Scott Ok (pronounced “oak”) is somewhat of a visual anomaly. His Korean good looks paired with long Rastafarian dreadlocks can often make people think he is exactly like the character he portrayed in “Hawaii Five-0” episode “Lapa‘au.” After spending an afternoon talking with Ok and hearing about his experience on the “Five-0” set, I want to set the record straight that he is far more than meets the eye.
I mentioned Ok when “Lapau‘au” aired in early November in “Healing Touch.” He played Brody Campbell, the smoke shop owner who sold a bag of “medicinal” marijuana to Kono and gave the Five-0 team valuable information about the case they were trying to solve.
While his time on the small screen was fairly brief, Ok definitely made an impression with his unique looks and the humorous edge he added to his scenes. Even the picture of Ok as employee of the month gave his character more of an impact and set him apart from other featured extras.
Ok is no stranger to television and film extra work, and has been cast many times due to his unique look and style, as well as his professionalism. In the upcoming movie “Battleship,” he will be featured as an enthusiastic Japanese soccer fan who runs up and down the pitch waving a Rising Sun flag. And in the Lifetime movie “Special Delivery,” he was cast as a Rasta vendor man.
I’m sure his looks didn’t hurt his chances at getting on “Hawaii Five-0,” either. He auditioned with Rachel Sutton twice, who told him he had a great look, and that she would try and find something for him. He said he auditioned for Sutton during season one, but that part didn’t fit him as well as Brody Campbell.
“Hawaii Five-0” didn’t “do too much to me. Just a little bit of powder — they said I had nice skin,” he said. Most of the costume seen on screen was his own. After watching the scene, I’m sure most of you did not question the believability of Ok playing a smoke shop employee, except perhaps the choice of name.
Contrary to some of the roles he has played, however, Ok is a professional who works for the state and now calls Hawaii home. He originally hails from Olympia, Washington and attended Western Washington University, and said he was raised in a loving, supportive family. His parents are both from Korea (his father was a pastor in Washington) and even though Ok said he “has never been the typical Korean” and always had “long hair or a shaved head, or dreadlocks, and tattoos and piercings,” his parents were still very supportive of what he wanted to do in life.
“Growing up as a Pastor’s kid and as a minority in the Pacific Northwest, probably drives me to be an individual, to be different, and to try and express my own individuality and not fit inside a box,” he said.
Ok got involved with television acting when he came to Hawaii — “for the weather,” he said — by signing with an agent right away. He took acting classes to get comfortable in front of the camera and landed his first big part as one of eight main actors in the sci-fi thriller, “The Orb,” an independent movie directed by Scott Lee Mason (who is also a digital imaging technician on “Hawaii Five-0”). Ok has been on several commercials and is most recognizable for roles in “Tobacco Quit Line” and “No Smoking in Bars” public service announcements, as well as his Tattoolicious Tattoo Shop commercial. He will be in Alexander Bocchieri’s new short, “Plate Lunch,” which just wrapped shooting in November.
Ok said his experience on “Hawaii Five-0” was great, as he not only got the “star treatment” with a trailer at his disposal, but also had a great experience with Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park. He said both were very considerate and Kim kept asking him if he was being too rough and if the cuffs were too tight. He added it was amazing to him that, with the airing of his scene in the smoke shop, “there were three Korean actors on National television, not speaking Korean.”
His experience was memorable enough that a friend even set up a Facebook fan page for his character from the show.
Overall, Ok said he would love it if Brody Campbell got called back to reprise his informant role on the show. Kamekona has turned into more of a team member than a CI (confidential informant), and Brody could provide good intel to the Five-0 team as their secret undercover smoke shop CI. Any local actor would love to turn their small part on “Five-0” into a bigger role, and with a great guy and actor like Scott Ok, the show would definitely have another unique character on their team.
Redux Side Note:
This week’s “Hawaii Five-0” was a rebroadcast of “Ho‘opa‘i” from season one. Next week, I will be on vacation with my family, but I will be back to write a review on the Jan. 2 episode, “Ka Ho‘oponopono.” The Dec. 26 episode is another repeat: “Hana ‘a‘a Makehewa.”
Until next year, a warm Mele Kalikamaka e Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year)!
Wendie Burbridge is a published writer, playwright and a teacher of literature and fiction writing at Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama. Reach her on Facebook and on Twitter.