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Five-0 Redux

Jeff Cadiente

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For all intents and purposes, Jeff Cadiente is a “Hollywood Stuntman.” He grew up in Hollywood as the son of actor and stuntman Dave Cadiente and started working in the television and film industry at 18 years old.

But when you meet Cadiente, “Hollywood” is not a word you would use to describe him. He looks and acts like a homegrown Hawaii boy, tan and at ease in his own skin, someone you can sit and talk story with over a couple of beers and a bowl full of poke. He is wonderfully gracious and first to give credit to his crew and the people he works with for his success and good fortune.

Stuntmen are folks who seem a little crazy. They are willing to crash a car, take a bullet or fall from a ten-story building, and are usually the embodiment of the term “tough as nails.” They are also folks who, although behind the scenes, are still important to the action and production of a television show.

Cadiente, who has been with “Hawaii Five-0” since season one as stunt coordinator (he even directed last week’s episode”), has been integral to the success of the action-packed show.

As a kid, Cadiente knew he wanted to be a stuntman as he watched his dad work in the industry — but his father told him he needed to “pay his dues.” So Cadiente went to work as an extra and made a good living behind the scenes, learning the ropes on set. Instead of waiting his turn to be in the background, he watched the crew and learned proper set etiquette along with how to work in front of the camera and what every department did on set.

“There’s no stunt school, so I would always hang out with the stunt guys, watching and learning,” he said.

Cadiente got his shot on the set of “Disorganized Crime” as a stunt double for Lou Diamond Phillips, who he called a “mentor and friend.” Cadiente was also close with Brandon Lee (Bruce Lee’s son) and worked as his stunt double on “The Crow” before his death.

“I’ll never forget it, I was actually dead broke, had no money in my account, and I had to make this decision, whether to take this stunt double job for three days, or stay with my new job,” he said.

Cadiente had just found a steady day job that would be more consistent than stunt work. But he decided to take a leap of faith, not even knowing the job was to double for Phillips. After working for several months on “Disorganized Crime,” he followed Phillips to work on his next film, “Renegade.”

“Lou was actually the one who introduced me to Brandon (Lee) and that was how I got in and came up through the ranks,” said Cadiente.

Working on “The Crow,” as well as “Rapid Fire” was “the best and worst job I ever had.

“Best because I was working with Brandon and I got to do every single stunt imaginable — high falls, water, car work, explosions — so it was a stuntman’s dream,” Cadiente said. “After the accident (Lee was killed in an accidental shooting on the set of “The Crow”), I had to take his place because the family wouldn’t allow the movie to be made with just anyone. … It was a tough one because I had to wear this mask to be Brandon. And with him being gone, it was hard.”

After “The Crow,” Cadiente started to move into stunt coordinating. His resume is long and varied, starting with his first stunt work in “Scarface,” to the Philips and Lee movies, and then working on several major television series as stunt coordinator.

He said “Martial Law” with Arsenio Hall, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, and Hawaii’s own Kelly Hu, was the “biggest action show at the time,” until his work on “24” and then on “Hawaii Five-0.”

Cadiente said he does a lot of “feature type stunts” on “Hawaii Five-0” and he has been nominated for an Emmy for his stunt coordination in season two for “Ka Meʻe” and “Ua Hiki Mai Kapalena Pau” in season one. He said most of the time he is doing second unit directing, which is working with only the action, stunt doubles, and car chases before the scene cuts back to first unit, which involves principal actors in close-ups and dialogue.

Caidente said while he enjoys that kind of work, he loved directing and being at the helm. He said it helped that he is “pretty much ʻohana, because when you’re family and you get along with the crew, it really helps make everything work well.

“The entire cast and crew gave me ultimate respect, they knew that I was invested in the show, that I did my homework, and I knew the story. They listened to what I had to say and they knew I could answer their questions because I knew the script probably better than they did.

“I’m here every day, so I knew what to expect from the crew and it was easy to relate to them, and I knew how to be efficient with their time. And when I asked them, they delivered. I’m pretty proud of them.”

Cadiente said his favorite parts of “Hoa Pili” were the carguments, “which were really fun.

“I did a lot of sitting back and laughing while they did their stuff. The chemistry with Alex (O’Loughlin) and Scott (Caan) is amazing, they are so professional and they are so funny. But probably my favorite scene was the helicopter scene at the end of the show, with Masi (Oka), Taylor (Wily), Scott, and Alex. It was the most fun I had directing, I was literally laughing out loud.”

I asked Cadiente about the cast and their own stunt talents, and he was quick to talk about the fact that “Five-0″ is probably the most “athletic, gifted, talented cast on television.” He said on “24,” lead actor Kiefer Sutherland was the same way, yet with the “Hawaii Five-0” cast all of them are on that level.

“Especially Alex (O’Loughlin),” he said. “He is the most talented athletic guy that I know, he can do Jiu Jitsu, he can box, he can ride motorcycles, horses, he’s just amazing.

“In the first season he did about 95 percent of his stunts, and only in the big stunts would I use his stunt double, Justin Sundquist.”

(Sundquist is also Cadiente’s assistant, who also takes over to shoot scenes and covers for Cadiente when he is needed to work elsewhere on set.)

Cadiente said Scott Caan is just as athletic as O’Loughlin, as “he can play every sport there is, he’s an amazing surfer, and really good at Jiu Jitsu, and in fight scenes—unfortunately there isn’t a lot of stunts for him written into the script. And he comes from a family of stuntmen and horsemen. His uncle is famous cowboy stuntman, Walter Scott, so he comes from a good background and knows action.”

Caan’s stunt double is Big Island local Noah Johnson, who is an amazing big wave surfer, and Cadiente has turned Johnson into a strong stunt double. A bit ironic that Caan is a surfer, who is doubled by a surfer, yet Caan’s character doesn’t surf on the show.

Cadiente on Daniel Dae Kim: “Daniel Dae Kim does an amazing job riding motorcycles and ATVs, he’s done some great car stunts and fight scenes. He’s a really good athlete as well.

And Grace Park: “Grace is really gifted, she does a lot of fighting, and she’s great with close-ups that she needs to sell. For wide shots I’ll bring in her double Lauren Kim, who’s a great stuntwoman.”

(Daniel Dae Kim’s stunt double is Hawaii local Danny Kim, a fifth-degree black belt master in Tae Kwon Do, and doubled for him DDK on “LOST.”)

It was easy to get Cadiente to gush about his cast and his crew. He’s friends with them, O’Loughlin in particular, and he spoke about them like a proud teacher and trainer. His background in learning martial arts with stuntman Gene LeBell, as well as training in Gracie Jiu Jitsu with Hawaii martial artists Bill Ryusaki and Ed Parker, has helped him be well-rounded to specifically choreograph any kind of fight scene that “Five-0” demands.

Adding to the ‘ohana Cadiente has experienced on the show, his girlfriend Jacqueline Cryan works on set as a stunt performer and their daughter, Jaycee, doubled as Rachel’s (Claire van der Boom) newborn in season two. Jaycee was a newborn herself when she was on the show, and Cryan has doubled for Grace Park, along with other guest actresses on the show. Cryan was most recently seen in “Na Kiʻi” as one of the roller derby girls, and she doubled for “Crimson Bride” actress Tiffany Dupont.

Along with baby Jaycee, who is now 16 months old, Cadiente has two older daughters, Jasmyn and Jolie.

Cadiente would like to do more directing on “Hawaii Five-0,” he said.

“I really want to show that I can do more than just stunts and action. That I can direct a character driven show and really tell a story.”

After watching “Hoa Pili,” which for the most part was one episode that was not completely action-driven, I think Cadiente has a good shot at being in the director’s chair in the future. He may have been born and raised in California, but Hawai‘i is home to him now, and I am glad he embraced Hawaii as his own.

Redux Side Note:

We did get a bit of good news that season four had been green lit by CBS. Hang on for a hot season three finale, as the title for the last episode was also announced. “Aloha Malama Pono” airs May 20.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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  • Great article Wendie! Jeff is so amazing, well, I find stunt guys (and gals) amazing all the time. How they manage to do the things they do and jump up to do it again fascinates me. I hurt just watching them and it always looks so real I don’t understand how they do it. But thank goodness they do. Five-0 is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen for action that is movie quality. You see TV action all the time but big screen action at 10pm on a Monday night is awesome.

    And Jeff seems like a really great guy on a personal level. He interacts with fans on Twitter and is always gracious. For some reason he favorite’s my tweets all the time, can’t fathom why, but it’s always so fun to see. Thanks for the insight into this very interesting man. Can’t wait to see what else he has in store for us on Five-0!

  • Great interview Wendie! I agree 100% with what he said very down to earth guy brought up like his father. He takes his time answering Tweets and Favouriting them all the time I love chatting to him and he is one of my fave stunt co-ordinators in TV history alongside Angel. The reason why I got into the show in the first place was the big action sequence at the beginning amazed me and got me really hooked you never see that sort of stuff in other shows only in movies what a great guy and 3.19 I agree with the fans was one of my fave eps of the season he did a really great job and the way he wanted to element it with Ohana (Family) he did it!

    Jeff if you’re reading this I love your work as I always say on Twitter under HawaiiFive0_OZ I can’t wait to see the rest of your work in S4 love chatting to you on Twitter 😀

    • HI Nardia! Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m glad you mentioned Jeff’s work- and his kindness and openness toward the fans:) Glad you liked the blog:) Mahalo for your support of the Redux! Aloha, Wendie

  • As you know Wendie, I’ve been waiting for this blog, and it didn’t disappoint. I talk to Jeff on Twitter and I see how people who know him personally place him in such high esteem, not just as a professional, but as a person. But, I had no idea about his role in The Crow, so it was great to learn about that. Awesome job!

  • Wendie,
    Excellent post with more background info that is very informative. My takeaway from your info if that Jeff worked on 24. That was one of my favorites as I watched the entire run. Hopefully Five0 runs even longer; I know we have a season 4 set to go. Great news.

    • Hi Paul-
      Jeff worked on many many TV and film projects, but I just couldn’t list them all. 24 was one of his longer runs. I am so happy about H50’s season 4! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

    • Thanks Terri! I think you are so right- happy people, feeling good about where you work and who you work with, helps everyone be successful:) It’s always good to write about the positive- I’m so glad about that. Thanks so much for reading and commenting:) Aloha, Wendie

  • Awesome story on Jeff, he’s a very remarkable guy. I had read somewhere that he was friends and stunt double for Brandon Lee and helped to finish the crow after Brandon’s death. But there was much I didn’t know so thanks for letting us get to know Jeff better through your blog. xo

  • Wow, this is awesome! I didn’t know that Scott was that good! I’ve been a fan of ‘Hawaii Five-O’ since the classic days of the late Jack Lord doing the McG role as I have them all all now on DVDs to watch again and again along with the new version that started 3 seasons ago.

  • Thanks, Wendie – another great article! You’ve got the touch, girl! Jeff can do it all, and he’s such a positive person and a great role model for aspiring stuntpeople and stunt coordinators!

    I know we all felt that Jeff did an outstanding job directing “Hoa Pili.” His affinity with the cast and crew and his understanding of what makes H50 what it is, shows in how well this episode worked. It is one of the few episodes this season that almost everyone loved with no major complaints! I certainly hope he gets the green light to direct many more episodes down the road!

    Plus, he really does interact with the fans on Twitter and we love him for it! Thanks again, Wendie!

    • HI Lynnette!
      Thanks:) Jeff definitely deserves some kudos for his directing as well as his stunt coordinating- thanks for mentioning his work:) He is definitely a great role model. He’s worked very hard to get where he’s at today and is a testament to hard work paying off. Thanks for reading and commenting. Aloha, Wendie

  • Thanks Wendie. I was very interested to learn about the athletic talents of the four leads and also to learn who their doubles are. Michelle Borth has a very athletic role too and it would be interesting to learn the same details about her.

    • Hi Ed-

      Well, I guess I could have asked him who all the stunt doubles were for the entire cast, but I really was trying to focus on Jeff- because that is who the interview was really supposed to be about. I was lucky enough to get him to talk about the 4 leads as we were talking about his work with the actors from season one until today. But if I get a chance to ask him, I’ll try and find out about Michelle and her double. I know Mike Gordon is doing a big feature on her, so perhaps that information will come out in his article. Thanks for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • wendie and fans, they are going to be filming tomorrow in kalihi…the base camp is on Mookaula and Waiakamilo next to Taco Bell and the rest of the movie trucks are setting up alongside Kohou Street next to Kapalama Canal on more mauka side of king street.

      • amy…as of nightfall, the “makeup trailers” were positioned parallel with each other in that parking lot area, and barricades were setup on the diamond head grassy area where the homeless hang out. I saw the drivers parking their rigs there….fyi, due to the location being a business district, actual filming may be taking place on the inner side streets and transporting gear to and fro, just to make sure they don’t disrupt the businesses that will be operating there.

    • sorry wendie…major correction! NOT Mookaula Street, but the “base camp” is at Kaumualii Street…..but the other film crews are stationed at Kohou Street.

  • Thank you so much for this fascinating article, Wendie. Jeff is such a great guy & so much fun he gives us. This interview gave us a great insight into the Cast & Crew. For example I didn’t know that Scott’s uncle is a famous cowboy stuntman. Mahalo to you & to Jeff.

    • Hi Jessica- Jeff really thinks the world of the cast and crew. It was so nice how he was so complimentary and really, just proud of them. Thanks for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Awesome post, Wendie! It’s so great to get a glimpse of what Jeff has done in the past because it’s so impressive. I’d love to hear the UN-edited version of this. 😉 Jeff seems like a class act and I’m so happy he got to direct since he works with this H50 crew day-in and day-out. I hope the local fans (#H50hana) get to pick his brain one day like we did with the other Jeff. I love hearing the behind-the-scenes stories! Mahalo to you and Jeff!

    • Thanks for the comment Lisa:) Jeff is definitely a class act:) You’ll have to plan a #H50hana Tweetup to pick Jeff’s brain:) Thanks for reading and always supporting me and the Redux:) Aloha, Wendie

  • I know I’m late, but I agree with everyone else. I love reading about the talent behind the cameras and those who appear briefly in front of the cameras. It gives a whole new perspective to the show, so thanks for giving us such great articles Wendie.

    • Hi Diane:) Thanks so much! Glad everyone likes the non-review pieces as well as the episode recaps. I love writing about local actors as well as the cast and the crew. Hope I continue to have that chance:) Mahalo for reading and supporting me and the Redux. Aloha, Wendie

  • I love the way ALL cultures are Represented & given Balance on H50.Thats certainly something Bruce & Brandon fought for in their lives as artists & would be very proud to endorse.I mean, its all well & good to have anglos on tv looking flawless & pretty but at the end of the day,who can Relate?I believe Film & Entertaintment can be a powerful medium but Only when its All Inclusive & when it guides us towards our own personal awareness as human beings or BEANS as Chicanos say….(jajaja!!).Thats a Mexican Laughing BTW 🙂

  • Ooops..My apologies..I know its a H50 blog & all that but Brandon was a Huge part of Jeffs early break & life & certainly a catapult to the breaks in the business & the success he enjoys today.

  • Brandon…Brandon…Brandon:-) Believe it or not Brandon would love how annoying im being.He had a wacky sense of humor & loved pranking & annoying people so,in his honor….Brandon Brandon Brandon,H50 Great Show!….Brandon…Brandon…Brandon 🙂 Jeff Cadiente Rules!…Brandon….Brandon…. Brandon

  • Brandon Brandon Brandon I know since your going to delete thid I should tell you this True Fact about (brandon)I noticed you put (Bruce Lees Son) in arenthesis.. percent sure thats something Brandon would Not like at All & ask jeff even..Brandon went off on a very atractive female casting agent for writing those Exact words those exact words on the back of his head shot while she picked it up to at it,he saw this & went off on her:-) He was his iwn man & didnt want to be treated or seen or given breaks just for being (bruce lees son) but since ive been annoying you,were even steven:-)

  • (Bruce Lees Son?) Watch,Brandon Lee:The E.True Hollywood Story.He was escorted out of an audition for lashing out at a bubbly blond casting agent for writing that on the back of his headshot.Lets just say,he was a young man who wasn’t afraid to Speak his mind 🙂

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