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'Five-0' roles for local actors continue into second season

By Mike Gordon

LAST UPDATED: 4:00 p.m. HST, Aug 31, 2011

The start of a second season for "Hawaii Five-0" arrived earlier this month with a big media splash and a lot of face time for the show's major actors.

But the smiles have been just as big off camera.

From coveted speaking parts to extras, the new season means work for local actors.

Casting director Rachel Sutton used 18 people in the first two episodes and plans to use seven more when episode three starts this week. She's even put 800 people in the background.

Dennis Chun, Taylor Wily and Teilor Grubbs all had featured recurring roles in the first season and were brought back for similar gigs this season: Chun as Sgt. Duke Lukela, Wily as shave ice entrepreneur Kamekona and Grubbs as Grace Williams, the young daughter of Detective Danny "Danno" Williams.

Melissa Puana-Martin and Kelly Mumme are two of the new faces who hope to make an impression.

Puana-Martin was cast in a recurring role as the governor's assistant in episode two, but technically she's already done the part. That was her role in an episode last January that focused on the kidnapping of a tsunami expert — the same episode that aired after the NFL's AFC championship game and drew 19.3 million viewers.

"It is getting me exposure, which always leads to something more," she said. "Work begets work."

Puana-Martin started taking acting classes about four years ago with Honolulu acting coach Scott Rogers. She had recently graduated from Leeward Community College and was working "a manini job." So far, she's done mostly short films.

"I have been training quite a lot," said Puana-Martin, a Waipahu resident who also does carpentry in her father's construction company. "It's very important. I think it is like anything. If you want to be good at something, you need to train."

MUMME ALSO worked on episode two, which was her first experience with "Five-0."

Her path to acting took many turns. The Florida native moved to Hawaii a few years ago to teach eighth-grade English but after two years she took a job as a traffic reporter on "Hawaii News Now." And last year, acting on her lifelong passion for acting, she started taking classes from Rogers.

As much as she values the work she does with fellow students, her time with industry veterans was incredibly valuable, Mumme said.

"Having the experience with people who do this all the time is inspirational," she said. "We learn so much in class and from the friends we act with, but it is a different challenge to work with professionals who do this every day. It is incredible to see how fast it is for them to get into character."

No matter who provides it, training is the key to work, said Rogers, who taught an acting class for "Five-0" at the show's request last March. Sutton brought in two dozen actors to Scott Rogers Studios (, 596-8300) she was considering for the second season.

"Everybody and their mother thinks they can do it, and they don't realize how hard it is," he said. "They don't realize how difficult it is until they lock into a role and blow it. That's when they call because they realize they have to train."

AND that's a wrap …

Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser's film and television writer. Read his Outtakes Online blog at Reach him at 529-4803 or email

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