When you meet Hawaii-based actor and martial artist Jomar Miranda for the first time, you want to either adopt him, or if you had a daughter, convince him to marry her. He is officially a nice guy. I don’t mean that as an insult, as he did appear on camera alongside Wo Fat, the baddest villain on “Hawaii Five-0.”
I’ve said it before about the super talented Mark Dacascos (who plays Wo Fat) — in real life, the worst he could do to you would be to hug you to death. He is that nice. And I got major confirmation on my suspicions about his genuine kindness from Miranda, who I have to say, definitely fits in with the other villains on “Five-0.”
Now, every time I have gotten to speak with any actor about their parts or been graciously allowed to ask about their personal lives, I have been thrilled to find that the “bad guys” are usually perfect gentlemen. You could bring them home to meet your momma and they would hold out her chair and most definitely bring her flowers. Not the kind of reputation you might want as a “Five-0” villain, but these men seemed to be very comfortable in their own skins — so much so, that playing a bad guy opposite McGarrett and team was just as believable as if they had played a victim.
Miranda was Will Ling (I’m not kidding, that’s the character’s name) in the second season’s premiere episode, “Ha‘i‘ole.” He and local mixed martial artist Egan Inoue played Wo Fat’s bodyguards and Miranda was put through the ropes by the Five-0 team. Chin Ho not only knocked him around, but also stole his wallet before he was shot and interrogated by a determined McGarrett. Not a great week to run into the Five-0 team for Will Ling, but it was a great two weeks of filming for Miranda, who grew up in Waipahu with a supportive family.
When “Ha‘i‘ole” screened during “Sunset on the Beach” last year, he was in the crowd watching the episode on Waikiki Beach surrounded by family and friends. He said it was neat to be with his family and for them to see him on the huge screen. Miranda was seen in five different scenes and got the first “Book ʻem, Danno” of the new season.
Most of Miranda’s experience has been in film, and his resume is extensive. Miranda just finished working on the film “Hang Loose” with Dante Basco, who recently appeared on “Hawaii Five-0” as bad guy Nicky Chang in “Pū‘olo. “Hang Loose” is currently in post-production and Miranda said it may be screened at next year’s Hawaii International Film Festival. Miranda has been in several independent and short films since 2007 and was an extra last season on “Hawaii Five-0” and “Off the Map.” His part as Will Ling was his first major television role.
Miranda said that in film, directors “hold your hand” and allow actors to do several takes until they feel comfortable. On “Hawaii Five-0,” everything moved quickly and the director really didn’t give him very many specifics, but he made it work in his favor. The first scene Miranda shot was the interrogation scene, and he had to quickly put himself in a place where he could react to McGarrett and Danno. In the final edit he looks appropriately nervous, as well as appropriately defiant.
Working with Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan on his first scene was a little nerve wracking, Miranda said, but everyone made him feel comfortable. He shot a funeral scene and boat scenes after his interrogation, and by then he felt more comfortable about his character and what he needed to do when he worked with Daniel Dae Kim. Miranda said the crew was “like a family” and that O’Loughlin and Caan are definitely “BFF’s.” He said he worked more with Dacascos and Inoue and both were very friendly and great to work with.
Miranda’s talents lie not only in his acting ability and having the right look for Wo Fat’s bodyguard detail, but also in his martial arts experience. Miranda has trained in Tae Kwan do, Escrima (Filipino blade fighting and grappling), MMA and boxing, so I’m sure he got along well with Dacascos and Inoue. Along with being local actors, all three of them could take turns beating each other up — if they weren’t such nice guys to begin with!
I’m hoping to see more of Miranda on “Hawaii Five-0” in the future. In “Ha‘i‘ole,” McG released him to “chum” the water to catch Wo Fat, so to speak, so let’s hope that he makes a splashy return to help McG get his man. Even if we don’t see Miranda back with the Five-0 team, I’m sure we will be seeing more of his face very soon someplace else. Everyone loves seeing nice guys get their due, and for Miranda, I know he won’t be one to finish last.
Redux Side Note:
New episodes return on Monday, Feb. 6, with “Mai Ka Wā Kahiko” and “I Helu Pū” on Feb. 13. Both episodes sound as if big things will be happening to the Five-0 team. We’ll just have to hang on one more week for the excitement to return to our small screens.
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.