie !! M.A.S.H. is my all-time favourite show, particularly the first three seasons with Wayne Rogers. They’d better never mess with it.
I really fell in love with Alex! 4300 pics I took of him . Georgous I really miss the show and him I watched every show and rerun. Now I see pics of him and he changed a lot older and gray! But that’s life! I wish him the very best!Hey, you still got hair..and a beautiful family! Love you and the show. I looke everyday for news and pics of your younger days! Wish you the best !!!!! Cheryl D. From N.J.