New ET interview

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Alex O’Loughlin Reveals Why He’s Changing His Tune About Leaving ‘Hawaii Five-0’

Alex O’Loughlin is adding another title to his all-encompassing Hawaii Five-0 resume.

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.

My thoughts are at the end of the interview. Also the link to the original site at the end of the interview.

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 O’Loughlin: 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.

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?

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.

What was the most challenging part about directing?

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.

This may be a difficult question for you to answer, but how is Alex the director different from Alex the actor? 

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. 

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?

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.

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.

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.

In the April 13 episode, McGarrett’s ex, Catherine, comes back into the fray. What can you tease about Michelle Borth’s return?

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.

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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?

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. 

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?

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. 

So you’d be interested in discussions for a potential ninth season? (Note: CBS has yet to renew Hawaii Five-0.)

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.


Read the original post HERE.


I am kinda sad that Alex still doesn’t seem to realize what a fantastic acting job he does week after week. I might be biased, but none of the others on the show comes even close.

I must say I am not looking forward to one part of this episode. I have zero interest in the Danny story. I simply don’t care about Danny’s past, or who the heck wanted to kill him. Zero interest. And for me, it’s very unfortunate that this is the episode that Alex got to direct.

I’m sure he did a great job, and the show will be good. Well, at least two parts of it. I will watch it with an open mind, but honestly, I simply can’t see that story changing my mind about Detective Williams.

I am delighted about his words about Michelle and of course even more so about Catherine. He is so right. Only on the basis of being friends can you create a relationship. And I am looking forward to seeing more of her in the future. Anyone believing this will be it for these two must live on another planet. But believe what you want.

And I feel the same about the two actors who left last season. They decided to go, new ones came. End of story. Don’t make more of it than it really was. And I am very happy with the new guys. It was time for a change.

I strongly believe in a season 9. Bring it on. Hopefully with more influence by Alex, which would mean way better stories than we got in season 8.

 

19 thoughts on “New ET interview

  1. Alex was very HAPPY that Michelle came back and Steve and Catherine still have a friendship and it is NOT over between them. I am keeping my fingers cross that their will be a Season 9. Hurry up CBS RENEW

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree, Alex is too humble about his acting but then I like that attitude more than some actors egos. And while I liked Chin and Kono, it was their choice to leave and we will never know all the inside details. Alex can’t be expected to mope around missing them. And I loved that he clearly stated that he likes working with Michelle. My takeaway from this interview was how enthusiastic he was about the whole directing situation. And it was cute that he found himself frustrated directing himself.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Love the interview Alex has found a new love directing and telling a story I think this might be what he dose after Five 0 has finished. Loved Alex was happy to see Michelle I am glad Steve and Cath will still be best friends and not over between them because if we get season 9 you never know what is round the corner. So season 9 is not a done deal and Alex is still in talks.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Unless there are things we don’t know about, i think CBS will give Alex time off and a less strenuous work schedule to keep him happy for one more season,. His health and his family come first, not more money.

    I love that he said those very nice things about Michelle. I am sure that was not too well received by the abC’s. and McDannos.

    Having said that, I wish he would not discuss contract negotiations with these interviewers, They are not doing him any favors.. He needs to leave that to his agent and the network. Let them work it out in private.

    I have heard nothing about Scott. I think he is leaving or will become an occasional guest star. I truly believe he will be happier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I’d be happier if Caan split, but he’ll be back. He makes an enormous amount of $$ for very little work. He’s a trust fund actor…he likes and expects easy money. He’s never not had it. 🙄

      I’m glad Alex finally got to direct, but the Show is nothing when his role is shrunk. If he gets fewer scenes next year, good for him, but not for me. The writing has been so fucktacularly bad this season, I’m wishing him new work rather than another plodding season of 5-0. Even the SooperDooperPooperFans have bitched about the ZzzZzz eps this season. Shocking, but tells you how bad it is.

      Liked by 5 people

      • “SooperDooperPooperFans” – ROFL. This is for the win. 🙂

        As long as his heart is in the show, and it makes him happy, or gives him security, or whatever his reasons are to stay, I am all for Alex to do more seasons. I’m not part of the fans wishing for him to quit as long as that is not his wish.

        Liked by 3 people

      • The show will need to hire another “active” member for H50 if Alex gets Scott’s schedule. Grover is not an action guy and Baby S.E.A.L Junior is still a just a baby S.E A.L.. PL has said that scheduling is a nightmare because of all the contractual days off. We have already seen that they have to shoot some episodes out of order because some people are unavailable. If Danny leaves, who will notice? He is never there anyway. . The Friday night TV crowd won’t care anymore than they did when Grace and DDK left, They are not as invested in these characters as the fandom is, if someone leaves, that money can pay another actor’s salary..

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love Caan. Not happy with what the writers have turned his character Detective Williams into, but I accept that it is their decision. It is pretty clear that this is not Alex O’Loughlin’s show, as much as we want it to be. Even Alex admits that he has very little knowledge, or very little input, about where his character is headed.

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    • I felt Alex was being very vague about discussing any contract negotiations, not giving out any details. He was noting that whatever may be in the works is not known at the moment.

      Like

  5. “Ironside” was no joke! My family never missed an episode.( My dad was a cop, so we watched every cop show without fail, including the original Five-o.) That show (Ironside) was on for 9 seasons. Alex would benefit to see that scenario a bit more open-minded. His acting would really shine, for sure!

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  6. I agree that this man is so much more talented than he gives himself credit for, but that humility is one reason I love him so much. I really like the questions about his methods as an actor vs. director, so we get a glimpse into his approach to work. It isn’t surprising to hear how internal he gets while acting – or how intense he is about his work. I have heard other actor/directors mention they did not want to spend much time on the scenes they were in either. For some reason I actually look forward to the content of the episode too. Maybe I wouldn’t care as much if he were not the director.

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  7. Want a McCatherine back. As really think that if there is a season 9, Alex needs to be a producer. As is about time. Keep up the good work Alex! As really he is humble and modest. Love that about him!

    Like

  8. This interview makes me feal a lot better than that other one. Of course he likes Michelle. I’m sure that statement will fall on deaf ears but he said it, so it must be true. (According to his die hards, his word is gospel). I think everyone knows she will be back and this is yet another delay tactic to get us to the endgame. I’m afraid it will get delayed so long no one will care anymore. (I will but I may be alone).
    There is nothing about this episode that interests me. I don’t care about Danny, I don’t think “the kids” are cute or funny, and don’t get me started on Adam. But I wish Alex well on his directorial debut.
    I find it very hard to believe they wrapped filming without knowing if Alex will return; unless there is some huge cliffhanger we know nothing about. I’m sure PL will move heaven and earth to get him to sign. Afterall he has mouths to feed and we all know the only reason most watch is for Alex. So here we go again watching and seeing, and waiting for the never ending roller coaster ride. I for one am finding it hard to watch sometimes , but I am looking foward to epi 20.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Team Alex forever we need season 9 Alex has such amazing skills especially episode 5.7 in season 5 I was blown away by him that I watched it three times

    Like

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