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‘Five-0’ producers promise depth in characters, plots and subplots

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The creative brain trust behind the CBS reboot of "Hawaii Five-0" is promising a series with deep characters, subplots wrapped in mysteries and a mythology that builds on the show’s origins.

Bold statements? Given who said them — executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Peter Lenkov — it could be money in the bank. The script from Kurtzman and Orci helped reinvent "Star Trek" (and Capt. James T. Kirk), and Lenkov was a co-executive producer on the successful Fox series "24."

The trio were part of a panel discussion before 2,000 people at last weekend’s Comic-Con 2010 that CBS posted online. Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park also were on the panel.

"We’ll have these great case stories every week, but we also will have these great character stories, which are ‘B’ stories," Lenkov said in the video. "And the ‘C’ story is a runner that will unfold this great mystery that really comes to this great end. So if you are watching this show week to week, there is going to be a great payoff. If you are tuning in every now and then, it is just going to be a great show, a great hour of television."

There was never any doubt among the producers, as they oversaw shooting of the pilot in March, that their work would produce a lengthy series.

"I think from the beginning we always thought of this as an epic story we were going to tell over the course of many episodes," he said. "So really, all these mysteries and all these story lines and all this character development was built into the idea of having something that was going to run for many years."

They took care to cast the right actor for the part of Steve McGarrett, who was played by a stoic Jack Lord in the original series, Kurtzman said.

"What you need to do is find an actor who can embody the spirit of what he represented but also bring something new to the table and put his own spin on the character so you don’t feel like he is just sitting there doing a Jack Lord impression," Kurtzman said.

In casting Alex O’Loughlin as the new McGarrett, they found "a natural-born leader." Kurtzman called the Australian actor "our cornerstone."

Orci, who with Kurtzman also wrote the 2007 blockbuster "Transformers," explained it was a nice change of pace to not have to work on a project that relied on a gimmick, such as "a frickin’ talking robot."

"We love the idea of being able to delve into characters and doing it in a police show, which are sometimes not always known for having deep characters or characters with emotional memory," Orci said. "The idea of doing something really grounded and really fun appealed to us."

RUSHES … Hawaii will get lots of air time in the coming TV season. In addition to "Five-0" and ABC’s "Off the Map," a suspense drama from NBC called "The Event" will highlight several Oahu locations standing in for the Caribbean. The sites include "Secret Island" near Kualoa Ranch, the Waimanalo coast near Sea Life Park and the cliffs at Koko Head, said Jim Triplett, a longtime Hawaii locations manager who helped NBC during four days of filming in April.

"The Event" will debut Sept. 20, the same night as the "Hawaii Five-O" pilot.

The 45-foot-high cliff jump near Spitting Caves — site of several fatal jumps — was done by professional stuntmen, according to Triplett. "I’ve done it dozens of times," he said. "There is a skill to jumping off that, and you don’t even feel the water if you do it right." …

…The state has proved to be a capable stand-in for many international locations — "Off the Map" will double as the Amazon — but New Line Cinema has a project that will push the envelope: "Journey to the Center of the Earth 2."

"Hawaii is a strong contender for this film," said Georja Skinner, administrator for the state’s Creative Services Division, which oversees the Hawaii Film Office. "It is being seriously considered. If they were to come here, it would be in the fall."

Talks have been going on since June, but there’s no word on who would star in the sequel to the Brendan Fraser film of 2008.

And that’s a wrap. …

Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser’s film and television writer. His "Outtakes" column appears Sundays. E-mail him at


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