TV & Video Magazine

Don’t Look Back, Danno

Posted on the 26 January 2011 by Danainvermont @websouffle

Crime wave ... Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan.


Good press and interviews from Australian media with the leads, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan about the new version of Hawaii Five 0 and the original. Very refreshing comments from the always blunt, Scott Caan.


Crime wave … Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.

Hawaii Five-0 was a stone-cold classic but the stars of the remake have no time for nostalgia, writes Michael Idato.

With a theme song that prompts many to start paddling an imaginary canoe and a title that is one of the best-known in television history, the remake of the 1970s police series Hawaii Five-0 has television’s answer to a free pass.

The original series, which aired from 1968 to 1980 and lived on in repeats for at least another decade, starred Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, a detective with a bulletproof hairdo who collared bad guys with the immortal line “Book ‘em, Danno”, directed at colleague Danny Williams (James MacArthur).

The idea of remaking the show has been kicking around Los Angeles for more than a decade. A pilot was mounted in 1996 but abandoned. A film adaptation was then developed but also abandoned. In 2008, CBS developed a second pilot with Criminal Minds producer Ed Bernero. A year later a third pilot, this time with Alex Kurtzman (Alias) and Roberto Orci (Fringe) at the helm, got the go-ahead.

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In the new Hawaii Five-0, Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin plays Steve McGarrett, the son of former cop Jack McGarrett (his first name is a nod to the show’s original star). Danno is played by Scott Caan, the son of actor James Caan.

The other two key policing roles from the original, Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua, are played by Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) respectively.

In addition to the usual police show tropes and some fairly impressive cinema-style action sequences, the first episode delves into Steve’s relationship with his late father and that of Danno with his daughter, Grace.

Speaking to the Guide on location in Honolulu, O’Loughlin says the series, aside from the more conventional business of policing in Hawaii, uses those two relationships to explore what it means to be a father.

“Steve grew up in the military, away from his father, so becoming a man, surrounded by other men, has forged him into this machine,” he says. “He has a hard edge, a rigidity, but it’s also established this sense of displacement, so every time he sees Danno with Grace, it’s such a core thing for him – all of his pain, all of this other stuff, comes from that core. Any time he’s exposed to it, it’s difficult for him.”

Caan lopes into the interview with a slightly different energy. “This show is so many different things,” he says. “Most shows are one thing and I think they’re trying to tackle a lot of things with this show. We pull them in the direction of character, we say ‘let’s talk about our wives and kids’ [because] as actors that’s what we want to play with, but CBS has made a trillion dollars in procedurals. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong.”

Striking a balance between procedural and character-based elements is a tricky one and the newHawaii Five-0 comes at a time when US viewers seem to be tiring of straight procedurals. Even the most clinical examples of the genre – the CSIs and Law & Orders – have begun to dabble in character.

Hawaii Five-0 finds the balance with ease, aided perhaps by the audience’s willingness to imagine Hawaii’s police force tackles cases that are a little more left of field than their colleagues in New York, Boston or Los Angeles.

For his part, O’Loughlin says he is sick of watching straight police procedurals. “I think America is sick of it as well,” he says. “They sit down and watch it but I think they’re ready for something else. We know they work – that’s why the network machine pushes them out – but good television is good television, no matter where the world is at.

“This was an opportunity to have that procedural drama format but to fill it with great character stories and we have the old show we can reach back to for inspiration.”

That said, neither actor appears to have much interest in the original series. “I’ve never seen it; I don’t care,” Caan says with trademark candour. “I literally don’t care at all. I’m not nostalgic in that way.”

O’Loughlin says his recollections are hazy. “I knew the theme song, like we all do. I remember Jack Lord’s hair. I remember long-lens foot chases through Hawaii. I remember an old cop show and that’s about it.”

Both made a decision not to watch old episodes when preparing for the show. “When I took the job, I decided not to watch the original, whether it’s genius, crap or whatever,” Caan says.

“I don’t think I can get anything from that. They’re totally different shows. It’s a title, a theme song and a location, that’s all.”

O’Loughlin agrees. “It’s not only a different time in television, television itself has changed and there is no more strange, stylised posturing. We go for truth now; we have the technology and means to put on the screen incredible action sequences. It’s a whole different animal.”

Hawaii Five-0 begins on Ten on Sunday at 8.30pm. 

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