Five-O What’s New for Season 2
In a world exclusive, the stars of the hugely popular Hawaii Five-0 – it’s in 200 markets – talk about themselves and the second season
Last time we saw the Hawaii Five-0 team, things weren’t looking good. Kono was arrested for stealing $10 million from the evidence locker. McGarrett has been arrested for two murders, including the governor’s. Danny is making plans to leave the island with his pregnant ex-wife. And Chin Ho is back with HPD. Basically there is no Five-0.
What’s a poor fan to do?
Well, you crank up the volume and blast that infectious theme song because planes will soon be depositing fellow Hawaii Five-0 fanatics from around the globe, and you can bet they’ll be staking out prime sand space even the night beforehand. In other words, the Waikiki Beach Season 2 premiere is at hand!
Before the global media descend on our hanai Five-0 family, they give MidWeek this season’s first sit-down with the lead cast a world exclusive for a show seen in more than 200 international markets.
Today they’re shooting episode 4. Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan and Daniel Dae Kim are on set, but the lady next to them isn’t Grace Park. She’s the team’s new addition, blond bombshell Lauren German (Happy Town, Hostel: Part II).
“Quiet on the set. Action!” The dogs also obey, quietly lying down-all three leading men have settrained pooches. Two minutes later the sudden bustle and hubbub indicate that the scene has ended and O’Loughlin, all smiles and energy, runs over.
He’s quick at mastering accents and is disarmingly affable. Though expected, his Australian accent is still surprising, “All right, ask me a question.” And that’s how it goes … a few words with him between takes. He’s on set five to six days a week, filming 12 to 16 hours at a time (one day equals five to seven minutes of broadcast time). Today he has 12 pages of script to memorize.
How do you rise to the challenge of such a demanding filming schedule, particularly on a “down” day?
McGarrett demands a huge amount of energy. He’s a crazy guy. He’s always ready for anything. If you play a character like that, you can’t pull it down to your level. You’ve got to reach up and you’ve got to be on. He’s one of those guys who could very well die early in life because of the choices he makes, for the right reasons. Some days it’s exhausting and it’s like I don’t want to play McGarrett today, I want to play Danny or Kono (laughs).
Where do you get your intensity and find your inspiration?
I was taught by very passionate people and I am a passionate person. I was taught that passion is either constructive or deconstructive. I keep trying to build on that and be constructive. If you don’t approach a character passionately, if you’re not trying to elevate the material then you’re probably in the wrong job. I want to be better each day.
When you’re watching yourself on “Hawaii Five-0,” how much self-critiquing goes on?
I hate watching it. I walk away a bit fractured after seeing myself. It’s kind of like when you hear your own voice on an answering machine.
How do you feel about the Season 2 premiere vs. Season 1?
I’m more excited this year. I know my character so well and I know that people like the show. Last year I didn’t know what the were going to think. The first episode this season is not going to disappoint on the big screen, it’s really good.
(To decompress, O’Loughlin goes surfing as often as possible. As for fans, he says he reads all the letters a herculean feat unto itself!)
Conversation with Caan is a volley of one-liners, like he’s fighting to deflect all the attention, all the while an ironic glint sparkling in his exquisite blue eyes. Rather than skip off to take his turn at chess or Scrabble against Kim in between shooting (at the moment they’re tied), he sits down with MidWeek.
You practice jiujitsu. Any other amazing talents?
I don’t know if any of them are amazing, but I do a bunch of stuff (hip-hop, photography, surfing, golf).
When you were nominated for the Golden Globe, who was the first person you called?
I don’t know if I called anyone, but it was like 5 in the morning and there were a couple people staying at my house. I woke them all up.
Do you ever get acting advice from your father, the great James Caan?
I give him advice (laughs).
Do you have a say in the plot-line?
I have a say, it’s just nobody listens to me.
How do you feel about Season 2 thus far?
I like it better. And there are new people on the show who are awesome. It’s great to have new people. It kind of separates the workload a little. I’m definitely more settled into being on a television show. Last year I was frantic about everything and now I’m more relaxed.
What’s your ideal fan? Do we say hi or leave you alone?
Everybody complains about being bothered (by fans), but if they weren’t bothered they’d probably go home and be upset. The perfect fan would have a pen and a paper rather than a camera. Because sometimes I don’t have my hair “did,” you know? (laughs)
Is it pretty easy to fall into character at this point?
I try to do myself as much as I can, so falling into character is not a big stretch. I’m just doing myself with a slight Jersey accent.
Do we get to see you loosen up your tie a bit?
Look, I’m not even wearing a tie. I don’t wear a tie this season. I’ll be nude by Season 4.
German’s slender figure breaks into a graceful swing dance between takes. Right now she’s relaxing beside Caan.
Was it intimidating joining an established cast?
Everybody was lovely and welcoming. I was more intimidated with do I look believable holding a gun?
Any special preparations?
A lot! I’ve been working with our gun props guy who I believe is an ex-Marine and our Navy SEAL guy, and I’ve been training with a martial artist.
Tell us about your character.
Thus far Lori (Weston) comes from a detective, profiling and homeland security background, and she’s assigned by the governor to be the new cop in the Five-0 task force. She’s thrown in there with McGarrett and all the boys, but she knows her stuff and she’s a tough cookie.
Isn’t she a love interest for McGarrett?
I heard that might happen in the beginning, more so than I’m hearing it now. For now, there’s more of a work chemistry and mutual respect between Lori and McGarrett. As an archetype Lori is sort of not a female version of McGarrett, he’s the head honcho but she can really go toe to toe with him. They think in similar ways, really respect one another and they have a good sense of humor with each other.
What have you enjoyed most about Hawaii?
One thing that really helped me settle in here was getting my rental car. Most people talk about the North Shore, but I like going to the East shore and getting in the water for a nice swim, or I’ll drive somewhere and then just walk and look at the beautiful scenery. I like to explore and go on hikes. The boys think I should take surf lessons, which I think will be an absolute pear-shaped debacle, but I’ll give it a shot.
The man who plays our favorite quirky morgue expert, Doc Bergman, pops onto the set for a moment even though he’s not shooting today. He agrees to sit down for a chat.
Did you visit a real morgue to prepare for your role?
The biggest preparation was just going through my old chemistry and biology books and trying to get those tongue twisters down because there’s a lot of scientific jargon. It is literally speaking a foreign language.
Are you as quirky as your character?
I guess with enough booze anybody’s quirky (laughs). With any character you play, there’s definitely a piece of you in that character. It’s just a portion of you that’s really heightened and exaggerated.
What’s been a highlight of your time in Hawaii?
The people are very warm, the locations are beautiful, the ocean. Last weekend I had an opportunity to go to the Big Island and I went up Mauna Kea that was amazing.
We’re going to see a lot more of you now as a series regular in Season 2. Has your role in Season 1 already garnered a lot of attention from fans?
People still recognize me from Heroes, but now people are starting to recognize me from Hawaii Five0. It’s interesting to see that transition. In Hawaii I get fans from Japan and America, so I get bombarded from both sides.
We’ve been told Park is currently at home in Canada, but suddenly she materializes on set, fresh from a workout, and invites us into her trailer. She’s all bright eyes and dimples. With her lengthy but sturdy stature and broad shoulders which are nevertheless gracefully feminine. She’s mesmerizing.
How did you feel when Season 1 ended in a sad state of affairs for all of the characters?
That’s so funny. I actually haven’t seen that last episode yet and I can see how a viewer might see it as sad, but when I read it and when we shot it, it was more like one bomb dropping after another a lot of cliffhanger stuff.
What can fans expect of the Season 2 premiere?
I think fans are going to be pleased with where we pick up. It’s not going to be “two years later.” We pick back up so you can find out what happens to the team. But it’s not like we just tie a neat bow on it. It’s regular Five-0, it’s not going to be simple.
When you watch the show, who do you watch it with?
When I first started watching, it was with friends who all work on the show. We all came from different departments some from camera, sound. People would be going, “Oh my god, that episode was great, your hair was perfect!” (laughs), and the last thing I’m thinking about is my hair.
Then we stopped getting together every week, so I watched it on my own. But every time the teaser finished, the theme song played really loud and my balcony windows were open so I’d have to run and put the volume way down. I felt all embarrassed with my neighbors like, “What is she doing watching her own show up there late at night?”
What did you do while on hiatus? I went traveling to Morocco and Turkey.
Did people there recognize you? Nobody in Morocco. I was thrilled. But then just two weeks ago the people I was hanging out with there were like, “We just saw you on the show, send us a photo.” So I guess it just hit maybe.
Do you get as big of a fan response in Canada as you do in Hawaii?
I feel like in Canada they’re more restrained and they give you your space. Americans are more on the side of friendly. In Canada it’s more “Excuse me,” versus “Hey, it’s Kono!” Or sometimes (in America) they’ll start yelling my name. No one yells my name in Canada. But there’s a lot of novelty to the show. There’s certainly a wide-eyed sense to people when they mention the show.
How do you stay physically fit for your role?
When there’s a stunt scene coming up, if you don’t train the scene’s not going to look as good and you might injure yourself a little. I always want everything to look good and be done as well as it can. We just hired a stunt guy who’s a championship martial artist. My repertoire for martial arts is like zero (laughs). People are like you’re Asian, don’t you know?
Did you have a favorite episode last season?
I really liked the first episode back after the pilot. It was fun doing a kick-ass fight sequence two girls fighting, ending up in the pool, no bikinis in sight or bubbles or carwash. It’s just a full on fight. I was scared when I read the script, I was like I don’t know how to do this. It feels good to accomplish something that you’re scared of.
How is the new dynamic with Lauren German in the show?
I haven’t actually met her yet, but I really like the way they write for her.
What can we look forward to with Kono’s character?
The end of Season 1 is dramatically going to change what happens with Kono. She’s not back on the force. We’ll see maybe a glimpse of how Chin’s scandal haunted her. I think you’re going to see both of them struggling to try to make it OK.
What about Hawaii stands out for you?
I met a bunch of really cool people. Of course you can say the aloha spirit and the landscape that goes without saying but what touched me more were the specific friendships. This island’s a lot of fun during the day and at night. There’s all sorts of things you can do, that was unexpected.
DANIEL DAE KIM
The consummate gentleman and veteran Hawaii actor never fails to stun with his God-chiseled visage. He has an eclectic wish list of people he’d like to work with: Steven Soderbergh. Alejandro Inarritu, Michel Gondry, Luc Besson, Ridley Scott. But for now he goes one-on-one with MidWeek.
What’s your secret to juggling your personal and public lives?
I don’t know if there’s a secret as much as just valuing and appreciating the work that comes with living in paradise. I try and live as normal a life as possible. I have a family here and I want my kids (two boys) to grow up in a normal environment.
Is it a challenge being an ethnic actor in Hollywood?
There’s no question about it. To this day I face barriers on a regular basis, as do all Asian-American actors, but it’s what I love to do so thankfully the work has come along with the desire.
Do you ever find yourself singing the “Five-0” theme song in the shower?
All the time! We were actually just shooting in a location that has empty oil cans and I found myself going up to an oil can going (breaks into a vigorous drum beat of the theme song).
What do you do for fun?
I like to play tennis.
My entire family plays tennis and I’m starting to play golf a little more actively. I’m not as comfortable in the water as I am on land, so I want to try to change that.
Did you know you wanted to be an actor even as kid?
When I was younger I wanted to be a lawyer, a politician for a little while and an architect. I never thought about being an actor. It was never really within the realm of possibility because my parents were professionals, so they encouraged me to go that direction and acting was not that direction (laughs).
Anything you can tell us about the growth of your character?
We all know that the heart of drama is conflict, so I don’t anticipate that things are going to go so smoothly all year.
SEASON 2 PREMIERE AT SUNSET ON THE BEACH
When: Saturday, Sept. 10 (the premiere airs on CBS Sept. 19)
Schedule: 4:45 p.m. Pre-program entertainment
5:30 p.m. Tribute to host culture
5:45 p.m. Cast arrives
6 p.m. Red carpet with 30 members of foreign press
7 p.m. Mayor’s program with a cultural tribute, kahu blessing, introductions to the mayor and select dignitaries, introductions to CBS executives and the cast will take to the stage
8 p.m. Premiere of the first episode of Hawaii Five-0, Season 2