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Actress battles nerves in her quirky 'Five-0' role

By Mike Gordon

LAST UPDATED: 8:42 p.m. HST, May 16, 2011

Larisa Oleynik, the newest regular cast member of "Hawaii Five-0," feels she's not tough enough to be in the action-oriented police drama, but she can definitely disarm you with a smile.

She's just that nice.

The San Francisco native plays Jessica Kaye, a former CIA analyst sent to Hawaii to help "Five-0" hunt down Steve McGarrett's arch nemesis, Wo Fat. Oleynik shot three episodes this season, including the finale, which airs next week. Ask her about the experience and her enthusiasm bubbles out.

"I am totally loving it," she said during a break in shooting, before production wrapped for the season last month. "I think it's becoming more and more apparent that they are trying to infuse my personality and my sense of humor into the character because clearly I am not the toughest broad on the block."

The 29-year-old Oleynik is perhaps best known for her roles as Bianca in the 1999 movie "10 Things I Hate About You" and Alex in the Nickelodeon series "The Secret World of Alex Mack."

Her "Five-0" character is described by CBS as being more cerebral than the cast's only other regular female lead, the butt-kicking Grace Park, who plays Kono Kalakaua. Jessica Kaye has been quirky, even a tad naive, but otherwise fun to watch.

"Five-0" is no easy gig, though.

"I'll tell you, I'm a bundle of nerves," Oleynik said. "I think it's so exciting and I am happy to be here, and I know what an incredible opportunity it is."

Her solution is to consciously work at relaxing — to "shake out" the butterflies and trust in her ability to arrive on set prepared, she said.

"That's been my greatest challenge, honestly, because I just want it so bad," she said. "I just want to do such a good job, you know?"

"Five-0" executive producer Peter Lenkov recently said Oleynik's character is now a regular part of the cast, but it doesn't sound like he told Oleynik.

"Well, I don't know," she said. "I would be thrilled if that's the way it worked out. But nothing is official until it's official."

"PRIEST," the post-apocalyptic horror film that features Hawaii's Maggie Q, opens Friday, and judging from the trailers released with the press material, she's in fine fighting form.

The film from Sony Pictures and Screen Gems stars Paul Bettany in the lead role. He's a legendary warrior priest in a world where the church and vampires do battle in a "Mad Max"-like wasteland. When vampires kidnap his niece, he goes rogue, and the church elders send Maggie Q to get him.

Maggie Q's character has otherworldly fighting skills — but if you've been watching her all year in CW's "Nikita," you already know that. In "Priest" her character faces tough choices, the actress said in press material for the film.

"She has this duty to the clergy, and she also has this loyalty to someone she cares about as a friend, as a fellow warrior and also who she really loves in a way, in a big way," she said. "So she has a duty to do, but she also has something to fulfill in terms of her loyalty to him. There is definitely a split in her loyalties."

Coincidentally, the season finale of "Nikita" airs Thursday, the day before "Priest" opens in theaters.

NOT GETTING enough barbarian action from Hawaii's Jason Momoa in the HBO series "Game of Thrones"? Check out the new trailer for "Conan the Barbarian," which stars Momoa in the biceps-bulging title role originally made famous in 1982 by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Momoa looks mighty fierce in the trailer, which is on Yahoo! Movies. Better still, he has a contract for sequels — he'll be back.

AND that's a wrap …

Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser's film and television writer. Reach him at 529-4803 or at

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